Whenever I travel, I like to bring back something that will remind me of the place. You have to balance getting something that is not only representative of the place, not too cliche, something that is actually made in the place, and is a reasonable price. So, I wanted to share three places in India that are great places to shop for souvenirs complete with some tips and tricks.
1. Dilli Haat
Dilli Haat is an open-air permanent market in South Delhi where you can buy crafts and souvenirs that are representative of India and are made by Indian craftsman. Dilli Hatt isn't an actual bazaar where the locals go to shop - it is a tourist spot, and you do have to pay (20 rupees for an adult and 10 rupees for children) and go through a security check to get in. But once you are inside, you are free to check out all 62 stalls which are rented by craftsmen for one to fifteen days which means that there will always be something new. You can buy everything from purses to shoes to jewelry here. And feel free to bargain and don't buy the first thing you see. Some shops have similar looking items so walk around and look for the best deal! Dilli Haat also has a food court ( I didn't go there, so I can't tell you if it's safe for non-Indian stomachs!) and a stage for performances. It's a good place to get an introduction to India.
|Dilli Haat's stores and village-esque designs|
|The food court in Dilli Haat|
|One of the many jewelry stalls in Dilli Haat|
2. Janpath Market
If the idea of paying to get into a bazaar doesn't appeal to you, you can always go to Janpath. Janpath can be considered a "real market" - it's a road of shops and walking vendors who display their wares on the ground. You can find many of the things you would find in Dilli Haat among other things. And just as I said with Dilli Haat, don't buy the first thing you see. If you walk a couple of feet down the road, you will find someone selling something similar. And don't be afraid to bargain. A quick tip: Get an idea of the range of prices that the item is selling for. Ask for a deal, go back and forth with the vendor (usually the vendor won't come down to your price) and then walk away. Most of the time, when the vendor realizes you aren't that desperate for the item (even if you are!) they will quickly come down to your price. That is because they know you can find something similar. However, it is important to remember that the quality can't always be confirmed and promised.
|This photo was taken at Dilli Haat, but you can find these marble boxes at Janpath as well!|
|These marble items can be found in many markets|
3. Government Emporium
While it may be hard to verify the authenticity of items you buy in markets, government Emporiums are government owned which means you can be more confident about the quality of the crafts you buy. This, however, does have some downsides. You can't bargain and the items tend to be pricey. I myself have only been to one Emporium - the Cottage Emporium that was across Janpath Market and didn't buy anything. Still, I think it's worth a visit because it was like visiting an art museum. You can peruse through all of the floors and get a glimpse of all the variety of Indian crafts in one place. If you do end up going, I recommend hanging out where there are figures made out of sandalwood - the smell is heavenly and artistry is amazing.
Have you been to New Delhi? What places would you recommend?