Jaipur. An experience unlike another. It is the land of handicrafts where every nook and corner is overflowing with trinkets and heirlooms that will hold your attention rapt. The wonderful things that they do to textiles – the stunning block prints, the colourful bandhni (tie and dye), the fluid lehriya (a striped version of tie and dye) or the impressive batik (wax resist dyeing) – each engulf the entire vibe of the place into its folds. Exquisite lac bangles in a host of vibrant colours will dress up the simplest outfits and turn you into royalty. Jaipur is also amongst the biggest markets for semi-precious stones and gems.
So, when it comes to Jaipur, “shop till you drop” is not just a phrase. Jaipur is a shopaholic’s dream come true. Be it traditional handicrafts, textiles, shoes, carpets or gems & jewellery, nowhere else will you find such an amazing range of artefacts that will be cherished possessions back home.
Even being the non-shopper that I am (don’t judge me ladies), I still went berserk and was on the verge of collapse by nightfall.
So where do you go? For the novelty experience of street shopping and haggling, go to the touristy bazaars. But if you’re looking to buy authentic stuff and don’t mind paying more for the quality assurance, then read on to hit the right spots where you will find treasures that don’t unravel while you are still travelling back –
RACCI (Rajasthan Arts and Crafts Cottage Industries)
A huge enterprise with a floor each dedicated to textiles in tie & dye, block prints, lehariya and pashmina, to name a few; costume and precious jewellery; handicrafts including marble, metal wooden artefacts, paintings etc.; and silk and wool carpets. I bought a pair of metal artefacts for around SGD 30 and an onyx necklace for SGD 20.
Not only is the variety huge and the quality impressive, they will provide you with certificate of guarantee for the jewellery and carpets. When you shop here, you can rest assured that the products are genuine. They also ship worldwide.
Govind Nagar (West), Opposite Vijay Villa, Amer Road, Jaipur 302002. Phone: +91 141 2672112
Heritage Textiles & Handicrafts
We purchased some beautiful (and quality, if I might add) bed spreads, dohars (light layered summer quilt), Jaipuri quilts, etc. from here, priced at under SGD 40 each. A couple of months and several machine washes later, they still look the same. One of the best outlets for handicraft textiles, pashmina shawls and home linen, they use organic cotton, linen, silk, satin, and wool in their products. Also popular is their ‘Made to Measure’ service where they stitch any dress in any size and if you avail the express service, they do it in as little as 24 hours!
10, Opp Mahar House, Gangapole Road, Jorawar Singh Gate, Jaipur 302002. Phone: +91 99299 11133
Surana Jewellers of Jaipur
If you’re looking for exclusive kundan, enamelled, diamond and precious stones jewellery with quality assurance, authenticity and gorgeous designs that you won’t find elsewhere, this is the place. The Suranas have been in business since 1735 and you can see why as soon as you enter the showroom. Each jewellery piece here is a testament of the rich heritage and tradition of craftsmanship honed over centuries.
B-7/E Surana Enclave, Sawai Ramsingh Road, Opposite SMS Hospital Ashok Nagar, Jaipur 302004. Phone: +91 141-2372544, 4142000
Soma uses the ancient craft of block-printing to create a range of exciting household textiles and apparel for the modern times. You can visit one of the Soma showrooms to find new styles in fashion for yourself or fresh designs to liven up your home. Check out their range of men, women and children apparel and you will know why it is so highly regarded. With as many as upto 16 blocks used for a 5 colour block print, they specialise in keeping this vibrant art thriving.
Soma House, 2-B Girnar Extn., Khatipura, Jaipur 302012. Phone: +91 141 2372246
The word “Anokhi” translates to remarkable, and Anokhi’s business model is nothing short of remarkable. This successful and hugely popular apparel label uses vegetable colours to create beautiful block printed designs on textiles. They also specialise in appliqué, embroidery, patchwork and bead work. Visit this place for Western and Indian attire, home textiles, sarongs, accessories and an array of other products.
2nd Floor KK Square, C-11 Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme, Jaipur 302005. Phone: +91 141 4007244, 45
Apart from the stand-alone stores, there are markets that are dedicated to special artefacts that you can shop at. But beware of being handed something substandard.
Bapu Bazaar – Check out almost anything including textiles, handicrafts and jootis. Go here for not just for buying but also for the novel experience of street shopping and bargaining.
Johari Bazaar – The hub of jewellery with precious gemstones and handmade necklaces; it is a great place to buy precious and semi-precious jewellery and stones. The biggest Mall in Jaipur is the international centre of gem trade, gem cutting and setting, and silver, gold and Kundan jewellery.
Tripolia Bazaar – A wonderful place that houses exquisitely designed lac jewellery, it is a great way to admire the colours of Jaipur.
The shops right opposite the Hawa Mahal have lovely jootis (handmade slip-on footwear), handicrafts and even beautiful lanterns.
Nehru Bazaar – The go to place for vibrant colourful jootis (handmade slip-on footwear); here you can experience the art of haggling over the prices of goods. Even if you don’t know how, it is fun to watch others indulge in it.
Wondering what else to do in Jaipur, besides shopping? Check out Jaipur – Top 7 Things to Do in the Pink City and Elefantastic – An Elephant Sanctuary in Jaipur, India