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Shimla Shopping Guide – where and what to shop and buy

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Shimla’s markets and shops overflow with traditional Kangra silk scarves and Kinnauri shawls, hand woven in the characteristic geometric patterns of the local area. You’ll also find heaps of cold weather garments, including leather gloves, knitted jumpers and thick fabrics to warm you up on chilly mountain nights. Thanks to the surrounding mountain pine forests, Shimla’s well known for its wooden handicrafts, which make perfect gifts and souvenirs.
Lakkar Bazaar

 

 

Just off the Ridge and close to The Mall, Lakkar Bazaar’s the place for wooden handicrafts. Stroll around the market, picking out intricately carved statues – Hindu gods such as Hanuman are a popular choice – or choose from homeware items like spoons and candle sticks. Little ones will like the wooden toys, while older shoppers may opt for intricate wooden walking sticks. Especially useful around Shimla’s steep up-and-down roads, you might also want one if hiking to Jakhu Hill, not just to help you get up there, but also to ward off any overzealous monkeys on your way up.

 

Lower Bazaars

 

 

A labyrinth of alleys meander around the Lower Bazaars – the markets linking The Mall with the lower Cart Road. The oldest stalls and shops have traditional wooden signs leftover from Colonial times. These days its locals, rather than foreigners, who head to the stalls here, buying everything from electrical goods to spices, fabrics, clothing, and school books. It’s one of the best places to bag a bargain, though you’ll have to be up for a good haggle to get the best price. Plenty of food stands line the maze-like alleys, offering tasty treats like samosas and cups of steaming chai.

 

Tibetan Markets

 

 

Like many of India’s northern hill stations, Shimla’s home to an array of Himalayan people, including a community of Tibetan refugees. If you fancy buying some thick Tibetan fabrics – think colourful shawls, rugs, and clothing – there are a handful of shops and market stalls dotted around Shimla. You can also hunt out treasures at the Tibetan Handloom Shop on the Mall. It has plenty of souvenirs and trinkets, and your purchase will also help the Tibetan community.

 

Shopping Tips

 

 

As with many places in India, plenty of bargains can be found among Shimla’s markets. For a first-time visitor to India, it can be a bewildering place, as generally nothing has a marked price. It’s easy to pay too much for something, as stall owners will try to get as many Rupees as they can. A good idea is to ask at your hotel, or the tourist information if you’re unsure what to pay, and wander around checking prices at lots of places before deciding on – and haggling for – your purchase.