India is a “Shopper’s Paradise”, it is easy to shop till you drop or till the only things putting the brakes on your shopping escapes is - what and how much you can take back home with your given baggage allowances, in addition to the quarantine/airport customs rules applicable back in your country.
Indian Fashionwear – A plethora of colourful, beautifully embroidered, hand-made and woven, fashion wear are available at the various cities that you visit. The traditional Sari or Salwar Kameez for a women and the fashion clothing for men include Kurtas, dhotis and Sherwanis. Vendors like a bit of friendly haggling so do not pay the very first price listed, negotiate down before buying.
Costume Jewellery – India is known for its imitation or costume jewellery handcrafted by artistic craftsmen and made using metals such as copper, zinc and brass, some of which are gold plated. Jewellery consists of intricate necklaces, bracelets, bangles, pendants, finger rings, earrings, hair adornments, anklets, and elaborate bridal jewellery that is exported to all parts of the world. These are set with semi-precious stones; cubic zirconia is popular and may be given an enameled finish.
Gold Jewellery - When shopping for gold, make sure that the jewellery item has been hallmarked (five little markings) to guarantee its purity. Gold price is the same around the world it is the labour costs that differ. India has a low labour cost which makes the gold jewellery comparatively cheaper internationally.
Pashmina Shawls – Indian Pashmina is on the shopping list of every tourist visiting North India. It is made from Pashmina wool – the soft hair located at the root of the longer hair of the Changra goat. It is very light and hence is mixed with a little silk to give body to the fabric. Make sure you are purchasing the real deal as there are a lot of vendors selling imitation Pashmina shawls. Pure Pashmina is recognized by its almost weightlessness, softness and warmth.
Textiles – India is famous for its cotton and silk fabrics not only used in clothing but also handmade into elaborately beaded or embroidered bed linen, cushion covers and hand painted wall hangings.
Arts and Crafts – India’s unique and timeless art and craft culture stems from one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Ethnic and cultural diversity has brought forth a variety of intricate motifs, floral patterned hand carvings, hand paintings, woven carpets and beautiful wall hangings. These artistic techniques and craftsmanship acquired and practiced over the centuries; unfold different eras and stories of Indian history.
You can shop to your heart’s content at local markets, village bazaars and also large shopping malls that have come up in various metropolitan cities and townships.
A few good shopping places and souvenir ideas are listed below and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Tamil Nadu – (Chennai) fine South Indian silk, embroidered silk sarees, hand-woven garments and handicrafts items, (Kanchipuram) silks textiles and rich silk embroidered sarees, (Tirunellveli) Pattamara mats and the leaf and palmyra- fiber handicrafts from, (Kumbakonam) bronze and brass castings and traditional jewelry from, (Tanjore) metal works, (Coimbatore) beautiful silk sarees and a range of handicraft items and (Mahabalipuram) stone carved sculptures of Hindu Gods, exquisite woodcarvings and jewelry.
Kerala - Handicraft products made from coconut shells, wood, clay and cane, jewellery boxes, ornate metal mirrors, mural paintings and handloom products like Kasavu sari (sari with golden brocade).
Karnataka – (Mysore) sandalwood handicrafts, sandalwood products like oil, incense and cosmetics and Khadi cotton ad Mysore silk fabric and sarees.
Delhi - Jewelry, carpets, handicrafts, precious stones, silks, silver ware and fashionwear.
Rajasthan – semi precious jewellery, stone and marble work, (Udaipur) Colourful embroidered textiles, as well as miniature paintings, papier mache puppets, embroidered leather shoes a textiles and antique jewellery. (Jaipur) - Precious and semi-precious gemstones, minakari work, gorgeous blue-glazed pottery and ornate wooden furniture and handicrafts.
Agra - Marble wares inspired by the Taj Mahal, some of them exquisitely detailed and inlaid with semi-precious stones
Uttar Pradesh - (Varanasi) silk textiles and beautifully embroidered woven saris and brass and copper mythological images and wooden handicrafts.
Madhya Pradesh - Unique handcrafted wooden figures of gods and goddesses (deities), decorative ornate furniture with bone inlay work and miniature paintings and painted and lacquered toys made from a variety of wood.
NOTE: Before you shop make yourself aware of the customs and quarantine regulations in your country to ensure that you can take back your treasure trove of shopping without any hassle, penalties or fines