General Information

Shopping in India

Magnetic India

The country that pulled Alexander the Great into its lap. A shimmering jewel in the crown, and a unique blend of civilizations too. The cultural exuberance and composite tradition that marks this blend has found full expression in heart-warming creations of master crafts-persons. These creators extraordinaire, have inherited and honed ancestral skills to perfection. India is also a country where time honoured tradition co-exists in perfect harmony with the best of modernity. The five star hotels, shopping plazas and emporia somewhat akin to the ones in New York, London or anywhere else in the world, demonstrates all this very well.

The vast inter-country link of airline services and rail network provides easy access for shopping across the length and breadth of India.

Shopping is a pleasure especially for those who have the knack for bargaining. But then, bargaining is only done in open markets or market places. Shopping Arcades, Govt. Showrooms or branded showrooms of reputed products have fixed prices and the genuineness of products is guaranteed. During the Indian festive season (September to December), avail discount from 5% to a hefty 50%.

The pages of this book will serve as an eye opener to the wonderful shopping experience in India. So go ahead, shop to your heart's delight and take home an exquisite, piece made in India. Just for you.

Metal Craft
The line dividing crafts and fine arts is practically indistinguishable in the metal crafts of India. Gold, silver, brass, copper and bell metal are shaped into intricately designed images, idols, jewellery and utility items, having a finish and style unique in appeal.

The pricely states of India demanded not only enameled jewellery but also enameled utensils such as wine-cups, finger-bowls, pill boxes etc., in both gold and silver repousse, sometimes studded with jewels.

Lucknow, the former seat of the Nawabs of Avadh produces an extensive range of gold and silver plated articles in a multitude of patterns. the designs resemble those found in Kashmir. Owing to the strong Islamic influence, still prevailing, most of the articles are highly ornamented, with reposes work depicting hunting and jungle scenes and floral motifs.

India is the largest brass and copper making region in the world with thousands of establishments spread all over For articles made out of one or more pieces of metal. The copper or brass sheet is first marked out by a pair of compass and the piece or pieces cut off by a scissor called katari.

Moradabad is famous for utensils, both utility and ornamental, made of white metal and electroplated brass and copper. The engraving is either sada (plain) or sia kalam.

Modern streamlined articles of Swedish design in polished brass or burnished copper are also made here, satisfying the demand for modern accessories and sophisticated interior decoration.

Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh is the first city in India for the multitude of its cast and sculptured mythological images and emblemata in brass and copper as well as household utensils. In recent years Mirzapur has also emerged as one of the important brass industries of Uttar Pradesh. Goods produced have an all India market, with a portion being exported to other countries. Some of the most beautiful and interesting metal ware of India for daily as well as for ceremonial purposes are crafted in Kashmir, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Metal ornaments have been a rave in all ages and times. The attractive contrasts in colours and textures of metals have led to the evolution of metal ornamentation through techniques like inlay, overlay, applique, fixing of colours etc.

Bidri, a form of surface ornamentation, takes its name from the city of Bidar situated north-west of Hyderabad. The work is in black colour which never fades and is relieved with silver and gold inlay. In Lucknow the art of manufacturing, bidri is believed to have been introduced from the time of the Nawabs of Avadh. The Emperor at Delhi bestowed on them the dignity of the fish (Mahi Marattib) Lucknow bidri, therefore, abounds in fish motifs, flora & fauna and vine leaf patterns.

Enameling is the art of colouring and ornamenting the surface of the metal by fusing over it various mineral substances. The beauty of the article depends on the skill and resources of the worker and the excellence of the materials employed.

Lucknow, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bihar.

Painstakingly carved and inlaid, the wooden articles of Uttar Pradesh are quite a rave with all lovers of wood carvings. Saharanpur here is known for its carvings in hard sheesham and particularly for its famous vine-leaf patterns. The range of designs include floral, geometric and figurative decoration, in addition to the traditional anguri and takai carvings, jali (fretted ornamentation), brass, copper and Ivory inlay work. Bone and plastic are now being used as low cost substitutes for Ivory since extracting of Ivory is banned in India.

Manipuri in Uttar Pradesh is also known for its wood-work inlaid with brass wire on ebony or black sheesham. The states of Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala have developed distinctive styles of wood carvings. Even Rajasthan is noted for its carved sandalwood and rosewood besides heavy ornamental furniture.

Lacquering on wood not only lends colour and sparkle to the products, but also smoothens out the contours thereby imparting a lustrous finesse.
India is well known for ornamental lacquering involving intricate patterns like zig-zag and dana work, atishi, abri or cloud and nakkashi. In Varanasi, a number of lacquered toys and miniature kitchen utensils for children to play with, are made.

The artistic woodcarvings of southern India draws inspiration from the old Indian tradition of worship. Apart from marvelous prototypes of various gods and goddesses, the wall plaques, statues and toys made of rosewood, sandalwood and teakwood are mesmerizing to behold.

Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Sikkim, West Bengal, Karnataka.

India's fame in precious and semi-precious stones was well established before the arrival of the British. The land that spells royalty is the home of nameless precious and semi-precious stones like mother of pearl, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, aquamarines, amethysts and others. The process of transforming a rough stone into a shapely object of beauty and luster calls for a great degree of skill in which Indian craftsmen are adept to the core.

Kashmir, Rajasthan, Mumbai

For the hi-fashion woman of today there's nothing quite like the offbeat style of self adornment... pick the style that suits you most! For, with the passing of centuries, the old appears offbeat today, having an irresistible lure for women the world over.

India is one of the most important countries for the manufacture and export of costume jewellery. It has the largest production base for glass beads.
Varanasi is famous for its glass beads made from fused glass rods, while Purdilpur is famous for black glass beads.

Mathura is noted for lovely glass beads, stringing glass and wooden beads in necklaces together with rudraksha (sacred seeds associated to Lord Shiva) and tulsi (basil) in a variety of interesting combinations.

Ferozabad, has a rich selection of fragile and delicate lightweight beads.

'German silver' Jewellery created to modern tastes is made in Agra, while Meerut produces exquisite metal jewellery.

Silver ornaments are especially popular in Rajasthan, while Karnal in Haryana produces hollow silver beads. Rohtak has well made peasant jewellery and graceful head ornaments are made in Maharastra.

Being the Capital of this 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 centres for a bite. Connaught place is just a kilometre away from the railway station and is about 30 kms from the airport. It also houses an underground shopping plaza 'Palika Bazaar' which also provides an underground parking for safety.

While Connaught Circus still retains its original British flavour, designed by Lutyen while planning New Delhi, modernisation 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 Emporia's. Prices here are fixed and products are genuine. Typical textiles brasswares, jewellery, painting, 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 also 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 Course 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 corners. Nai Sarak, running tangentially from here has emerged as the wholesale stationary and market for books, catering to all kinds of text and reference books prescribed in schools, colleges and institutes. towards Chadni Chowk, however, the textile market begins. For all kinds of silver and precious & 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.

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

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

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 slightly 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 snacky item with a bit of spice ask for dalmoth.

Jaipur - the capital of the tourist favourite, 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 identifies for distinct categories 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 post shopping mall 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 handicraft showrooms, curio shops, antiques, watches, textiles, electronics and internationally famous brands. During winters a 2 km long Tibetan Market sells winter wear from wind cheaters to socks made of leather, hide and wool.
Johari Bazar is the wholesale market for Silver, Gem Stones and Jewellery. A large sqare (instead of a round-about) called the Bari choupar is famous for Jaipuri 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, trunks, 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 wooden furniture. Futher 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.

This principal city of the state of Gujarat (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 tourists. Garvi and Gurjari the two multi-storied, governemtn owned establishments, house the most genuine crafts carefully selected and displayed. Kala Niketan has an artistic and extensive collection of silk and textiles. For fine quality Zari work ratanpol Raod 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, needled, or even a car engine take your pick at your price.

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

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 behing the Taj Mahal Hotel. Here the range is extensive, exclusive and the prices slightly higher. To be on the safer side, one could, however, check at the Jammu and Kashmir Emporium first. Several state emporia in the World Trade Centre, at Cuffe Parade are an ideal place to buy a souvenil, a rare artefact or textiles. The Central Cottage Industries 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 Mumbai and walking distance from Bombay VT and Churchgate Railway stations are full of shopping of all kinds, mainly ethnic artefacts and departmental stores.

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

For those who look for 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 Mumbai, film stars, industrialists and the likes. Linking Road joins Bandra to Khar and is lined up on both sides with showrooms for the elite. But the striking contrast here is the pavement selling which adds to the thrill while you walk out of a post 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 Mumbai 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.

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 knack as the whole range of shopping revolves around hectic bargaining here.

Calcutta has several other shopping centres 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 Tirreta Bazar for an extensive variety of ethnic goods.

Park Street is the place for the perfect executive. the street with restaurants 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 on the 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 seams. 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.

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 pleasure, 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.

Sandalwood and rosewood carvings, wooden inlay work, lacquer work, carpets and gorgeous silks 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 authorised 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 showroom), Natesan's (Handicrafts), Nalli Sarees (Silks), Deepam Silks (Sarees), Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation( Mysore Silks), etc. where your children can find enough jto entertain themselves with, instead of bothering you while you shop.

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 in 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 up-market brands are available and no bargaining is necessary since all goods are sold as per the price lists of the manufacturers.

3 kms from the station towards the west lies egmore, an upcoming up-market shopping area mostly housing shopping Plazas and Department Stores.

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

T. Nagar (Tyagaraja Nagar) as is it known is towards the south of Anna Salai and also has good showrooms where one could pick up some typical south indian favourites like Kanchipuram silks, 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 household items. Burma Bazar sell, so called imported items. Be careful what you pick up and at what price.

Indian handicrafts and bronze artefacts can be bought from the Govt. backed Victoria Technical Institute and the Poompuhar ( a Government of Tamil Nadu Undertaking), also at 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.