Things to Shop in India
India is a land of religion, history, culture and tradition, foods, adventures, art and music and definitely a shopper’s paradise. You cannot resist from the overwhelming cheap markets with full liability of bargaining till you reach your price of choice.
Every state of India has unique items to flaunt and attract tourists around the world. Make sure you have enough space in your bags to stuff articles from India whenever you visit.Below are some of the things that you should include in your “Must buy in India” list:
With its ocean of cultural heritage, India provides a variety of traditional costumes. Apart from sarees, there are Salwar kameej, Ghagra choli and Lenhga which are mostly worn by Indian women and Dhoti Kurta and Sherwani worn by Indian men.
Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
This is the most famous bridal wear saree from South India
. The name is taken from the place of origin – Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu state, India. This sarees are known for the vibrant colours and excellent temple pattern borders.
Dhakai Jamdani is one of the most exquisite cotton sarees in India which though originated in Dhaka, Bangladesh is now available in Kolkata and almost all Bengalis own it!
Paithani is famous in Maharashtra. Real gold thread was used for this saree embroidery during the earlier Maratha King dynasties.
In Odisha, a small place called Sambalpur is famous for these sarees, made both from cotton and silk.
These are the famous white sarees with golden and sometimes red border, famous in God’s own country Kerala.
Assam produces the best silk in India. These are the delicate Moga silk sarees with traditional style embroidery.
This is the traditional bridal saree from Varanasi worn by almost every Indian bride. Bright colours with mostly golden border, banarasi sarees are always a grand costume.
These sarees have earthy colours and metrical block prints. Pochampally sarees are famous in Andhra Pradesh in India.
and Uttar Pradesh, these gorgeous sarees have gota (lace) in the border.
This is a tissue silk saree popular in Madhya Pradesh.
Another tiny village Bomkai, in Odisha, is famous for this hand-woven saree.
Crisp cotton tant sarees are famous in Bengal and gives an elegant look.
These sarees are made from cotton and famous in Rajasthan. They have both simple looks as well as bridal vividness.
Ghagra choli or lenhga
Famous in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, these dresses are gorgeous with all border works and golden bead embroidery. In most North Indian marriages, the brides prefer to wear lehenga. You can also get the coloured stones embroidered lenhga.
The traditional dress of Indian men includes sherwani or kurtas. Famous in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, sherwanis are made up of silk and they give a royal look.
How can you miss out the Jodhpuri juties or the Kolhapuri chappals! Kolhapuri chappals are famous for their light weight. Jodhpuri juties are mostly colourful and have a royal look. You can also have a pair of wooden sandals known as Kharams found in Haridwar and Banaras.
Leather industry occupies an important place in the Indian economy. India is the largest livestock holding country and a source of 10% of world leather requirement. Some of the important leather products include – leather footwear, footwear components (shoe uppers and soles), leather garments, leather goods (including harness and saddlery and leather gloves) and finished leather. You can buy very good quality leather jackets, gloves, shoes and belts and bags or fancy purses from here. Rajasthan is famous for its camel leather products such as shoes, bags and purses.
The road side markets in Delhi and Rajasthan mesmerizes you to have some collection of junk jewellery as well. You will get metallic ornaments like brass necklaces, bangles and anklets. These have an antique look and will definitely give you a flavour of traditional India. You will also get antique coins on the road side shops of Haridwar, Kashi, Uttar Pradesh and near the India Gate in Delhi.
Precious Gold and Gems
India is rich in gemstones and gold is always the first favourite here. India has been recognised since ages, as one of the most important gem stone bearing areas of the world and has been producing a variety of precious and semi-precious stones such as diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, chrysoberyl and many others.
Rajasthan is a good place to buy gemstones. You can get both rough and polished gemstones there. The mina work along with the precious gem stones are worth to have in your collection. Emerald, Ruby, Aquamarine, Corundum, Garnet and Amethyst are very famous in Jodhpur and Jaipur.
You can also take back silver articles like silver plates, tumblers and idols of Indian Gods and Goddess. For best silver articles and silver jewellery you can visit Cuttack where you will get good quality silver products.
India also has the best 24 carat jewellery. You can visit Kerala for relatively cheaper gold shopping. In Kerala, they custom make gold ornaments which may look very heavy but are not. You can take some traditional gold ornament collection or simple designs for rings, necklaces and other items.
Handicrafts & Artefacts
Bamboo handicrafts from the North Eastern parts of India are always being exported. Beautiful rugs, furniture, pottery, clothing, textiles and home decor articles carry the essence from each part of India. Some popular ones are – terracotta statuettes of West Bengal, amazing sandalwood carvings of Mysore in Karnataka, carved metal craft wares of Madhya Pradesh and blue gazed pottery of Jaipur. You can get even jewellery made by hand with bamboo and wood. Don’t forget to carry a Madhubani Painting. You can get bamboo handicrafts in Tripura
and Assam. Madhubani painting is famous in Bihar and West Bengal. Common places to buy handicrafts are Dilli Haat in Delhi, Kala Madhyam in Bangalore, Anokhi in Jaipur and Khazana at the Taj Hotels.
If your baggage allowance permits, then you must buy the beautifully designed handmade original rugs made of pure wool or silk. You will be amazed at the throw away prices of marble articles in Rajasthan, the handmade embroidery bed sheets of Punjab and the mesmerizing silk paintings of Odisa.
Made of original Cashmere wool, the Pashmina shawls are engrossed with embroideries, which will add a royal touch to your wardrobe. These shawls are famous in Kashmir in India. You will get hand embroidered pashmina shawls too.
The taste of Assam tea and the essence of Darjeeling tea are not to be missed especially if you are a tea lover. You can get the original dried leaves of these teas also. You can visit West Bengal for Darjeeling tea and Assam for special Assam tea leaves. You can try out the masala tea, ginger tea, tulsi tea, cardamom tea and herbal tea from Munnar in Kerala.
Remind yourself that you carry at least a piece of sandalwood from India. You can collect sandal wood oil, rose oil, lavender oil, Clove oil and herbs along with handicrafts made of sandal wood.
You can also take some perfumed incense sticks, Dhup battis and scented candles. You can also get perfume prepared with the deer naval portion. This is known as Ittar and mostly used by Muslims. You will get ittar anywhere in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Kolkata.
Spices of India
Carry home a variety of spices from the Southern Region of India. Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, thymes, and many other types of spices are available with a cheap rate in Karnataka,
Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Saffron is obtained from the tree bark and is a very auspicious take away from the Northern parts of India. You can also get spices from Ooty, Munnar and Coorg at cheap rates.
From the ancient history, India is rich in Ayurvedic resources. You can take herbal soaps, shampoos, body lotions, Ayurvedic medicines, Chawanprash, and many other items for your daily usage and better health. Heena is a natural hair dye, and you can make temporary tattoos also using heena. You get herbal medicines for many complicated diseases also. Ayurvedic products are very common in Kerala. You can have a list of products and medicines from there at a reasonable price and high quality.
Indian Sweets and Savouries
Taste the delicacies of each state of India and if you have a sweet tooth you will definitely carry some varieties while leaving India. You can pack some dry sweets like Soan Papdi or Besan Laddoo. You can also carry some snacks like Gathiya, Lahsuni Sev and Bhujiya. Some of the famous delicacies includes Rajasthan’s soan papdi and ghevar in sweets and gathiya and bhujiya in snacks; Bengal’s sandesh and rosogolla; Uttar Pradesh’s jalebies; Delhi’s soan halwa; Punjab’s panjiri; Mathura’s peda and Tirupati's laddoo.
If interested in something tangy, you must take mango or lemon pickles. You can also try fish, beef and yak meat pickles. Manipur is good for beef pickles; Tripura and North Karnataka are famous for pork pickles; Andhra Pradesh for spicy mango pickles, Bengal for sweet mango pickle and Assam for fish pickles.
Visiting India in summers and not taking Alphonso mangoes! There are varieties of mangoes in India – Malda, in West Bengal is known as the city of mangoes, and produces the sweetest variety Himsagar and Langra mangoes; Uttar Pradesh is also famous for Safeda, Mallika, and Raspuri and Karnataka is famous for Badami and Baganapalli.