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India is a dream destination for shopaholics as colours, cultures and curious buys greet you at every turn. From shopping for jewellery in the bustling streets of Jaipur, in Rajasthan, to heritage weaves from Kashmir, Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), there's much on offer. Moreover, high-end brands, plush malls and swanky stores provide a retail therapy that would leave any shopping enthusiast ecstatic. So whether you're weaving through the lanes of Varanasi looking for premium Benarasee sarees, or stopping at designer stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, India delights you every time.
The heart of India, New Delhi is a favourite shopping destination. Its bazaars boast numerous items that range from traditional handicrafts to precious silverware, stones, silks, along with jewellery and carpets. Shop for exquisite designer wear at Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar Market or South Extension or explore the street markets of Sarojini Nagar and Chandni Chowk.
The city of joy, as Kolkata (West Bengal) is fondly called, offers much to travellers and is a delight for shoppers. From traditional handwoven textiles and books to handloom sarees, terracotta items and other souvenirs, markets in Kolkata are brimming with a fine selection of products.
There are many opportunities for shopping in Chennai, in Tamil Nadu. These include high-end boutiques, arts, crafts, souvenirs and textiles. One can head to T Nagar to shop for Kanjeevaram sarees and gold jewellery; Pondy Bazaar for leather goods, clothes for men and women and trinkets; Kader Nawaz Khan Road for branded shops and boutiques. While Ritchie Street is popular for electronic items, Anna Salai is famed for the Spencer Plaza Mall, which is one of the oldest shopping complexes in the city.
Mumbai, in Maharashtra, is a shopper’s paradise. The Linking Road in Bandra is known best for accessories, clothes and shoes for both men and women. The Hill Road in Bandra has some exquisite variety of hardware, woodwork and textile shops. Colaba has a good variety of books, jewellery, clothes, shoes and handicraft items. The well-known Fashion Street on MG Road sells trendy and high-end street fashion at reasonable prices. This huge market has over 300 shops with an endless array of fashion items that can take an entire day of shopping. Hindmata Market in Parel has an exclusive variety of traditional and Indo-western clothes for weddings.
Exclusive silk sarees that come in a selection of colours, patterns and designs, unique to the city of Mysuru, in Karnataka, are a major attraction. Known as Kanjeevaram, the sarees are particularly coveted for the zari work that adorns them. This thread work determines the value of the Mysore Silk sarees, and pure zari (gold) sarees can carry price tags of lakhs! Moreover, you can also shop for wooden toys in the state.
Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, has many delights for shoppers and its various markets are hubs of jewellery, handicrafts and many other articles. The most popular market here is Manek Chowk, which is a vegetable market by day and a jewellery and textile hotspot by evening. It lies at the heart of the old city and is a one-stop destination for retail items. The jewellery market is said to be the second-largest market of its kind in India. One can shop for sparkling accessories while gorging on delicious kulfi (a frozen milk-based dessert) as this multi-purpose market is also a street food hub.
The bustling markets of Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh, are a delight for any shopper as the city offers many unique and beautiful handicrafts and handloom products. Street shopping in Lucknow includes buying chikankari, jewellery and a host of other handicrafts. Head to the century-old Hazratganj to get a fine selection of chikan embroidered items, branded clothes, khadi, ornaments and footwear. Rubbing shoulders with the traditional market are high-end showrooms, cinema halls and factory outlets, all in one place. Meanwhile, Bhadohi is famous for its hand-knotted carpets that find buyers from all over the world.
The bustling lanes of Agartala, in Tripura, are a shopper's dream destination, particularly if you love unique handcrafted tribal products. One can shop for cane and bamboo furniture like sofa, elegantly crafted wooden almirahs, centre tables, dining tables, diwan-cum-beds, foam diwans and dining tables. Don't forget to buy the popular mudah, a low stool.
The old bazaars of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), in the galis around Vishwanath Mandir, and at Chowk are the most famous street shopping areas in the city. From souvenirs, metal craft items, handcrafted toys, jewellery and traditional perfumes to Benarasi sarees and brocade, there is a lot on offer here. Explore the maze of alleyways at the Vishwanath Temple lane, Thateri Bazaar and Godaulia to find some of the most authentic Banarasi wares and weaves.
Amritsar, in Punjab, is a city renowned for its bazaars and its fine selection of phulkari (flower-like) work, jutis, trendy accessories etc., make it a perfect stopover to indulge in some traditional shopping.
Agra, in Uttar Pradesh, is truly a shopper’s haven, whether it be simple, inexpensive souvenirs or luxurious testaments to the city’s artisanal heritage, there is plenty on offer at the budget of your choosing: from intricate marble and soft stone inlay work, leatherware and brassware to carpets, jewellery and embroidery work. There are several local markets that offer a variety of things you can take home as memorabilia. Some of the most popular among these are Sadar Bazaar, Subhash Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar, Raja-ki-Mandi, Sanjay Place, Fatehabad Road, Munro Road, Shilphaat, and the Taj Mahal Complex. A short distance from Agra, Firozabad is noted for its glass bangles that are sold in exquisite colours and patterns.
There are plenty of things one can buy in Ootacamund, in Tamil Nadu. While soaking in the sights, breathe in the aroma of tea wafting through the entire town. You can shop for varieties of tea and products like incense sticks, eucalyptus oil, scented candles, flower-produced perfumes and more. At the junction of NH 67 is Charring Cross where you can indulge in shopping for woollen clothes while interacting with the locals.