India ... Shopper's Paradise

 Shopping In Agra

Agra, the city of magnificent Taj Mahal in the state of Uttar Pradesh is famous primarily for its marble and soft stone in lay work. Shilpgram is a crafts village and an open - air emporium, stocking handicrafts from all over the country and is the ideal destination for the lovers of Art.

Visit Agra during the Taj Mahotsav (festival) around February and enjoy live performances of dance and music by renowned artists.

Also Sadar Bazar, Tajganj, Kinari Bazar, Munro Road, Pratap Pura, Gwalior Road which brush each other are the main bazaars of Agra towards the south. It is advisable not to heed to the persuasions of touts at any of these markets. This area is generally full of life as all tourist related services, hotels, showrooms, etc. are in abundance here. It is also adjoining the cantonment area, but slighty away from the main Agra railway station which is towards the north. Take with you some sweets which are rare in taste like the Petha and Gazak. Should you prefer some snaky item with a bit of spice ask for Dalmoth.

Shopping In Bangalore

The popular garden city-Bangalore is the capital of the state of Karnataka towards the South of India. It has the finest climate which is moderate-never too cold never, too hot. One of the fastest growing cities of the country Bangalore has turned out to be the favourite destination for an executive to enjoy both business and pleasures, with its dazzling shopping plazas, complexes and arcades mostly around M.G. Road, Brigade Road ,Commercial Street and K.g. Road, where you may complement your shopping with a little entertainment as well.

Sandalewood and rosewood carvings, wooden inlay work, carpets and gorgeous silk are ideal to buy. Be careful while bargaining at these shops because their prices are generally listed if they are a famous brand.

For assured quality and genuine prices, it is best to buy at reputed and authorized showrooms based in main shopping areas. They include the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Shringar Mysore Silk Showroom, Kids Kemp, Poompuhar (Handicrafts), Cauvery Arts Emporium (Government showrooms), Nastesan's (Handicrafts), Nalli Sarees (Silks), Deepam Silks (Sarees), Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (Mysore Silks), etc. where your children can find enough to entertain themselves with, instead of bothering you while you shop.

Shopping In Chennai

Chennai has several emporia along the famous Mount Road (popularly referred to as Anna Salai), which runs North to South at a length of about 8 kms which offers a range of products, Hotels, Restaurants and a feast of glittering showrooms.

Previously known as Madras, it is the capital of Tamil Nadu which lies on the South Eastern tip of India. Towards the East is the port which opens out to the Bay of Bengal. The old city lies adjacent to the port and within a km. from the Railway Station. The residents of the old city are mostly Marwaris originally from the State of Rajasthan and Gujaratis who are known to have trade on their blood. This part of the city therefore is also known as Sowcar Pet.

About 7 kms to the North West lies the Anna Nagar where the upmarket brands are available and no bargaining is necessary since all goods are sold as per the price lists of the manufactures.

3 kms from the Station towards the west lies Egmore, an upcoming upmarket shopping area mostly housing Shopping Plaza and Department Stores.

Further down south the Cathedral Road intersects Ann Salai at Gemini Circle, better known for the residents who are none other than Film stars or political big wings. The elite, who demand nothing less than the best.

T.Nagar (Tyagaraja Nagar) as is it known is towards of the South of Anna Salai and also has good showrooms where one could pick up some typical South Indain favourites like Kanchipuram silk, Wood crafts etc.

Adyar is a suburban market area towards the southern most part of Chennai, adjoining the IIT and CSIR campus.

Other areas like Vepery have mostly house hold items. Burma Bazar sell, so called imported items. Be careful what you pick up and at what price.

Indian handicrafts and bronze artifacts can be bought from the Govt. backed Victoria Technical Institute and the Poompuhar (a Government of Tamilnadu under taking) also Anna Salai. The best of India's silk comes from Kanchipuram, which is available at Mylapore near the Kapaleshwar Temple, Panagal Park, Pondi Bazar at T.Nagar.

The central Cottage Industries Emporium sells varieties of handicrafts from all over India.

Shopping In Jaipur

Jaipur - the capital of the tourist farvourite, desert State of Rajasthan has been a nucleus for tourist traffic in the State. It also houses one of the largest collection of handicrafts, which have been kept alive by its artisans. It has also picked up a major chunk of the export market in handicrafts, commanding a virtual monopoly on the Gem Stone industry.

Within the walls of the Pink City (town area) market cluster are identified for distinct catrgories of products. Actually while coming from Delhi you enter Jaipur through the Pink City. The layout of the Pink City is similar to the Indus Valley Civilization. All Roads are parallel, while lanes are perpendicularly cutting across them. This walled Pink City enters modern Jaipur's posh shopping mail called M.I. Road, about 300 mts. from the Railway Station. From the Airport, the road into Jaipur, meets M.I. Road just 15 kms away, straight at Ajmeri Gate and runs along the four gates from where you can enter the Pink City.

Mirza Ismail Road has a glittering row of some of the most exclusive handicrafts showrooms, curio shops, antiques, watches, textiles, electronics and internationally famous brands. During winters a 2 kms long Tibetan Market sells winter wear from wind cheaters to socks made of leather, hide and wool.

Johari Bazar is the wholesaler market for Silver, Gem Stones and Jewellery. A large square (instead of a round - about) called the Bari Choupar is famous for Jaipur Quilts. Lac Bangles, Tribal Jewellery besides Leather Jutis (slippers) and readymade garments. Joining a smaller square called the Chhoti Choupar, lies Tripolia Bazar, generally famous for metal wares and household goods like steel almirahs, trunksm cycle shops etc. Right in front of Tripolia Gate is the Chaura Rasta, famous for its books and magazine stores and to the left of Chhoti Choupar, running parallel to the Chaura Rasta is Kishanpole Bazar,famous for its furniture. Further west of the Kishanpole Bazar is a popular shopping area known as Khazane Walon Ka Rasta, where varieties of stone carved sculptures are on display and for sale.

From Ajmeri Gate, New Gate, Sanganeri Gate a narrow lane goes along the wall, parallel to M.I. Road whose name changes as it runs from Gate to Gate as Indira Bazar, Nehru Bazar & Bapu Bazar.

Shopping In Ahmedabad

This principle city of the state of Gurajat (in western India), is situated on the banks of the Sabarmati river, associated with Mahatma Gandhi's ashram. It is a centre for textiles, specially colourful patchwork and embroidery (bead and mirror work), tie- and dye, Zari work on silk and Patola silks.

Ashram Road, about 10 kms. From the Railway Station, houses most of the upmarket showrooms and arcades meant for tourist. Garvi and Gurjari the two multi-stored government owned establishments, house the most genuine crafts carefully selected and displayed Kala Niketan has an artistic and extensive collection of silks and textiles. For fine quality Zari work Ratanpol Road would be ideal and is just 3 kms away.

On Sundays, the banks of the Sabarmati river near Lakdi Ka Pul present a colourful spectacle as a large crowded flea market spreads over a few kms. along it. Be it fruits, vegetables, pins, needles, or even a car engine take your price.

The other bazaars and shopping areas include Manek Chowk. Relief Road Market, Lal Darwaza, Law Garden, C.G. Road and Kapasia Bazar.

Shopping In Calcutta

Calcutta-the first British capital of India and now the capital of West Bengal in the East, has probably the most artistic talents within it. It also happens to be the only city where trams still ply through the overcrowded shopping lanes. Like any other metro city. Calcutta also has several Govt. emporia and the central Cottage Industries Emporium at 7 Chowringee Lane sells exquisite handicrafts from all States. Bargaining has no place here. However, a walk to New Market is an interesting experience where shopping turns knacks as the whole range of shopping revolves around hectic bargaining here.

Calcutta has several other shopping centers like Bentinck Street, also popularly known as China Market with sweet meat shops, leather shoes & accessories and tailors & drapers.

Enter Gariahat for a wide range of commodities, Jagannath Ghat the flower market and Tirrete Bazar for an extensive variety of ethnic goods.

Park Street is the place for the perfect executive. The street with restraints and pubs and glittering showrooms of the most reputed brands. You could leaf through journals and best sellers at a well stocked book shop. They call it College Street. These are one of the more sophisticated areas for one to shop.

New Market is, ironically one of the oldest markets of Calcutta with everything under one roof, always alive and bustling out of its seems. The airport is not very far from the city (about 10 kms ), but due to constant traffic jams you could take close to over 3 hours also.

Shopping In Delhi

Being the Capital of the vast country. Delhi becomes a focal point for shopping.

The most glamorous shopping area in the heart of the city is the Connaught Place, built during the British Days, with a beautiful fountain and park in the centre. The entire Connaught Place is built in concentric circles. A pillared pathway runs along the outer most and inner most circles with convenient and ample parking spaces radial roads lead out of this centre point to all parts of Delhi. While shopping for the choicest Indian and foreign brands do walk-in to any of the immaculately designed restaurants or fast food centers of a bite. Connaught place is just a kilometer away from the railway station and is about 30kms from the airport. It also houses an underground shopping plaza 'Palika Bazar' which also provides an underground parking for safety. While Connaught Circus still retains its original British flavour, designed by Lutyen while planning New Delhi, modernization has taken place around it.multinational corporate houses, banks, hotels, restaurants, showrooms etc. have appeared in beautifully designed high rise buildings, interconnected with modern subways to control the ever increasing groups of tourists and shoppers. Do visit the Baba Kharak Singh Marg where you will find a row of State Handicraft Emporias. Prices here are fixed and products are genuine. Typical textiles brasswares, jewellery, paintings, furniture and souvenirs from every. State can be found in their respective showrooms. Pay a visit to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium at Janpath in the STC Building Complex for the Choicest handicrafts from all states under one roof. This Emporia Chain also has its branches in major cities in India and Abroad. Other up-market shopping areas are South Extension, Sarojini Nagar, INA Market, Greater Kailash Part-I, Vasant Vihar in the South, Khan Market and Sunder Nagar Market in central Delhi within a km from the India Gate.

Opposite the INA market at Laxmi Bai Nagar, Delhi Tourism runs an open air handicraft market, Dilli Haat, in which craftsmen are invited from every state to sell their products directly. Stalls have been provided for typical cuisine and fast food from many states-all within one complex. The entire place has been given a brick finish. You could strike some good bargains here.

Towards the famous Ashok Hotel and Samrat Hotel in Chanakyapuri, after you cross the Prime Minister's residence, on the left of the Race Crouse road, is Santushti (meaning relief), the ideal shopping venue to the ethnic art lover. Intricately crafted woodwork, brasswares, terracotta, textiles, jewellery, clay toys, and metalwares can be purchased in this tiny arcade, for which you enter from the round-about and inside the Air Force Station premises.

Inside the walled city there are some of the oldest market places of Delhi with some names related to the products they are still famous for, like the Chandni Chowk which was once named for its silver jewellery but is now the wholesale market for textiles, readymades, suitings, shirtings and sarees. While shopping one could feast in some of the most famous sweet shops and chaat corner. Nai Sarak, running tangentially from here has merged as the wholesale stationery and market for books, catering to all kinds of text and reference books prescribed in schools, colleges and institutes. Towards Chandni Chowk, however, the textile market begins. For all kinds of silver and precious and semi- precious stones walk into the narrow lanes of Kinari Bazar, also famous for glittering costumes of famous Indian mythological characters. Khari Baoli is the wholesale market for dry fruits and food grains, etc.

Towards west Delhi the most versatile markets are Karol Bagh and Rajouri Garden which are a stricking mix of upmarkets as well as flea markets and are very crowded.

Another very unique feature of Delhi are its Weekly bazaars which exists in almost all colonies selling all kinds of household items for its residents. Certain festivals related bazaars are also fast gaining popularity mostly for pilgrim tourists and foreign tourists like at Suraj Kund (in haryana) and the Hauz Khas village which is an artificially created village.

Shopping In Mumbai

Shopping in Mumbai will be a memorable experience as you wander through its Bazars with striking names like Chor Bazar, Mutton Street and Zaveri Bazar. At Chor Bazar you'll find a phenomenal collection of antiques, jewellery, wooden articles, leatherware and general bric-a-brac.

Crawford market, famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish is certainly a place worth capturing on your camera. Zaveri Bazar offers an excellent range of jewellery items. For colourful and innovative carpets one should head for Mereweather Road behind the Taj Mahal Hotel. Here the range is higher. To be on the safer side. One could however, check at the Jammu and Kashmir Emporium first. Several state emporium in the World Trade Centre, at Cuffe Parade are an ideal place to buy a souvenir, a rare artefact or textiles. The Central Cottage Induatries Emporium (Apollo Bunder) and Khadi Village Industries Emporium (D.N. Road) with their fixed price tags, are genuine and of superb quality.

Colaba and Flora Fountain (Hutatama Chowk) in the heart of South Mumbia and walking distance from Bombay VT and Churchgate Railway stations are full of shopping of all kinds, mainly ethnic artifacts and departmental stores.

Walk into Fashion Street and shop for your new summer wardrobe. This street is close to the famous Metro Cinema and Dhodi Talao.

For those who look the glamorous the ideal place to shell out some money would be Kemps Corner, Warden Road, Breach Candy and Napean Sea Road.

Bandra, the so called Queen of Suburbs is the residential abode of the who's who of Mumbia film stars, industrialists and the likes. Linking Road joins Bandra to Khar and is the elite. But the striking contrast here is the pavement selling which adds to the thrill while you walk out of a posh showroom.

The famous essence and perfume industry in India had its prime ingredient called Itar. Although the Itar is now only concentrated towards kanauj in U.P., right here in Mumbia you could get a sample of it the way it used to be. Yes, walk into the famous Mohammed Ali Road and shop to your heart's content for Itar, embroidery and Zari work besides artifacts and souvenirs.

Things to Buy

The Indian craftsman has been perfecting his art for centuries, passing down traditions and techniques from generation to generation.

Each region has its own specialties, each town its own local craftsmen, its own particular skills. The results is a consummate blend of ancient skills and modern aesthetics.

Silks, spices, jewellery and many other Indian products have long been famous and widely desired, and merchants would travel thousands of miles, willingly enduring the hardships and privations of the long journey in other to make their purchases.

Nowadays, the marketplaces of the subcontinent are only 9 hours away, and for fabrics, silverware, carpets, leatherwork, antiques the list is endless India is a shopping paradise. Goods are exotic, attractive, beautiful hand-crafted and excellent value for money. Half the fun when buying goods in the bazaars is the bargaining, and you can always check for reasonable prices at state-run emporiums. Below are some of the best buys, either for the souvenir hunter or the connoisseur.


One of India’s main industries, silks, cottons, and wools rank amongst the best in the world. Of the silks the brocades from Varanasi are among the most famous variety; other major centres include Patna, Murshidabad,Surat and Kanchipuram. Rajasthan cotton with its famous "tie and die" design is usually brillantly colourful, while Madras cotton is known for its attractive "bleeding" effect after a few washes. Throughout the country may be found the "himroo" cloth, a mixture of silk and cotton, often decorated with patterns. Kashmir sells beautiful woollens particularly shawls.


India has one of the world’s largest carpet industries, and many examples of her ancient and beautiful craft can be seen in museums throughout the world. Kashmir has a long history of carpet making, influenced by the Persians. Pure wool and woven and silk carpets are exquisitely made, and can be bought for a fraction of the cost that one would pay in the west. Each region will have its own specialty; such as the distinctive, bright coloured Tibetan rugs, available mainly in Darjeeling.


Clothes are very cheap to buy, and can be tailor made in some shops, usually very quickly. Choose from an unmatchable range; silks, cottons, himroos, brocades, chiffons, chignons, touched with streaks of silver and gold thread, set with sequins or semi-precious gems .


Particularly of Rajasthan (Kundan), is traditionally heavy and stunningly elaborate. Indian silverwork is world-famous. Gems can be bought and mounted. Beautiful gems such as diamonds, lapis lazuli, Indian star rubies, star sapphires, moonstones and aquamarine can be bought from reputed jewlers. As a matter of interest, Hyderabad is one of the world’s leading centres for pearls.


Once again, each area will have its own specialty; the vast range includes fine bronzes, brasswork (often inlaid with silver), canework and pottery. Papier Mache is a characteristic Kashmir product, some decorated with gold leaf. Marble and alabaster inlay work, such as chess sets and ornamental plates, are a specialty of Agra. Good leatherwork buys include open Indian sandals and slippers.


Sandalwood carvings from Karnataka, rosewood from Kerala and Madras, Indian walnut from Kashmir. These are often exquisite and make excellent presents


Foods such as pickles, spices and Indian tea, perfumes, soap, handmade paper, Orissan playing cards, musical instruments- anything that takes your fancy.

NOTE: It is forbidden to export antiques and art objects over 100 years old, animal skins or objects made from skins.


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