Promising a shop till you drop experience, the state of Jammu & Kashmir is ever ready to leave you spoilt for choice. Boasting distinct cultures that are enriched with varied art & craft skills, this north Indian state makes for the best holiday shopping destination in the country. From the popular Pashmina shawls to beautifully woven carpets, from the aromatic saffron and other spices to delightful Kahwa ready mix, and from crewelwork to thangkas (paintings), Jammu & Kashmir is a shopping paradise that will leave you asking for more.
Jammu is famous for its rajma (kidney beans) which can be found ubiquitously across the region. This part of the state is also famed for basmati rice and dry fruits like walnuts that must be bought from Jammu. Some important markets in Jammu City are Gole Market, Raghunath Bazar, Hari Market, and Bahu Plaza Shopping Complex. The Kashmir region has a lot to offer to the visitors. Apart from the famed Pashmina shawls, there are options for buying Shahtoosh shawls. Taking back the aromatic Kahwa tea and pink salted tea ready-to-drink mix, is indeed an ideal way of taking home a part of Kashmir’s hospitality with you. If you have a taste for home decor, Kashmir has hand-woven carpet or a Namda for you. Also, the Kashmiri crewel-work wall hangings and rugs can add an elegant touch to your home. In the old city (taking a local guide is advisable), you can buy antique copperware like samovars and trays.
In Lal Chowk or Badshah chowk, you can find articles made of Walnut wood. Visit Maharaja Bazaar and Kokar Bazaar for spices, including saffron and the main market area for Kashmiri embroidery objects. And by no means forget to at least buy one Ferin, the beautiful long garment. In case, you’re flying home; it would be ideal to take with you some of the bakery items like Lavasa, Girdas and Kulchas. The locals of Kashmir are also skilled in papier mache art, and thus, if your suitcase allows, you must buy some of the products made using this skill.
For those who do not mind splurging, an ideal choice would be to buy a piece of jewellery encrusted with the ‘Doda Sapphire,’ which is exclusive to Kashmir. In Ladakh, the main bazaar in Leh is a go-to destination for shoppers. One can find curios and souvenirs dominating the market. Amongst the top things to buy in Ladakh is a thangka, a beautiful painting on silk with exquisite embroidery. Since there is a prominent influence of Tibetan culture on Ladakh, you would find articles like prayer wheels, choktse (Tibetan tables) and Buddhist masks in abundance. Tibetan silver jewellery or the turquoise jewellery worn by Ladakhi women also make for an ideal thing to buy from Ladakh. Those looking for something to decorate their house can also purchase beautiful hand-woven carpets and rugs which often have floral or geometric designs.