Princely Jaipur, the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is one of the world’s most important craft centers; in addition to its centuries-old reign as the center of the country’s precious stone industry, rugs and textiles—particularly hand-block printed cotton goods—are at the forefront of its shopping riches. And in recent years, many expat designers have set up shop there, adding a new twist to the Pink City’s riches by merging Western style and local craftsmanship.
While some stores are located along MI Road and others are scattered throughout the leafy C-Scheme neighborhood, the city is spread out and you’ll need a car and driver to make the most of a day of shopping. Make sure to provide your boutique hit list to your driver in advance, so that he can map out the best route and avoid some of Jaipur’s notorious traffic.
Some shops are set in upscale boutiques with a curated selection of goods, while others require scouring crammed cardboard boxes. If the latter, the owners are likely to be open to negotiating and do not have fixed prices. You are best to act disinterested and bargain on your own, rather than in the company of friends or a large group.
Indagare Tip: We advise packing a foldable bag in your luggage to haul home new-found treasures.
Contact Indagare for assistance planning a vacation to Jaipur, or sign up for our 2018 India Indagare Journey, which will feature lots of insider access in Jaipur, including a curated shopping experience and tea in the Royal Family’s drawing room at City Palace.
Indagare Picks for Indo-Western Designs
- Hot Pink: A collaboration between the late Gem Palace jeweler Munnu Kasliwal and French jewelry designer Marie–Hélène de Taillac, Hot Pink is surely one of Jaipur’s most chic boutiques. The store is a treasure trove featuring sophisticated clothing, home goods and accessories from India’s trendiest designers. Read more.
- Idli and Idli Design: Founded by Thierry Journo, a French expat designer, this pair of shops display a decidedly modern spin on Jaipur’s traditional textiles. Case in point: short silk dresses with an eye-catching print of camels and palm trees. There are also eclectic home goods like intensely hued tie-dye cushions and bed covers and men’s apparel in kaleidoscopic prints. Read more.
- Teatro Dhora: Originally from Rajasthan, the founder of this unmissable concept store studied in Milan before opening Dhora, which offers a selection of fashion-forward goods from emerging Indian designers. Look out for quirky brass baubles and beautiful top-stitched leather bags. Read more.
- Brigitte Singh: The French-born designer Brigitte Bingh has been living in Jaipur for more than 25 years. At her eponymous atelier, a serene appointment-only haveli in Amer near the Amber Palace, shoppers can check out some of the country’s finest hand-blocked fabrics, which are inspired by motifs from the Mughal Empire. While the stock varies and is sometimes quite low, lucky visitors might be able to see block-printers at work before heading upstairs to buy everything from breezy cotton bathrobes to exquisite bed-linens. Read more.
- Jaipur Modern: Founders Yash Agarwal and Maximiliano Modesti have combined generations-old craftsmanship with an Italian sensibility at this C-Scheme bungalow, which adjoins an airy restaurant of the same name. Linger over stylish Shibori pillows, quilts and carry-on luggage, as well as a selection of clothing from Jaipur’s own label, which includes sweet shift dresses and men’s checkered shirts in the softest organic cotton. Read more.
Related: Perspectives on India
Indagare Picks for Hand-Blocked Prints
- Anokhi: The flagship of this textile house offers an array of products from table and bed linens to sarongs and beaded jackets, as well as hand-blocked fabrics by the yard. All of their products are finished by artisans at a farm outside of Jaipur, but are sold in boutiques throughout the country. It’s a great spot to purchase inexpensive gifts to take home, such as quilted toiletry bags and cotton napkins in vibrant prints. Read more.
- Fabindia: Located across the street from Central Park, Jaipur’s Fabindia branch (there are stores in most major cities in the country) is a great place to shop for affordable hand-woven and hand-printed textiles. The stores feature clothes for men and women, including tunics that would work well as bikini cover-ups and a fun selection of short-sleeve button-down shirts for men. You can also find plenty for the home, including tablecloths, curtains, quilts, bed sheets and more. Read more.
- Rasa: Rasa offers exceptional textiles with a newfangled design that would work well in a country cottage or urban home. Favorites include cotton quilts, bed linens, table linens and floral and geometric-motif cushions, and wearable pieces like tunics, blouses and scarves. Read more.
- Cottons: While the tunics and scarves here may not be as precisely block-printed as others in Jaipur, this textile emporium creates relatively contemporary pieces that work equally well for a day of sight-seeing in Bangalore or a breezy lunch in Southampton. Read more.
- Ridhi Sidhi Textiles: This shop is packed with hand-blocked textiles and screen prints, so you have to be prepared to rummage and negotiate. The Badaya family, who runs the shop, boast an incredibly loyal following because they have learned how to cater to the Western market; in fact, they supply such U.S. outlets as ABC Carpet & Home. Read more.
- Saurashtra Impex: Fabric hunters who have had their fill of the ubiquitous hand-blocked fabrics and who are interested in tribal textiles (antique and contemporary) should head to Saurashtra Impex inside the Jorawar Singh Gate. Read more.
Related: Melissa’s Jaipur Finds
Indagare Picks for Big-Ticket Items
- Gem Palace: No trip to Jaipur would be complete without a visit to this historic, world-renowned jewelry institution. The Kasliwal family once served served as court jewelers to the Mughal emperors, and have outfitted British royalty, Jackie O. and a number of Hollywood stars with their A-list–befitting gems. The owners are now the family’s 9th generation, and stock everything from accessible silver pieces to museum-quality, blinged-out designs fit for, well, a queen. Even if you’re not looking to buy, it’s worth a visit just to browse. Read more.
- Gems Paradise: Though its name doesn’t carry the same cachet as the Gem Palace, this jewelry store across the street is more than a century old and boasts a stellar selection of Western and traditionally Indian designs. It is a great place to buy less expensive stones, though does not have the same iconic styles or ornate settings on offer at the Gem Palace. Read more.
- Andraab: A family-run business with several outlets through the country, this must-visit cashmere shop specializes in rare, hand-embroidered pieces. One meticulously woven shawl, for instance, took three years to complete and costs around $5,000. More modest pieces (priced around $300) still feel like cashmere clouds and come with a lifetime guarantee. In addition to shawls, stoles and scarves, there is a small selection of throws, wall hangings and bedspreads. Narain Niwas Palace Hotel Kanota Bagh, Narain Singh Rd.
- Samurai Exports: Serious design hounds should make an appointment at this home-goods emporium, which opened in Jaipur in 1975, and, today, carries a vast selection of furniture and décor generally too large to take home in one’s suitcase. Many insiders view it as the best place to buy dhurries (flat-woven carpets) and antique textiles in this rug-rich region. Samurai Farms, Bhankrota, Ajmer Road
Contact Indagare for assistance planning a vacation to Jaipur.