Unveiling the Stories and Faces that Weave the Soul of Bengaluru

This street chronicles the essence of Bengaluru through diverse stories and the faces of its street vendors, showcasing their resilience, dreams and contributions to the city’s rich fabric of life.


Written by Siya Tripathi

Bengaluru is a wondrous city; full of life in every imaginable way, from the people filling its streets to the trees that line them. One of these streets is Church Street, nestled in the heart of the city, stretching 750m. In a mere walking stretch of about 15 minutes, it encompasses much of what this city has to offer: restaurants, coffee shops, stores, bars, and most importantly, street vendors who sell, well, everything. From jewellery to artwork, street vendors flock to Church Street on the weekends, and buyers do the same.

On Sunday afternoon, I ventured to Church Street with my camera to learn more about the street vendors, who in many ways, are the very life force of this city, the blood that flows through a person’s veins, much like the swathes of people flow through the streets of Bengaluru on the weekends. Each of these people has a story to tell, a dream they wish to achieve, and the resolve behind them to realize those dreams.

Here are some of the faces of Church Street.

Duki, who represents Srinidhi Educational Trust, an organisation and orphanage that helps to feed and nurture homeless children all over Karnataka. Duki walks around central Bengaluru, looking for donations for these children. He said that even though people can be dismissive of him, sometimes even incredibly rude, he enjoys what he does. He feels good knowing his work is positively impacting children in need.

Kanika moved to Bengaluru eight years ago, and Darshini has been here for 10 years. They spend every day together, enjoying Brigade Road and Church Street, and doling out blessings to passers-by. Darshini said Bengaluru has become her home, one more nurturing and accepting than the one she grew up in. She loves the weather, and most of all, the people. Growing up transgender was difficult, especially in her small hometown in Tamil Nadu. But here, “everyone’s accepting!”

Yasmin sells chocolate-covered strawberries every weekend. She started her business around Christmas time. She was inspired by seeing Instagram Reels of the same concept at London’s Borough Market, and knew the idea would do well on Church Street. She found that many street vendors didn’t take into account cleanliness, so she ensured her stall was impeccably clean. She said that was a large factor in why she has so many customers, new and repeating. Yasmin is from Chhattisgarh, and moved to Bengaluru two years ago as a student. She’s currently working on her Masters in biotechnology. She said she misses home a lot, especially the food, but goes home for Eid every year.

Tanya and her friend are young entrepreneurs. As an art student, Tanya wanted a way to showcase her work to the world. She thought of no better place to do it than Church Street. A native Coorgi, Tanya has been in Bengaluru almost her whole life, twenty years. In only three weeks, her artwork has done very well, with many pedestrians stopping by and buying her pieces. Art is her passion, and she enjoys being able to share it with the world, starting with the people in her city.

Sam is an interesting character in the story that is Church Street. He was a very successful businessman, having been in the diamond business for over a decade, traversing different countries to sell his goods. Three years ago, Sam lost two crores in Bangkok, Thailand. Not letting a major setback break his spirit, Sam took to Church Street two years ago. Now, he sells jewellery at his stall, and is there every single day of the week. Sam loves posing for the camera and was more than happy to showcase both his smile and his beautiful, handmade jewellery. He loves selling on Church Street, and when asked why, he said “What’s not to enjoy?”

Church Street is a small part of Bengaluru, but holds within it everything that makes Bengaluru whole. The spirit of this city is closely kindred with its streets and vendors, so be sure to support them, learn their stories, and enjoy what they have to offer.

Photographs by Siya Tripathi

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