Skip to main content
our twitterour facebook page pintrest youtube
Shopping in India

India is a shopper's paradise! There is an astonishing variety of dazzling clothes, shoes, jewelry, handicrafts, spices, souvenirs and much more to buy in India. You can find all these items at different shopping places all across the country, ranging from traditional bazaars to high-end malls. For an authentic Indian experience, the traditional bazaars are the way to go. They have been a vital part of Indian culture, trade and social life. It's a melting pot of colorful outdoor stalls, giving a lively atmosphere, and offering an array of products, such as textiles, jewelry, antiques, handcrafted souvenirs, and spices but at a more affordable price. Department stores and boutiques sell a range of international products as well as Indian-made but of much higher quality and more expensive. If you want to get out of the soaring temperature, then these stores and boutiques will have air-conditioning so you can leisurely stroll and admire the products...

The Indian bazaars are the best sensory guides to the country's diversity. The smells, the colors, the sense of organized chaos with street vendors fighting for space with cars, trucks, carts, rickshaws, but in the midst of this there are throngs of treasures to be found. These bazaars are scattered all across India, with most of them found in regions like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Mumbai, and Delhi. A visit to the bazaars takes you on a journey. Craft centers of India present a unique heritage of Indian culture, ethnicities, and religions displayed in their handiwork, such as in their paintings and wood-art. Each state and regions, like Delhi, Gujarat, and Assam have its own rich tradition of handicrafts and artworks that narrate the legacy of India's colorful culture. They are unique, intricate, eye-catching, and expressive in their own way. Department stores in India sell a wide range of products and goods. Most of them sell a mix of Indian and international goods. These department stores stock a variety of products from clothes to kitchenware. Their products range greatly in the quality of their goods, from expensive international brands of cosmetics and clothes, to discount stores where everyone can find something affordable. From street shopping to designer wear, bazaars to department stores, boutiques can be found in many of the major cities. Boutiques give you extremely unique designs of ethnic, casual and formal, specifically designed and one-of-a-kind. There are suits to skirts, vibrant saris to modern designer dresses, that are favored above all else.

Delhi is the preferred place for shopaholics of India. The plush malls of the west and south Delhi to the vibrant Dilli Haat or street markets of Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, and Palika Bazaar, each place has its special charm. You can find all kinds of items here, ranging from accessories, clothes, and handicrafts, to electronics and automobiles. Chandni Chowk is one of the most legendary bazaars in Old Delhi. Today, this great wholesale bazaar's narrow streets are lined with a variety of shops, spilling their goods out onto the pavement. Each lane specializes in a commodity. If you are looking for silver items and jewelry, the Dariba Kalan region is the place. If you would like to purchase Indian spices, head to Khari Baoli. Khari Baoli is actually Asian's largest spice market and sells all kinds of spices, nuts, herbs, rice, and tea. 

Jaipur is a center of jewelers and specializes in cutting emeralds and diamonds from Africa, South America, and various regions of India. Generations of highly skilled jewelers have lived and worked here since the era of the Mughal court, making Jaipur the best place to shop for sophisticated Indian jewelry. Besides jewelry and ornaments, you can also find beautiful Rajasthani style clothes, textiles, and traditional shoes called jootis. Johari Bazaar is the city's main hub for precious stones, gems, and a variety of jeweled crafts like decorated boxes, turban ornaments, and handmade necklaces. This place is a shopping paradise, and most visitors leave with at least one piece of beautiful new jewelry or ornaments. There are also vegetable and fruit sellers sitting at one end of the street where travelers can see more of the local culture. Tripolia Bazaar is full of tiny workshops that make lac jewelry which is a popular type of Indian style jewelry that comes in many vibrant colors. Here, shops sell a wide range of lac jewelry and beautiful bangles. It's also a good place searching for textiles, especially Bandhani, a type of tie-dye fabric that is popularly worn as a sari. There are also other selections of handwoven textiles, designer carpets, and handicrafts.

What to buy in India

Popular souvenirs to bring home from India
Souvenir hunting is and will always be an integral part of traveling. India is home to thousands of hand-made products that serve as perfect souvenirs. Some of the souvenirs include textiles and stoneware. Here are some recommendations that you can bring home.

Textiles India excels at making textiles, including cotton, silk, wool, and linen, plus an incredible array of homegrown printing and embroidering techniques. Embroidered goods can take the form of clothing, thick scarfs, table linens, and decorative bedspreads. Every region in India has some special fabric or prints. The most popular fabrics to buy in India are hand-printed fabrics with ethnic motifs called khadi, ikat, jute, and silk fabrics. Pashmina shawls are one of the most preferred gift items from India. This unique product from Kashmir is made with fine, hand-spun fiber. It is rich in nature and fine in texture that it is also known as ‘soft gold'. Rajasthan's block printed cotton fabric is also very popular. Block print textiles come in many shapes and colors, ranging from scarves to bedspreads to tablecloths. Some block print textiles have geometric prints that cover the entire fabric, while others have an ornate border and plain interiors.

 Shoes From inexpensive leather juttis (traditional embroidered slippers) to crystal-beaded, high-heeled evening sandals, shoes in India are fun and frivolous … and very tempting.

Jewelry Indian women love jewelry, and the bigger and more ornate the better. There is an astounding variety of real and costume jewelry — to go with your princess look.

Paintings The colorful country of India has a legacy in paintings and other canvas related artwork. There are varieties of authentic Indian art forms and regional painting styles like Madhubani paintings, Tanjore paintings, and Warli paintings that you can take back as souvenirs. Originating in the Mithila region of India, the Madhubani paintings are known for their distinct geometrical patterns. The designs and patterns on these paintings are mostly inspired by Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Scenes from the royal courts and social events like weddings are also depicted in the paintings. There are also miniature paintings which are handmade depicting scenes from the Mughal era or of Indian royalty. The miniature paintings are inspired by the rock paintings from the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters and the Ajanta Caves. They are done on canvas or on paper. A great gift that can easily be packed into your suitcase!

Stoneware Pottery is considered to be the most sensual form of all arts. North India is also known for pottery designs with various colors, ranging from orange, brown and light red in Uttar Pradesh to black and dark red in Himachal Pradesh. In Rajasthan, Bikaner is famous for its painted pottery, Pokhran for its pottery with geometrical patterns and Alwar for its Kagzi pottery. The blue pottery of Jaipur is probably the most famous. Its roots trace back to the Mongol and Chinese techniques of glazing tiles. The blue color comes from the Indigo dye that is used to make the pottery. You can buy pieces of surahis, pots and cylindrical jars, decorative items like ash-trays, tiles, flower pots, lampstands, beads, earrings, soap dishes, jugs, mugs, and doorknobs.

Tea and herbal beauty products India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world. Assam, Darjeeling, Munnar, Ooty, and Coonoor are the main tea producing regions in India. If you are traveling to any of these places then buy the tea from a factory outlet in these cities. The most popular tea varieties in India are Assam Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Terai Tea, Kangra Tea, Nilgiri Tea and Annamalai Tea from Tamil Nadu, Wayanad, Travancore, Munnar Tea, and Karnataka Tea.

Ayurvedic products are also popular souvenirs. These products are chemical-free and are made from natural herbs. Ayurvedic skin products such as cleansers, moisturizers, skin softening creams, massage oils, and hair revitalizing products are very popular these days.  

Scented products India is, of course, the land of incense. And attar, a type of natural perfume extracted from flowers, herbs, spices, or barks, has been in use in India since ancient times.

Arts and crafts Throughout India, traditional artisans make lovely rugs, furniture, pottery, clothing, textiles, boxes, home decor items — usually with unique regional variations which you will discover as you travel around the country.

Books India publishes a LOT of books in English, at very affordable prices, and browsing the classic bookshops of Connaught Place in Delhi, or the bookstalls of Mumbai and Kolkata, is a favourite “time pass.” But if you can’t get to India, and want to read about India, check out my list of 10 books about India that are better than Shantaram for recommendations and links to Amazon if you want to buy any of them. The book you should start with is the classic Freedom at Midnight, all about the struggle for independence, Gandhi, partition and the birth of a nation.

Music and movies Classical Indian and devotional music CDs, and Bollywood DVDs, are a great buy and make for a long-lasting souvenir. Bollywood is of course the world’s biggest movie-maker and many of the films they make in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) are of top-notch quality and appealing to viewers around the globe. I highly recommend the mega-hit Jodhaa Akbar, for example (below, which you can buy on Amazon). For more info, read Bollywood Primer: Top 4 things you need to know.

Larger stores and malls will accept major international credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa, but it is advisable for you to carry some cash with you at all times. You can haul up manufacturers and service providers who fail to give you a receipt for payments made towards the purchase of goods and services as according to the Consumer Protection Act. Failure to issue a cash receipt constitutes an unfair trade practice. Receipts are also important for returning or exchanging damaged goods. If you see something you like at a market, don't immediately buy it from the first stall you come across. Instead, walk around the market first. There will be other vendors selling the same thing and they may even have a better variety for a cheaper price. The first thing to remember when you encounter touts is to keep your cool. Treat them with civility and humor if you can muster it. What works nicely is if you avoid eye contact as much as possible, join your palms in a polite Namaste, and keep shaking your head as you edge your way out.