Indian crafts have been perfected over the centuries, from traditions and techniques passed on from generation to generation. Each region has its own specialities, each town its own local craftspeople and its own particular skills. Silks, spices, jewellery and many other Indian products have long been acclaimed and are widely sought after; merchants would travel thousands of miles, enduring the hardships and privations of the long journey, in order to make their purchases. For fabrics, silverware, carpets, leatherwork and antiques, India is a shopper's paradise. Bargaining is expected, and the visitor can check for reasonable prices at state-run emporia. Fabrics: One of India's main industries is textiles; its silks, cottons, and wools rank amongst the best in the world. Of the silks, the brocades from Varanasi are among the most famous; other major centres include Patna, Murshidabad, Kanchipuram and Surat. Rajasthan cotton with its distinctive 'tie and dye' design is usually brilliantly colourful, while Chennai cotton is known for its attractive 'bleeding' effect after a few washes. Throughout the country may be found the himroo cloth, a mixture of silk and cotton, often decorated with patterns. Kashmir sells beautiful woollens, particularly shawls. Carpets: India has one of the world's largest carpet industries, and many examples of this ancient and beautiful craft can be seen in museums throughout the world. Each region will have its own speciality; one such are the distinctive, brightly coloured Tibetan rugs, available mainly in Darjeeling. Clothes: Clothes are cheap, and can be quickly tailor-made in some shops. Cloth includes silks, cottons, himroos, brocades, chiffons and chingnons. Jewellery: This is traditionally heavy and elaborate. Indian silverwork is world-famous. Gems include diamonds, lapis lazuli, Indian star rubies, star sapphires, moonstones and aquamarines. Hyderabad is a leading pearl centre. Handicrafts and leatherwork
Each area has its speciality; the range includes bronzes, brasswork (often inlaid with silver), canework and pottery. Woven rugs and papier mâché (some decorated in gold leaf) are a characteristic Kashmir product. Inlaid marble and alabaster are specialities of Agra. Rajasthan is known for its colourful fabrics and silks. Leatherwork includes open Indian sandals and slippers. Woodwork: Sandalwood carvings from Karnataka, rosewood from Kerala and Chennai. Other goods: Pickles, spices, Indian tea, perfumes, soap, handmade paper, Orissan playing cards and musical instruments.
Mon-Sat 0930-1800 in most large stores.
There is a veto on the export of antiques, art objects over 100 years old, animal skins and objects made from skins.