India is at the top of my list for high quality craftsmanship. For jewelry, textiles, pashminas, marble decorative accessories, lacquer painting, art, and rugs -India has the best.
One of the best ways to find the best in India’s arts and crafts are through their Markets.
I found a great resource on India markets from Marieke’s Art of living – India.
The place to start is the central cottage industries emporium. Set up by the government, it brings in vendors from all over the cluntry, so all types of crafts are represented. They have a fixed price rule and no one bothers you. You can see what India has to offer and base their prices on what you see in later markets.
Santushti was one of my favorites, chic, quiet, peaceful and decidedly upmarket. Developed by the Air Force Wives Association, it has a small select number of tented boutiques where apparel, furnishings, decorative accessories and fashion accessories are available in a elegant garden setting with cottages selling the most elegant wares from housewares,books , exquisite clothing, pashminas, tea etc.
Sunder Naga, not far from the Lodhi hotel -this genteel enclave specialises in jewellery, fine pashminas, gold, silver and “antiquey” things, Indian and Nepali handicrafts. There are two outstanding teashops here: Regalia Tea House and Mittal Tea House– see further notes below
Khan Market, much favoured by the expat community and wealthy Delhi citizens for the wonderful Neemrana shop that stocks lovely homewares, bath products and unguents, reproduction silver, well-designed clothing, as well as interesting sari and shoe shops.
Kahn has amarpuli, a fine Indian jewelry shop with both old and new designs. From sold gold and silver to gold plated copies.
Some shops with contemporary clothing such as Anokhi, their only store with a collection of “Special Edition” pieces upstairs, as well as a new salon of Shahnaz Husain ayurvedic beauty treatments. Two top shops worth exploring are FabIndia with India cottons designed into fresh fashion. And Good Earth another good shop for elegant Ibdian fashion, decorative accessories and on the top floor, housesthe charming restaurant, Latitude with organic, farm to table salads, and light Indian specialties. Also Biotique with its superb range of Ayurvedic-based natural beauty products, good tailors, exotic fruits, olive oil, imported wines.
Go early in the day, around 10, soon after the shops open rather than mid to late afternoon when it becomes very congested.