Pune - on a platter
Shopping in the city of the Peshwas is a veritable treasure trove of delights for the discerning shopper. An eclectic mix of the old and the new, there’s something for every pocket and taste.
Sarees and jewellery: Lakshmi Road, Vishrambaugwada and Tulshibaug are where you need to be looking for the choicest wares that Pune has to offer. The distinct patterns of the Puneri cotton sarees can be seen in both six and nine-yard (nauvari) versions as well as salwar Kameez. Maharashtra, being home to the Paithani, will see most saree shops stocking the same, apart from a host of temple silks from both North and south India.
Interestingly, this is also the home of India’s first-ever ready to wear tie-up saree—known as the ‘Kalpana’ saree sold by a famous store in Narayan Peth. Career ladies, please take note. Your chiffons and silks may be given to their tailors, to be pre-pleated as per your exact measurements.
Pretty jewellery and clothing for your child’s annual day function at school may be bought here. From crowns and necklaces, bangles and armlets fashioned out of bell metal and faux pearls, they have artistic merit despite their low price.
Children’s delight apart, there’s much for the connoisseur of serious jewellery as well. High on your list ought to be Pune’s signature store The PN Gadgil Jewellers &Sons with outlets dotting the city. Not only does the store carry authentic gold, pearl and silver Maharashtrian designs like the bor mal and Mohan mal, kaan and haath, they are said to be ethical their dealings. They also carry contemporary and stylish designs in silver—that make for the perfect college/officewear. Other noteworthy jewelers include Ranka and Lagoo Bandhu &sons, the latter being famous for their gemstone designs.
In a delightful throwback to the days of the British Raj ,this is the only city in India that makes authentic versions of the famous Shrewsburry biscuits. Pick them especially from the Kayani bakery in Camp---that has a mouthwatering line up of cakes, biscuits and cookies.
No visit to Pune is complete with a stop-over at Marzorin (again in Camp) for their fabulous chicken rolls, sandwiches, biscuits and shakes. Both Kayani and Marzorin are testimony to the city’s Parsee roots, besides the Irani chai-bun maska breakfast places like Vohuman and Good luck (the latter being on Fergusson College Road).
Dorabjee and sons—(the restaurant not the mall) also serve dhansak-rice (a Parsee meat and lentils preparation) to die for.
For a taste of authentic Maharashtrian sweets and namkeen like bakarwadi, amba barfi and chivda, do check out the Chitale Bandhu stores for the same. Other mithai brands (albeit of non-Maharashtrian origin) are Kaka Halwai and Karachi.
And if you happen to be in Camp, do carry home piping hot potato chips from Budhani’s.
A culturally proud city like this one has no shortage of artistic stuff to offer you. While a host of antique and art stores may be found all over the city (including Jaipuri and Rajasthani stores on MG Road, be sure to fit in a visit to the Juna Bazar (old market) that assembles every Sunday and Wednesday.
From old household utensils and electronic goods to silver coins and quaint items you never thought of, it is undoubtedly one of its kind in content and form.
The Bombay Store on MG Road is another reliable, if expensive option to purchase rare items like aroma oils, terracotta knick-knacks, scarves and carpets from.
For furniture that has a flavour of the Puneri way of life, check out the Ekbote showrooms in the city.
Fashion street in the vicinity of the Pune cantonment, Hong Kong lane in Deccan are your best bets for cheap clothes and footwear. Alternatively, make a visit to the line up of vendors dotting the footpaths near Pune station.
The Nashik shopping
Whether you’re an artist, designer, lover of pretty jewellery (both expensive and faux), serious collector of beautiful sarees and assorted craftsmanship in metal, fabric , Nashik is the city for you. This is also the city to buy household utensils, images of gods and goddess, to say nothing of quaint wooden toys and knick knacks.
For over two centuries now, Nashik is famous for its silverware, both in terms of purity and cost, given that there is a factory to make the finest stuff here. Take your pick from jewellery to accessories for your daily pooja, gift items and more. Generations of jewelers specialize in the craft, some of the noteworthy names in Saraf Bazar being: Takle Bandhu, Tejaswi Jewellers, Adgaonkar and Mirajkar Saraf etc. However, there are several lesser known jewelers who do a fine job too.
Go for gold
From jewellery inspired by the Shinde and Peshwa eras to other popular Maharashtrian designs, there’s a lot to choose from, both in 22 Karats and 24 Karats jewellery. Once again, check out the stuff at Takle Bandhu in Saraf Bazar, and Dande Alankar at Nashik road.
All gold is not the traditional yellow, however; choose from such eclectic imported shades of pink-rose red, chocolate, black and white at Trisha Rare crafts on Gangapur road.
Pearl jewellery: Names like Takle bandhu, Vaishampayan Jewellers rule—the latter being famous for coloured pearl jewellery. Semi-coloured pearls may be found at Urvashi Alankar.
Gem of a thought: From astro-stones to wedding jewellery, there is a gemstone for various reasons and seasons. Go to Takle Gems and Jewellery, Tanishq and Trisha Rare Crafts.
nterestingly, jewellery made out of foaming material may also be found at Vaishampayan and Sonchafa Jewellers.
Paithani: There’s no way we could talk of Nashik without giving pride of place to the gorgeous Paithani sarees that are woven in the Yeola Taluka of the district. With the state government setting up a Paithani Cluster to promote the saree, saree enthusiasts get a chance marvel at the intricate artistry and skill that goes into making this much-coveted saree. There’s a lot to choose from, especially the collection of the award-winning Paithani maker Mahesh Bhandge who has his own outlet to sell the saree with both gold and silver zari.
Beads, toys and such
If you enjoy making your very own art and craft, the beads made by the traditional Jangam craftsman are must-haves. Take your pick from glass beads in all shades of the rainbow.Alternately, buy them from the Saraf Bazar and take them to your own jeweller back home to make your own designs.
Lace, sequins, Kundan stones for sewing onto your clothing and needlework creations may be found on Mahatma Gandhi Road.
Similarly, well-made pooja accessories may be found in the vicinity of various Nashik Jewellers.
Several shops in Bhandibazar deal with rare artifacts that are high on the aesthetic quotient, as well as paintings in various genres like Mixed Media, Modern art, Kalighati, Redwine and Miniature—to name a few.
For clothes and fabrics, make a beeline for shops like Harishchandra Jagjeevandas in Kapadpeth, and Khadi Bhandar on Dahipul.
The weekly market Budhwar Bazar that assembles every Wednesday sells everything from fruits and vegetables to grain, clothes, utensils, iron pans and farming tools.
Mumbai masala, at a glance
The financial capital of India, and a pot pourri of ethnicities, Mumbai is more than a city. It is a legend. And you have to take home a slice of the magic, in a form of its shopping. A quick dekko at the hubs to make a beeline for:
Colaba causeway: A long, serpentine road with hundreds of stalls, their list of goodies could rival Aladdin’s cave. From clothing to fruit, books to jewellery, homeware to electronic goods—you can have your heart’s choice---provided you know how to bargain well. A useful tip: never look too eager.
The Avante Cottage Crafts of India at the cinema end of the Causeway is a wonderfully stocked store with unusual Indian crafts, but it is a fixed price store.
Zaveri bazaar: To fill up your jewellery box with rare stuff. Located at Bhuleshwar in South Mumbai, this is one of India’s most influential jewellery markets. Noted brands include: Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ), Dhirajlal Bhimji Zaveri etc. If Maharashtrian jewellery holds your heart, check out Chintamani’s (though not necessarily in this area alone). Zaveri Bazaar is also where you can pick up photo frames, clips, tea-sets, dinnerware, toys and other luxury articles fashioned out of expensive metal.
Linking Road and ELCO on Hill Road in Bandra (West), Vile Parle (East), Dadar, etc are a paradise for lovers of clothing and footwear. Similarly, Mangaldas Market in Bhuleshwar is great for buying cloth and then getting it superbly tailored.
Aspiring fashionistas, listen up. Lokhandwala is where you can get skillful imitations of your favourite movie or telly star’s gear—from clothing to imitation jewellery, snazzy footwear (all the way from Bangkok) make-up and more.
Crawford Market: One of South Mumbai’s best-known markets, you can pick up a host of things ranging from artificial jewellery, travel bags, shoes, belts and leather goods from here. You could easily reach Crawford’s from CST railway station or take a cab from there
Mohammad Ali Road that speaks of the city’s vibrant Muslim roots also offers you a host of street shopping from clothes and household ware, to delicious delights like biryani, mal pua, kababs and other assorted stuff. This area especially comes alive during times of Ramzan and Eid.
Some of the famous designer wear stores in Mumbai include Sheetal’s and Amarsons where you can shop your heart out for a forthcoming wedding in the family.
A day of shopping may be followed by snacks on Chowpatty, Juhu (chaats, bhel, faloodas, pav bhaji) or meals at Gaylords (Churchgate), Paradise (for Parsi food at Colaba Causeway). The city is also dotted with Naturals ice-cream stores , a brand unique in its usage of seasonal fruit for making one the most distinctive ice-cream brands ever.
Other must-try street foods that may be found all over the city include crab and bombil fry (fried Bombay duck), missal pav, keema pav and Vada pav, kande pohe, not to forget the Mumbai special sandwich that is bursting with the tangy flavours of a city like none other.
The home of Himroo
With a soil rich in the fragrance of assorted cultural influences, the shopping in Aurangabad has a lot to offer connoisseurs of art and culture.
From jewellery made out of semi precious stones (with an accent on agate), to silver bidriware (the intricate silver inlay craftsmanship promoted by the Mughals), to old coins there is much to choose from, whether you are shopping for your jewellery box in general, or looking to furbish a beloved daughter’s trousseau. These can be found at Gul Mandi or Nirali Bazar.
Clothing: The dream saree of every bride—the Paithani, and the indigenous Himroo shawls, a winsome blend of cotton and silk—are what you must look for. Check out the same at Gul Mandi, Nirala Bazar and Connaught Place. Kam Khab, the gold and silver thread combined with cotton that form the base of the Himroo shawls and sarees can be found at Connaught Place as well.
Nirala Bazar is full of branded showrooms, while Paithan Gate is another good option for readymade clothing lines and footwear.
Aurangapura situated in the old city is an educational hub that specialises in school and college books.
The city also has plenty to offer for lovers of good food and revelry. City chowk and the adjoining Buddi Lane are where you can enjoy a plethora of street . food, especially spicy non-veg delights that spring from the city’s Muslim heritage. Both areas are a joy to behold at the time of festive celebrations, and are beautifully bedecked in lights and flowers.
Shah Gunj is where you can shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
As mentioned, the city is a numismatist’s delight but be sure to have the old coins checked from a knowledgeable source before you buy them.
Being a historic city, choc a bloc with forts and caves that bespeak its ancient Buddhist and Jain pasts, visitors may avail of aesthetic and rare souvenirs