The Garden City of Bangalore is also a shopper's paradise, with more shops per sq. km. than anywhere else in the country. New shopping complexes and department stores are coming up every day to complement traditional marketplaces and make shopping here a more complete experience.
The Brigade Road area - with hundreds of small and large outlets selling everything from electronic items to the latest in western wear - is where the city's youth like to hang out. With discotheques, bowling alleys, pubs, video game parlours and cybercafes, Bridage Road is a beehive of commercial activity.
Mahatma Gandhi Road is where you should head for ethnic Indian silk saris. The best of handlooms from different states in south India can be bought here - 9 yards of colorful brocade and intricate embroidery that can be cut up to make long scarfs, skirts, evening gowns, bags and blouses. Check out the enormous stock at the Deepam Silk shop and at Prasiddhi. Nalli is another good option, where you can look at a good range of south Indian silks. Prices start from a modest US$ 22 and can go up to US$ 500 plus, depending on quality and weave. Some of the saris take over 2 months to complete and the result, though expensive, can add a rich splash of colour to your wardrobe or even to your home, if you choose to make wall hangings out of them, or cushion covers.
Residency Road is a good place for handicrafts. Bangalore is famous for sandalwood and rosewood items, tribal jewelry and other products which come here from all of south India. Government-run emporia are the safest place to shop for handicrafts - maybe you'll get some items cheaper at smaller outlets, but you'll be confident of quality if you buy them from here. Visit `Utkalika' (from the state of Orissa) for granite carvings, paintings on raw silk, applique goods and silver filigree, `Gurjari' (from the state of Gujarat) for vegetable-dyed and hand-embroidered garments and home décor products, `Poompuhar' (from the state of Tamil Nadu) for Tanjore art plates, bronze showpieces, black metal items and semi-precious jewelry and `Mrignayani' (from the state of Madhya Pradesh) for raw silks, dokra metal work, beadwork and footwear. The typical west Indian handmade leather slippers called kolhapuris can be bought quite cheaply (US$ 4 a pair) from the `Cauvery' outlets.
The modern shopping centres, a foreign tourist may not be interested in, but you'll get very good and cheap summer wear at `Weekender' and `Wearhouse'. They're the same stuff you buy at 5 times the price at home, so it's a good idea to stock up on cotton casuals while you are here.
The top end of the market consists of high fashion boutiques like `Ffolio'. It is Bangalore's definitive designer store with all major fashion designers in India well-represented here. Prices at Ffolio begin at about US$ 60, and you'll get a fair idea about where Indian haute couture is heading from checking out its inventory.
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Published on 6/18/03