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Dec
10

Shopping Spree in Jaipur, Anyone?

Jaipur

Jaipur

Do you have any idea how many fashion designers head to Jaipur for design and fashion inspiration?

Thousands. Millions. And flights are so cheap and so easy to come by.

Most cities like London and Paris seem like calm meadows compared to a place so rich, so thrilling. Jaipur will make you come alive again and for most designers this is why they come. To come alive.

It’s as easy as walking into a market stall filled with jeans embroidered with crazy patterns, or at a chic boutique that sells cotton twill in soft colors that are unlike any you have seen before.

Jaipur red city

Jaipur red city

Jaipur is known as the Pink City because its downtown was painted to resemble red sandstone for the 1853 visit of Prince Albert. As you drive through the old gates into town, the buildings before you are a dusty, sun-bleached hue that’s more of a barely pink. The metropolis spills over with artisans—everyone from bangle makers to marble carvers to block printers, all involved in making something impossibly handmade and unique.

It’s a big city, yet easy to zip among workshops by cab. Many of the best shops line M.I. Road, one of Jaipur’s major avenues. A good way to move around is to hire Jaipur Taxi. Make sure you get a driver with a little English and you’ll have to pay only around $25 for eight hours. Your hotel can also line up a driver, but be wary of the shops they recommend.

Stick with this list instead.

lassiwala

lassiwala

First stop: Lassiwala. A beverage stand where the best lassi you’ll ever taste is served in earthenware cups. For those of you who don’t know, Lassi is a yogurt drink, sort of like a lighter, tangier milkshake. Try the one with rose water and honey. When you’re done, smash your clay cup on the ground, a key step in the Lassiwala ritual.

Near Lassiwala is the Khadi Ghar shop—an emporium of handcrafted goods where you’ll find kurtas (tunics) made of beautiful hand-woven cottons. The shop brims with stacks of lovely fabrics in all sorts of odd, vat-dyed colors. This is where you choose 2- to 3-yard woven pieces in a dozen colors to take to a tailor to make into shirts.

rasa

rasa

Nearby is Rasa, a store that showcases the hand-block-printed fashion line of Madhulika and Manish “Tibbs” Tibrewal, a talented couple whose collections’ inspiration and style veer from India to Japan. Their scarves make perfect and perfectly unbulky gifts.

Around the corner awaits Himalaya, an ayurvedic company from southern India. I go in for lots of different pills, including neem products for skin, and coconut oil to achieve that Bollywood gangster hair. They recommend leaving in the oil overnight.

Jewelry is everywhere in Jaipur. Prem Maheshwari, who sells his wares at Jaipur Jewels Art inside Jorawar Singh Gate has incredible pieces. His rough-cut necklaces made of semiprecious stones look as if they’re antiques.

Silver Mountain

Silver Mountain

A favorite for antiques is Silver Mountain. You enter a fort-like stone house, take off your shoes and proceed down to a basement decorated with old carpet, bad lighting and ceiling fans whirling the dust in the air. In front of you lies trunk after trunk filled with all sorts of silver oddities, from cigarette cases to bangles.

Anokhi is the next stop along the way. The cafe serves delicious organic salads, fresh pomegranate juice and excellent carrot cake. After a light meal, wander next door to the connecting shop for block-printed kids’ clothes and thin voile shirts for men.

narain-hotelJaipur

narain-hotelJaipur

Next, head to a fun old hotel, Narain Niwas Palace. As soon as you drive through the front gate, check out the whitewashed bungalow of Hot Pink, a must-stop for Indian fashion. The shop added a men’s line too, so it’s a perfect spot for a little shopping for the man in your life.

Anantaya is a great design boutique near the hotel that has a mind-boggling assortment of products designed by Ayush Kasliwal and others curated by his wife, Gitanjali.  Things like leather semimodern chairs and Noguchi lanterns fill the place.

fab india

fab india

Fab India is a must-see shop for all you trendies. Started by an American in 1960, it focuses on hand-woven clothing. Their wares do shrink, so ignore the salespeople and buy on the large side. I love their loose linen shirts, but they also have a slim cut available.

When you return to your hotel, find a bellhop to help you lug all your shopping bags up to your room. Then relax with a cup of chai before heading to Rambagh Palace, whose veranda is one of the city’s loveliest places to dine at night.

Rambagh Palace

Rambagh Palace

And do all of this before the holidays….for gifts no one will ever expect or forget.

Here are the details.

S-55 Ashok Marg, C-Scheme, www.rasajaipur.com A pink-doored emporium of clothing and bedding in hand-blocked prints.

Anokhi

2nd Floor, KK Square, C-11 Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme, anokhi.com Tunics and dresses in bold, colorful prints.

Jewelry:

Jaipur Jewels Art

H-30-A, Kissan Marg, Tonk Road, jaipurjewelsart.com A shop that specializes in silver jewelry. Great cuff bracelets.

Silver Mountain

Shop No. 141 , M.I. Road, silvermountaininc.com Run by two brothers, the company carries silver, gold and gemstones.

Home Design:

Anantaya

B-6/A1, Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme, anantayadecor.com Traditional crafts infused with modern design at Ayush Kasliwal’s artisanal furniture store.

Hot Pink

Kanotha Bagh, Narain Singh Road, hotpinkindia.com A poppy interior design shop that carries textiles by a handful of designers from India and elsewhere.

Other Fun Stuff:

Himalaya

57, Goodluck Mansion, Paanch Batti, M.I. Road, himalayahealthcare.com A chain that sells ayurvedic products including a hair-loss cream and baby wash containing chickpea and fenugreek.

Fab India

B 4 E- Prithviraj Road, C-Scheme, fabindia.com A popular Indian chain that sells clothing, beauty products and housewares.

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