Your shopping bags will never seem large enough in Jaipur. You can’t get the variety of silver jewellery, handmade footwear, or multicoloured leheriya saris anywhere else in the country. The shops in the Pink City spiral through a maze of lanes and any woman worth her shopping skills will spend hours scanning through this treasure trove for the best clothes and jewellery. No shopping spree is too long and no budget too big when one is in Jaipur.
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Bapu Bazaar (11am–7pm; closed: Sun & public holidays): Located between the Sanganer Gate and the New Gate within the Pink City, Bapu Bazaar is where you should head for some cheap and cheerful shopping. Best known for selling traditional Jaipur textiles, bed linen and the Jaipuri quilts, Bapu Bazaar is one of the most popular markets and has now expanded to include modern garments and footwear – you will find the largest range of jutis at cheap prices in this market. Bargaining is the norm here.
Johari Bazaar (11am–7pm; closed: Sun & public holidays): This is the famous jewellery market in Jaipur. Both sides of the road are lined with stores dealing in silver, gold, diamonds and precious gems. Kundan and thewa jewellery are the two specialities of Jaipur, but it’s the variety in silver ornaments that draws most people. The market is huge and it would be quite a tough task to check out the stuff at every store, since there are a few hundred of them. Johari Bazaar also has the famous Gopalji ka Rasta, the narrow lane teeming with wholesale and export shops dealing in precious and semi-precious stones. The footpaths abound in makeshift stores selling jutis, puppets, traditional clothes and colourful bangles. For a peaceful shopping experience, go during the early half of the day.
Mita Kapur, a freelance journalist and head of a literary consultancy called Siyahi, has lived and worked in Jaipur all her life, and she knows the local markets like the back of her hand. Here are her specific recommendations:
Rasa (S-55 Ashok Marg, C-Scheme; Mon–Sat: 10.30am–7.30pm, Sun: 11am–5pm): This is a must-stop-must-shop in Jaipur for Indo-western outfits and bed linen. The clothing here is very chic and understated, and has vibrant colours and fluid cuts.
Ratan Textiles (Jaipur Papriwal Cottage, Near Roshan Motors, Ajmer Road): This shop sells eclectic home furnishings and stylised apparel. Their quilts make you want to snuggle in right there.
Anokhi (2nd Floor KK Square, Prithviraj Road; 9.30am–8pm): Shop here for everything – saris, kurtas, shirts, quilts, curtains, table mats and baubles and the adjoining cafe has the best organic food – it’s a great package deal.
Maniharon ka Rasta: Walk down this riotously colourful lane opposite Sargah Suli (access from Tripolia bazaar) for beautiful bangles. Some shops make them right in front of you according to your personal whims.
Roop Rani Bangles (Badi Chaupad, access from Johri Bazaar): The perfect place for broad glass bangles.
Rishi Shoes: Located next to Hawa Mahal, this is the best place for mojris and jutis.
Satyam: Just outside the main entrance of the City Palace, this has exquisite khadi with Mughal bootis hand-painted in real gold.