One particular market in Imphal in India’s northeastern Manipur state has few parallels.
Known as Ima Keithel or the “Market of Mothers”, it is run entirely by women. Only married women are allowed to set up stalls here and the vendors are referred to as Imas (mothers).
Men are allowed to buy, but the market normally attracts women who come to buy food, clothes, handicrafts and other household items.
Locals say the unique market dates back to the sixteenth century. Until very recently, the women vendors sat under a shed. But a couple of years ago, the government constructed three separate complexes for them.
Business is not always brisk. But the Imas say the market serves another important purpose: It symbolises the empowered character of women in Manipur.