I said I would do one last post about the wonderful shopping experience in Rajasthan, but as I look back at my photos, I would like to keep on talking about India forever! So before I get you bored, here’s my Best Of…
In JAIPUR: see earlier post
In UDAIPUR: the shop of the City Palace (which you will inevitably visit) belongs to the daughter of the Maharadjah. She works with local craftsmen to re-edit pieces that were in the Palace (the family still lives in half of it). Some nice gifts to pick up there, such as reproductions from the painter Ajay Singh Peelwa. The shop of our wonderful hotel, Devi Gargh was supposed to be amazing. But each time I went it was closed. A bit frustrating…
In JODHPUR: This is where the serious shopping started..
At Lalji first, a “cavern of Ali Baba Indian-style”. Piles and piles of quality stuff that you’d find at 10times the price in the western world. I got a beautiful lassi glass made of brass, which is now a pretty vase at home. Tel: 0291 51 0887. Located at the foot of Umaid Bhawan. Everyone will know it.
Then onto the Tower Clock market and nearby, Bibaji Churi Wale (Thank you Love Jaipur for the secret address!!! Even our guide was surprised to discover it. Make sure to call as it’s hard to find 0291 261 2504 / [email protected]). It’s a 100 years old family store that specialises in glass bangles. And also non glass, a wonderful gift for the little girls. Finally, Maharani Art Exporters was our last stop, we spent a few hours being shown all sorts of beautiful textiles. They pride themselves in saying that Hermes, Kenzo, Etro, Donna Karan etc. use them for weaving special patterns. I believed them. Tel: 0291 325 5943.
In JAISALMER: it was so magic to finish off our itinerary in this desert city, and to stay within the fortress. I found some really beautiful tribal / wedding / old jewelry at Jewel’s Haveli on Chandi Para (0941 449 3196 [email protected]).
Then onto Krishna’s Antique Gallery inside the fortress with his impressive old textile collections. He is very knowleadgeable and it’s fascinating to listen to the stories of each piece. And last but not least was the government-owned shop called Zila Khadi Gramoday Parishad (02992 252 297). Nothing there costed more than Rps1,500 ie. about US$30 and literally I could have bought the whole shop: carpets, blankets, shawls.. Beautiful weaving works, everything handmade by locally supported craftsmen and women. I wish there had been more of those community-driven shops throughout Rajasthan.
But the best purchase of all, I got it in the streets of Jaisalmer, for my little Amalya. Back home now, I feel ashamed that I bargained it down from Rps250 to Rps140. It’s a very sweet puppet, one side a princess (we call her Princess Jayanti) and when you turn it upside down, it’s a young man with a moustache (we now call him Raju).
Here’s a little demo:
Remember, I was proud to leave for India with only 10kg in my suitcase? Well, that even included a spare bag which I am so glad I brought along.