A trip to India had been something I'd wanted to go on forever, and so when I finally all came together, I could not have been more excited! And now that I'm back home my trip was one of my highlights of 2013. Now as a confessed shopaholic I have to say I was more than a little excited at the prospect of all the shopping there was to be done in each of eight cities I visited, but I can quite honestly say that the sights I've seen along the way have been breathtaking from seeing the Taj Mahal, the Gate of India, the stunning royal palaces in Jaipur to the beautiful Golden Temple in Amritsar has been amazing!
But lets get back to the important point: the shopping! Now, by no means do I think it is unreasonable to go to India with two suitcases and come back with five... All I can say is, and very proudly I might add that I did not go over my baggage allowance, I may or may not have come very close to being over though! But quite honestly who can blame me!! India is infamous for its shopping and all I can say is that it did not disappoint. The thing that India offers for Indian wear that the UK here does not is variety!! I'm a very decisive but picky shopper and for me India was shopping heaven and I'm here to pass on my need to know tips for shopping in India, I covered some India's best and hottest shopping destinations from Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh to Mumbai, and quite frankly if you've never been to India for shopping then hopefully my tips will help because it can be a daunting prospect covering this vast country!
You'll find this chain store in every major city in India and is your go to shop for great quality Indian outfits. They have some unique designs but are also great for finding your wardrobe staple casual suits. They cover everything from casual and fancy unmade suit material, to dressy and casual anarkalis, churidars and kurta suits and lehengas. They also do some really great kurta's that look super chilled with a great pair of skinny jeans. They have a great range and price wise are super reasonable. Designer Rohit Bal recently teamed up with BIBA, in the way H&M have launched collections with Lanvin, Marni and more recently Isabel Marant and released a limited edition selection of dresses, I was lucky to find a beauty of a piece that now hangs proudly in my wardrobe! BIBA is a definite must visit!
In the heart of Punjab, Ludhiana's Chaura Bazar is a must see, you'll have to brave the crowds and the madness of the markets but it is honestly worth it! You'll find everything from great punjabi shoes (muja's), bangles, and of course Indian suits. This market is HUGE, so make sure to allot enough time here, but its a great local market. The stores are more typical of a bazaar store, so you'll have to know what type and style of suit you like but they have everything from really unusual unsthiched to material, to ready made anarkalis. I picked up both a lot of great material sets that could be into either salwar suits or churidar suits and a few really great ready made anarkalis that were both casual and dressy! You'll have to be prepared to see a lot and the sales advisors are great, they are willing to stay with you for ages until you find the pieces you love, but you will have to be firm when you know that you've found all the pieces you want! Be prepared to barter too, they will move on the price so haggle, haggle, haggle!
By far one my favourite cities I visited. Chandigarh is very different city from most in India and is definitely worth a visit, it runs of a sector system so its easy to get around and find places. I will definitely be returning to Chandiagrh for shopping, it has a selection of really unique pieces, so if your like me, someone who loves more traditional types of work and likes eclectic pieces then Chandiagrh is right up your street. There are a lot of places to shop here in Chadigarh but there is a really great outdoor market in SCO 6 - Sector-17. Here you'll find a selection of both western and Indian wear stores such as Nike, Levis and French Connection. I picked up a few treasures here, and designs are a little unique, you'll find smock shape anarkalis, gota patti encrusted suits, anarkalis, lehengas and salwar suits. The shops are also really organised so its easy to see the selection they have, if your like me, you know what you like so it was easier for me to wander around the stores and choose what I like, the shop owners are super friendly and don't mind allowing you to rummage through their pieces!
Arguably India's fashion capital, was the place to go especially for Indian Designer wear! Delhi's hustle and bustle was really all it was made out to be, but it was amazing! DLF Emporio is the place to go for Indian and Western Designer wear, you'll find designers like Satya Paul, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Arora, Rohit Bal, Gurav Gupta, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci and many, many more! You could spend hours here wandering through store after store and the amount of outfits I fell in love with were endless, and if your looking something really special, if your a bride to be, or attending a close wedding and looking for something one of a kind then head to this mall, the hard task will be narrowing down what to buy!
Khan Market is also a must see, this place is a real mixture of stores, from house decor, to jewellery stores and electronic stores. I found some really great jewellery pieces from here. There are a ton of different types of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and bangles to be found for a real bargain!
In my opinion this is the best place to visit in Delhi for more 'high street indian fashion', you'll find dozens upon dozens of Indian wear stores packed with gorgeous pieces, so make sure you allow enough time to get around the whole market. Karol Bagh is also the more accessible of markets in Delhi, and as a visitor to Delhi, the legendary Chandni Chowk in comparison can seem a little daunghting!
Now this famous market lies in the heart of Old Delhi and as previously mentioned also harder to get around especially if you've never been before and if your not a local! But I will say this, it is certainly worth the madness! Chandni Chowk has everything from, haberdasheries, to clothing stalls that you MUST venture into, they really do have some fabulous pieces, to jewellery and hair accessory stalls where you'll find beautiful Pranthi's and shoes stalls. I would recommend either tagging along with someone who knows this market well as its is huge and having someone who knows the in and outs of the market will be invaluable!
Rajasthan's capital city is not only an essential stop for shopping but the city's beautiful architecture is breathtaking, sight's such as the City Palace and the Pink City are must see's! Jaipur is famous for its shopping and especially if your bride to be, I would definitely recommend shopping here. Rajasthan is in my opinion most famous for two things:1) Jewellery: its traditional Jewellery is infamous and its here you'll get the best variety to choose from 2) Gota Patti: if you love Gota, then you'll love Jaipur. I am a huge fan of Gota work and there is a fine line between this work looking tacky and looking stunning, here in Jaipur you will only find it looking the latter. For artificial jewellery, Johri Bazar in the Pink City is the place to go, you'll find everything from bangles, earrings and necklaces here, and quite frankly the hard thing is knowing when to stop shopping! For Indian suits, Bappu Bazar in the Pink City, is the place to go, you'll get a really good deals so haggle away. Saraogi Mansion is also a great shopping centre that has a lot of incredible selection so there's a lot of ground to cover!
Designers like Nidhi Tohlia, Anita Dongre and Amrapali have their headquarters in this beautiful city, and its no wonder, their pieces epitomise the very best of Rajasthan craftsmanship and style. These designers are definitely worth a visit especially if your a bride to be, you will absolutely fall in love with these pieces, especially Anita Dongre who recently launched her Jaipur Bridal Collection.
Mumbai is like Delhi, there really is a great mixture of Designer and 'high-street' indian wear pieces here, so theres a lot of variety to be found! Designers like Sabyasachi and Sheila Khan are some of the designers on offer here and are even great places to do a bit of window shopping! In Colaba, you'll find the very best trinkets and accessories, the market is vast and has lots to offer from souvenirs to accessories. There is a lot of places to check out in this busy city so ensure you allow enough time to see it all!