Shopping in India is not always as bland as a visit to the neighbourhood shopping mall and swiping your debit card. With a host of eccentric and iconic bazaars where you can buy just about anything you might be looking for, almost all these destinations are a thrill to shop at. Colourful, crowded and teeming with possibilities depending on your bargaining powers, visit the following spots to satisfy your inner shopaholic:
1. New Market, Kolkata
You may have to stop for a breath amongst the crowded labyrinth of stalls that is Kolkata’s famous New Market. Popular for its cheap and affordable prices, with over 2500 stores this is the only organised street market in India. Buy cotton saris, Bankura clay horses, brassware, leather bags, silk from Murshidabad, khadi, wigs, poultry, cheeses, nuts, and a lot more. And if you are lost in the maze of shops here, don’t fret. Just hire help in form of a guide and find what you are looking for.
Timings: Weekdays 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday – 10 am to 2 pm (Closed Sundays)
2. Flea market in Arpora, Goa
A trip to Goa couldn’t be complete till you visit a flea market and buy a sun-dress and chunky jewellery. Whether you’re looking for an original designer dress or silver body piercings you’ll find everything in this famous Saturday market. With an eclectic selection of clothes, shoes, bags, handicrafts, jewellery, leather accessories, home décor and festoons, topped with live music and mind-boggling variety of food, you are sure to get into the Goan spirit here.
Timings: Saturdays, 6 pm to midnight
3. Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad
If you are worried about an incoming Bridezilla situation, a visit to this vibrant market could be the answer you are looking for. Branching out from Charminar it has everything shimmery tucked away in its narrow lanes. Famous for traditional hyderabadi glass and stone studded bangles, it also sells fabulous bridal wear, khara dupattas, sarees, pearls, nirmal, kalamkari, handwoven materials of silk, brocade, velvet and gold embroidered fabrics. A day spent here and you are set for your wedding.
Timings: 8 am to 10 pm
4. Book market in Daryaganj, Delhi
Sure you can just order them online now but a visit to this Sunday market is nonetheless a must if you are a bibliophile. This market has over 200 vendors and offers a stupendous plethora of books, magazines, newspapers and journals starting from just Rs 10. Get lost amongst the printed words and find a rare collection of novels, old classics, academic books, graphic novels and even books of authors you did not know existed.
Timings: 6 am to 9 pm (Open only on Sunday)
5. Antiques market in Jew Town, Cochin
Indulge in some old fashioned fashion spree to give your house a classic British era feel. In the Portuguese-style houses in Cochin’s Jew Town, find bronze vessels, hand-carved wooden coffee tables, wooden boxes from China, glass paintings and a host of other trinkets. A number of vendors here specialise in antiques from the British era with many of the glass and porcelain goods sold actually from the homes of British India’s nobility.
Timings: 5 am to 9 pm
6. Mahidharpura Diamond market, Surat
Forget going to an elegant jewellery store and flashing your credit card. Instead get an authentic experience of purchasing diamonds on the back lanes of Mahidharpura market as though you were doing the groceries. Called the Antwerp of the East, stones worth millions of rupees change hands everyday right on streets. Tip: Please bring loads of cash.
7. Johari Bazaar, Jaipur
A true jewellery lover would not want to leave this market till the last shutter drops. Jaipur’s famous bazaar has its narrow lanes lined with shops selling everything bling. Shop here for gold, diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones, Kundan and thewa jewellery, silver ornaments and even customised costume jewellery if you are low on budget.
Timings: 11 am to 7 pm (closed on Sunday)
8. Colaba Causeway, Mumbai
Arguably the most popular markets in the city, roam for miles on the footpaths of this South Mumbai bazaar and get enamoured by the colourful kurtas, kaftans, Kolhapuri chappals, jewellery and antique pieces like hookahs and gramophones. You will also find an unusual collection of purses made of jute, cane and even wood here. Simply browsing through the market is a pleasurable experience which can be followed by a relaxing drink at Leopold cafe.
Timings: 9 am to 10 pm
9. Nehru Place, Delhi
If it is wired, you will find it here at a price you are willing to spend. Called the largest IT market in South East Asia, Nehru Place is filled with shops selling branded computers and equipments, computer parts and electronic gadgets. Of course everything is not all clean and clear here, and you will also find enough shops selling their own gadgets, pirated softwares and use and throw electronic items at throwaway prices.
Timings: 10 am to 7 pm
10. Amar Colony Furniture Market, Delhi
Lovers of antique furniture should make a visit to this hotchpotch market which stocks an amazing variety at literally throw away prices. Find anything from period mirrors, wooden laundry racks to antique study tables and four poster beds. And don’t be disappointed if you don’t find what you are looking. Apart from the pieces displayed, the shopkeepers can make any piece on order or replicate a period piece.
Timings: 11 am to 7 pm
11. Kirti Nagar, Delhi
If you can’t find what you are looking for here, it is likely that it doesn’t exist. With over 800 timber stores to choose from, here you would find almost any design concept you might be looking for. You will find everything wooden here, from simple sofa sets and dining tables, sleek modular kitchens and wardrobes to interior decorations and designer fittings.
Timings: 11 am to 7 pm (Closed Mondays)
This is just the tip of the iceberg that is India’s retail market. With so many cities, all teeming with market places there is no end to streets and complexes you can indulge in some good old shopping spree. Share your experiences and tell the world about your secret shopping destinations here. We are waiting.