Shopping in West Bengal: Shop till you drop!

Tired of every day’s work and pressure of daily routine? How about pampering yourself with some shopping? Think of a trip dedicated for just shopping. Even the thought of it is exciting. Isn’t it?

For a shopping trip, what can be better than a location that can offer you with wide range of shopping options along with a setting that is perfect to spend few enjoyable days away from the usual life?

West Bengal, one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse state of the country promises an exceptional shopping experience to every one with varying tastes and interests.

At a location that has stretches of Himalayas in the north and Bay of Bengal in south, the state of West Bengal offers its tourists with options from paintings to furniture, from curios and carpets to best tea in the world. Shopping is in fact the best way to take home some colours from this lively and colourful state!

The state is quite popularly known for for its clay items, shoal and conch. Along with these, fine arts such as paintings by various celebrated painters also make for an important part while shopping in West Bengal.

The Thangka painting of West Bengal which are generally carved on a cotton fabric or a silk fabric are quite famous and worth taking a place is your shopping cart. These painting have a Buddhist connection as they were introduced for the first time in Tibet in the 7th century.

These art works mainly use water-soluble dyes, stone colors along with the herbs and the glue solution along with pure gold dust for an exquisite look in some of the paintings.

Items of jute, cane and bamboo will also grab your attention for sure. Baskets made from cane especially brought from North Bengal are quite popular as these are long lasting and can be used for heavy loading.

You have varied kinds of carpets/ mats with designs mainly of animals, leaf and human motifs to buy during your trip to the state. Kalighat paintings, minakari, shell craft, stone carving, dhokra and metal cast items are also likely to make some place in your bags back home.

Bulchari saris or Bengali silk saris will attract female travellers for sure. Its exquisite designs and intricate weaving techniques make these sarees even more special. Although produced mainly at Bulachar town of Murshidabad district of West Bengal, you can find these at all the major shopping locations in the state.

The design of these sarees consist of large kalka motifs in the middle part with narrow attractive borders. They mostly come in colours such as white, blue, red, yellow and green colors for design and silver zari for the border.

Kantha is a popular embroidery type of the state which mostly showcases folk motifs. Other embroidery items available in the state are Chikan work, kashida and the zari work.

Batik, a Japanese style work that includes wax painting. On these clothes the base material used is wax which are tinted with dark colors. And after completion, wax is removed through washing and boiling in water which results in an elegant look on the fabric.

Ancient arts of West Bengal also includes terracotta and clay patterns which absolutely deserve some of your time. You will have varied options in terracotta such as Murshidabad, Birbhaum, Hoogly, Digha and Jessore.

Potteries and clay toys are sure to attract your attention. Clay Idols of God and Goddess, especially during the festive season also makes idols are also made in clay during the festive seasons will amaze with their sheer beauty.

Each region of the state has something special to offer you. Darjeeling, Kolkata and Kalimpong are the most popular ones when it comes to shopping.

Shopping in Darjeeling, West Bengal

Often referred as “Queen of the Hills”, Darjeeling doesn’t present its tourist with just mesmerising natural settings but also great options for shopping. So once in this town, tourists can pamper themselves with some of the exquisite items available here along with rejuvenating themselves in the lap of mother nature.

When in Darjeeling, how can one forget world famous Darjeeling Tea. It makes for a much appreciated gift options as well. The price of tea varies from the kind and quality you are buying. It is advisable to check the same properly to avoid getting fooled!

Nathmull’s Tea Room, located on Laden La Rd near the post office is one of the best place to go tea shopping. One of the best suppliers with over 50 varieties you can find tea kinds ranging from Rs 80 to Rs 150 per 100g to Rs 1400 per 100g in Nathmull’s Tea Room. The family has been in business for past 80 years and hence one can be sure of getting the best deal.

On Chowrasta and along Nehru Rd in Darjeeling you will find various curio shops. Thangkas, brass statues, religious items, jewellery, wood carving, woven fabrics, carpets, etc., you will have umpteen number of options to choose from.

An excellent bargaining ability is a must for shopping here. However, if you prefer fixed price shopping without having to face the trouble of bargaining, West Bengal’s Manusha Emporium with Himalayan handicrafts, silk and handloom products is a good place to go.

For Tibetan carpets, a women’s co-operative at Hayden Hall, opposite the State Bank of India on Laden La Rd is worth visiting. Chowk Bazar, Chowrasta, Ladenla Road, Nehru Road,Supermarket, Motor Stand and Mahakal Market are the key area in Darjeeling to go for your shopping spree.

Shopping in Kolkata, West Bengal

A shopper’s paradise, Kolkata offers more than we can think of. The wide range of options varying from street shopping to best international brands at the malls, the city caters to all kinds of tourists and their different requirements.

New Market area, Sreeram Arcade and the Treasure Island Market, Emami Shopper’s City, Fancy Market, Metro Shopping Centre, Vardaan Market,Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan are few of the are a which are quite popular amongst visitors for shopping.

You will have some interesting shops selling items like carpets, handicrafts, etc. along the Chowringhee Rd. vendors at this road can be seen selling almost everything under the sun, from water pistols to clothes to dancing dolls. Central Cottage Industries Emporium at 7 Chowringhee Rd is one of the places that mustn’t be missed.

New Market, used to referred as Hogg Market, is place worth showcasing your bargaining capabilities. Canware is one of the recommended buys from here. One can also visit air-con market situated between Sudder St and New Market. Shopping here can be comparatively expensive so go only if you are in a mood to shell out enough mullahs. Lenin Sarani, especially in the evenings also offer an interesting street market.

Shopping in Kalimpong, West Bengal

Kalimpong offers tourists with excellent woodcarving which is a traditional craft of the region. Traditional handicrafts such as woodcarvings, copper ware like feng-sui bells, tapestry bags, scrolls, paintings and Tibetan jewelry can be found in abundance in this area of West Bengal, offering you with amazing opportunity to buy some interesting souvenirs to take home.

Kalimpong Arts & Crafts Co-operative is a place to be visited for sure if in the town. It offers tourists with Kalimpong tapestry bags and purses, copper ware, scrolls and paintings from Dr Graham’s Home for buying. To the east side of Dambar Chowk, one can found Tibetan jewellery and artifacts.

The town has options to treat your palate as well. Picking a packet of Kalimpong lollipops and Kalimpong cheese at Lark’s Provisions will not be disappointing. For a different experience all together, try visiting Haat Bazaar on Wednesday or Saturday.