New York may have Fifth Avenue and Dubai the largest shopping mall in the world, but nowhere tops India when it comes to authentic, tempting and one-of-a-kind handicrafts. In fact, shopping in India is more than just an activity, it’s an experience. Especially when every region has its own specialty. From textiles in Rajasthan, carpets in Kashmir and thangkas in Ladakh, you’ll be blown away by how varied the country’s offerings are.

Types of shops:


If you’re after traditional markets of hollering street hawkers and stalls stuffed with every imaginable souvenir, then look no further than the country’s souqs and bazaars. Found across India, the most famous and historic are located in major cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Chandni Chowk is well known for its old Delhi charm and famous eateries that have earned global fame among gourmet food lovers. Remember, it is in souqs and bazaars where you are expected to haggle and bargain. There are no hard and fast rules but always try to aim low and let the shopkeeper argue you up.


For the traditional experience without the haggling, head to handicraft emporiums found across the country. Offering an insight into the country’s traditions and regional differences, they sell items (think clothes, ornate decorative items, spices and tea) at a fixed price. While this does make things more expensive, they are a good way to get an idea of how much things go for. So you can then head back to the souqs armed with that knowledge.

Department stores

As one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world, India is no stranger to a department store. But while they likely won’t occupy a stop on your Indian itinerary, they are the perfect place to call in to if you run out of your daily essentials.


No country produces such a tempting array of arts and crafts as India. Delicately designed and immensely varied, every corner of the country is marked with its own specialty…


Rajasthan can probably be considered India’s souvenir capital. In Jodhpur it’s all about leather, Udaipur, miniatures and handcrafts and Jaipur, block printing and bedspreads. One of the best ways to take on these cities’ souqs is by rickshaw. Let a seasoned local lead you round and tailor your day around your shopping desires.


Shopping in India isn’t complete without a rootle round some of its spice stalls and Mumbai is just the place to do so. Prepare for the sensory overload at Lalbaug Spice Market, which sells everything from coriander powder and turmeric to copra and dried chillis.

West Bengal

In India’s hill station towns like Munnar and Darjeeling, it’s about one thing and one thing only – tea. Known for their distinctive taste (think medium toned with flavours of sweet biscuit in dip malt), you’ll be drawn to these regions for both their brews and their views. Perched high on hilltops, you’ll be able to enjoy sunset scenes over Kodaikanal while learning tea basics from picking and cooling to fermenting and packing.

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