Friday, June 25, 2010

Bangalore Shopping Spree

Apart from sight-seeing in Bangalore, we also most of our shopping around Commercial Street.

Commercial Street is one of the main shopping area in Bangalore, where many local products are made available, from clothing to food to accessories. The roads are typically narrow for a main street, and it is extremely crowded during the weekends.

One is spoilt for choice in the shops, but there's more out there at the stalls along the alley. In the shops it is hard to negotiate, hence I would recommend to shop at the stalls if one loves to bargain.

Pretty and colourful bracelets

Another interesting observation is that most shops have their own power generator, due to the erratic power supply in Bangalore. Time and again, we have the buildings going into complete darkness due to power trip, but is restored almost immediately.

My colleague bought a lot of sari cloth, mainly to make baju kurung. Each shop has different varieties and it was painful to just narrow down choices to a few.

Decisions, decisions

We also got some tops - namely kurtis - from one stall owner, who claims it was his first day setting up business in this vicinity. Talk about striking it lucky!

Here are a couple of recommended places to go to buy sari cloth, based on the variety and prices of our purchases.

Katyayani Saree Fashions - Shop No. 104, Commercial Street, Bangalore
This is the shop which my colleague spent a lot of time choosing sari cloth. Price is reasonable, we got quite a number of sari less than 400 rupees. Although the designs were very simple but the embroidery was lovely. Prices are negotiable if purchased in bulk.

Roopam Silks International - Level 1, #79, M.Y.J Towers, Infantry Road, Bangalore
The auto driver brought us to this place, he promised there is 'lots of good choices of sari' . Boy, he was right. This shop has an assorted range of sari cloth, their cheapest range is from approximately 500 rupees. The quality is also different, and the designs are definitely more unique. Even I got myself one sari cloth which I intend to make baju kedah one day. They have very nice kurtis too, the price is equivalent to around RM80 for one. Price is fixed and non negotiable.

Shawls are available in most souvenir shops, price is negotiable, but we paid around 500 rupees for a shawl. The traders will claim it is made of silk/cotten/crepe but we really can't tell. Pure Pashmina shawls will cost a bomb (at least 3000 rupees) due to its quality and is mainly for the cold weather, but I really wouldn't trust the traders so much. Better to buy from those more authentic shops if you can find one.

As for handicrafts, most locals will recommend the Cauvery Emporium located along M.G Road. next to Brigade road. It's a huge shop, one could not miss it. This shop is recommended because it is government funded, hence the price would be reasonable. A word of caution though : There are many Cauvery shops located within Bangalore. Most of them are not a branch of Cauvery hence the prices are much steeper and quality is not assured.

From personal experience, we were 'tricked' into entering one Cauvery shop located off M.G road due to the construction of the Metro. This shop was located within a housing area, which aroused our suspicion. Inside, the items of the shop were so expensive! Imagine one sandalwood keychain cost RM20! When my colleague kept asking where is the main Cauvery shop, they kept telling us it is closed due to the ongoing construction, but we both knew they were not telling the truth. We just passed by the shop the previous day! We left the place in anger, headed back to the hotel and complained. Seems we should not take the diversion path as indicated in the signboard. The hotel later arranged transport for us to go to the real Cauvery centre in town. I think there's another case which was mentioned here, you may go ahead and read about it.

If sari or handicrafts are not your thing, you may want to try checking out the pharmacies for their range of herbal and Ayurvedic beauty products. Most of their products are reasonably priced, some like Himalaya Herbals are much cheaper as compared to Malaysia.

More on Bangalore street scene in my next post :)

No comments: