READY, STEADY, SWIPE MAADI!
WORDS AKHILA VIJAYKUMAR
PHOTOGRAPHS JYOTHY KARAT
GREAT FROM Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai
GREAT FOR Traditional yet modern steals
Breathe in the aroma of sandalwood and filter coffee, and gird your wallet’s loins. Shopping in Bangalore used to be all about silk saris, but quietly, and stealthily, the city’s excellent bookshops, clothing and interior stores have also made a name for themselves, nationally.
Start with The Tuckshop, a clothing store that offers great value for money. Branded jackets, dresses, pants, costume jewellery, bags and home decor abound on bargain racks in all colours and designs. If you’re lucky enough to meet owner Raina Sahu, you might get great conversation and a free personal shopper service that could remake your entire look.
A good place to buy said silk saris is Vimor, a 40-year-old boutique with saris at its heart, and in its soul. Known for distinctive pieces, it offers cotton and silk drapes inspired by antique samples, with traditional techniques and motifs recreated or reinterpreted for modern times. Now also offering a line of lungis that can be worn as sarongs, skirts, turbans and stoles, Vimor is Bangalore’s must-visit sari destination. And for those who like to accessorise, The Jewelry Project offers the perfect baubles for every outfit. Handcrafted silver and gold earrings, rings, neckpieces and more, in ancient, spiritual and cultural Indian motifs, twinkle at you from all corners of the store. Aiming to be India’s first sustainable bespoke jewellery store, it’s also affordable.
Varnam is another place where traditional crafts are given a contemporary spin. Chennapatna’s wooden toys are reinterpreted here with a modern flair in smooth wood and warm colours. Expect lamps, key chains, jewellery, home decor and more. Varnam is a delight to the senses, and is poised to be a shining representative of the region’s traditions.
Head to The Purple Turtles for more home-decor options. The array of lights and lamps and the ever-changing eclectic collection of furniture have made it a go-to for architects and artists. In particular, artist Jenny Pinto’s fantastic banana fibre lamps are irresistible.
Spend an afternoon (at least) at Goobe’s Book Republic. The city’s youngsters – and oldsters, for that matter – flock to this store with a wise-ass name: goobe is a pejorative term in Kannada literally translating to owl, but used as an alternative to moron. Slightly musty, the crowd-sourced mixed bag of old and new books here ranges from crime and sci-fi to graphic novels, Indian lit, comedy and beyond – but no mainstream bestsellers, romance or pulp fiction, please.
A few steps away is The Entertainment Store, pretty much the Batcave of superhero merchandise in Bangalore. Choose from bobbleheads, figurines, dolls (sorry, action figures), models, T-shirts, memorabilia, hats – you get the big, big, big picture.
Leap from entertainment to art at the aPaulogy Gallery, owned by artist Paul Fernandes. Showcasing Bangalore in the ’70s, in black-and-white and colour, the artist’s drawings and illustrations are quirky and humorous, with scenes from Goa and Mumbai sneaking in as well.
Along the way, you’ll find street shopping, baskets and curios and more that will let you explore Bangalore’s curious mix of tradition and modernity. Stop, browse and enjoy the breeze, as well as the beautiful things that will remind you of the city when back home.