From the land of the Amritsari Kulcha’s and lassi malai maarke, to the place with picturesque ‘Khet’ and roaring bullets and the fatfati’s , this is the abode of the mightiest warriors and the heroes. It is one of the most favorite places to shop in North India. Everything from the streets to the malls to the old buildings have something or the other on offer so much so that it gets difficult to stop the shopping once it starts. Also, it is important to know about the genuine places to shop and good bargaining tactics before you step out into the arena . And I couldn’t agree more. Here is a little guide on the 5 things you need to get your hands on while in Punjab (Amritsar) and ‘where’ to find them without burning a whole in your pocket.
- ‘Hand embroidered Dupatta.: Like so many people, my search of the hand embroidered dupatta started with Phulkari, but did not end at that. The actual hand embroidered dupattas are in colors like cream and green with vibrant thread work and in different designs, some with mirrors .These are heavier than other dupattas and easily distinguishable from the machine ones.
The price of the first dupatta in Chanderi was 800 INR (bought as a tourist in retail), and the second one was INR 500 bought from a wholesaler by a local). Bargaining well enough is henceforth advised.
Places: Katra Jailmal singh, Amritsar
2. The ‘Phulkari: The one thing that this place has truly mastered in is the art of thread embroidery called ‘Phulkari’ meaning ‘flower work’. It is intricately done on all ethnic wear these days, be it dupattas or suits or sarees (I have them all).The hand embroidered ones are more expensive as compared to the machine embroidered ones. A rough idea of the costs of the various items has been given
Product Hand -worked Machine
1.Dupatta starting 400INR 150INR
2. Kurti/Suit 800INR 300-400INR
3. Saree: Variable 1100INR
Place: Kapda Bazar,Amritsar.
3. The ‘Punjabi jootis: There is nothing as strikingly beautiful and famous as a well made and decorated ‘Punjabi jooti’! Undoubtedly these are one of the greatest legacies passed down from the royals. In all colors, sizes and even shapes, there is no similiar footwear that can do justice to your patiala or churidar suit. And so many B-town divas too follow the trend.
The traditional ones are made all in a similiar shape which might be a little uncomfortable for those with broad feet, however options of custom-made jootis are also available. The durability isn’t what it used to be years back, but that should not stop you from owning atleast one pair of these. The shops in the main tourist areas are obviously charging comparatively higher, but if there are no time constraints, prefer buying from the local areas which tend to be better priced.
Places: Crystal Chownk, Hall Bazar and Beri Gate. Price Range: starting INR 500.
4. Custom made Bridal outfits: A latest and unique addition to a flourishing bridal market is this place that offers options to custom design your D-Day outfits according to your preferences . Replicate designs of ace designers like Sabyasachi and Shyamal and Bhoomika (I’m sure they don’t mind that for the ones who cant afford ) and add your own style to it without spending hefty amounts on your one time dream outfit. Also, match your bangles and bridal ‘churha’ with it.
Places: Putligarh, Amritsar. IDH Market ( Near busstand)
Price: Starting 20K INR
5. Plus size clothing and woolens: This is one of the fairly prosperous niche markets of the city. Unlike most places that offer clothes only of standard sizes, Punjab is a unique market offering plus size clothing,particularly for men, this is the go to place. So there is everything for everyone.
Places: Hall Bazar /Hoseiry Market, Amritsar.
- Bargaining is the key.
- The closer the shop to the tourist area, the higher the price and difficult to bargain.
- The final product will be worth the hassle.
- The blog includes personal views as well as suggestions from a local friend.