India is quite simply a plethora of spoils, not restricted to sights, sounds, people and cultural enigmas – the shopping is great too! Pack light when you leave for India once you have your Indian visa so that you have the capacity on your return journey to include all the wonders you have purchased during your time in India.
It is really easy to shop in India with all the bazaars, street stalls, markets, emporiums, tourist attractions, and even shopping malls. You soon learn not to rush buy, since it becomes evident very early on that a similar if a not better opportunity is likely to present. Haggling is expected and appreciated. A good rule of thumb is to offer half and pay up to two-thirds of the asking price, especially in street markets.
Where to begin, though? Let’s start with India’s very unique accessories and jewelry, and we’ll begin with the toes and work our way up. You will find entire shops that cater only for embellishments: hair accessories, shoes, bangles, and assorted rings for toes, the nose, ears, assorted places on the person and of course the fingers.
- Toe rings, or bichiya, like most Indian jewelry, is not just a pretty addition; they do have significance in matters of health and status. These small silver rings are typical to be found on the longest toe, although preference and choice can have them on any toe really. Married women wear toe rings in part to regulate the menstrual cycle and assist in falling pregnant. This is because of the slight pressure on the second toe guarantees a healthy uterus. Single Hindu girls wear bichiya on the third toe which eases menstrual discomfort.
- Toe rings are not just for the ladies, though and Indian men don the hoop type of toe band on their big toes for medicinal purposes and to symbolize masculine power.
- Moving up, the anklet or Payal are silver metallic strings worn by married and single women, as a sign of bravery. The tiny tinkling bells jingle with movement and serve to signify a woman’s approach. Payal may also be decorated with beads, charms, meenakari (colored metal) or pearls. Healthwise, the silver boosts the immune system and radiates energy back to the body, bringing increased positivity and zeal.
- Waist chains are just so appealing when you see them worn in India, but they are more than just aesthetic. Going back 4000 years, Indians have donned them as ornaments, for religious ceremonies, and to display prosperity.
- Glass bangles are big in India, and you will find entire shops selling only glass bangles in every conceivable color and size. Healthwise the friction created by the movement of the arm jewelry improve circulation have Sattvikta, Devi principle, and Chaitanya in them. Due to these, Chaitanya-dominant waves in the environment are attracted to the glass bangles. In addition, the sound generated by the glass bangles keeps negative energies at bay.
- The Manglasutra or thaaly or maangalyam is more than just a necklace for married Indian women, although it very definitely is a sacred thread knotted around the bride’s neck. It symbolizes love and successful marriage.
- Earrings are incorporated into the Indian lifestyle very early in life and are very significant in Indian cultures. Karnavedha or ear piercing is typically conducted on Indian children between three to five years of age, although some cultures do so as soon as days or months after birth. Chandelier earrings show confidence, and different stones and charms have varying meanings and significance.
- The nose ring or nath forms the most seductive jewelry worn by a married woman. On the wellbeing side, Ayurveda links it to the health of the female reproductive organs, and pregnant women wearing a nose ring are believed to suffer less pain during childbirth.
- Hair accessories and adornments are many and diverse, and you should make sure to take as many home with you as you can manage because this is an opportunity that does not often knock.
- Shoes and handbags range from leather to brightly colored, and they are well made and usually of high quality. The traditional juttis or embroidered slippers are easy to wear anywhere as are the crystal-beaded sandals, but they tend not to cater for bigger western shoe sizes. Bags are just to die for, in all shapes and sizes and oh so colorful.
Of course, fabrics and clothes are a must have when shopping in India. There are few places in the world where the quality and workmanship of the beading and embroidery, and level of comfort of the clothing can be equaled. Apart from sarees, pashminas, and blended shawls, you will find more than enough to satisfy the gypsy in you with boho offerings in abundance.
As mentioned, shopping malls and emporiums are all over India, visitors must, however, experience the street stalls, street shopping and markets in India. The vibe and the atmosphere of these wonders are beyond description and must quite simply be experienced firsthand. It is not possible to mention every worthwhile one in India, and these are therefore just a taste of what the country has to offer by way of street markets and street shopping.
- Hong Kong Lane, Pune is the place to shop bags, books, jewelry, fashion, and mobile phone accessories.
- Fashion Street, Pune is for the clothing shopaholic, where you are sure to find whatever it is you are looking for at a price you could only wish for.
- Serenity beach bazaar brings authentic beach culture in Pondicherry. The open-air market allows shopping under the shade of the palms, renowned for boutiques, handicrafts, accessories, souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, and delicious seafood.
- Bajirao Road, Pune is for the home enthusiast, and all manner of home furnishing and décor can be bought here.
- Old Market/Juna bazar/Chor Bazar is the perfect place to pick up that prized or whimsical antique.
- Sarojini market, Delhi is a bargain hunter’s paradise with export surplus material sold cheap. This is the best flea market around and chockablock with clothes, bags, and shoes.
- Fergusson College Road/F.C. Road, Pune has narrow crowded lanes of offerings for one and all at affordable prices. This is the place to buy shoes and fashionable clothes when you don’t have money to waste.
- Baapu Bazaar, Jaipur is of the best street shopping experiences, selling the best of Rajasthani’s culture and handicrafts from authentic Jaipuri jutti to jewelry to suits made to fit.
Chikki Stalls are an experience, especially in Lonavala which has arguably the best chikki in India. Chikki is easily described as an Indian version of peanut brittle, but it is really so much more than that. This super-sweet candy contains nuts encased in caramel brittle but comes in many unexpected variations. The chikki stalls themselves are a pleasure to behold, just perched on the side of the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
Indian sweet shops are like nowhere else on earth. It’s not just the fare that is impressive but the spin with which it is sold. You just have to experience it for yourself. Gulab Jamun, Gajar Ka Halwa, Daal Bati Choorma, Mawa Kachori, Ghewar, Ras Malai, Ghewar, syrupy Baked Rasgulla, flavored Sandesh, Pethas, and delightful marzipan creations are among many others to be selected and artfully packaged for your enjoyment. The artisans serving the delights are proud to explain their fare to anyone who seems interested, and it is well worth the language barrier to hear all they have to say even if you don’t understand much of it.
Great finds can also be made in the small side street shops, especially among their stainless-steel items.
Once you apply e tourist visa using Indian Visa online the shopping is up to you once you’re there.