Just like the Indian populace, these handicrafts markets have diversity in what they offer – souvenirs, items for everyday use, knickknacks – with one element uniting them all. They are as Indian in their appearance as they are in their make. For reasons nostalgic and commercial, ethnic and philanthropic, these are set up for us to experience, learn and yes, shop! After all, won’t the foreigners need a piece of India when they go back to their homeland? 🙂
Along with these markets, the Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair Delhi (Spring and Autumn editions) and National Crafts Museum (National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum) are worth a visit too.
This street shopping runs a long kilometer, but the crowds make cruising through seem longer than that. A salient shoppers’ stop, and also a cheap place to put up, don’t be surprised to spot backpackers or even foreigners navigating with you in this area! Handicrafts are just one of the many things that are for sale here – and are cheap too. From women’s hippy apparels to shoes, from books to incense sticks, from quirky accessories for us and our homes to toiletry oils and teas – everything is Indian handicraft embodied! Be vigilant to spot what you need (well that and maybe some you might not need, but shop anyway!) and bargain to death in this chaos!
Dilli Haat at INA and Pitampura were developed to encourage artisanship and arts and crafts in India. These markets exhibit the rural practice of combined food and shopping in a rustic environment right in the middle (and in a central location too!) of the city. Handicrafts on sale include sandalwood and rosewood carvings, brass ware products, metal ware, jewelry made from gems, camel hide footwear, antiques, rugs and carpets, leather articles, silks, furniture and linen and fabrics all indigenously made by the Indian craftsmen from all over the country.
Dilli Haat Janakpuri
The sprawling Dilli Haat, third in the capital and new entrant on the block is the cultural hub for music, art and craft, and food – all as desi (local) as they can get. With stalls selling their wares and all the states’ food share as well as international cuisines, along with a hall and amphitheater for hosting performances, this haat gives a feel of rural market in an urban setting. A special ode to the haat would be the music library complete with primeval and modern Indian musical instruments, books and CDs.
Janpath and Tibetan Market
Living up to its name for sure, the people’s way paves way for this market, and along the same road, the Tibetan market. Indian culture in a takeaway form is available in every item on sale here. The stately Pashmina shawl – the original one – is found exclusively in the Janpath market along with other items of interest to scavengers of handicrafts like hippie clothes, accessories and Kolhapuri shoes for the hep, discounted books for the bibliophiles, antique items for the artifact-lovers and whatnot!
As the name suggests, the Tibetan market holds all antique items, jewelry, long horns, and collector’s items fostering Tibetan glory!
These markets are definitely worth a detour when headed to Jantar Mantar or Connaught Place nearby.
Helping the disabled inhabitants earn their living as well as exemplify their artisanry is this organization where you can philanthropically shop. The MESH (Maximizing Employment to Serve the Handicapped) also located in Hyderabad has a product portfolio of scarves, stoles, kitchen essentials, bags, paper products, gift items, toys amongst other Indian handicrafts.
Must Art Gallery and Gallerie AK, Delhi
Under one roof are both these galleries which feature sculptures and paintings reminiscent of the languishing tribal and folk art. While the Must Art Gallery is exclusively for the Gond tribal art, the Gallerie AK houses traditional, contemporary and modern tribal and folk art.