Tag Archives: shopping in India

Shopping in Delhi: Central Cottage Industries Emporium

I’m not much of a shopper on my home territory, but love shopping in India, especially Delhi, which is well supplied with everything from roadside stalls to glitzy shopping malls, plus a good selection of handicrafts from all over India. The oldest and largest place to buy handicrafts (probably in all of India) is the Read More…

I’m not much of a shopper on my home territory, but love shopping in India, especially Delhi, which is well supplied with everything from roadside stalls to glitzy shopping malls, plus a good selection of handicrafts from all over India. The oldest and largest place to buy handicrafts (probably in all of India) is the Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Jan Path. It was there when I was in high school in the 1970s and 80s – already seeming to have been in existence for decades – and hasn’t changed much since.

Central Cottage Industries Emporium, New Delhi

It’s an unusual building (wish I could find out who designed it), a labyrinthine series of mezzanines build around an open interior. Though better lit now that it used to be, it still feels cavernous, musty, and strangely underpopulated. (This last is reason enough to spend some time there on a hot day in Delhi – away from the crowds of people on the streets, many of whom, in this part of town, are trying to sell you something.)

CCIE

Many of the goods here are items that have been sold to tourists in India for decades, if not centuries. There are innovative twists on handicraft tradition available in India nowadays, but you won’t find them here. However, for the usual stuff, you’ll get a large selection, decent quality, fair prices, and no shopkeeper at your elbow, constantly urging you to buy.

gold-plated goods at CCIE, Delhi

^ Gold-plated dishes as tourist tat was actually new to me, I can only guess that it’s aimed at the Middle Eastern market.

textiles, CCIE

CCIE has a nice, though relatively limited, supply of textiles – silk, cotton, wool; printed, dyed, batik, embroidered; for clothing, curtains, and upholstery. If you love fabric (I do!), this is a good introduction to the breadth of traditional cloth available in India. Note the remnants bin – great for finding decorative pieces suitable for framing.

More in the photos below, and there was much more that we didn’t photograph – books, clothing, toys, tea, perfume, jewelry, bedding, cushion covers, furniture, even architectural pieces like carved doorways and columns. (I assume they will ship that sort of thing, no idea what it would cost.) There’s also a cool, quiet coffee shop on the top floor.

Actually buying anything is a bit of a process. In each section of the store, hand over your selections to the waiting personnel – that they merely wait, and don’t hassle you, is a huge improvement on every other tourist shop in Delhi! The staff write you a receipt, your goods are whisked away, and you continue shopping. This is dangerous – you end up carrying a handful of paper, with no clear idea of how much you’re acquiring.

When you’re finally finished, you take your receipts downstairs to the “cash desk”, and pay for everything at once via cash or credit card. Each of your receipts is firmly thwacked with a “paid” stamp, and the whole pile given back to you. You trot over to the nearby pickup counter, and are handed a dozen or more recycled-paper bags in various sizes, one for each section of the store you bought from. It is permissible to consolidate these into fewer bags for easier carrying. Then you’re done, and step back into the heat and roar of Jan Path.

All of Brendan‘s photos of CCIE from our October India trip are here:

Home Update

This wall of my bedroom is pretty much done, with a cheap-but-capacious dresser from Ikea, Elfquest prints, decorative bark balls bought on the street in Porto Alegre, and the etched mirror bought at Tribal Route during my recent visit to Mumbai. The merino sheep is from last summer’s trip to New Zealand, but he’d been Read More…

This wall of my bedroom is pretty much done, with a cheap-but-capacious dresser from Ikea, Elfquest prints, decorative bark balls bought on the street in Porto Alegre, and the etched mirror bought at Tribal Route during my recent visit to Mumbai. The merino sheep is from last summer’s trip to New Zealand, but he’d been stashed away til now because I was afraid my Colorado roommate’s dogs would think he was a toy for them and summarily dismember him (as they do with all their toys). And he’s way too cute for that dismal fate.

Looking out into the living room, you can see the poster of Lakshmi that Yuti and I bought on the street in Mumbai. I had said to her: “I’d like to buy some god posters,” and we ran into an ambulatory poster vendor as soon as the words were out of my mouth. Yuti was amazed; there are plenty of street vendors in India, but she had not ever seen someone walking around selling posters until I apparently summoned him with the mere thought.

The rubber tube “frame” came with the poster, the whole thing cost about $2.50. I could probably frame these in glass and sell them for hundreds of dollars each at a trendy shop in San Francisco.

Home Making

^ Memories, new and old: An embroidered silk hanging from the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Delhi, which I bought during an epic shopping spree with Yuti, and the decorated tin trunk I bought in Mumbai from artist Rashmi Dogra while visiting Deepu, combined with an American mission-style dresser. The objects on the dresser include figurines Read More…

^ Memories, new and old: An embroidered silk hanging from the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Delhi, which I bought during an epic shopping spree with Yuti, and the decorated tin trunk I bought in Mumbai from artist Rashmi Dogra while visiting Deepu, combined with an American mission-style dresser. The objects on the dresser include figurines bought at the Crafts Museum in Delhi, diyas, a piece of driftwood from Gouverneur Beach in St. Barth’s, and a photo (in a Kashmiri frame bought in Mussoorie) is of Rossella and friends in a Woodstock production of The Taming of the Shrew. On the wall to the right you can see the edge of an appliqued wall hanging I bought with Sara during a visit to Mumbai.

I’ve been residing in Colorado since last March, but during that time have been traveling so much that it’s taking a while to get settled. What I’ve done so far towards setting up my home reminds me of my college days: starting from scratch in a new place with limited personal space, trying to keep spending down, while surrounding myself with objects rich in memory. I’m enjoying the opportunity to decorate all of my space in my own way, instead of having to find niches among Enrico’s family heirlooms.

I’m living in a large suburban house with a Sun colleague, Kathleen, from whom I rent two bedrooms and a bath. We share most of the house and fixtures, which saved me an enormous amount on kitchen stuff and furniture. I didn’t even have to buy beds, thanks to Kathleen (who had a single bed waiting for me, made even, the day I arrived) and Dan and Karen, who gave me a king-sized futon (which Dan delivered and carried up the stairs, bless him – the thing must weigh 200 pounds).

My furniture investment so far has been minimal: a dresser, a desk, second-hand bookshelves, and, just recently, a chair to go with the desk. It’s a pity there’s no Ikea in Colorado, but there is American Furniture Warehouse.

img_5738

The Shaker desk above came from a very nice furniture place (not AFW), but was on sale cheap, probably because the drawers stick. Furniture needs to be tempered for Colorado, or the dry air can cause such problems. The prints are from my beloved Elfquest, something I’d been meaning to buy for a long time.

I wasn’t using the desk much til this week, when I finally got around to getting a chair so that, if I’m stuck working at home because of snow, I can at least be comfortable. Yes, I use two computers at once. Often I do email etc. on one while the other is processing video.

This is in my “office” room, along with the single bed and:

img_5711

The painting is from/by Ross. Sue and Jack should also recognize gifts from themselves in this photo!

The larger room, in addition to the dresser shown above, contains:

painting by Rashmi Dogra

This painting by Rashmi Dogra illustrates icons of Indian life common 20 years ago. She was amused that I wanted this painting – none of her usual Mumbai clients were interested in this kind of nostalgia.

img_5718

Above the bed I hung a length of ikat material bought at Dilli Haat. The window treatments are curtains from an American chain with torans from a SEWA store in Delhi.

I’ve been decorating with photographs, some of friends and family:

img_5719

…some travel photos that I never got around to printing before…

img_5722

Thanks to Donna and Sarah for the housewarming gifts (though they don’t even know each other, they picked the same picture frame, in different colors):

img_5725

^ photos from Viterbo, taking during the Imaging in Italy tour I did a few years ago. I have so many great photos from that trip…

img_5716

^ these are from our visit to Jaipur

img_5717

^ another piece of Indian nostalgia, this time purchased on a trip to Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar (Thieves’ Market) with Deepu. The guy in the red shirt is Amitabh Bachchan, by now the grand old man of Indian cinema. Nowadays, such an ad would be for a luxury car, not a bicycle!

I’ve still got plenty of space to fill, but am in no hurry to do so. I don’t mind the relative emptiness, and I prefer to buy things over time, making each purchase significant, not just a way to fill space. (I only bought the dresser after several months, when the lack of drawers began to seriously annoy me.) But what I do have in here already helps it feel like home.

Shopping in Delhi: New Discoveries

I have written before about shopping in Delhi; here I’ll add some more details and tips, organized by location. It’s a good idea to plan your shopping days geographically, as Delhi is very spread out and traffic is horrendous – it can take over an hour to get from one place to another, worse during Read More…

I have written before about shopping in Delhi; here I’ll add some more details and tips, organized by location. It’s a good idea to plan your shopping days geographically, as Delhi is very spread out and traffic is horrendous
– it can take over an hour to get from one place to another, worse during evening rush hour, which begins around 3:30 and ends at 9 pm!

Connaught Place

The multiple concentric circles of Connaught Place, in the heart of New Delhi, are going increasingly upscale (at least in parts), perhaps in response to competition from all the shiny new malls further out. There are shops for Levi’s and Lee’s jeans, Van Heusen and other American brands, and even some Italian mid-level fashion brands. At the moment, it’s still possible to buy some very nice clothing at lower prices than you’d find in Europe or the US – though it’s also possible to spend just as much! Depending on the relative values of the rupee and the dollar, this advantage is probably destined to disappear.

Connaught Place can be annoying, however. You can’t walk a yard without being accosted by touts: “Come look my shop”. For some reason the Kashmiri shop owners are the most aggressive; they manage to completely turn me off the mere idea of buying anything Kashmiri, no matter how lovely.

(A TV ad exploits the annoyance factor of many Indian shopkeepers to suggest that you shop on eBay instead!)

Near Connaught Place you will also find the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, and the long row of state emporiums, which I observed in passing seem to have been upgraded in the last few years, but I didn’t get to them this trip.

Greater Kailash N-Block

Full Circle Bookstore: A nice selection of coffee-table and other books on everything Indian, plus music, DVDs, and a nice coffee shop on the top floor.

Fabindia: Shops on both sides of the square. Hand-woven, printed, etc. cottons and silks for home and wear. Fabindia also now has an interesting line of organic cosmetics and foods, including spices, grains, jams, chutneys, etc.

Episode: Beautiful silver items for the home, including elegant modern Ganesh statuettes.

The Next Shop: Some fascinating home decor items, most of which, unfortunately, are too heavy or too fragile for me to carry home in a suitcase. But here’s where I first discovered the range of incredibly designed stainless steel and porcelain dinner and serving ware from Magppie:

“This Indian enterprise is an offshoot of a 30 year old family run business of rolling stainless steel.” It’s a fascinating synthesis: the design team, at least as presented on their website, is entirely foreign, but many of the products reflect Indian sensibilities as well as Indian uses and traditions. Beautiful stuff!

We later found an entire Magppie store at a mall in Gurgaon. If only they offered international shipping…

Khan Market

I only knew Khan Market for Anokhi, the home of fine hand-printed cloth items. Anokhi has now split into two at that site, one on each corner of the block for home furnishings and clothing.

Khan Market has some other interesting shops, including a Biotique, which I noticed because there was an autographed photo of Johnny Depp in the window thanking them for the almond kajal that he wore in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” So I went in and bought some, and it is indeed very nice kajal.

Gurgaon

This suburb which used to be a village is home to many multinationals as well as bedroom community for the city. It now boasts a long row of shopping malls, some specialized in housewares or clothing, others a bit of a mix. As you can see in the photo above, many of the brands are familiar!

more shopping in Delhi

share your shopping tips for Delhi