When Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II established Jaipur, he invited artisans and traders to settle in the city. As a result, the lanes of the Old City's bazaars are each dedicated to specific arts and crafts. Couple this with the more recent addition of modern stores that stock unique and quality items, and Jaipur really stands out for shopping. Here are some of the best places to go.
Want to shop 'til you drop at the local markets? Virasat Experiences offers this helpful guided shopping tour.
One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Jaipur is the famous blue pottery. And, one of the most famous creators of blue pottery is Kripal Singh Shekhawat. Born in 1922, he's been credited with reviving the art and helping it become what it is today. His works can be found all over India, including in museums. Kripal Singh Shekhawat started Kripal Kumbh as an outlet for his wares, and the team has been trained by him. Both classical pottery designs and more modern designs are sold at reasonable prices. Jaipur Blue Pottery Art Center and Neerja are other recommended places to buy blue pottery, particularly if you're interested in new designs.
If you want to shop for traditional handicrafts in a convenient and hassle-free environment, Rajasthali has a huge selection all under one roof. Located on M.I. Road just opposite Ajmer Gate, this state-government handicraft emporium sells everything from textiles to brass-ware, including the ubiquitous puppets. Prices are fixed, so, unfortunately, you won't get a bargain.
Cheap Clothing and Accessories: Bapu Bazaar
Bargain-hunters trawl the lanes of Jaipur's main market -- Bapu Bazaar, which lies along the road between New Gate and Sanganeri Gate in the Old City. Many of the stores there sell the hippie style of clothes and bags that are popular with foreigner. You'll find all kinds of traditional Indian clothes and shoes, perfumes, trinkets, junk jewelry and souvenirs there as well.
Anokhi is renowned for its quality block print textiles, particularly clothes. Their substantial Jaipur flagship showroom has a delightful cafe that serves mostly organic international cuisine. If you're interested in learning about the art of block printing, Anokhi also has a remarkable museum near Amber Fort. There are daily demonstrations, as well as more detailed workshops. Heritage Textiles on Gangapole Road, Jorawar Singh Gate, has a wide range of excellent quality garments and fabrics including shawls. Prices are reasonable, and their in-house tailors will make clothing to fit as per your requirements. Aaritisan stocks a carefully selected range of textiles at their small store in Gopalbari, near Jaipur Junction railway station. You can also support underprivileged women and children by buying the attractive products they make at Ladli, a vocational training center and residential shelter that welcomes visitors.
Nila House is a new non-profit hub that aims to preserve and promote traditional Indian crafts by facilitating collaborations with designers and local artisans. It incorporates an in-house design studio called Nila Studio, which collaborates with a different designer on a clothing collection every year. This year, the designer is Anna Valentine who explores the color indigo. The collection focuses on ethical sourcing of the purest materials materials and environmentally sensitive processes. The products are sold in a store on the premises on Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme.
Lacquer Bangles: Maniharon ka Rasta
Lac bangles, as they are commonly called, are Jaipur specialty. The craftsmen came from the Manoharpur district of Uttar Pradesh and established their stores along Maniharon ka Rasta, in the Tripolia Bazaar area of the Old City. The lane is lined with glittery bangles, with the stores offering similar items for similar prices.
One of Jaipur's most popular budget hotels, the Pearl Palace, also has a jewelry shop in its renowned Peacock rooftop restaurant. It sells a diverse range of sterling silver jewelry, gemstones, and gift items. The jewelry is of a decent quality and comes with a money back guarantee. Prices are very reasonable too. Do note that it's only open in the evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Family-run Satyam Silver in C-Scheme has been in business for more than 20 years and also has a great reputation. The silver jewelry is handmade and designed by the owner's wife. Chameliwala Bazaar on M.I. Road is Jaipur's traditional silver market. Looking to purchase gemstones cheaply? Head to Gopalji ka Rasta, the famous gem street in Johari Bazaar in the Old City. However, it's risky as vendors are known to sell colored glass as gems there. Do watch out for gem scams too.
The Gem Palace on M.I. Road is among the most reputable places to shop for jewelry in Jaipur. It's been in existence for eight generations. You'll discover everything from vintage pieces to exclusive creations there. Although the exterior of the Gem Palace is unassuming, its interior has been liked to Aladdin's Cave. There are magnificent pieces on display, which once belonged to the royals. The reason being is that the shop is owned by the family of jewelers that once served them. Do be prepared for snooty staff, and to empty your wallet if you choose to buy anything. Amrapali is another luxury option with a flagship store on M.I. Road.
If your style is contemporary, then you'll find plenty of items to fall in love with at Hot Pink. One of the first concept stores in Jaipur, it stocks a unique range of colorful Indian housewares and fashion from some of the top designers in the country. The store was started in 2005 by Munnu Kasliwal from the Gem Palace and French jewelry designer Marie-Helene de Taillac. It has a peaceful garden setting at the Narain Niwas Palace hotel and a branch at Amber Fort.
Keen to add some Indian art to your collection? Art Chill is the place to go. It has two locations. The newest and biggest gallery, in the west wing of Amber Fort near the exit, spans 5,000 square feet. It houses a massive collection of contemporary art by eminent and emerging Indian artists. The gallery's branch, Juneja Art Gallery in Jaipur's Bais Godam, was established in 1994. It also has contemporary art ranging from abstract to semi-abstract, and surreal to figurative art. There are weekly exhibitions too.