India’s shopping scene is incredibly fascinating – with an astonishing variety of dazzling clothes, shoes, jewellery, jute bags, spices, sour candies, handicrafts, metal items and a plethora of other souvenirs. The country produces these goods in both traditional and modern designs, and sometimes a fusion of both, like contemporary designer things inspired by traditional styles.
- Clothes: Delightful Indian clothes like Sarees, Lehengas, Churidars and Ethnic skirts for women and Kurta-Pyjamas and Sherwani (festive) for men give a classic feel that is unique to Indian clothing. These are some must-try attires that you will fall in love with.
India also offers an impressive collection of western outfits and well as contemporary fusion outfits in styles ranging from pastel, boho chic to casual and festive! Apart from these, there are various other kinds of clothes to shop for in India like - Pashmina shawls made of quality cashmere wool, Pure Silk Sarees, and hand-woven carpets.
- Shoes, bags and fancy accessories: You can find a wide variety of shoes, bags and accessories like belts, ribbons, hoodies, headbands and so on in the bazaars and online shops in the country. Jute bags and hand painted cloth bags and accessories are local to each place and make for great souvenirs that double up as utility. Footwear ranging from flats to heels, and shoes for men too, including traditional Indian styles and western inspired styles can be found, and these can be mixed and matched with the clothes of either kind, to create interesting fusion looks.
There are so many options of these in India in every place – and something to attract all kinds of tastes, so it is impossible to return without buying some accessory if you visit an Indian market.
- Jewellery: Gold and silver jewellery is very popular in India – especially the 24k gold ornaments – bangles, necklaces, chains, pendants, anklets, rings, earrings, and much more. These can be found in both contemporary and modern designs – plain or embedded with gemstones like rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds etc – in unique designs that cannot be found anywhere lese in the world! People with a love for jewellery cannot resist buying from the collections in the country!
- Spices (and other food items): Indian cooking is known for its immense use of spices – like cinnamon, cloves, dry ginger, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), pepper, coriander, cardamom, bay leaf, cumin, etc- making it flavourful and hot at times. These spices are freshly harvested and hand-pound, and mostly sold in markets without being processed or refined, which retains their flavour up to 100%! These are a must-try, and can be added to any dish to enhance flavour. Some of these spices are not too intense and can also be tried by people who aren’t used to the flavours or punch.
Other food items popular in Indian markets are Indian pickles (these are very spicy, salty and full of oil – and are eaten with a wide range of dishes in the country), Sour hard candy and Murabba (preserves), Indian Sweets (esp. dry ones like Soan Papdi, which can be carried easily) and tea – India has many varieties of tea but Darjeeling tea is the most popular and a must-try.
- Handicrafts: India has many varieties of handicraft techniques, and products made with these can be bought in different regions of the country – like Pashmina Shawls from Kashmir, Bamboo handicraft items (Assam, West Bengal), Brass items (Rajasthan), Marble (Agra), Phulkari embroidery art work and items (Punjab and North India), Madhubani items (Bihar), Gond Paintings (Madhya Pradesh), Warlis art (Gujarat), Terracotta work (found in many places – especially Assam and south India). Many of these art items can be used to embellish homes and even used in the kitchen, or other parts of the home to store things.
- Metal: Brass, silver, steel, copper and Bronze items including vessels, home décor pieces, etc are found in many metal and décor stores across the country. Silver dinnerware and tea sets in metal are very popular here, and will add an ethnic look to homes. Steel kitchenware and cutlery in different kinds of metal are available. People can choose from a wide range of metal pieces available in Indian markets to adorn their homes with.
- Health-Related: India is the land that discovered herbal medicine (Ayurveda) techniques and Yoga - a traditional and popular set of postures and techniques targeting physical, mental, and spiritual health and disciplines. Many Ayurvedic products can be found in the country (in products from organic foods to makeup – which are infused with Ayurvedic components, which make them super-healthy) and also Yoga related books, DVDs and professionals who can offer customized advice and information on different kinds of Yoga and techniques within them for people interested.
Bargaining is an essential part of physical shopping in India, so shopping in markets or even larger shops often involves (learning and using) the fine art of bargaining (negotiating prices – also known as “haggling”). Most prices in street shops as well as complexes are negotiable and vendors here are used to it. While some may agree to slash prices, some vendors may not. So, there is a luck factor involved! Sometimes bargaining is more fruitful when people buy multiple things from one vendor – in such cases the vendors themselves might offer a discount.
Shopping in India can be done in the famous Bazaars (street markets), or malls and larger stores or online on Indian shopping apps such as:
- Myntra – Clothes and Accessories (Bags, Shoes, etc)
- Amazon.in – Everything from clothes to décor and even food items
- Ajio – Clothes & Accessories
- Nykaa – Makeup, Skincare & Haircare
- Crafts & Décor – Chumbak, India Circus, Home Centre, Okhai, The India Crafthouse
While these are some of the primary apps and websites, there are many more that you can discover, which deliver unique goods to certain cities or areas.
There is a bounty of souvenirs as well as utility and food items that people can shop for and take home from this country which is the world’s most colourful shopping paradise. Shopping in India can be an exciting experience but it is also important to be informed about the dos and don’ts, where to indulge and where not to and what kinds of purchases are the best; by talking to people or reading up a bit more about these, which can help make the shopping experience less disappointing and more enjoyable.