Make sure you leave space in your suitcase for shopping in Udaipur. Products are on par with those in Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital city, but cost less. Also, Udaipur is famous for its distinctive miniature paintings, the origin of which can be traced back to royalty. Keep in mind that bargaining is necessary to get the best deals. Large, fixed-price stores may take credit cards, but you'll want to carry cash for smaller purchases. It also pays to familiarize yourself with the quality of items, especially if buying paintings. Cheaper can be inferior. Market areas are most crowded in the evenings when the weather is cooler. So, go early if you want to avoid the rush!
City Palace Road
It's hard not to be drawn into the vibrant shops lining City Palace Road, from the Jagdish temple to Udaipur's City Palace. They're overflowing with the usual tourist fare—handicrafts, textiles, wooden toys, puppets, notebooks, leather goods, art, and more. Ganesh Handicraft Emporium, in a beautiful 350 year-old haveli (mansion) down a lane, is memorable. The laid-back owners will let your wander through at leisure without hassling you to purchase anything. However, they stock some unique bags and jackets. Shreenath Silver and Art is a respectable place to buy original miniature paintings. The father-and son-owners are artists, and they take commissions. For a bit of fun, you can get a miniature painting of yourself! Most shops are open daily from around 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. While City Palace Road is ideal for picking up souvenirs, do keep in mind that the prices are higher than elsewhere in Udaipur, reflecting the fact that the area is frequented by foreigners.
Jagdish Temple Road and Clock Tower Area (Ghanta Ghar)
In the other direction, there are similar items in the shops on Jagdish Temple Road, from the Jagdish temple to the clock tower in the heart of the Old City. Of note is Sadhna Emporium, the retail outlet of a women's empowerment enterprise based in Delwara village near Udaipur. The products are all handmade by local women artisans and provide an important source of income for them. Choose from top-quality clothes, linen, homewares, bags, and fashion accessories. Opening hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. If you're feeling thirsty, stop by J J Fresh Fruits Juices to recharge with a cool beverage. You'll find shops selling traditional Indian costume jewelry in the lanes around the clock tower, including meenakari, kundan, and polki styles. There are also silver, gold, and tribal jewelry shops. The local market known as Bada Bazaar extends east from the clock tower and buzzes with activity in the evenings up to 10 p.m. It's much quieter on Sundays when most shops are closed or only open in the morning.
It's always handy to have at least one gorgeous Indian outfit in your wardrobe for a special occasion. Maldas Street is where locals flock to get glammed up for festivals, parties, and weddings at economical prices. This narrow street runs north from Bada Bazaar towards Hathipol in the Old City. Priyadarshini Sarees has been in business there since 1989 and has an extensive collection of formal and casual saris in many different fabrics. The staff is friendly and helpful. Try Rajratan Kothari Saree Center for Indo-western attire and authentic Rajasthani saris. Check out Agarwal's Sarees and Suits at the northern end of Maldas Street too. Shops open at 10.30 a.m or 11 a.m. and close by 8.30 p.m., daily except Sundays.
Fallen in love with Rajasthan's eye-catching, embroidered jutti and mojari shoes? Mochiwada Bazaar is the best place in Udaipur to buy them. As its name suggests, this market area is dedicated to footwear (mochi means cobbler in Hindi). It's situated on Mochiwada Road, which runs east from Bada Bazaar. Handmade camel leather sandals and shoes are plentiful there as well. They're durable and comfortable. Prices start from only a couple hundred rupees (a few dollars), depending on how fancy the items are. Most shops are closed on Sundays.
Vibrant lac bangles are an integral part of the Rajasthani culture. Hindu women wear them daily as an auspicious symbol of marriage, and formal dress is incomplete without a fancy matching set. Artisans craft the bangles from a resinous substance produced by female kerria lacca insects in Rajasthan's forests. You'll be spoiled for choice at the jewelry shops in Lakhara Chowk, on Dhanmandi Road to the east of Mochiwada Bazaar. The designs range from simple to elaborate and studded with stones. Shops are generally shut on Sundays but remain open until 7:30 or 8 p.m. on all other days.
It's worth making a trip to Hathipol, in the northern part of the Old City, to avoid paying the high tourist prices on City Palace Road. The same items are available there but at much lower rates because the majority of customers are Indian. Hathipol is particularly renowned for its textile shops, including those specializing in Rajasthani tie-dye bandhej (also called bandhani) fabric. Lehariya Bandhej and MS Bandhani are popular stores. Also, browse Bandhni Emporium. Rajasthan Art Industries and Shree Ganpati Plaza stock a wide assortment of handicrafts. However, it's a good idea to explore the area and see what you come across before rushing to purchase anything. The shops are clustered on and around Pannadhay Marg, one of the main roads adjoining Hathipol junction. They stay open until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., daily except Sundays. Many are only open in the mornings on Sundays.
If you're keen to get clothes custom-tailored for a fraction of the cost back home, the Gangaur Ghat area has several boutiques experienced in western styles and receive positive feedback from tourists. Indian tailors are fantastic at copying designs, or they'll create new ones for you based on your requirements. Gangaur Boutique specializes in suits, shirts, coats, and dresses. Little Armani, owned by two brothers, is most popular for suits, shirts, and winter coats. Same-day service is provided. There are also excellent art shops in the Gangaur Ghat area. The husband and wife at Gothwal Art are both talented and honest artists. Their handmade postcards are best-sellers. Ashoka Arts at Ashoka Hotel is reputable as well and provides painting lessons. The shops are all open daily from around 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Artisans sell their own wares at Shilpgram arts and crafts complex, in the vicinity of Lake Fateh Sagar on the city's northwest outskirts. You can actually watch pottery and other handicrafts being made! Prices are reasonable too, as you're buying directly from the artisans. Shilpgram is a fascinating attraction to visit as it incorporates an ethnographic museum dedicated to showcasing the lifestyles of the tribes and other rural people who inhabit the region. Opening hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily except Sundays. There's an entry fee of 30 rupees for Indians and 50 rupees for foreigners. Ideally, go during the last week of December when the annual arts and crafts festival is held. It hosts artisans from all over India.
Udaipur's biggest shopping mall is spread over seven levels on National Highway 8, near RK Circle in the north of the city. It's home to major Indian and international brands including Levis, The Body Shop, Crocs, Adidas, Puma, United Colors of Benetton, Sunglass Hut, Big Bazaar, Reliance Digital, Trends, and Biba. The stores mainly sell clothing, fashion accessories, footwear, and beauty products. There's an entertainment zone and movie theater too. The mall is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.