Here’s a List of the Best Luxuries to Shop for this Land of Riches
India is a shopper’s paradise, overflowing with riches. Your senses will be filled with fabulous textiles, sparkling jewels, tinkling bells, intricate art work, divine perfumes, and every spice, scent and oil you can dream of. India is truly a land of treasure, and if you take on the mindset of a treasure hunter, you will find great pleasure in searching through piles of dazzling baubles and glittering knick knacks in the ancient bazaars, markets, malls and street stalls.
Take it slow, and don’t buy everything at first twinkle—there will be a lot of goods twinkling at you. Take your time to get a feel for prices and quality. And remember that Indians love to haggle—don’t be afraid to negotiate price. That said, there are plenty of fixed-price stores and if you really love something, go for it!
Every region has differing specialties, so you’ll enjoy shopping wherever you go. Here are just some of the things to look out for as you travel through India.
Jewels, Gems, Baubles & Trinkets
From chunky baubles on the streets with bright colors to the finer gemstones found in the shops of dealers, you’ll be impressed with the sheer array of jewelry. Indians have a diverse population with many different styles of dress—but it seems they all love to accessorize with marvelous ornaments.
Bangles: Almost every woman in India wears bangles—often matching bangles on either arm, creating a rather pleasing symmetry. You’ll find a variety of bangles, from basic day to day wear to very fashionable styles.
Nose Rings: A traditional ornament worn by many of the women of India, you’ll find more stunning nose rings here than anywhere else in the world. You may just be tempted to get your nose pierced, if it isn’t already, so you can indulge in these flattering adornments.
Earrings: If you love earrings, you will be very happy digging through the ample array of cool, bold and intricate earring styles found all over India.
Jewels: Precious gems such as sapphires, diamonds and rubies abound in India—and for very reasonable prices. Indians love sparkling gems and it is also a nation of gold lovers. You’ll find the best 24 carat gold jewelry in the world.
Semi-Precious Stones: In addition to the finer gems, India also has plenty of stunning semi-precious stones that will be lighter on the pocket, but are still very beautiful. Labradorite, quartz, lapis, garnet, moonstones and more.
Anklets (known as “Payals or Ghungroo”): These are ornamental anklets worn on the feet of Indian women. Often with little bells, they make a nice tinkle as you walk and are a lovely accessory for traditional Indian dance.
Dresses, Scarves, Vests and Other Wardrobe Fashions
With an abundance of fine materials such as silks, pashminas, yak wool and cottons, Indians also have a love for bright colors and wonderful patterns. You’ll be in a textile paradise as you outfit a new wardrobe for yourself!
Scarves/Shawls: India has every kind of scarf and shawl you can imagine. If you want a heavier scarf for cool nights in the Himalayas, go for one of the large Yak Wool or Angora (rabbit wool) Kullu Shawls that come in cool geometric patterns. You can also find fine silk scarves in bright colors as well as pashmina, which is a super soft kind of wool that comes from goats in the Himalayas.
Saris: The stunning traditional dress worn by many Indian women, saris are a length of material that is draped flatteringly about a woman’s body. They come in a vast array of beautiful colors and patterns—usually silk or cotton.
Salwar Kameez: These are Indian dresses worn by Indian girls and women. You’ll find good quality both in silk and cotton to suit your taste.
Kurta Pajama: You’ll find many Indian men wearing the traditional Kurta Pajama. They are very comfortable to wear and can be used as sleeping dresses.
Vests: Commonly worn by Indian men, there are many, many varieties of vests throughout India with all kinds of cool designs and styles.
Hippie-Ware: India is the unofficial mecca of festival and hippie garb. If this is your thing, you’ll have a great time sifting through converted sari wrap skirts, maxi-dresses and Ali Baba pants.
Leather Goods: Purses, duffles, wallets, belts, vests and whatever other leather luxury you can imagine—heck, even dresses—India has it. You’ll find excellent leather craftsmanship throughout India.
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Oils, Herbs, Incenses and Perfumes
India is a paradise of divine aromas, luxuriant oils and spiritual incenses.
Perfumes and Oils: Skin softening and fragrant, India is full of sensual delights like oils and perfumes. Almond oil is popular and affordable. Essential oils and perfumes that combine scents of Sandalwood, Kama Sutra, Patchouli, White Musk, Amber, Myrrh and Rose, you’ll love dabbing yourself with the oils to see which comes out best on your skin. Indulge.
Ayurvedic Remedies and Herbals: Home to Ayurvedic medicine, you can find a great many lovely herbal concoctions. While you can visit a doctor for a specific remedy, you’ll also find hair and skin oils, conditioners, face creams and all sorts of other concoctions made with lovely Ayurvedic herbal recipes.
Spices: With some of the biggest spice markets in the world, it’s fun to purchase some spices so you can take the wonderful, complex flavors of Indian cooking home with you. Saffron is a popular herb to purchase, since it is much more affordable in India than other places in the world.
Tea: India is also famous for their black teas—get some beautiful Assam tea to take home with you for your afternoon cuppas.
Henna: Another plant that is fun to play with is henna, which you’ll find powdered in little packets. Used for painting intricate hand and arm designs, henna is also excellent for nourishing the hair—just be aware that it will give your hair a red tint!
Incense: As you travel through India, you’ll often find yourself in the fragrant smoke of incense. Incense is burned for spiritual reasons, as an offering. You can purchase many different incenses to burn at home—Nag Champa is the most popular.
Handicrafts and Folk Art
Talented craftsmen and a profusion of creativity means you won’t get bored exploring the local handicrafts and folk art throughout the country. Among the handicrafts are very affordable marble, stunning wood carvings and Tibetan paintings in the north that are beautifully painted with incredible detail and color. There are also Hindu statues of every size, so you can take home your favorite god or goddess.
Rugs and Tapestries
Rugs: India has some of the most beautifully designed, handmade oriental rugs—made of pure wool and/or pure silk. They come in all sizes—so if you want it to fit in your bag, you can buy a small one for the side of your bed! You can always have one mailed to you as well.
Tapestries: You’ll see tons of awesome tapestries hanging everywhere—often making up the walls of a restaurant or shop. Tapestries come in all sorts of wonderful colors and feature pictures of things like Trees of life, elephants, lotuses, Bhuddas and various Hinndu gods and goddesses (usually in a nifty geometric patterning).
Don’t forget the knick-knacks! India is a treasure chest after all, remember? Enjoy looking through antiques, Indian chess boards, playing cards, ancient coins, and all sorts of odds, ends and glitz. You may just find a treasure you never dreamed of!