Easily one of the most colorful and vibrant cities of India, Jaipur – the capital city of Rajasthan in India, presents a kaleidoscope of experiences for travellers of all genre.
Apart from the numerous monuments, Jaipur has a rich tradition of art and craft and it is little wonder that it is a haven for shoppers. The city is renowned for some indigenous traditions that produce some of the most unique pottery, puppets, jewellery, block printed textiles, bandej fabric and leather footwear aka ‘juttis’ in the world.
Shopping in the crowded, flamboyant local markets is definitely a part of the entire ‘Jaipur experience’ and a great idea if you want to pick up some memories and souvenirs on your visit to the city. A couple of things to note while shopping in Jaipur; do remember to keep your bargaining skills handy as you venture out. Secondly, be ready to brave some bustling crowds while you wade your way in!
Photo credit: Bharat Singh (Flickr Creative Commons)
Popularly known as Jewellers’ Street, this market is famous for not only jewellery and gem stones but also various handicrafts. Teeming with people and choc-o-bloc with activity, the market has scores of stores selling a wide range of gold, silver and other metal ornaments that include bangles, necklaces, anklets and earrings. Do not miss the exquisite ‘Kundan’ jewellery here that is a speciality of the region consisting of elaborate stone ornaments set in refined gold.
Located at the junction of two roads or ‘rastas’, Gopalji ka Rasta and Haldion ka Rasta, this is a great place to buy textiles and fabric.
Located close to the city palace is the Tripolia Bazaar where you can buy a large variety of utensils, ironware and brassware. It is also the place where Jaipur’s famous lac (resin) bangles are found. Head to the Maniharon ka Raasta where you can witness the traditional art of manufacturing lac bangles. The process by which the craftsmen dish out bangles in myriad hues is a sight worth watching. The market is also famous for carpets, rugs and furniture.
Photo credit: imke.stahlmann (Flickr Creative Commons)
Located in old Jaipur this is yet another favourite among shoppers. You can pick up some of the famous Rajasthani handicrafts and carvings here. Marble sculptors are highly sought after and you can head to Khazane Walon ka Rasta (or the Street of treasures) to witness talented artisans sculpt magic out of the large chunks of white marble.
If you are looking to buy some intricate carved wooden artifacts, head to Kishanpol bazaar. Apart from some beautifully crafted wooden elephants, camels, birds and puppets (all great gift ideas), you can also pick up the famous the Tie and Dye or ‘bandhani‘ fabric here. The latter is derived from the word ‘bandhan‘ which means to tie and this is an ancient technique employed to produce fabric. Dating back 5000 years, these fabrics are available in multiple bright hues and have unique colour combinations.
Sireh Deori Bazaar
A great place for window shopping, this is a multifaceted market opposite to the renowned Hawa Mahal, which is the soul of the city. An ideal place to pick up souvenirs, this avenue is filled with various knick-knacks like puppets, leather artifacts, wall hangings and Jaipuri quilts. Filled with indigenous goods with plenty of aesthetic appeal, this place is a must visit if you love authentic handicrafts.
In close proximity to Ajmeri Gate, this is another market that exudes local flavor. It is a wonderful place to pick up native handicrafts, ready-made garments, perfumes and other trinkets. You can pick up the typical Rajasthani footwear or ‘joothis‘ that are made of leather here, as well as some really colourful bags. This is again a local market that reflects the intrinsic spirit of the city as well as the native culture.
One of the most famous markets, Bapu Bazaar is located in the heart of the city. It is a one stop shop for quintessential ‘Jaipuri’ items like saris, textiles and perfumes. Do not miss the fabric with typical Rajasthani block prints or the ‘mojaris’ (footwear made from soft camel leather). Block printing is an exclusive art where designs are first engraved on wooden blocks and are then dipped in organic, vegetable dyes.
Apart from this, you can treat yourself to some regional treats in the form of churan (a locally prepared concoction of powders and spices that is a powerful digestive) and suparis (which is akin to a mouth freshener).
Mirza Ismail Road
Popularly known as MI Road, this is yet another shopping hub for locals and tourists alike. It is a major commercial centre with shops and emporiums on either side of the road selling everything from fabrics, brassware, handicrafts and antiques. Named after Sir Mirza Ismail, the Prime Minister of the erstwhile Jaipur princely state, it is also an ideal place to shop for jewellery. The Chameliwala Market situated in MI Road is one of the best treasures of this locality and is a haven for all those interested in buying gem stones and jewellery. The exclusive silver jewellery is particularly famous and highly sought after here.
Another highlight of MI road is the authentic blue pottery of Jaipur which is yet another traditional craft. These fragile pots glazed over low temperature are highly attractive due to their bright blue dye and are mainly decorated with motifs of animals and birds.
This article was originally published in Travioor.