A spree of crazy shopping in Rajasthan

Hello! This is a story of a crazy shopping in Rajasthan. I am Neha (Abhishek insists that I declare it explicitly that he has nothing to do with all that I am describing in this post, and if it were possible for him, he would prevent me from doing anything either 🙂 )

Shopping in Rajasthan
A roadside shop in Rajasthan

Having said that, let me start my story. But before that, this disclaimer: no, I am not a shopaholic, I am quiet frugal when it comes to shopping. And, I feel I am minimalist in the making. However, when on my recent trip to Rajasthan, I couldn’t help splurge in shopping. (Actually, tell you a secret, I knew before hand about all the nice things we get here. Actually, myself and the friend who accompanied me in this trip, had secretly planned our shopping affairs much before the trip materialized!! However, don’t tell Abhishek, Ok?).

So, it was not an indulgence at a spree. But rather calculated and researched shopping. As we checked our options and searched online before heading for the trip, to have a good idea about the deals to expect and the kind of bargain to do. So, you see..it was intelligent shopping. And, I decided to pen it down to help fellow frugal shoppers to benefit from my experience.

I love everything about Rajasthan

However, I have an inherent love for everything about Rajasthan. Be it the romantic forts and palaces, the splash of colors that we see everywhere, the music, the bangles, the fabrics, the sweets and namkeen snacks, the vegetarian thali, the cuisines, the paintings and …… Well, I can go non-stop. So, let me take a pause here. Before heading to Rajasthan, me and my friend had made a rough list of what all we wanted to buy. And this list was to indulge as well as restrict myself at the same time.

This is what we planned for Shopping in Rajasthan

  1. Famous Lac Bangles of Rajasthan
  2. Dress materials & dresses, sarees
  3. Rajasthani print bedsheets
  4. Handmade Paintings
  5. Silver jewelry
  6. Mojri for the little one
  7. Hand Painted photo frames
  8. Some small wooden art pieces (as gift for the loved ones)
  9. Jaipuri Rug
  10. Jaipuri Razai (Blanket)

How did we go about the shopping in Rajasthan?

Our Shopping spree in Jaipur while shopping in Rajasthan

Actually, we wanted to start right away as we landed in Jaipur. But, we were forced to hold ourselves as we arrived here on Saturday night. And then we learnt that most of the shops are closed here on Sunday. So, we didn’t do any shopping for the first two days.

Government emporium at Amer fort for shopping in Rajasthan

Finally, on the third day of our stay, while on our way back from Amer fort, we stopped at a government established shopping emporium. Since, the prices here are reasonable for Jaipur Razai (Special quilt made with cotton-wool , very lightweight and washable). So, we bought a double and a single Jaipur razai here. Also, we bought 3 unstiched salwar kurta (ethenic Indian wear) dress materials amongst us. But the prices are steep for these. However, material looked good. Oh..forgot to metion..In the premises of Amer fort, we had bought some oxidized silver earrning from a vendor sitting near the exit, they were priced at ~INR 30 each.

Government emporium at Jaigarh fort for shopping in Rajasthan

Then, in the evening, we went to Jaigarh fort. And just at the entrance of the fort is another government emporium which has all kind of souvenirs that one can think of buying from Rajasthan. Here, my parents liked couple of sarees. And I bought some small gift items for friend and family. While my friend bought some lac bangles with intricate work on them.

However, beware, the people here are great salesmen. As you start heading out of the shop, they would politely request you to come back and have a look at the section you haven’t seen. As you step back in, you are sure to like something more and you end up buying more than you intended 🙂 . And the same happened with me. For instance, when I was about to head out of the shop, I was pulled back in to look at some paintings and how these paintings are done. And eventually, I couldn’t resist buying one!

Rajasthali and Local Markets for shopping in Rajasthan

Finally, on our last day in Jaipur, myself and friend decided to head out and explore the markets while our family chose to stay back and take rest while we shopped. So, we did our homework before heading out, looking at online resources and reviews. Finally, our conclusion was to first head to Rajasthali and then explore the street markets at Nehru and Bapu bazar which were at walking distance from Rajasthali. We liked the collection at Rajasthali and bought some handlooms and textiles before hitting the street market. However, we were warned by the sales people at Rajasthali, of the kind of scams that we might end up in, while shopping in these markets.

The same warnings were repeated at the first shop at the entrance of the bazars. So, we decided to be more careful, and on the shopkeeper’s recommendation, headed to one of the shops in Nehru bazar. However, we bought only a few dress material here. And, we rather decided to enjoy our street shopping through some inexpensive purchases like Bandhej and Lahariya dupattas from road side vendors, a few cushion covers etc. but nothing expensive. Finally, by the time we headed back, we had a good big bag full of things we shopped for. You should have seen the expression at the face of our family as we reached back with our bundles of bags 🙂 (Little did they knew it was just the beginning)

Key take away from our shopping in Jaipur

  1. 90% of the shops are closed on Sunday, so, plan accordingly.
  2. There is only one authentic (government backed) Rajasthali Store which is on MI road. It has a nice and authentic collection of quality products.
  3. Bapu Bazar and other major local markets are full of cheats, be careful.
  4. Razai shops are abundant, and quality good is available
  5. Udaipur is better for textile shopping.
  6. Head to government backed shopping emporiums for authentic products, however, the prices here would be more than the regular shops.
  7. If you have a local friend, I would recommend to take them along, or, at least talk to them and get an idea of how to proceed and where to shop.
  8. Bargaining skills are a must at the local markets.

Our Shopping spree in Udaipur

We were next heading to Udaipur, and then heading back to Jaipur to catch our return flight. In lieu of keeping our luggage light, we decided to leave our shopping packed in a bag at our relative’s place.

Shilpgram for shopping in Rajasthan
Shilpgram 3
Lac Bangles prepared at the shop

Now, the first day we landed in Udaipur we visited Shilpgram. It is a place where artisans setup their own markets. As a result, the items you get here are all hand made (in fact, most of them like lac bangles, woven cloths and pottery you can see being made right there in the shop). And, the prices are also reasonable because here you buy directly from the artisans (when the same products reach stores, the prices add up). As we interacted with the artists, we found each one of them highly talented in what they were doing. And we were impressed by their work. So, just as an encouragement to them, we couldn’t resist from picking something from almost all the shops 😀

So, this way, we finally bought a beautiful bed cover, some bedsheets, some beautifully made and very reasonably priced lac bangles, mojri shoes for our little one, leheria saree for my friend, a dress material for my mom and shirts for my brother and Abhishek. Again our bags were full post this shopping. (To be noted : it was the full family shopping this time, not just the two of us). There was no more shopping for the next couple of days.

City Palace emporium for shopping in Rajasthan

On the last day of our stay in Udaipur, we headed to City palace, Jagadish temple, lake Pichola etc. Our guide advised us to just have a look at the items in the government emporium in city palace complex, before we exited. We took his advice and headed to the shop. We saw some interesting sarees here – those made organically with fabric driven from bamboo and custard apple trees. The prints are beautiful and the pieces look unique. My mom bought one and my friend bought a couple for her mom. Note: these sarees are purely organic, completely recyclable. As a result, the shop has an offer wherein you can return them after however long duration of use, in whatever condition they are, and you get 50-75% of the purchase price refunded.

Hathipol for shopping in Rajasthan

Once out of the city palace, we did some street shopping buying a pair of trousers and some kurta at dirt cheap prices. Post this, we headed to hathipol market as my friend wanted to buy some specific crepe bandhej saree. We were awestuck by the textile shops in Hathipol. We headed to a Bandhani emporium, a small shop, full of colorful bandhej. My friend got exactly what she was looking for and we ended up buying a few more unstiched dress materials. We realized now, we had shopped way too much to be able to accommodate it all in our trolleys. We then headed to a nearby shop and bought 2 jute bags that were being stitched there by the shopkeeper. We dumped our shopping in these bags and headed back happily.

Key take away from our shopping in Udaipur

  1. Shilpgram is a good shopping option, the contribution goes directly to artisans.
  2. Hathipol market is great for textile shopping.
  3. Save the bandhej marketing for Udaipur, in case you are heading to Jaipur first and Udaipur afterwards.
  4. Overall Udaipur markets are cheaper than Jaipur for the same quality of good.
  5. In Udaipur, we got to buy some pure organic sarees made of thread driven from bamboo and custard apple trees.

At the end of our Shopping in Rajasthan

Overall, this is what we ended up with at the end of our shopping in Rajasthan
(Putting the price ranges for your reference)

  1. Unstitched dress materials (Price range: INR 500-5500, decent ones came at INR 500-650, few better ones at INR 1200-1400 and one super special piece that my friend took at the higher end of the price range)
  2. Block printed bedsheets made from vegetable dyes (INR 600-1200)
  3. Crepe Bandhej Sarees (INR 1400-3500)
  4. Organic Sarees (INR 2200-2500)
  5. Mojri for the little one (INR 100-200)
  6. Dupattas, pyjamas, kurtas from street shops (INR 100-250)
  7. Lehenga choli for little one and my niece (INR 200-400)
  8. Bed covers for single and double bed done with Katha stitch (INR 1400-2000)
  9. Cushion covers and divan sets in block print and Katha stitch (INR 100-500)
  10.  Pitchwai and miniature paintings on cloth and canvas (starting INR 250 )
  11. Lac bangles (Starting INR 150 for a set)
  12. Jaipur Razai / quilt (Starting INR 650)
  13. Oxidized silver earrings (3 for INR 100)

Final Packing

We accommodated it all in the trolleys that we had carried from home as a part of our luggage, plus two additional bags that we ended up buying in Udaipur. After our final packing , we were feeling so satisfied . The evening before heading back home, we were talking about our happy and healthy shopping indulgence. This is where I realized that my friend had no idea how much she had spent so far. I made her count her shopping expenses and immediately felt guilty for doing it, looking at the grim expression at her face.

Nevertheless, the guilt that we felt lasted only for a while. Soon, it was taken over by the anticipation of the additional weight of our newly added luggage. We were wondering whether we would exceed the luggage weightage limit at our domestic flight (which is 15kg per person at the time of writing this). If we exceed the limit, we end up paying way too much extra in fine, which is going to more than nullify the motive of our cost effective shopping in Rajasthan 😀 .

Shilpgram 7
Shop with tie dye fabrics in display

And finally at the baggage counter

We were holding our breathe at the baggage check-in counter as our luggage were loaded one by one at the belt. Unlike Bangalore, where we are able to see the weight of our luggage as we load them on the belt, we were not seeing anything here, which made the situation even more mysterious. However, at the end, the pretty woman behind the counters turned to us with a smile, and remarked “that’s it. Or you have any more luggage” .

We thought for a couple of moments it was a sarcastic remark at the volume of our luggage. But, to our surprise, one by one the baggage moved on the belt and disappeared behind the counter, without us having to pay anything extra. 😀 We were thrilled with joy (and secretly thinking, if only we knew, we would have shopped little more 😛 ) However, the weight of our luggage will remain a mistry to us for the rest of our life…

If you see the list of things that we wanted to buy and that we ended up buying, there is some difference. We are planning to make up for this on our next trip to Rajasthan, whenever it happens. And, we will then buy the things that we couldn’t due to lack of time and space and definitely write about the experience once more. But, it’s got to be authentic Rajasthani souvenirs that I am bent upon collecting.

Shopping in Rajastha

You might as well be interested in

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Sahelion ki Bari, Udaipur

City Palance, Udaipur

Shilpgram: Must visit in Udaipur

A day trip to Chittorgarh fort from Udaipur

A day trip to Kumbhalgarh fort from Udaipur

The magnificent Jain Temple of Ranakpur

How best to spend 4 days in Udaipur – itinerary 

3 days Jaipur Itinerary

An evening at Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur

The unconquored fort of Nahargarh, Jaipur

One day trip to Amer fort, Jaipur

10 must do when in Rajasthan

Hotel Ram Pratap Palace, Udaipur

Bagore ki Haveli Museum, Udaipur

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115 Responses

  1. I am new in Jaipur I really love Rajasthani prints,where I get the best Rajasthani prints this blog really useful for me as well as for those who are new in Jaipur. Thanks for sharing your experiences .

    • Thanks Scarlett. As I said, I am crazy about Rajasthani things. I am excited to soon embark on another trip there…stay tuned for more stories

  2. […] On this trip, we visited the Amer fort, Nahargarh fort and Jaigarh fort on the first day in Jaipur. We also visited Hawa Mahal, Jaipur Palace and Jantar Mantar. Finally, we got to visit Chokhi Dhani – an experience to remember. In Udaipur, we stayed at the beautiful Ram Pratap Palace hotel and dined under the stars in it’s beautiful restaurant Raj Bagh. We took day trips to Kumbhalgarh fort , Jain temple Rakankpur and Chittorgarh fort from Udaipur. In the city itself we visited the Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Bagore ki Haveli , Sahelion ki Bari, Shilpgram and many other sites. Finally, Neha concluded this trip with a crazy shopping spree. […]

  3. You have so many wonderful tips here on where to buy which and that stuff. My friend’s boyfriend just came back from India and he had with him tons of souvenirs such as jewelry, fabric, etc. and they all looked amazing. I particularly loved the fabric, I love the color and the bead work. So when I went to Rajasthan I’d probably go crazing shopping for fabric.

  4. Those bracelets and fabrics are gorgeous. I know I’d be fighting against minimalism if I shopped somewhere like this, haha.

  5. Local markets are the best places to shop I think. I’m always afraid to haggle though, need to bolster my skills! Any tips?

    • Even I suck at bargaining. So, I am trying my hands on by observing fellow customers and learning a bit from them. Some are quiet good at it naturally..

  6. Adding to your list….Lamps from Udaipur and Jodhpuri jootis and the white metal artifacts from Jaipur….Gosh! This is such a shopping paradise. 🙂

  7. Look at all the beautiful textiles. I love perusing through the markets and vendors to snag some great finds. I don’t usually go shopping on my travels, but I would love to pick up a thing or two here!

    • Sounds like you are good at bargaining. You will have lots of fun here in Rajasthan

  8. So many bright vibrant colours! I couldn’t resist but bringing back so much. I too would have held my breath at the check in counter

  9. It looks like there is so much to explore in this market! I could spend hours exploring here.

  10. I want to go on a shopping spree like this! Everything looks so colorful. I’ve always wanted to buy a saree 🙂

    • Then I got some good news for you. You can shop as much as you want without having to worry about your luggage here because these shops even courier the products to your address in case you don’t want to handle the extra baggage 🙂 so have a happy shopping spree when you get a chance to visit here

  11. Wow it sounds like you got a bunch of really cool stuff! I would love to visit Rajasthan and do some shopping as well. I better make sure I take enough shopping money. 🙂

  12. Those fabrics are gorgeous! I would go crazy shopping there, too.

  13. Neha, I just loved your post. It actually reminded me of my shopping spree in Rajasthan 🙂 I had checked out most of your listed places for shopping. But haven’t checked Hathipole. I came back bankrupt 😀

    • O..really!! Glad to know someone out there has gone as crazy shopping in Rajasthan as we had. And thanks so much for the appreciation of the post

  14. Brown Gal Trekker

    Wow- I never knew shopping can be so hectic and full of information. I hardly shop on my travels. But every girl has been guilty of splurging whether at home or on travels…so we ought to forgive ourselves & move on 🙂

  15. I am planning to visit Rajasthan in the future so I’d love to read more about Rajasthan from you! I’ll definitely keep this post in mind when I travel there. I like Indian bracelets. They are so pretty!

  16. I’m not a big shopper, whether in my day to day life or on my travels, but this look like a fun experience. I can just picture how colorful all the stands must have been. Good job getting everything packed up and under the weight limit for your trip back 🙂

    • Thanks Diana.. i still am not able to believe everything was really within the limit!!

  17. Interesting post on Rajasthan, Neha. I love shopping, so I bet I’d have a blast in those markets.

    • I wish you all the very best and I will wait to hear about your experience when you go for it

  18. You are a very controlled shopper 🙂 I would have splurged on those bangles… love them beyond words.
    Very well presented. Do commenters get any take away souvenir from here? 😉

    • Thank you so much Indrani. I wish I could give away the souvenirs to commenters, I would be happy to 🙂

  19. Thanks for the tips about Babu Bazar. Getting cheated is worse than straightforward stealing. At least the pick pocket doesn’t pretend that he’s doing you a favour.

  20. Oh wow the colors are so beautiful. The bangles especially. I wish we could see the Saris I think they’re so gorgeous.

  21. natalietanner

    Sooo much color! How in the world do you ever choose? I would have trouble not buying one of each – especially the bangles. They are small so you can fit a lot in your bag!! I think they would make fantastic gifts to those back home, too!

  22. Ahaha wow you did a lot of shopping! Good thing it all fit in one peice without going overweight! I love all the colors of your stuff, so beautiful

  23. That was a lot! Are you planning to give them as gifts to your friends and family? I like to do bulk shopping from time to time because it saves you time and money. The store owners here in the Philippines would prefer to give you a discount if you’d buy big quantities of their products. I love that you had a shopping buddy which made your experience more enjoyable.

    • Yes, indeed. We picked souvenirs and did shopping for friends and family as much as we did for ourselves. And it is always a pleasure to have a shopping buddy

  24. Wow!

    What an excursion.

    I think I must be lucky Sarah is not as much of a shop-a-holic (or perhaps she keeps it a secret) 😉

    • Hmmm… I bet there is a secret you haven’t discovered yet. Or else, take her once to Rajasthan and test 🙂

  25. This is such a thorough guide! I don’t blame you for going a little wild there. I’ve heard of many frugal shoppers losing it in Rajasthan! Thanks for all the info 🙂

    • Thank you so much Kate.. there you go.. girl to girl. you can understand it so well

  26. Shopping in Rajasthan is always a good idea! You can get such colorful and vibrant stuff. Specially the bangles and those pretty fabrics. One should always try the authentic food whenever there.

  27. I’m glad I read this post. I liked the tips you set out for each shopping district. Sometimes we make mistakes and we learn things along the way. I really love to dress in the traditional clothing of the countries I visit. Good tip about the sarees of Rajasthan. I like how eco friendly and beautifully patterned they are!

    • Thanks Gina. Hope the post will help many since Rajasthan is a place where everyone indulges into shopping

  28. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself, right! Thanks for the very detailed article. Great to know where the cheats are and where the good quality items can be found.

  29. Jenni Petrey

    Looks like you had a great shopping spree, I’d love to go material shopping in India. Their fabrics are just gorgeous.

    • You are right..if ever I have to move out of India I am going to miss the fabric and the food so badly

  30. very good and detailed article! I love how you show what you bought and how much you spent for everything.

  31. Haha all those markets look irresistible so I can’t blame you for going on a little shopping spree!! I think we all need to treat ourselves once in a while 😉

  32. Yes to shopping every day of the week! No trip is complete without bringing a little something (or in your case a lot of somethings lol) home. Love that even though you planned it you still had to buy two extra bags. You are a woman after my own heart

  33. I’m not a shopper as in traditional shopping. But I love these types of markets and stalls. More for the window shopping and checking things out aspect vs a consumer.

  34. This is such good, in depth information! Thank you for this. And I don’t blame you for all the shopping — I want all the bangles!!

  35. I would so love to shop everything that you shopped. Seems like really a cool place for shopping. Thanks for sharing this.

  36. Wow – what vibrant markets! Great to know that government-backed shopping emporiums offer authentic products, and Shilpgram definitely sounds like my type of place to support local artists and products!

  37. That’s quite a bit of shopping. Rajasthan is known for its goods and everything is so colourful that I don’t blame you for going overboard with it. Don’t worry about your husbands, as my wife says “what else are husbands for” and spend some more LOL!

    • Ha ha .. your wife is so right. And tell her my secret – when it comes to husbands , its best to leave them at home / hotel and only ask their wallet to accompany you when shopping 🙂

  38. Melissa - Parenthood and Passports

    The bangles are beautiful! I would have surely purchased a few of them! I am not much of a bargainer so shopping anywhere that I have to negotiate a price stresses me out. Thanks for all of the great tips!

    • Then you can stick to the government authorized shops .. fixed rate, no bargaining , no hassle

  39. I’m not much of a shopper, but this looks like a fun place to do it. I love all the colors. I could picture this as a great trip even if you didn’t buy anything.

    • Indeed, you cut off the shopping and you have my husband’s version of the trip 😀 and he too enjoyed a lot

  40. Wow, so many colorful things to buy. Love the jewelry and bright fabrics. I’m not usually a souvenir person but I think I’d have to go for it in India!

  41. It seems a great shopping adventure haha. Nice post. And it seems there are good stuf to buy

  42. fulltimecanada

    What a wonderful experience. Such a great post with so much insight. Thanks for a great write-up!

  43. Wow this looks like one fantastic shopping trip! I want to buy all those bangles! So you have just given me another reason to head to India 🙂

  44. The colors in your photos are really amazing. This is something that comes to my mind usually at first when I think about a romantical India.
    We havent been to Inida so far at all but yes, it is on our bucket list. It is really interesting to see how carefully you planned your shopping list, very determined 🙂
    Nice post, was fun to read – cheers from Birdie & Hendrik

  45. I really love shopping but most of all I love to go shopping in the place I visit. You can buy always cool things, typical of the place, just like the rigid bracelets of your pic! – A

  46. Such colorful materials and lovely parasols, I think I’d be going home with one of those!

    • I bet you will..and maybe with many. The things are good and the salesmen excellent

  47. wow i would love to go there! thank you for all of the great tips, they will be very helpful if i end up getting a chance! 🙂

  48. Can’t say souvenir shopping is my favourite aspect of a holiday but there does seem to be plenty of cool stuff on display here. You certainly do plan your shopping trips meticulously and considering how long my girlfriend can take every time we go to a market, that might be a pretty good idea! Rajasthan certainly looks like it has a very distinctive and colourful aesthetic

    • I also generally don’t shop. Haven’t done that on any of my other trips.. but Rajasthan is totally different. It’s my personal shopping paradise.

  49. You must have had so much fun going shopping there! The colors, the fabrics, the jewelry, it all looks fab. I would’ve ended up with a complete suitcase full of stuff after a trip there, I’m sure!

    • I sure had a great time shopping in Rajasthan trip. I bet anyone can’t leave here without shopping a little

  50. Wow what an amazing shopping adventure. Rajasthan has some amazing stuff. The colors are so vibrant and the detail work is beautiful. You’re a world class shopper.

    • I happily take that as a compliment 😀
      Indeed Rajasthan is a Shopper’s Paradise. You can’t leave empty handed from here

  51. Looks like you had a great time, would of been great to see everything you bought. I have never been to Rajasthan so can’t really imagine what the things you bought looked like. When I eventually get there, I would love to buy some of the bangles at least.

    • They were all wonderful. I will definitely take some pics and do an image only post..the stuff deserves that 🙂

  52. Wow, what an indepth post on where to go.
    When I was in Jaipur 5 years ago I bought a beautiful shawl which I have worn every winter since in England. I love it!

    • Rajasthan does have some amazing textile..I can imagine how beautiful your shawl is

  53. lydia@lifeuntraveled

    I brought back so many things when I went to India! It was so hard to resist – everything (especially textiles) was so nice and the prices were unbeatable. I much prefer artisans’ markets to Government-owned emporiums though.

  54. Hahaha…you cheat! You are shop alcoholic
    I do that amount of shopping in decades.

    Jokes apart, pleasure reading your journey. Rajasthan has always fascinated me…hope to get lucky to cover it sometime!

    • Cummon…you can’t compare a man’s shopping to a woman’s. That’s universal truth!! But anyways, you once go to Rajasthan. I will wait to hear back from you about your experience…

      • Hahaha, I agree…was just joking.

        I am in the US, and have covered most of it in the last 5.5 yrs. Let’s see when I get to settle down in India and explore.

        • 🙂 That’s nice.. we are yet to explore that part of the world.. and we are hoping to do that in the next few years. seems we have got lots of mutually beneficial information to share 🙂

  55. Wow what a shop! The colours are so beautiful. Could you explain what a government emporium is? We don’t have them here!

    • A government emporium is a government certified shop. So, basically the government stamps it’s authenticity in terms of what it claims to sell, making sure the products are of the same quality that the shop claims. The prices here are also fixed, and there is no bargaining done. Unlike the local privately owned shops which are a mix of the genuine ones and those which try to make a profit out of tourist innocence by offering cheaper or inferior goods at higher margin.

  56. Classic Article, Lovely sightseeing of Market to shop the crazy clothes in Rajasthan!!

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