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Shopping in India: Top 10 Things to Buy...


Mariellen Ward

Mariellen writes about her travel adventures in India on her blog In the past four years of travel to India she estimates she has spent at least a year of that time shopping her way through this wondrous destination. We asked Mariellen to give us some hints about the unique things to buy for ourselves or to bring home as 'goodies' for those we love. Here are her tips...

India is a shopper’s paradise. You just can’t beat the combination India offers: an incredible variety of gorgeous items, most often hand-made, at temptingly low prices. I suggest that for higher cost items, such as pashmina shawls, you make sure you know what you are buying; and that the dealer is reputable.

Here’s my list of the top 10 things to buy in India.


TEXTILES -- India is famous for cotton and silk clothing, bed covers, table cloths and wall hangings. Many of these come adorned with hand beading and/or hand embroidery which will make you feel like an Indian princess.


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.

Do you have a favorite JourneyBabe at home? Pick up some tiny bangles in a myriad of colors to wear and to play with. Very inexpensive!

Click here for a video about the variety and some meanings of bangles in India.


PASHMINA SHAWLS -- Real pashmina is a type of cashmere wool that comes from pashminagoats in the Himalayas. It is very costly. So, if someone offers you a pashmina for the equivalent of $10, it’s probably a blend (at best). That doesn't mean that they aren't beautiful. Buy them and stores them in your gift drawer. Your pals will love them.


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.


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.


TEA -- The champagne of tea, Darjeeling, comes from the hills of North-east India; and Assam and Nilgiri teas are excellent types to look for, too.


ARTS AND CRAFTS -- Throughout India, traditional artisans make lovely rugs, furniture, pottery, clothing, textiles, jewelry – usually with unique regional variations. And all of it is for sale in Delhi, so you can buy all your gifts at the end of your trip. That said, if you come across something truly unique that you love and it isn't too heavy to carry, buy it. Or ship/mail it home if possible. The opportunity might not present itself again.


BOOKS -- India publishes a LOT of books in English, at very affordable prices (though quality is sometimes sacrificed). You be the judge. P.S. It's always fun to pick up cookbooks from a culture different from your own.


AYURVEDIC PRODUCTS -- such as skin care and herbal remedies. Several commercial brands, such as Biotique, Himalaya and Shahnaz Herbal, are readily available. P.S. It always makes sense to research anything you are going to ingest. Skin care products should be tested on a very small area to see if it agrees with your body.


MUSIC AND MOVIES -- Classical Indian and devotional music CDs, and Bollywood DVDs, are a great buy and make for a long-lasting souvenir.


Shopping in Mumbai...

If you're heading to India with Mumbai as your first stop Nafisa is your perfect contact. She runs a shop called Impressions in the New Oberoi Shopping Arcade. (Shop No.11) Nafisa is a special woman with lots of energy who will assist with everything from clothes to tours to the closest loo.

Last fall I was in India for the first time. Nafisa was recommended to me by the flight attendant as being a valuable acquaintance to have when beginning a tour of India. Her assistance was perfect for my needs and budget. Left to my own devices I would have spent the six weeks viewing her Pashmina Shawls and Scarves, but Nafisa pointed me in the right direction to head from Mumbai. She also made sure I had weather appropriate clothes. If going to Mumbai I say make Impressions your one stop for gifts. If it isn't in the shop Nafisa will get it for you.
(Submitted by Susan, Toronto, Canada)


South Delhi shopping recommendation...

It's worth the trek to south Delhi to go to GK (Greater Kailash) 1 N-Block Market. Though small, the market has great stores, like Fabindia and Anokhi, several cafes and a bookstore -- and a quiet ambience that takes the stress out of shopping.
(Submitted by Mariellen, Toronto, Canada).

More India Shopping Tips...


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