Shopping in India can be a delightful experience where you will be able to buy just about anything you are looking for, but all for a price, of course! There are an infinite variety of souvenirs to take home, from centuries old craft items, to the latest gizmos on the block. Amazing numbers of markets bustle with local flavour and trade, and even the most uninterested are tempted to buy something! For the shopaholic, it is paradise indeed!
Some of the most popular shopping sites of the major tourist cities/places of India that must not be missed are mentioned below.
Delhi is full of a variety of markets, from the weekend fresh fruit market to the wholesale and retail markets. There is nothing that is not available in this versatile capital city. Dilli Haat offers an array of traditional handicraft items, paintings and ethnic food from different states. It is a very artistically designed complex and makes for a nice shopping experience. Ready-made garments are best available at Lajpat Nagar, Shankar Market and Palika Bazaar.
Santushti complex offers original creations in women's wear, jewellery, rugs, furniture, and knick-knacks. Connaught Place offers a complete shopping experience in its large spread out premises and its neighbour Janpath is the fashion street of the city, where every conceivable fashion, dress, footwear, ethnic craft and jewellery item is available. The Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Pragati Maidan are the place to shop for items of Indian handicrafts. The Hauz Khas Village is ideal for traditional Indian wear, gift items in terracotta, and antiques in metal. Meena Bazar (also known as Chor Bazar) and Chandni Chowk are veritable shopping explorer's delights, and Dariba is where you should head to if you want to buy gold or silver.
Jaipur is the crafts capital of the country with folk art, gems and jewellery and cottage industries abounding there. The Jauhari Bazaar is the right place for tie-and-dye fabrics and saris, and fine self-check-weave cotton saris from Kota as well as handcrafted jewellery, loose precious and semi-precious stones.
Sanganer Village is famous for producing handmade paper and blue pottery. A must buy are the bright Jaipuri quilts in beautiful colours and bright tie and dye materials and marble prints that are comfortingly warm. Jaipur is the world's largest gem-cutting centre and, therefore, the best place to pick up strings of garnets, amethysts, or quartz. Jaipur's handcrafted slip-on shoes called jutis are also a definite take home!
Mumbai is full of roadside bazaars, pavement hawkers and showrooms of foreign brands, which makes it a great destination for shopping. The main government emporiums are good for handicrafts and locally made toys and clothes. Streets opposite the Cottage house handicraft and silver shops, and antique shops. Chor Bazaar is Mumbai's flea market with any and every thing available in it. You should haggle for all you are worth here!
Zaveri Bazaar has amazingly good silver articles, old jewelry, and all household items like handy coasters, statues of animals, napkin rings, ornately worked picture frames, trinket boxes etc. Colabaa Cuseway if you are looking for a market that is a one-stop shop! The Linking Road market is another favourite shopping place, which has just about anything in it!
Tamil Nadu is the best place for the famed Indian cotton and silks. Chennai is full of large shopping complexes, silk, sculptures in bronze, rosewood inlay work with ivory or Thanjavur paintings can all be found at genuine prices here. Rich Kanjivaram silks are in abundance and Mahabalipuram is where you can get good bargains in soapstone and black granite sculptures. Poompuhar has cane mats, wood elephants, and woodcarvings. Chennai is also a good place to buy leather garments and footwear at very cheap prices.
The teeming city of Kolkata offers one of the widest ranges of goods, from leather goods, plastic toys, jewellery, confectionery, clothing, poultry products, meat, flowers, to any other thing you can think of. Bow bazar is the place for wooden furniture and musical instruments, as is Chandani Market for second hand products.
China Bazaar is famous for its paper buntings, streamers, and other domestic goods. Fancy Market is the place to go to for imported goods. The Dakshinapan Market has most of the government emporia. The place is known for its handlooms, textiles, handicrafts, and fancy goods.
Goa’s fairs and markets are excellent in every way, and are a delight to discover. The Flea market at Anjuna Beach is a must- not- miss at all costs, and is where you will be able to find the most eclectic variety of goods. From tattooing to traditional craft items, all is available here. The Friday Market at commercial hub, Mapusa has an array of food items on display, from Feni to Uraq, Goan sausages, meat and farm produce, to native jute, leather, and ceramic ware.
The Government of Goa Emporia is where you should go for all Goan items such as terracotta items like earthenware jars, miniatures, and wall hangings; lacquer items like wooden articles; and Goan brassware items such as brass oil lamps called samai, brass lamp trees, and storks. Goa teems with souvenir and gift shops with items like decorative wax candles and bamboo mats, lampshades, hanging baskets, and even flowerpots. Carved rosewood furniture is the best-known specialty of Goa.
Kashmir is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations of India. Equally beautiful are its handicrafts. Kashmiri handicrafts are internationally famous for their beauty and good quality. The Pashmina and Shahtoosh shawlsare are the most famous handicrafts of Kashmir which is in great demand all over the globe. Some of the other handicrafts are carpets, woodcrafts, papier-mache items, shawls, silk, brass, copper and silverware, wall hangings with naqqashi work, saris, cricket bats, wicker baskets, namdas etc. There are several private and government emporia in the state from where you can buy the handicrafts.
Lal Chowk, Badshah Chowk in Srinagar is famous for Walnut Wood Carved Articles, Paper Mache, and Kashmiri Handicrafts. Raghunath Bazaar and Hari Market in Jammu are best places for buying Traditional Dongra Jewelery and Dry Fruits. Head to J & K Arts Emporium for Pashmina Shawls, Shahtoosh Shawls and Knotted Carpets. Tibetan Market and Moti Market in Leh are well known for wool, garments and Thankga Paintings.