So you’re out on a vacation to Srinagar and confused over what (not) to buy? Well, shopping at an unknown city can certainly be a daunting task. Allow us to turn it into a fun experience for you!
Serving as the winter capital of India’s northernmost state, the city of Srinagar has rightfully been called 'Heaven on Earth'. Needless to say, this awesome place boasts of not only some mind blowing, gorgeous locales but also makes for an exquisite carnival for shopaholics. The handicraft industry is huge here and symbolizes the cultural significance of the state. From colorful carpets and shawls to wood carving and spices, Srinagar checks all the points for experiencing the traditional magnificence of the region. Also, don't worry of the present situation in Kashmir as we have your covered.
But don’t loosen up your purse strings just as yet. You don’t want to be that tourist who ends up paying twice the value or making regretful purchasing decisions. Here’s the trick: be well informed and you will be able to bargain your way out.
Here's a quick checklist for shopping in Srinagar
These areas make the best shopping in Srinagar for discovering beauty, dignity, form and style.
Head here for spices and high quality dry fruits available at genuine (read, easily bargainable) rates.
Pay a visit to check out the gorgeous hand-embroidered hand bags, kurtas, wall hangings of different hues, wood carved souvenirs, papier mache and leather jackets. Though the prices here are a little on the steeper end, as a customer you get to enjoy an amazing variety. Suffering Moses, Kashmir Fancy Art and GM Shah are some of the famous shops here.
Head here to buy dry fruits, traditional sweets, walnut wood carved pieces, kehwa and noon chai (traditional Kashmiri teas).
A stretch near Lal Chowk, here you get to buy the famous Kashmiri breads—baqarkhani and sheermal—and a variety of puffs along with biscuits, tarts and cakes. Also, don’t forget to browse through the wonderful collection of political, coffee-table and travel books penned by the local authors at the Gulshun Bookstore.
A few miles away from Srinagar, this place is famous for jackets, leather and suede purses and saffron. Also, one can buy cricket bats made of willow wood from shops/factories lining the highway. (They are available with a price tag that drops to as little as Rs.150)
Buy authentic shawls, carpets, walnut woodcarving and papier mache available at reasonable prices from here.
From samovars (coal kettles) to tashts (wash basins), one can buy a wide variety of copper utensils here, with prices starting from Rs 200.
Head here to buy traditional Kashmiri carpets all lined up in a mesmerizing display of both variety and quality.
Srinagar has so much to offer that you might finally find a way to please all your relatives with the potpourri of gifts. From crafts to fruits, the shops here are bustling with colors to swoon over. Whilst here, don’t forget to take a camera along and capture some candid shots.
Take a look at our list so that you miss none of it!
If you have a sweet tooth, you have certainly ended up at the right place. Srinagar is just the place to buy high quality dry fruits and fresh, aromatic spices. Raid the markets at Lal Chowk and Kokar Bazar for easy-on-pocket bargainable rates. Here, one can easily get around 10 to 20 percent discount on the market price. You also get to discover (and try) the different bread types available here. From smoked almonds, laavasa and walnuts to dried cranberries, dates and prunes- if you have taste, Srinagar has variety!
For fresh, authentic saffron, head to Pampore fields where several farm owners have their stores and rates swing anything between Rs.150 to 220 per gram. Dilkash Kesar is a safe bet if you wish to purchase authentic saffron.
One of the most famous crafts practiced in Kashmir, papier mache traces its origin back to the 15th century. The colors, painted on object are made from pigments diluted in water, to which some glue is added in order to fix the surface ground. Papier mache souvenirs and trinkets come in a variety of sizes and prices, starting from merely Rs. 50.
For an amazing collection, pay a visit to the Polo View Market, JK Government Emporium and R&A Designs in Rajbagh. At the Polo Market, take a look at Suffering Moses, a 175 year old shop which is like Mecca for handicraft lovers. Another option is to raid the temporary street shops lining the road opposite the Dal Lake. One can find a number of peddlers selling their wares available at a cheaper, bargainable rate, despite the lack of variety.
You have to agree that no trip to this heavenly land is ever complete without buying a Kashmiri shawl. Their beauty is just unmatchable in both texture and design.
Kashmiri Shawls are produced by two techniques, loom woven or kani shawls and the needle embroidered or sozni shawls. They are categorized according to the fabric being used- Shahtoosh, Pashmina and Raffal. Among these, the Shahtoosh shawls are the most famous (and costliest)- their fabric so soft that it can easily pass through your finger ring. Pashmina on the other hand is woven from the cashmere wool.
One must be careful while buying shawls as a number of shops here sell fake ones made from synthetic or mixed fibre. Always do the ring test before buying a Shahtoosh shawl to check the fabric purity. Prices of these shawls start from Rs 4000 going upto a few lakhs. Pay a visit to Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, Kashmir Looms at the Bund, Polo Market and the Kashmir Shawl Museum near Dal Lake, for genuine Kashmiri shawls.
While here, be sure to take back with you some Namdhas. These are handmade felt rugs made of either unspun wool or wool and cotton pressed together. A unique speciality of Kashmir, Namdhas make for interesting table covers and floor mats, with their bold and attractive colors and patterns. Apart from the Kashmir Government Arts Emporium and Kashmir Looms, you can also visit The Kashmiri emporium at Lal Chowk for a genuine price range.
The Kashmiri carpets are famous across the world not only for their beauty but also for the hand-knotting techniques that are employed to weave them. These carpets are available in both silk and wool ranging from 200 knots to 900 knots per square inch. The prices vary accordingly.
Relish your penchant for rich Kashmiri carpets by shopping at the Kashmiri emporium at Lal Chowk. Also take a walk along Badshah Chowk for exquisitely woven and detailed handmade carpets. Both these places quote genuine prices so that your exploit is worth every penny.
However, if you are looking for quality over money, you must take a look at Suffering Moses, The Government Emporia, Reshi House and The Kashmiri emporium.
With its excellent craftsmanship and meticulously detailed ornamentation, Srinagar is a woodwork haven catering to every taste. The city is spotted with several woodwork stores; from small time shops selling wood carved souvenirs to large complexes adorned with high quality heavy furniture.
For smaller souvenirs, mementos, stands and cases head to Lal Chowk or Badshah Chowk famous for their walnut woodwork shops. Also, take a look at the various floating shops on the Dal Lake selling some beautifully crafted pieces. For a more heavy version, head to Polo Market, R&A Designs and Suffering Moses. These places not only offer you an amazing collection but also take customization orders.
Crewel embroidery is a special kind of embroidery done with a hook. The pride of Kashmir, this embroidery is graced with rows of chain stitch done with multi colored threads forming bold floral patterns to create an embossed effect, adding richness to the textile. From canvas handbags, stoles, pherans and mats to bed sheets, table cloths and curtains, the embroidery can be seen on a variety of surfaces.
You can find everything you need while street shopping at the Boulevard Road, Polo Market, and Raghunath Bazaar. For a cheaper buy, take a look at the various small time shops lining the bund opposite the Dal Lake and the floating shops on the lake.
Silverware is a popular form of craft in Jammu and Kashmir. Exquisite engraving is done on the utensil’s surface in gorgeous floral patterns, before polishing it to perfection. No wonder the silverwares of Kashmir are highly sought after in the international market.
For a priced catch, head to Raghunath Bazar, Lal Chowk or Old city, and spend hours browsing through numerous pieces adorning the markets here. Copperwares can be bought from Zaina Kadal Street.
With right bargaining, you can go home with a bag full of leather goodies, bought at a cost way lower than the market price. Take a look at the Polo Market or the Bund for a mind boggling leather collection. You can find a variety of leather slings, clutches. purses, coats and wallets being sold from both camel and lamb skin.
Once here, don’t forget to buy some suede boots to match with your pheran!
So now you know what to buyin Srinagar if your sojourn lands there. But we are not concluding just as yet! If you are an enthusiast who deeply appreciates the aesthetic beauty of these traditional miracles, it’s time you take your shopping experience to the next level!
Sign up for a guided walk through the old city and discover the dedicated artistes behind the beautiful handicrafts. See your favourite product being made right in front of you, mingle with the local artist community and if possible, contribute by promoting the craft; these amazing people need your support. A local agency, Srinagar Walks organizes some marvelous city tours. Immerse yourself in the city’s rustic charm and discover the treasures it has to offer b8ut also stay clear of travel scams in Srinagar.
Shalimar Bagh Srinagar Travel Guide