India is a shopper’s paradise! Skills have been passed down through generations and amazing bargains can be found. The range of good is incredible – carpets and rugs, paintings, jewellery (silver, gold, gems), textiles (fabulous silks, fine pashminas, cool cottons, sturdy handwoven materials, not to mention fine gold and silver thread work), beads, embroidery, wood (especially sandalwood in the south), stone – including inlaid marble, pottery, metal (bronze, brass, copper etc.), leather, paper, clothes, furniture, etc., etc…… It is also quick and inexpensive to have clothes made to measure – or a copy of a favourite that you have with you.

Places to shop are also many and varied, from street markets to large emporia, hotel arcades to hawkers.

Spices abound and can be a small and light gift to take home, as are varieties of excellent Indian tea – eg Darjeeling from the north, Nilgiri from the south.

Bargaining is an integral part of shopping unless you go to fixed price stores like the Government ones which guarantee quality and that a reasonable sum will go to the maker. It can be a good idea to visit one of these stores to get an idea of prices before heading to the markets to bargain! And the thing to remember is that if you think you have got a bargain and the vendor accepts the price then everyone is happy and it does not matter what the price was! If you go to a shop with a guide and/or driver it is likely that they will get a commission on anything you purchase: again it is good to remember that this is part of the system and they may well be dependent on such ‘perks’ to bring low wages up to a standard where they can better educate their children – and would you find the shop without them?.