Supermalls are becoming a common sight in India, but the traditional bazaar remains a mainstay. For both visitors and locals, outdoor markets are a feast for all the senses. You definitely shouldn’t visit India without paying a trip to at least one bazaar. Brush up on your haggling skills ahead of your visit and prepare to be captivated by an astounding array of goods.
You won’t have to look far for a market, but some are more popular than others. Here are some which you should definitely take a look at. Try to arrive early in the morning before things get too busy or maybe towards the end of the day when prices just may be lower.
Shop for curios
For slightly bizarre, one-of-a-kind items, head to Chor Bazaar in Mumbai. It helps if you don’t actually know what you’re looking for since anything from antique cameras to Bollywood posters may be on display. This market was traditionally known for its genuine antiques but these days you’ll also find many reproductions, especially in the main area of Mutton Street. Head in an eastern direction to Dhabu Street if it’s fine leather goods you’re after.
Shop for sparkling diamonds
You can also do your diamond shopping at the bazaar. Try Mahidharpura Diamond Market in Surat where many highly valuable stones are sold each day. Don’t be surprised to if you see large groups of buyers and sellers openly discussing prices and quality then trading in cash. It’s quite a festive and fascinating atmosphere to take in even if you’re just window shopping.
Shop for fragrances
Kannauj Markets in Uttar Pradesh should be your destination if perfumes are your goal. Situated on the banks of the Ganges River, you won’t easily miss the aroma of the varying scents on offer. You’ll find fragrances for the home and body along with rose water and tobacco. This is a traditional bazaar.
Shop in city untouched by time
For another traditional experience in a historic setting, visit Old Delhi. It will be crowded but the experience will be worth it. Many streets in the old town specialize in a particular type of good like textiles, silver jewelry, spices or even wedding accessories. You’ll get hungry from all the walking around but luckily there are several street food options available as well. If you’re on a business trip and staying in the area of the Courtyard Gurugram Downtown, make sure you take in at least this one bit of Indian culture.
Shop for souvenirs
Goa is home to Anjuna Flea Market, a massive collection of mainly souvenir stalls. Here you’ll have several T-shirts, saris, and trinkets to choose from along with spices and sculptures. You may also come across the odd Westerner offering tattoos or piercings. Restaurants in the area often have live music so you can stop for entertainment, a beverage or snack if the shopping becomes too much.
Virtually anything you want to buy can be found at an Indian bazaar. Be sure to walk with plenty of cash and take your time to look around. Try not to get overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds as seek out that perfect souvenir, item of clothing, or gemstone.