Samor Bagh Udaipur – Tibetan Market Udaipur – Samor Bagh
During winters, the Tibetan Market comes to life in the city of lakes, with Tibetan stallholders coming here from different parts of India. The start of the winter season in Udaipur is marked by the setting up of this market. Started in 1961, the Tibetans come here for 120 days and return with the end of the season. They also sell handicrafts, carpets, and rugs apart from clothes.
An open ground comprised of 56 small stalls contended by refugee Tibetan families, and that’s how Samor Bagh looks now. However, 15 years back it didn’t look like this. No one in Udaipur knew about this place, but nowadays it is very popular among all Udaipurites. If someone has to buy woolen wears the first name which comes in the mind is Samor Bagh. People at Udaipur have a strong feeling that there they can avail of all different varieties of winter apparel and accessories at the cheap and best price as compared to other shops and showrooms.
While talking to Mr. Tee Jampa, (President of Tibetan Association, Udaipur) I was able to read the struggles which he and his community have faced. I was very curious to know the story behind and I’m sure everyone will be interested to know their story. He narrated that in 1959 when china attacked Tibet, around 80-90 thousand people along with Dalai Lama fled to India and settled down in five different states. Before 45 years 25-30 refugees (ancestors) came up to the lake city in search of livelihood and started selling handwoven woolen clothes by wandering door to door. Slowly, people started accepting their products which has sober colors and designs. The other reason for mass acceptance was the rate and quality of products.
After some time they took permission from municipality and started selling their manufactured goods at footpaths of Surajpol near Ashoka Talkies. They also established their market in Chetak and Townhall in the 80s. In few years municipality didn’t allow them to carry on further. They were highly disappointed at that time. Maharaja Mahendra Singh Pratap of Mewar sent a letter to nomads expressing that he’s really sad that they (followers of Dalai Lama) are facing in his city. He’ll be grateful if they would use his piece of land named Samor Bagh near Gulab Chowk.
Finally, they shifted to Samor bagh and now it’s been 17 years they are operating there only. He also told us that the rent which the king charges is very less as compared to other landowners and government bodies. The rent is divided equally among all 56 members. The other problem which they face is MRP of the materials which they sell. To curb this issue in 2006 they have made an alliance called “Tibetan Refugee Trader’s Association” where they discuss the rate and various other concerns that cause hindrance to them in fostering their business. Besides this, the association also helps Tibetans in binding them socially from all over India.
The stalls consist of both handmade and machine-made. Mr. Palden (Gen. Secretary) told us that they started manufacturing the machine-made products before 30 years from Ludhiana as the demand for such goods were high. They order the products according to the penchant of the city’s populace. Every year these Tibetans came from different states mostly from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, U.P., and Bihar for 3-4 months and sale the stuff. While the rest of the months these refugees subsist on agriculture and small shops.
Life is very tough especially for these Tibetans who are refugees and still struggling for their country for more than 50 years. With this winters there are many other things that come to this city and Tibetans are one among them. They are very gentle people we all should love and respect them and also try to give them a little space in our hearts so they can also easily mingle with us.