Street Shopping in Rajasthan
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India is a country of cultures and heritages. All that India has, all that it stands for is reflected in its culture and heritage. Whether it is food, clothes, music, art, dance etc, everything defines India in their own way. The peaceful coexistence of multinational companies and brands, and having footpath stalls hold on to its glory is something that you can find only in the Indian subcontinent. India remains rooted to its origin and its past, and this can be seen best in the street shops that you can find in different parts of the India. While the multinational companies try to commercialize every aspect of living, these street shops bring in a touch of life and hospitality into shopping. They are quite different in their approach, but in the end they are shops, like every other shop around the corner. However, it is this street shop that makes India unique. Rajasthan is one of the most colorful states of India.
Starting from the Pink city of Jaipur to the Lake city of Udaipur, and to the forts of Jaislamer and Jodhpur, the city oozes color. Color is a part of it’s heritage, and the same color is reflected in its food and clothes. Whenever you walk through any side road in Rajasthan, you will find a hundred different color, and each of them will attract you in a different way. Also, the smells you get of Rajasthani cuisine on every corner would draw you to try out each and every one of them. You are bound to go home healthier after a visit to Rajasthan. Yes, there are big brand stores and factory outlets in Rajasthan as well, but they do not stand a chance to compete with the street shops. Even with the advent of technology, ecommerce, internet shopping and what not, street shops are still the favorite way of shopping in Rajasthan.
Johaari Bazaar, Jaipur
Situated in Jaipur, this is arguably the most famous market place in Rajasthan. You will see hundreds and hundreds of shops lined up on both sides of the street. This place is especially famous for wedding merchandises. Ethnic wear is their specialty and if you want to buy any traditional Rajasthani dress, do not hesitate to enter any shop in this place. Also, this is the perfect place to find jewelry. Gold is found in abundance here, with great designs and right prices. Also, you will find an incredible number of precious stones, including diamond, on sale in this market. After all, one out of every eight diamond is polished in Jaipur. It is an authentic place to shop in. also, there is a very famous sweet shop in this bazaar where you can try out some of the Rajasthani delicacies.
Bapu Bazaar, Jaipur
Bapu Bazaar is yet another market in Jaipur that has some good buys for you. This is a special tourist attraction, so as to speak of. Once you enter the street of Bapu Bazaar, you will see all the pink buildings on both sides of the road, and you will be able to understand the origin of the cities nick name. On this street, you will find all kinds of goods, starting from traditional to modern Rajasthani wear, jewelry, food, and much more. You will find souvenir shops as well, from where you can buy treats for friends and family back home. It is truly a wonderful place to visit while you are in Rajasthan.
Nehru Bazaar, Jaipur
Another fine place to shop at while you are in Jaipur. This is one place where you really need to bargain, or else you might lose all your money, because you sure are going to buy everything you set your eyes on in this Bazaar. The main attraction of this Bazaar, which you might not find in other street shops, is pottery. While you check out the shops for traditional Rajasthani dresses and ethnic perfumes, you might want to check out the blue pottery. You will also find great jootis here, or Rajasthani shoes. They have a special design, custom made from the old idea of walking in the sand. Feel free to take a look around, enjoy all the colors, and buy all your heart finds attractive.
Kishanpol Bazzar, Jaipu
The best place to find all that is traditional in Rajasthan. If you are a fashion fanatic, you will be enchanted by the Bandhni fabric work that is indigenous to Rajasthan. Tie dye fabric work, with all the colors you can imagine, can be found in this market. You will also find some street side food stalls catering traditional Rajasthani cuisine, that is reach in flavor and spices as well, something that you must try out, at least for once. You will find other traditional artifacts here as well. Even if you do not buy anything, you will still enjoy a stroll through this street.
Tripolia Bazaar, Jaipur
Have you ever noticed all the bangles that Rajasthani women wear? If you have, then you must be thrilled with all the colors on display, reflecting the bright sub light onto your eyes. Well, you can find a lot of them on this bazaar. Other than that, like all other bazaars in Rajasthan, you will find a number of different traditional Rajasthani dress shops. This is another place to find good souvenirs for people back home. Another thing that you will find here is books, lots and lots of them on Chaura rasta or the wide road. Be sure you get something from here.
Also, you will find things like ironware and utensils here. Rajasthani utensils and ironware are very strong and durable. In any traditional Rajasthani household, you will find utensils and ironware that has been in use for many decades. You will also find exquisite and exotic rugs and carpets in this market. However, the shopkeepers are going to put up a steep bargain, so sharpen you skills before you visit this place. You can find it all in this market, but be sure not to spend your life’s savings in this market alone; there are other markets to visit in Rajasthan as well!
Sadar Bazaar, Jaisalmer
If you move onto Jaisalmer from Jaipur, you will find a new class of specialties. First of all, you will find the camel skin shoe, jootis, in abundance. They are beautiful, durable, and a symbol of Rajasthani tradition. Along with that you will find an endless collection of Rajasthani handicrafts here. Anything starting from paintings, embroidery, wooden souvenirs neatly crafted by hand, you will find it all here. There are a he number of shops in this bazaar. Also, there are a number of good food shops in this bazaar, make sure you check them out. Silver jewelry is yet another specialty in this market. Quilts and ornamental embroidery is another special attraction of this market. However, you should visit this place in the afternoon, because they tend to close early in the evening.
Sonaron ka Bass, Jaisalmer
The name crudely translates to the home of goldsmiths. This is the exclusive jewelry market of Jaisalmer. You will find gold and silver jewelry here in abundance. Along with that, you will find great stone work. Both precious and semi-precious stones can be found in the jewelry designs here. You will find mostly traditional Rajasthani designs, although some of them have moved onto modern contemporary designs as well. Traditional Rajasthani design consists of heavy jewelry, irrespective of where you plan to wear it. If you take a look at any Rajasthani woman, you will notice the heavy necklaces and bangles that they wear at all times. You will find some modern variations on them as well. This market becomes especially busy during the festive season, and during weddings. At any time of the day you will find many tourists and locales visiting the market, and it is a must visit if you happen to be in the city.
Bhatia Bazaar, Jaisalmer
This place is dedicated to small items that you can pick up as souvenirs. If you have many people to please back home, visit this place once and you will have something for each of them. You will find small knick knacks and handicraft items here. Also, Jaisalmer is famous for its mirror work, so you will find examples of that as well. besides that you will find embroidered items in cotton and silk. All these are authentic items, and things that you will find only in India, or to be more specific, in Rajasthan only. This might prove to be a gold mine of collector’s item if you have the eye for that kind of thing. Make sure you shine your bargaining skills before you visit this market, because you will have your work cut out for you.
Semma Gram, Jaisalmer
You will find the coveted Khadi Gramudyog Bhawan here. It is government run shop that holds up all that is traditional and dear to Rajasthan. Although it does not exactly qualify as a street shop, it is galaxies away from the shopping malls and big brand stores. Here you will mainly find the beautiful handicrafts on display. Small things like a table cloth with Rajasthani design, or a coaster with Bandhni, and other simple things like that. You might as well find some scarves and the more traditional dupattas here, or a few of the famous Rajasthani pagris. This is more of a souvenir shop, and they try to brinf to the national market, if not the world market, the small scale handicraft products of Rajasthan.
Manak Chawk, Jaisalmer
If you are looking for antiques in Jaisalmer, then Manak Chawk is the place you should be. You will find some authentic antiques in the small but cozy shops here, and at great prices. Other than antiques, you will also find a number of good leather items, made mostly from camel leather or camel skin. You will find beautiful Rajasthani touch in all the leather items. Besides that, there are always shops of handicrafts and textiles in almost all the markets in Rajasthan. Here, amongst other handicrafts, you will find small purses with authentic Rajasthani design imprinted on them.
Pansari Bazaar, Jaisalmer
This is the oldest market in all of Rajasthan, and a great place to get in touch with the real Rajasthan. This is where you will find the true street shops, items hanging from the wall, the seller sitting on a stool on the road. In this market, you can get hold of a lot of small items, like those beautiful Rajasthani dolls that they make. You can interact with the shopkeepers and try and understand their daily life. The warmth and hospitality of this place, to tourists and locals alike, will mesmerize you. Make sure you pick up some ethnic item from this market, as a memorabilia of your visit to Rajasthan.
Hathi Pol Bazaar, Udaipur
When you are in the Lake City of Udaipur, make sure you visit the Haathi Pol Bazaar. This is the one market dedicated completely to art in Rajasthan. The specialty here is the miniature paintings. You will find all kind of paintings in the market, but the Pochwai and Phad miniature paintings have glamour of their own. Everything in Rajasthan reflects the desert life, and most commonly you will find the desert life to be the subject of these paintings. The camel paintings stand out from the rest, and also those of kings and their men travelling on camel backs across the desert.
Bada Bazaar, Udaipur
Here you will find big shopping malls and street side shops coexist peacefully. However, the crowd, especially the tourists, seems to be more attracted towards the street side shops. You can find shopping malls in almost all parts of the world, but the wonderful leather items like shoes, bags, diaries etc on display in the footpaths and walls in the street side shop is something unique to this part of the world. Here you will find street side jewelry shops give the big shops a run for their money. Make sure to check out the fantastic bandhni fabric work indigenous to Rajasthan while you are there.
Chetak Circle, Udaipur
In Rajasthan, there is still a tradition of having doll theatre. They use dolls made of cloth, and make them dance and move with strings controlled by hand, and make a play out of it. These dolls will always catch your eye. While in Chetak Circle, you will find many such knick knacks, including these Rajasthani handmade dolls, on the street shops. There is also a government run emporium, where you can check out the handicrafts on sell. You will find authentic items at reasonable prices here.
Lake Palace Road, Udaipu
As soon as you set foot in this road, you will notice all the textiles and carpets and rugs hanging from the roofs of the houses on both sides of the street. That is the beauty of street shops. Embroidered textiles and souvenir shops are the specialty of this place. Also, you will find a number of wooden statues here. These wooden statues are hand carved, and have perfection in their finishing. More often than not, these statues are of people or things from daily Rajasthani lives, so they serve as great memorabilia as well.
Clock Tower Market, Jodhpur
The market area near the Clock Tower or Ghanta Ghar in Jodhpur is unique for its variety f spices. Most people living outside India associate Indian food with an excessive use of spices, and you will find most of the spices in this market. The all time favorite is the Mathaniya’s red chili, which you get exclusively in this market. Along with that, you will get a variety of other spices and a collection of flavored teas as well. While you are there, do not forget to try out the Shahi Samosa, he Makhanai Lassi and some of the tea. They are the best in the world. You can also find a number of antiques, textiles and embroidered artifacts in the market as well.
Nai Sarak, Jodhpur
The name translates to new Street. However, most of the things that you can buy from this street market are traditional Rajasthani. Like any other market in Rajasthan, this place sells Bandhej or Bandhni fabric which is also known as tie and dye fabric. You can get traditional Rajasthani sarees, suits and turbans made from this fabric. Also, you might find a number of good food places serving trasitional Rajasthani dishes.
Sojati Gate Market, Jodhpur
This is undoubtedly the busiest market in Jodhpur. Most of the things that you can find in this market are common to other markets as well, like fabrics, textiles, jewelry, handicrafts etc. however, If you have ever been to any traditional Indian wedding, you would have noticed the beautiful designs made on all the women’s hands. This is henna work, and you can get it done in the Sojati gate market. Morning woyld be a good time to visit, because you can have a traditional Rajasthani lunch as well.
Mochi Bazaar, Jodhpur
The name translates to shoemaker’s market. So you should have understood by now that this is the best place to buy all the different Rajasthani jootis that you can see pictures of in the Internet. You can find jootis made from camel leather, with bright colors and intricate mirror work. Besides the jootis, you might also find some great junk jewelry here, in contrast to all the gold, silver and precious stone jewelry in other parts of the state.
So by now you should have understood that no matter which part of Rajasthan you are in, you will always find a good opportunity to street shop.