The Asan Tole Market, also known as Ason Tole or Asan Bazaar, has always been one of Kathmandu’s most strategically well-placed marketplaces. In ancient times, famous trade routes converged here and merchants traveling from India to Tibet would stop at the bazaar for rest and trading. Today, it is produce that is carried from all over the valley to the bazaar. In accordance with the square’s importance of food, the temple of Annapurna Ajima, the goddess of prosperity and abundance presides over the neighborhood. In the form of a filled grain bowl, she looks on from her ornamented pagoda over the market stalls loaded with fresh vegetables, grain, rice, lentils, peas, spices, teas, oils, incense and daily consumer goods. Merchants belonging to the Newari communities worship here and wish for luck in business, good fortune and wealth and both Hindus and Buddhists visit to pay their respects to the goddess.
To this day, the colorful Asan Tole Market, a junction where no more trade routes but still six important streets converge, remains one of the most lively and chaotic places in town. Locals usually come here go shopping for the daily cooking ingredients needed, but you can also find all kinds of goods to worship the gods and perform rituals. It is a place, where even tourists can still get fair prices. The Annapurna temple also isn’t the only sacred spot in the neighborhood and you can find temples dedicated to Ganesha and Narayan, sacred courtyards, shrine rooms and pavilions here. In short, the market also serves as a cultural and religious center and more often than not, there is some festival or procession taking place in Asan Tole.
Asan Tole Market can be found in the center of Kathmandu just to the west of Ratna Park, Bir Hospital and the main thoroughfare Kanti Path and to the north-east of Durbar Square. Depending on where you are, it might be easiest to walk or take a taxi. Otherwise, the bus stops Bir Hospital, Ratna Park, Jamal or Kanti Path are all located near the bazaar.