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    From sarees to silk this India shopping guide covers it all

    Photo credit: Peter Rivera - flickr


    Shopping in India is a delightful experience. Leave aside the swanky malls of the big cities; the crowded markets in the forgotten streets of India are the best places to pick up curious and interesting knick knacks. What makes shopping here so fascinating is the fact that each region in the country has its own traditional craft which has been in practice for hundreds of years. From exquisitely carved stone work to magic woven in silk, you can find amazing products in the local markets in India. You may have to haggle like an old woman when it comes to the prices, but each piece of work is totally worth it!

    From the beautiful and fragrant sandalwood carvings of Karnataka to the mesmerising filigree work of Odisha, each product is the end result of excellent craftsmanship and fine detailing. Each region has its own marketplace where you can find these intriguing creations. So if the crowds of Indian markets have scared you, let this India shopping guide give you the information to take the crowds head on and help you in discovering the secret bounty of each region.

    Check out the most interesting places to shop in India:

    Rajasthan

    Pots pots pots

    Photo Credit : Mckay Savage - flickr

    The colourful state of Rajasthan is the first choice for travellers who want to shop for traditional handicraft items. From pottery to metalworks and jewellery to gemstones, Rajasthan has it all. Rajasthan has preserved its culture and tradition and showcased it before the world through its handicrafts and handlooms.

    [Discover the luxury and royalty of Rajasthan with our Royal Rajasthan Tour]

    Glass bangles

    Some of the main cities where shopping can be an exhilarating experience include Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, Kota, Shekhawati and Barmer. Each region or city in Rajasthan specialises in a certain product or offering that is unique.

    Jaipur

    Lac bangles

    Photo credit: Jennifer - flickr

    The Pink City of Jaipur is best known for its gem stones. From rubies to emeralds, the gemstones of Jaipur are exported all around the country and the world because of their high quality and clarity. Lac bangles are another important handicraft offering of Jaipur. The women of Rajasthan believe that wearing lac bangles is auspicious and hence these bangles can be found in a lot of colours.

    The most popular handicraft item of Jaipur is Minakari work. Minakari is the art of encrusting gem stones in gold. Minakari jewellery with gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and lapis lazuli are available in a number of designs in Jaipur. Jaipur is also an excellent place to shop for carpets. The carpets of Jaipur are recognised both within India and in foreign countries.

    Bikaner

    Bikaneri bhujiya

    Photo credit: Nagarjun Kandukuru - flickr

    Everybody knows about the Bikaneri bhujiya. Bikaneri bhujiya is a popular snack item and is relished by people all over the country. Bikaner is also famous for its camel skin and sheep wool products. You can also shop for beautiful carpets and woollen items in Bikaner.

    [Get to know Bikaner better with the tours and experiences that we offer!]

    Ajmer

    Shopping in India promises to cater to all. For instance, the leather work of Ajmer is known for its exquisite beauty and fine craftsmanship.

    Women shopping

    Photo credit: A Vahanvati - flickr

    The cities of Ajmer and Pushkar are the best places for shopping for items made of leather. The leather items are made through collaborative efforts of men and women of the community. While men cut, tan and stitch the leather, the women embellish it with beautiful embroidery.

    Jaisalmer

    Rag dolls in Rajasthan

    Photo credit: Nevil Zaveri - flickr

    The desert city of Jaisalmer is mostly known for its sandy desert safari and camels. However, there’s more to Jaisalmer than just sand dunes. The city of Jaisalmer offers exquisite mirror work articles, embroidered products, wooden artefacts, silver jewellery and other interesting items.

    [Explore the grandeur of the desert safaris in Northern India]

    Jodhpur

    Photo credit: Harsha KR - flickr

    The juttis of Jodhpur are famous all around the world. However you can also find good quality leather shoes, water bags, pouches and musical instruments in Jodhpur.

    [Explore and experience Jodphur from the selection of tours that we have]

    Kota

    Silk being weaved

    Photo credit: Simply CVR - flickr

    If you love collecting traditional sarees, Kota is the place to visit. Kota has several small stores throughout the city that sell doria sarees.

    They are popularly known by the name Kota Doria are characterised by square patterns known as khats which are woven into the body of the saree.

    Udaipur

    Elephant figurines

    Photo credit: snikrap - flickr

    The beautiful city of Udaipur is the best place to shop for tie and dye sarees, locally made toys, colourful turbans and hand painted fabrics.

    Karnataka

    Sari shop

    Photo credit: Girish Gopi - flickr

    The temples of Karnataka stand testimony to the importance of arts and crafts in the lives of the people there. Even today, the traditional techniques are used to prepare the arts and craft items in Karnataka. From Mysore silks to paintings, the artisans of Karnataka stand apart in terms of craftsmanship and skill and are featured in most India shopping guides. Furthermore, arts and crafts are given much importance in the lives of the people of Karnataka, so much so that several institutes have been set up in the state, which offer training and vocational courses in arts and crafts.

    [Feeling hungry? Enjoy a delicious food tour at VV Puram Food Street, Bangalore]

    Mysore and Udupi are the best places in Karnataka if you are fond of shopping in India for traditional handicraft items. Mysore is the centre of mulberry silk production in the state and is known for its beautiful Mysore silk sarees. Silk rearing in Mysore was introduced and encouraged by Tipu Sultan and ever since the city has been a leader in the manufacture of mulberry silk.

    You are bound to find a saree of your liking here

    Photo credit: Yohann Legrand - flickr

    Another important handicraft item of Karnataka is the Mysore painting. Mysore paintings are probably one of the oldest art forms that have been carried into the present generation. These paintings are characterised by their use of bright vegetable colours, dyes and gold leaves. There are several institutes in the state where the art of Mysore painting is taught to young students by renowned maestros.

    [Understand the mysore style of painting with our Mysore offbeat Style Painting Tour]

    Apart from these well-known craft items, you can also shop for beautiful metal and wood work items in Karnataka. Udupi and Mangalore are best known for their metal work items. Wood work, especially those made out of rosewood, is a special attraction of Karnataka.

    Uttar Pradesh

    Uttar Pradesh is a shopper’s paradise, particularly for those looking for items that reflect the culture and traditions of the beautiful state. From the exquisite Chikankari of Lucknow to the stunning metalworks of Moradabad, each and every region of Uttar Pradesh has something or the other to offer to an art lover.

    Spices of India

    Photo credit: Sara Marlowe - flickr

    [What better to know a city than on a bike? Cycle through Agra and get to know the city better!]

    Uttar Pradesh offers a wide range of items that are famous not just in India but all over the world. For the traveller who wants to capture the mystical spirit of India in its souvenirs, Uttar Pradesh is included in India shopping guides. Some of the best places in Uttar Pradesh are:

    Moradabad

    A Nataraj statue

    Photo credit: Michele Ahin - flickr

    Choose from a beautiful range of intricately carved metalware in Moradabad. The nakshi and khudai art work found in Moradabad attracts a lot of buyers in both domestic and international markets. The nakshi engraving is done directly on a tinned surface, while the khudai engraving is done using a steel pen on a lac coated tin surface.

    The best gift you can probably pick up for a dear one from Moradabad is the Nataraj statue. Other items that are available in metal in Moradabad include Ganesha statues, stools, trays, laughing Buddhas, and more.

    Firozabad

    Lac bangles

    Photo credit: Supratim Ghosh - flickr

    If you are fond of glass bangles, Firozabad will open up a kaleidoscope in myriad colours. Firozabad is synonymous with glassware and is recognised by the rows of shops selling glass bangles in different designs and colours. Other local products include Tikklu, which is a thin glass strip used by women to decorate their clothes, and the glass beads of Varanasi. Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh is known for the production of glass toys filled with a coloured liquid called Rachora.

    Khurja

    Photo credit: rajkumar1220 - flickr

    Indian pottery making has always been noted for its finesse and exterior designing. If you are looking for some good earthenware to decorate your house, you will love the pottery items at Khurja. Stunning designs in eye-catching colours are the specialty of Khurja. Other places in Uttar Pradesh such as Meerut and Hapur are famous for water containers called surahis which are available in different shapes and designs.

    Lucknow

    The chikankari work of Lucknow is famous all over the world. Beautiful floral patterns are woven on delicate tissue using thread to prepare sarees and dress materials which look simply out of this world. Materials such as cotton, organza, organdie, doruya, etc. are used as the base material on which the designs are made.

    Chikankari design

    Similarly, zardosi is a much sought after craft which is practised in Uttar Pradesh. The craft which was brought into India by the Turko-Afghan sultans of the 12th century involves weaving of beautiful patterns using gold and silk threads on delicate material. Today, Lucknow, Agra, Bareilly, Rampur, Varanasi and Farrukhabad are the best places to buy zardosi bridal outfits and salwar kameez sets.

    [Take a half day tour on bikes and explore the city of Agra]

    Other craft works that Uttar Pradesh is famous for include marble and soft stone craft and carpets. During a visit to Uttar Pradesh, you can find handicraft stalls selling miniatures of the Taj Mahal, Agra. You can rummage through the collection to find interesting knick knacks for decorating your home. If carpets are what you need, Bhadoi, Mirzapur and Shahjahanpur are the best places for shopping. You can find the best carpets, which stand second only to Arabian and Persian carpets, in these places.

    Goa

    Welcome to Goa

    Photo credit: Swaminathan - flickr

    The sun and sand of Goa is the main attraction for tourists to this beautiful place. However, if you have time to spare for shopping during your next visit to Goa, check out the stunning locally made items. They are not just great additions to your home decor, but are fantastic memorabilia too. From colourful masks to chandeliers and mirrors, there are several items that you could shop for.

    [Enjoy watersports and adrenaline pumping activities? Take an adventurous holiday in Goa!]

    You can find a number of pottery and terracotta, brass metalware, crochet and embroidery, bamboo craft, fibre craft, coconut mask carving and sea shell craft items in Goa. There are several markets in Goa where you can find many interesting things to take back home with you:

    Glastonbury Street

    Bangles on sale

    Photo Credit : Harshsa KR - flickr

    Hit the Glastonbury Street for all the funky accessories and clothes that you need. Find everything that is beaded, embroidered or mirrored on this street. You can find rows of stalls in this place and all the commodities that you need. All you need to have is money in your pockets and good bargaining skills to bag yourself a good deal.

    Golden Heart Emporium

    The Golden Heart Emporium is the best place to shop for book lovers. Take your pick from the choicest collection of non-fiction, fiction, children’s story books, autobiographies and more to fill the reader's heart with delight.

    Covered Market of Margaon

    This market is a must-see for every visitor in Goa. The covered market is one of the largest markets in Margao and offers all the commodities that you may need.

    Textiles for every taste and use

    Photo credit: Indi Samarajiva - flickr

    Maharashtra

    There are innumerable places in Maharashtra for shopping. From fancy Western clothes to traditional Kolhapuri chappals, you can find the best of products and designs in the streets and shops of Maharashtra. Kolhapuri chappals are a specialty of Maharashtra and a must-buy for those visiting the state.

    [Want to be up in the sky and fly like the birds? Take up an introductory paragliding course in Maharashtra!]

    Like all other states in the country, each region in Maharashtra has a special offering to make. Aurangabad is known for its beautiful Himroo weaving, which produces exquisite sarees, shawls, dress materials and bed linen. Some of the must-visit stopovers in Maharashtra as mentioned in numerous India shopping guides for shopaholics are:

    Colaba Causeway

    Textiles that suit every taste

    Photo Credit : Karan Patil

    The Colaba Causeway is the most popular shopping hot spot in Mumbai. Innumerable shops selling clothes, shoes, junk jewellery, antique items and other enticing ware, stretch for a long distance and vendors try to sell you everything from gigantic balloons to maps.

    If you have an eye for good quality items and the ability to bargain well, you can get yourself some very good deals.

    Crawford Market

    Stained glass pots

    Photo credit: Nicholas - wikicommons

    The Crawford Market is probably one of the oldest markets of Mumbai. Nestled in an old colonial building, the market offers fresh fruits, vegetables and pets of all breeds and origins. This is the place where most local people of Mumbai shop and you can get a glimpse of the daily lives of the people.

    Linking Road

    The Linking Road market is one of the hippest suburbs in Mumbai. You can will find traditional stalls selling apparel, shoes and street food along with branded outlets. If you intend to visit the market on a Sunday, be prepared for the crowds.

    If paintings interest you, you can check out Ajanta and Warli paintings. You can see the Ajanta paintings in the Ajanta caves, while the Warli paintings are made by tribals of the Thane district. The Warli paintings are usually prepared by the women of the tribal community using rice paste and straw in a distinctive style.

    West Bengal

    The handicraft items of West Bengal are known for their finesse and excellent craftsmanship and are recognised all around the world. The textile industry of West Bengal is very famous and so are the Dhokra art and Solapith art. Kolkata is best known for its terracotta items such as bowls, sculptures and figurines and wall art. The textile industry produces exquisite sarees such as the Baluchuri sarees, silk and tussar sarees and other beautiful varieties.

    The best places in West Bengal to shop for these sarees are Birbhum, Murshidabad, Hoogly, Bankura and Nadia. If you are looking for decorative items for your house, you can also consider buying masks which are a specialty of West Bengal. These masks are not just of decorative value, but also have mythological and cultural connotations.

    Shop in West Bengal

    Photo credit: Giridhar Appaji Nag Y - flickr

    Similarly, there are other handicraft items that will grab your interest. Rag dolls can be found in several stores across Kolkata. The practice of making rag dolls in West Bengal has a Japanese origin. These rag dolls, which are made of cotton, cloth and wool, are used to decorate homes or as toys for small children.

    Sholapith is another form of handicraft which is known for its aesthetic and cultural value. Sholapith is a plant whose leaves are used to prepare beautiful designs and these items are used during marriages and pujas. Other handicraft items that you can find in West Bengal include cane and bamboo handicraft and beautiful woodwork items.

    [Be blown away with breath taking views on a trek in Darjeeling]

    Kolkata, being the capital city of the state of West Bengal, has a number of shopping destinations that can offer you the best of traditional and contemporary items. Some of the best places this India shopping guide recommends for a satisfying shopping experience in Kolkata include:

    The Forum Mall

    The Forum Mall was the first mall of Kolkata. If you are brand conscious, this is the place to be as the mall houses almost all of the leading brands in its six floors. Furthermore, the mall has a bar, a movie hall and the famous restaurant called ‘Oh Calcutta!’

    Dakshinapan Shopping Centre

    This is an open air shopping alley that has a number of shops that offer Indian handicrafts and handlooms. An excellent place to buy cheap Indian clothing, the Dakshinapan Shopping Centre offers a collection of handicrafts and handloom from all over the country. The main attraction of the Dakshinapan Shopping Centre is the renowned Dolly’s Tea Shop, which has more than twenty different flavours of tea to choose from.

    New Market

    Also known as Hogg’s Market, the New Market is Kolkata’s oldest market. There are about tow thousand stalls in the market that sell everything from clothes to shoes to jewellery.

    A section of the market which has been reconstructed is the best place to visit for sarees.

    Bihar

    Photo credit: etrenard - flickr

    Bihar is known for its rich culture and heritage and places of religious importance. Being the place where Buddhism first flourished, the state has great religious significance. The festivals and religious events of Bihar greatly reflect the culture of the region and attract a lot of tourists from all over the world. For a shopping enthusiast, there are several offerings that Bihar has to make.

    Apart from the contemporary items that are available in shopping malls, the most attractive offering of Bihar is the traditional handicraft of the region. From Madhubani paintings to the bangle of Muzzafarpur, there are innumerable handicraft items in Bihar which are of great cultural and aesthetic value.

    Madhubani paintings

    Photo credit: Divya Vibha Sharma - flickr

    Madhubani paintings and Madhubani sarees are extremely popular in India and around the world. Madhubani paintings are mostly found in the Mithila region of Bihar and usually painted during auspicious occasions such as weddings and festivals. The paintings are usually based on themes such as marriage of gods and goddesses.

    Another important handicraft of Bihar is the Khatwa, which is a kind of appliqué work and is made by cutting one kind of fabric and stitching it onto another fabric. You can also shop for colourful Sujini quilts. These quilts are traditionally made using old clothes for the inner stuffing. The exteriors of the quilts are usually decorated with embroidery that depicts religious scenes or village scenes.

    Himachal Pradesh

    The state of Himachal Pradesh is known for its natural beauty and scenic splendour. Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, the state of Himachal Pradesh offers ambling hills, picturesque landscapes covered in lush green vegetation, sparkling rivers, apple orchards and warm and hospitable people. Himachal Pradesh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and attracts visitors from all over the country and the world.

    The amazing view of Himachal Pradesh

    Photo credit: Srinivasan G - flickr

    Besides being a place of immense beauty, Himachal Pradesh is also a great shopping destination. If you love shopping, do not miss out on the beautiful shawls and caps traditional to Himachal Pradesh, during your next visit to the state. Due to the presence of Tibetan refugees and monks in the region, you can also find traditional Tibetan rugs, meditation bowls and beads, prayer wheels, flags and silver jewellery in Himachal Pradesh.

    [Take a trek in Spiti together with a local homestay to get the most authentic experience of Himachal Pradesh]

    Shop for carpets

    Photo credit: Ajay Goyal - flickr

    If you are a lover of handicrafts, Himachal Pradesh is a great place to shop! The carpets, metalware, paintings, woodwork and shawls made in Himachal Pradesh are very popular all around the globe. Painting, chiselling, woodwork and weaving are a part of a Himachali’s life and hence you can find a large number of handicraft items in Himachal Pradesh. Usually, most women in Himachal Pradesh take part in painting while the men practise carpentry.

    [There is no other better way to explore Shimla and Manali than with us.]

    Due to the extremely cold weathers in Himachal Pradesh, weaving wool has become a common practice. Almost every household owns a pit loom. In Himachal Pradesh, you can find shawls of exquisite beauty and varying thickness. Pick anything between a fine Pashmina to a coarse Desar shawl. The caps of Himachal Pradesh are very popular too. These caps are made in a typical style and differ from region to region in Himachal Pradesh. You can also shop for woollen shawls, sarees and trousers in Kinnaur. Rampur chaddars are another important tourist attraction of Himachal Pradesh.

    Kashmir

    See anything to your liking

    Photo credit: Soumyadeep Paul - flickr

    Jammu and Kashmir is often referred to as ‘Paradise on Earth’. The beautiful landscape of Kashmir has attracted tourists from all over the world since ages. However, due to terror attacks and political turmoil, the tourism industry of Kashmir has faced a major setback. But the situation has shown some improvement in the recent years with more and more domestic and international tourists visiting this beautiful state.

    Kashmir shawl

    Talking of shopping in Kashmir, everyone knows about the pashmina shawls of Kashmir. You can buy beautiful pashmina shawls from stores all across the state. If you are fond of handicrafts, you can pick up woodwork, papier mache and metal work items from Kashmir. There are a lot of things that you can shop for in Kashmir such as vintage maps, willow baskets and much more. You can get yourself a beautiful Namda, which is a traditional Kashmiri hand-woven carpet.

    You can check out the local markets for samovars and trays made of copper. You can find these items in the Old City, but it is advisable not to venture out alone and use a sturdy guide’s help to steer through crowds. If you are fond of ornaments, do not forget to get yourself some beautiful Kashmiri lac ornaments. You may have seen them in handicraft expos in your city, but do not refrain from buying authentic lac ornaments when you are in Kashmir.

    Sari textiles

    Photo credit: Soumyadeep Paul - flickr

    For food lovers, the Kashmiri chilli and Kashmiri zaffran are a must-take-home. Take the help of a certified guide to get yourself some real saffron. Kashmir is one of the few places in the world that grows saffron, the most delicate of spices. Ask your guide to take you to Pampore Fields, which is situated near Srinagar, where you can get some real saffron.

    There are a few things to remember while venturing out or going shopping in Kashmir. Remember these tips from our India shopping guide:

    • Stick to places which are more crowded if you are venturing out alone.
    • If you want to visit the Old City, do so only with the help of a certified guide.
    • Do not leave your hotel at odd hours without proper identification on you.

    Punjab

    Photo credit: opoponax - flickr

    The land of the hale and hearty Punjabis is known for its makke di roti and sarson da saag. Most people identify Punjab with its lush green fields of mustard and sugarcane and with the Bhangra dance. However, for a visitor to Punjab there is more than just these few characteristics. For the shopaholic, there are items of interest in Punjab.

    [Experience Punjab and the nature it offers on a trek through Triund]

    The traditional crafts of Punjab include woodwork, Phulkari work, mud work, pottery, folk toys, needle work, metal work, leather work and more. The most popular handicraft item of Punjab is the Phulkari work. You can also shop for beautiful jooties, dhurries, pindis and parandis. If you are looking for something to decorate your house with, you can choose from a whole range of mirror frames, dressing tables, sofa sets, chairs and dining tables. You can also get yourself a set of pretty Punjabi dolls dressed up in beautiful outfits.

    Of all the crafts of Punjab, the woodwork is the most popular. If you are one for traditional fashion garments, pick lovely salwar kameez sets with Phulkari embroidery. Phulkari embroidery is very delicate and the designs may vary from small to large stitches. The folk toys of Punjab have established themselves in both the domestic and international markets.

    Odisha

    Vases in Odisha

    Photo Credit : Nagarjun Kandukuru

    Odisha is the land of arts and crafts. From the beautiful appliqué work of Puri to the exquisite stone work in Bhubaneswar, there are a number of items that you can splurge on in Odisha. In Odisha, handicrafts and handloom are given much importance. This makes the state a sort of paradise for those interested in traditional arts and crafts.

    There are several stores in the capital city of Bhubaneswar where you can shop for beautiful handicraft items in stone and metal. Pattachitra or paintings made on palm leaves is a very popular form of art in Odisha. There is an entire village dedicated to handicrafts and handlooms near Puri. Raghunathpur, the handicraft village, is a very popular destination for tourists from all over the country and the world. The village is a must visit for those who want to learn more about the traditional arts of Odisha and, during a visit, you can also pick up some very beautiful items for your home.

    Pipli, near Bhubaneswar, is known for its appliqué items. The village can easily be identified by the colourful cloth lanterns and wall hangings hung outside shops that stretch out for kilometres together. Wall hangings, lanterns, swings, tablecloths and bedsheets in myriad colours and designs are put up on display for tourists.

    Sliverware

    Photo credit: Harsha KR - flickr

    Silver Ware and Filigree Work are a specialty of Odisha. Intricate designs made of fine silver thread are prepared or embellished on jewellery to make exquisite items. Cuttack, the former capital of the state, is the best place to buy silver ware or filigree items.

    While in the capital city Bhubaneswar, you can visit state run emporiums such as Boyanika or Amlan to buy beautiful stone work items, gem stones, metal ware or handloom items. Sambalpuri and Bomkai sarees are a must-buy during a visit to Odisha. These sarees have beautiful designs, often depicting the wheels of the Konark temple, and are usually made of soft cotton coloured in vegetable dyes.

    The Market Building or Unit IV market is one of the most popular markets of Bhubaneswar. You can pick up clothes, footwear, and imitation jewellery for low prices or just hang around watching the local shop for daily utilities. There are several malls too in the city if you are looking for something upmarket.

    Tamil Nadu

    Tamil Nadu

    Photo credit: Natesh Ramasamy - flickr

    The state of Tamil Nadu has a glorious historical and cultural heritage. It is best known as a pilgrimage destination because of the number of temples present in the state. From the Meenakshi Amman temple to Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu attracts hundreds and thousands of pilgrims from all over the country and the world throughout the year. Apart from its religious destinations, Tamil Nadu offers several possibilities for shopaholics. From Kanjeevaram sarees, Tanjore paintings and jewellery to pottery, stone carvings and musical instruments, the state has a lot to offer.

    [Join us bargain hunting as we go on a trail through the various bazaars in Chennai]

    For saree lovers, Tamil Nadu is the best place to buy precious Kanjeevaram sarees. You can find beautiful Kanjeevaram sarees in decent price ranges and in a whole range of colours and designs. Kanchipuram is the best place to buy Kanjeevaram sarees as you can save up to ten percent of the price here. However, you may also come across fake Kanjeevaram saris and hence it is important to keep a few tips in mind while splurging on one. Buy Kanjeevaram sarees only from registered cooperative societies. There are only twenty one cooperative societies in Tamil Nadu that are authorised to sell Kanjeevaram saris. Also, look for the special GI or Geographical Index tag on the sari before buying it.

    [Learn more about the art of jewellery making on a tour in Tamil Nadu]

    The paintings of Tanjore are also a must-see while in Tamil Nadu. These paintings are held in high regard due to their intricate designing and fine detail. A thin sheet of gold is used to colour the paintings along with other colours. You can also buy musical instruments from Thanjavur. Thanjavur is home to several famous musicians and is hence the best place to buy Veenas.

    Assam

    Tea picker in Assam

    Photo credit: Diganta Talukdar - flickr

    The seven sisters of North East are known for their natural grandeur and picturesque beauty and a great place for shopping in India. The state of Assam is best known for the Bihu dance, gorgeous traditional outfits and the delectable cuisine. However, very few know that Assam is a great shopping destination if you know just the right places to shop at.

    The Muga, Eri and Paat sarees are some of the most sought after sarees of Assam. These sarees are available in myriad colours and designs and can be bought from Silklay or Fancy Bazaar in Guwahati. They are available in a price range of Rs 2500 to Rs 30000.

    [Treat yourself to a relaxing and culturally rich holiday experience in Assam]

    Assam tea is famous all over the world for its aroma and taste. The best places to buy Assam tea during a visit to the state are the retail outlets situated near tea estates. You can also purchase bamboo items and handmade toys from local markets in Assam.


Shopping in India

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About the Activity:Embark on a different sightseeing tour from Delhi to Shimla and Manali in Himachal Pradesh by a car. There you would be surprised to see the wonders of nature.Snow-clad peaks surrounded by serenity that possesses oak and rhododendron forests on a large scale will give you the most astonishing time.Both Shimla and Manali extend the unlimited splendours they carry always including the old buildings, streets, local markets and a lot more.Give away your heart the finest tour moments amidst the majestic Himalayas.The package includes food, accommodation and transportation during t
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About the Activity:Here comes an exciting package before you which takes you to the famous bazaars of the pink city, Jaipur. The colourful stalls in each bazaar will definitely extend a different shopping experience.This guided tour in a Sedan will start after you get picked up from your hotel and will stay with you during the tour so, you will not have to carry the items purchased in your hands.The guide will take you to the most famous shops for the different items and will also help you in crossing the narrow streets of pink city. Firstly you will visit Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar etc. Don't m
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Jaipur City Tour will bring alive all the diverse elements of city’s life heritage. Whether they are traditional temples, monuments and building, or living craft and culture, or traditional cuisines like sweets making; this city tour has all of it. Walking leisurely and engaging with the community along the City Walk, you will get to know about the heritage of people, culture and architecture. This tour will also present you a rare glance into the rich history and culture of Jaipur, that only walking can give. Accommodation Type: Double Occupancy in Standard Room Meal Type: Vegeta
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Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favorite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above the sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the entre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Markha Valley Trek

Adventure lovers always had an affection to Markha Valley and still it fulfills the dreams of a trekker or adventure seeker with the unrivalled collection of natural spectacle. Long day trekking tours are offered by a lot of tour providers all over India which promise a journey through the most scenic locations and villages. The awesomely exciting feature of this trek is that it will let the trekker cross two high altitude passes in Ladakh; Gandala La at 4980 meters and Kongmaru La at 5276 meters.

 Being one of the diverse treks in Ladakh region, Markha Valley trek offers a lot of adventurous moments throughout. The barren land of Ladakh and the Buddhist temples found throughout the journey make the trek special. The route winds past the Ladakhi villages and it goes to Hemis National Park where the chances to spot some rare wildlife species are comparably high. The nomadic groups of people will be a unique picture to keep in heart. The symbols of Buddhism like ‘chortens’, stupas, multi colored prayer flags and numerous monasteries narrate the story of Buddhist culture embraced Markha centuries ago. Another interesting fact heard about Markha Valley trek is that it is also called ‘tea house trek’ due to the accommodation provided in parachute tents in most of the villages during the tour.

Maximum altitude: 15000 feet is the maximum altitude the trek will cover.

Location: In most of the cases, the trek starts from Leh. The trail usually goes through Chilling, Skyu and then to Markha. From Markha it would take the trekker to reach Hankar and Nimaling and finally return to Leh. The ideal trekking distance is 75 kms and it would be graded as difficult.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August, September and October are recommended as the best time to do Markha Valley trek.

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Stok Kongri Trek

Stok Kangri, Ladakh is one of the most popular places for high altitude trekking in India. Although the beauty of Ladakh draws in innumerable tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world, the Stok Kangri trek isn’t really suited for anyone and everyone.

It is advisable that only experienced trekkers set out on this expedition as the climatic and geographical conditions of the place may not suit novice or amateur trekkers. Nonetheless, Stok Kangri is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. It is for this reason that the Stok Kangri trek forms an inevitable experience while trekking in India.

The trek begins from Leh, which is noted for its natural beauty as well as the warm and hospitable people. During the first couple of days of the trek, you can move around Leh, go sightseeing and get acclimatized to the weather of the region. These couple of days will prepare you for the trek ahead. You will next be taken to Chang Ma via Stok Village by road.

The journey from Leh to Stok Village takes you to witness the amiable yet fictional setting which includes lush greenery, glistening snow peaks and scenic splendor of the region in this stretch. On reaching Chang Ma, you reach a snow covered region and begin trekking. You will need to climb on for about three hours. From here you will head on to Manokorma, which is at an elevation of 14200 feet.

During the trek, you will be able to view some very beautiful peaks such as the Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. The base camp of the trek is at an elevation of 16, 300 feet. From here, the journey continues till you reach the Stok Kangri. The rewarding scenery from the top is what draws trekkers from all over the world to high altitude trekking in India. The trek back to Leh is a bit arduous and you may need to be careful while climbing down the mountainous terrain.

Best Season: June - October

Difficulty Level: Medium

Max. Elevation: 5000 m

Number of Days: Maximum 10 days of trek can be done here

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Manali

From Manali, breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges are a perennial specialty. This is the place where mountain adventures takes on a new dimension. A haven for tourists, Manali is replete with scenic quotients offering trekking enthusiasts an experience of its own kind.

Attracting visitors from all over the world all year round, this is a place for backpackers to explore the serene settings of the Himalayas. It is also the place where adventure tourists can enjoy exhilarating activities such as paragliding, rafting and skiing while on Manali to Leh Road trip.

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Roopkund Trek

Counted among the best treks in India, the Roopkund trail is a trekker’s paradise. Roopkund’s topography is complete with verdant forests, acres and acres of open meadows, trickling brooks, and the celestial snow of course. Roopkund also comprises of the eerie Skeletal Lake, and is great for one’s initiation into high-altitude trekking. Pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons make Roopkund one of the compulsory trekking places near Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 308 Kilometres approximately

Nearest Railhead: Kathgodam Railway Station

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Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass which signifies doorway is one of the best treks in Uttaranchal. It is also known as Curzon trail as this trekking trail was discovered by Lord Curzon in 1905. The panoramic views of the eastern slopes of the majestic Garhwal Himalayas, Neelkanth, Mana, Hathi Ghori Parvat, Bertholi, Trishul, Dronagiri, Kamet and Nanda Devi peaks can be experienced on Kuari Pass Trek.

The trek has dense deodar, ok and rhododendron forests which present a picturesque view. Rare and protected flora and fauna can be found on this trail.  The trek passes via major rivers like Mandakini, Kaliganga and Dhauli Ganga .The ideal time to visit here is in summers.

Best Season: December - January
Duration: 6-8 Days
Max. Elevation: 4,264 m

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Dodital Trek

Dodital trek is a short trek and must to do when you are on trekking in Uttaranchal tour. Difficulty ranges from easy to moderate through thick forests and across majestic Himalayas landscapes, large meadows and stream crossings.  

The trek begins from Sangamchatti (kalyani) road near Uttarkashi and completes at the Hanumanchatti. From Dodital Lake, you will need to trek uphill to reach the Darwa pass, also called as Bakaria Khaga pass. The alpine meadows of Kanasar are an ideal place for camping.

Best season: May - October
Duration: 10 Days
Altitude: 4150 m

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The Castle Manali

Built in 1460 AD, the Naggar Castle has a unique architecture that comprises of stones and wood. About a century ago, this castle of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu was converted into a rest house, and presently it is being taken care by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

In its rechristened avatar, the castle is now The Castle Heritage Hotel. Naggar Castle came into the limelight after a bollywood movie was shot here. A grand Tibetan carnival dance was shot here and hence this castle grew in touristic prominence.


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Van Vihar National Park

One of the most frequent places to visit in Manali, the Van Vihar National Park attracts visitors mainly because of its ideal location, which is bang on the Mall road in Manali. The park is a welcome respite from the crowds and the pollution with its tall and shady groves of Deodar, birch and pine. There are a number of wooden and concrete benches within the park, which provide rest, relaxation and recreation to its visitors.

Take off your shoes and take a leisurely walk across the garden paths of this wonderful haven of nature. You could also have fun cruising around in a boat that sails in the small pond within the vicinity of this park. Set amidst beautiful and verdant environs, the park is a perfect respite for anyone who chooses to visit it and makes up for a great place for a spontaneous picnic or simply a long walk!

Timing:

08:00 am – 07:00 pm (summer)

08:00 am – 05:00 pm (winter)

Entry Fee: 10 INR per Person

Photography Allowed: Yes

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Gyuto Monastery

Gyuto Monastery is one of the most famous and popular monasteries in Tibet. This monastery is well known for its tantric meditation and people there study a lot about this subject. It is also known for its various tantric ritual arts and Buddhist philosophy. Gyuto monastery was founded in the year 1474 by the prime disciple of the 1st Dalai Lama.

Location: It is situated in the town of Dharamshala which is easy to reach through road, rail as well as airways. Transportation is not a major issue while visiting the place.

Highlights: You can find majestic statues of Buddha with a backdrop of snow clad mountains covering it. If you want to have a nice afternoon, it is the most peaceful and serene place to be at.



Best time to visit: Since this is a monastery, there is no particular season that makes any difference. However, if you are planning a full trip of the place, April-May has to be the best months.