The pet project of the Princess Bhargavi Khumari Mewar of Udaipur, Aashka is a lovely boutique that sells fashion, jewelry and housewares made in India but with an updated aesthetic. The airy boutique, which is in the same heritage hotel as Hot Pink and Idli, is decorated with antique mirrors and furniture that have been white washed to create a more contemporary setting. Look out for lovely printed shawls, shift dresses, fine bed linens and pretty leather sandals. Polo enthusiasts can find everything from cocktail napkins with horseshoe motifs and polo shirts to leather saddles.
This sliver of a shop in the Taj Rambagh Palace has a wide range of jewelry from tribal silver necklaces to beads of precious and semi precious stones as well as gold and diamond jewelry.
Opened by furniture designer, Ayush Kasliwal, and his wife, Geetanjali, this design shop is a great place to find contemporary Indian craft. A graduate of the acclaimed National Institute of Design in Ahmedbad, Kasliwal is one of the country’s most forward-thinking designers and a champion for sustainability and fair trade for the artisans he works with. The shop carries the Kasliwals’ own line, along with a selected range of work by other designers who they admire. From beaten brass and stone carving to dhurrie weaving and mirror work, the design duo draws upon the local heritage of craft and employ skilled artisans. Signature products include the Trinetra ‘third eye’ candle holder, a cluster of beaten brass pods; Rohida wooden bowls, traditional vessels made from a native Rajasthan tree, used by Jain priests; and Tazia wooden sculptures.
This textile house sells and exports its hand-block fabrics by the yard and in an array of products from table and bed linens to sarongs to beaded jackets. All of their products are finished by artisans on a farm outside of Jaipur but are now sold in boutiques throughout the country. The Anokhi Foundation recently established a museum in nearby Amer to document the history and tradition of handblocking. If you are planning a day of Jaipur shopping, stop here in time for lunch at its Anokhi Café. Closed Sundays.
Bhuramal Rajmal Surana
For more than two centuries, the Surana family has been crafting some of the finest jewelry in Jaipur. The company was established in 1735 and, in addition, to supplying various royals, it has been exporting its diamond-studded gold Kundan and Meena pieces to Hong Kong and the U.S. for years. You will find exquisitely crafted historic and contemporary Indian designs, including gold encrusted bangles, diamond chandelier earrings and elaborate rings and necklaces, many of which can be previewed on its web site.
Among the most sophisticated hand-blocked fabrics being made in India are those designed by the French born Brigitte Singh. She moved to Jaipur more than twenty years ago and married Surya Vijay Singh. You may recognize some of her patterns, as they are sold in stylish shops in Paris and the States as well as in some of the gift shops of India’s top hotels. Her designs, which are influenced by her painting background and love for the natural world, have more exact, fine lines than most hand-blocked patterns. Expect both the hues and inspiration to come from flowers.
Indagare Tip: Stock can vary widely, so sometimes you may come and find a wonderful array of the soft quilts and fine scarves and clothing and bags, and other times, you may find very little to tempt you. If you see something you like in a shop in an Oberoi or Taj hotel gift shop, snatch it up.
One of the best shoe shops in Jaipur, this tiny store sells leather sandals in various styles including embroidered sandals.
We fully admit that the tunics and scarves here may not be as precisely block printed as others in Jaipur, but what this textile emporium does get right is slim-fitting silhouettes and contemporary motifs. Translation: they’re easy, effortless and dare we say, kind of trendy, whether you live in Bangalore or Southampton. And at these prices, you’ll want to take home a dozen.
As the name implies, this is the place to buy emeralds (the company has been supplying emeralds to Indian royalty as well as the world’s most discerning jewelry houses, from Cartier and Van Cleef to Tiffany and Harry Winston). It’s possible to view a few of their pieces on line but it’s much better to make an appointment to visit the boutique where you can browse the vintage and new collections or request to have something custom made. They carry a variety of the highest quality emeralds, including Brazilian, Colombian and Zambian.
Indagare Tip: This is one of the few jewelry shops where it is NOT appropriate to bargain. The prices are fixed and sets cannot be broken up.
Established by an American in the 1960s to provide work for artisans in small communities and to bring Indian textile work to a larger audience, Fabindia is sort of like the Pottery Barn of Indian fabrics. There are branches in many major cities and each season there are new kaftans and kurtas as well as table and bed linen patterns. In addition to clothes and linens, you will find furniture, carpets, curtains, lighting and most everything to furnish a house.
Though it does have branches in several Indian cities, this beloved skincare and beauty store is a local favorite for its Ayurveda-inspired products. Among their fragrant potions and lotions: butter soaps, sugar cane and tamarind pulp-infused body scrub, sandalwood and saffron night cream. All of which make lovely gifts too.
The Kasliwal family, who owns this historic jewelry institution, once served as the court jewelers to Jaipur’s maharajas and maharanis and has been designing baubles for nine generations now. The family’s jewelry emporium is often described as the Tiffany’s of Jaipur. The late Munnu Kasliwal, a scion of the illustrious family, was considered one of the leading fine jewelry designers and gem authorities in the world. His elder brothers and family continues to run the store since his passing. Munnu’s own designs are still highly sought after, and his pieces continue to be on sale at Barneys New York in Manhattan and Los Angeles.
Depending on the day, the treasure trove at Gem Palace can include an emerald bead torsade, a gold snake bracelet, an Egyptian-style lapis-lazuli-and-turquoise necklace and a Burmese ruby necklace sparkling with diamond rondelles. The prices? While there are superb flat-cut tourmaline rings for $450 and pretty citrine rings for $500, more ornate pieces start around $5,000 and up into the stratosphere. You won’t leave empty-handed. Will you find some similar things for less money elsewhere in Jaipur? Definitely. There is a cost associated with the brand; however, you won’t be able to say you bought it at Gem Palace. Our advice: if you are buying something unusual, like the carved elephant cufflinks, go for it. For standard designs like diamond bangles, ropes of ruby beads or semi precious stone rings, shop elsewhere but pay a visit to browse.
Not as well known as Gem Palace but considered by some to offer a better selection of western style jewelry, Gems Paradise is more than a century old. If you have browsed in Fred Leighton, you have probably seen pieces that came from here. The store always has a fantastic array of Deco inspired designs, traditional Indian pieces and collections that resemble those of well-known Italian and French jewelry houses such as Cartier.
Founded by late Gem Palace jeweler Munnu Kasliwal and French jewelry designer Marie-Hélène de Taillac, this whitewashed boutique sits in the airy garden pavilion of the wonderfully atmospheric Hotel Narain Niwas Palace. Think chic dresses with Indian flair, kitschy accessories, cashmere and wool scarves by Kashmir Loom in every color of the rainbow. Hot Pink’s fans include Ashley and Allegra Hicks, and the store was such a success that Kasliwal and de Taillac opened a small outpost, at Amber Fort. The prices are high for India but the detail and design are also more sophisticated than you will find in most places in Jaipur.
French designer Thierry Journo has lived and worked in Jaipur for quite a few years, adding flair and eccentricity to the expat community and the export options. He recently opened this fabulous boutique in a much more central location in the Narain Niwas Palace, the same heritage hotel that also houses the must-visit boutiques Hot Pink and Aashka and Palladio restaurant. You enter through an archway and one side is the women’s showroom and the other is men’s and housewares. Inspired by the vibrant Rajasthan palette but rooted in a Parisian couture background, Journo sells the most Western designs in the city but with a distinct Indian exoticism. His silk caftans, cotton dresses, ikat pashminas and bright tie dyed pillows are like catnip to color lovers. Though Journo is often in Paris, if you are lucky enough to catch him in the boutique, you will likely end up staying for tea in the garden and making a friend and not just purchases.
Tie-dyed cushion covers, silk shawls and women’s dresses line the shelves at French designer Thierry Journo’s pint-sized boutique, tucked away in a residential pocket. Journo, who was also introduced to Jaipur by Marie-Hélène de Taillac and the late Mannu Kasliwal of the Gem Palace more than a decade ago, puts a decidedly modern spin on Jaipur’s traditional textiles like bandhani (tie-dye) for eye-catching results.
Indagare Tours: Special Access Shopping
For those interested in antique textiles, there is a fabulous dealer in Jaipur who shares his private collection (many museum quality pieces) and sells rare pieces. Academics and museum curators seek him out, and a visit to this showroom is akin to an academic crash course in textiles. Among the interesting facts that I learned: paisley designs actually come from the Moghul mango style of weaving—the teardrop shape was a mango and its shape can specific periods—and the design became called paisley only after French manufacturer Jacquard started producing the patterns on a loom in the Scottish town of Paisley in the early 1800s. The treasures that can be viewed include 400-year-old Ikat pieces, antique gold brocades, including one made on wool for the nizams of Golconda. The King of Qatar spent millions here amassing his collection and one could truly spend hours here ogling masterpieces. By appointment only.
Opened in January 2014, Jaipur Modern is the labor of love of Yash Agarwal and Maximiliano Modesti who have melded an Italian sensibility with Indian artisans to champion “modern Indian craftsmanship.” The owners work with numerous producers in India, including well known brands such as Rashmi Varma and Rajesh Pratap Singh, to create products with a more western twist. The linens and pillows, for instance, have a more abstract design and contemporary color palette. Cotton blouses and dresses are cut in a more avant-garde style. While this is their only boutique, many of their designs have been picked up by Western buyers and can now be found in hip shops in Brazil, Germany and France.
This bazaar is one of the highlights of Jaipur. It presents the eye with a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues, offering everything from shawls, wedding saris, embroidered tunics and, of course, traditional saris, tie-dyed in shocking pink, indigo, chrome yellow, acid green and more. Bollywood stars shop for gold-embroidered skirts and brides-to-be secure the elements of their trousseaux amid the glorious jumble of pashmina galleries, tailors, sari stores, jewelers and silk boutiques. You can also find gem bargains. Stop for refreshments at LMB restaurant. Members can contact our Bookings Team for help organizing custom touring.
A stylish boutique that is known for superb quality hand-block-printed silk saris, including Tussar silk and Khadi tussar. Sonia Gandhi is a client as are many of the stylish women in Jaipur. The pretty showroom also has ready-to-wear garments and accessories.
The shop of the Agarwal family specializes in leather goods but what you are coming for are the hand embroidered slippers. It is a simple place that we were turned on to by a rickshaw driver. The products are not fancy but are just the kind of colorful slippers that will work at home with white jeans in the summer.
This shop in a courtyard off of the MI Road is an expat favorite. The owner, Meenu Tholia, whose husband owns the jewelry store outfront Tholia Kuber, works with artisans to create fashions with a slightly modern nod. Top sellers are the quilted jackets and scarves.
A great source for Indian ceramics, in particular the region’s famous Indo-Persian blue pottery. The company was founded in 1978 by a native of Calcutta, Leela Bordia, as an enterprise to help local people earn money by practicing their craft. Named after her sister Neerja, the company Bordia founded today sells its products all over the world. You can find tiles, dishes, bowls and even toothbrush holders in traditional blue pottery patterns.
The gift shop in the City Palace in Jaipur, which is housed in the same building as the textile museum, was the concept of Princess Diya Kumari who wanted to offer products inspired by the museum collection. Everything is made in the Palace Atelier by local craftsmen. Its two small rooms are crammed with hand-blocked cotton and silk stoles, scarves and saris as well as accessories such as colorful silk clutches and attractive enamelware cups and boxes that are great for gifts.
Princess Diya Kumari Foundation
Princess Diya Kumari, who was also behind the renovation of the Rajmahal hotel, started this foundation in 2013 to give underprivileged women employment. Today more than 65 women create crafts out of the nearby Badal Mahal (Monsoon or Cloud Palace) and a cooperative near Ranthambore. Their simple fabric products range from cotton children’s frocks and notebooks to cloth bags and fabric animals. A small stall near the giant silver urns in the City Palace sells their crafts and by appointment it is possible to visit the Monsoon Palace, one of the oldest buildings in Jaipur, where they work.
Puja is Jaipur’s most famous designer, thanks to her distinctive, whimsical and playful modern fashion and accessories. She designs her own blocks for the hand-printed textiles and uses traditional motifs in an abstract design. The fabric is normally enhanced further with hand-embroidery. Puja has a studio at home, and in the same compound has a small store with previous seasons’ merchandise discounted. Products from the charity, Umang are available here. By appointment only.
Rajasthan Fabrics and Arts
This trio of extraordinary textile stores includes the original shop—run by the patriarch of the family—which specializes in museum-quality antique and vintage fabrics. At the family’s Satayam, closest to the City Palace entrance, are superb handwoven cashmere blankets; natural, undyed pashmina shawls; hand-stitched quilts; and delectable handwoven cotton shawls printed with gold and silver motifs. Pashmina, cotton and cashmere textiles can also be custom-dyed in an assortment of elegant colors. Ask to view vintage textiles in the company’s third store nearby. Open by appointment only, it’s like a museum of rich fabrics, all breathtaking. Museum curators shop here for treasures displaying India’s textile artistry.