The metropolitan city of Delhi – with Old Delhi and New Delhi – has an eclectic selection of tempting souvenirs and presents. There are bustling streets of shops and wonderful bazaars. Chandi Chowk is the main shopping district close to the old city with numerous alleyways and designated areas for different products. If you get hungry whilst you shop, this area is well known for its excellent street food! There are so many bazaars in the city with Paharganj being the main one. Dilli Haat market has small thatched-roof cottages and a lovely village atmosphere and the Janpath and Tibetan Market is a real treasure trove for presents. Another popular bazaar is Sarojini Nagar as it is great for cheap designer brands – many of them export rejects. So, here’s presenting the top 10 souvenirs to buy in Delhi.
1. Pack some excellent Indian tea
There are so many different types of tea to enjoy and many are wonderful blends with herbs and spices like cardamom and cloves. If you have the chance to taste before you buy – all the better! One to look out for is Masala Chai which is a traditional black tea with a lovely blend of herbs. Tea can be bought everywhere including the bazaars and food stores, but it is extra fun to go to one of the specialist shops such as Mittal Tea House or Sancha Tea Boutique.
2. Promise yourself some delicious Aachar
A jar of Aachar – Indian pickle – is a really great souvenir as the pickle makes a delicious side dish to a curry. The pickle is made from preserved fruit that has been made sweet or tangy with spices and because the result is a strong tasting pickle, only a small quantity is needed.
3. Treat yourself to a luxurious pashmina
A wonderfully soft cashmere pashmina (shawl) makes a special souvenir from your visit to Delhi. Pashminas are widely available in a spectrum of colors and classical patterns and are the perfect way to jazz up a plain dress or to add an extra layer of warmth when worn over a winter coat. Pashminas are widely available and a particularly impressive selection at great prices can be found in Lajpat Nagar Market.
4. Buy some wonderful spices
Indian spices are truly authentic and very intense both in fragrance and taste. There are just so many different spices to choose from including pure spices like turmeric to wonderful blends such as curry spices, chili variations and popular blends such as garam masala. Spices can be bought in many places but Khari Baoli Market is a wonderful place to shop as it is the largest spice market in Asia. There is a colorful array of spices, herbs, and nuts that are all sold by weight. A very special souvenir is an Indian spice box which is a sectioned box that is filled with a colorful array of different spices.
5. Treasure a dibbis box
These beautiful little boxes have intricately designed lids that are inlaid in enamel with intricate patterns. The boxes are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and a great selection can be found in Janpath market.
6. Get some stylish silver jewelry
There are numerous silver jewelry workshops and an ancient silver market in the Dariba Kalan area of New Delhi. There are so many attractive designs to choose from, with classic Indian designs and attractive contemporary European styles as well as the chance to have your own design made into a truly unique piece of jewelry by one of the many craftsmen.
7. Admire some Madhubani paintings
These colorful pieces of art are painstakingly designed by craftsmen who paint on silk, satin and cotton. The dyes that are used are vibrant natural ones extracted from local flowers, and spices. The paintings portray Hindu motifs and Hindu deities as well as wildlife and animals. Watching the craftsmen at work is truly fascinating as the intricate design is painted onto the material using a brush made from a piece of cotton wrapped around a piece of bamboo and fingertips are often used too!
8. Choose some gorgeous silk
Assamese silk is held in high regard all over India and can be bought in both upmarket shops and the bazaars of Delhi. The quality does vary and certainly, in the bazaars it is worth negotiating the price! Shankar Market has an excellent array of silk and silk brocades to buy by the meter. Many people like to buy a length of fabric to be made into a stylish shirt or dress once they get home, others prefer to buy a beautifully tailored outfit in the city and there are plenty of talented tailors and dressmakers who can create something special and made-to-measure in just a few days.
9. Enjoy the scent of sandalwood
Sandalwood is a much-loved fragrance all over the world and the very best quality comes from the forests of India. The sandalwood found in Delhi is local, extra fresh and a real bargain! There is a wonderful choice of different sandalwood soaps to choose from and other gift ideas include body scrubs, body powder, essential oils, and incense.
10. Go for gold
‘Zari’ means ‘gold’ and zardozi is a stunning embroidery stitched with gold thread. Highly talented craftsmen create intricate patterns with real silver thread or gold plated threads that are embellished with semi-precious stones. This beautiful embroidery is usually worked on silk or velvet which really accentuates the beauty of the gossamer embroidery.