How To Shop ‘Til You Drop In India

India is a shopper’s paradise and each region tends to specialise in something different. Many unique items are produced in India from ideas that have passed down the generations. The cost of labour tends to be cheaper than in Western countries and so tourists often find prices extremely reasonable.

In the country’s desert state, Rajasthan, colourful textiles with mirror work are a speciality. The pink city of Jaipur is known for its precious stones, paper mache puppets, brass items and paintings.

Brass and copper items are produced in Uttar Pradesh. There are beautiful things made of marble too, influenced by the Taj Mahal. These items tend to be exquisitely made, very detailed and are often inlaid with stones. The Kanpur area is the country’s main leather production area whilst Varanasi produces saris and silk.

 India’s Own Alcohol

Go to Goa to try the traditional alcohol, Fenni. This comes in two different types: coconut and cashew and decorative bottles are available for purchase as gifts. You’ll need to be aware that this locally made drink really does pack a punch! Goa is also known for bustling markets selling bright hippy clothing.

 In the area of West Bengal, Kolkata is known for its terracotta figurines and bowls as well as wall hangings. This city is considered to be India’s cultural capital and also offers an excellent selection of the country’s traditional musical instruments for sale. Further north, around Kalimpong and Darjeeling, is the home of India’s tea plantations where some of the world’s finest tea is produced.

In the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, where the weather is definitely colder, fine woollen caps and shawls are made. Close to the Himalayan Mountains, this is a cold area heavily influenced by Tibet. Traditional silver jewellery, Tibetan rugs, prayer wheels, meditation beads and bowls are readily available here.

[New Delhi Market]

 Footwear and Clothing

The state of Maharastra is known for its leather footwear, made mostly in the south around Pune and Kolhapur. The busy markets of Mumbai are overflowing with leather shoes. Brightly patterned shawls, bedspreads and sheets can be found in Aurangabad. At Paithan, near Aurangabad, fine silk saris are made containing beautiful gold thread. The work is painstaking with fine detail.

The state of Bihar is known for its wood carving, with inlay being one of the oldest crafts from the area. You will also find folk art paintings produced around Patna. Many artists have settled in this region over the centuries.

 Punjab literally means “growing flowers” and the area is known for its colourful floral embroidery. Designs are used on bedspreads, wall hangings and clothing.

The state of Orissa is known for some of the finest hand crafted jewellery in the world. Made from fine silver, filigree work is done at Cuttack, locally known as Tarkasi. Other local handicrafts, such as stone carvings, wooden toys and cloth paintings, can be found at the Raghuraipur Handicraft Village.

 Each region of India tends to have its own particular speciality. There is always something traditional or new for the shopper who loves to shop till they drop.

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