Every other store in Udaipur’s cramped old city sells handicrafts, paintings, garments (kurthis and other traditional wear) or jewelry. It’s a shoppers’ paradise especially for handicrafts, which are some of the best we’ve seen so far in our traveling. The wooden figurines and wooden wall decor were absolutely gorgeous! Anybody wanting to decorate their home with a little bit of traditional flavor must definitely make a stop in Udaipur. We found the most variety around the Jagdish chowk area but this is also the most tourist-ridden place, so hard bargaining skills are required. Madhu and I browsed through many stores as we LOVE window-shopping, especially for home decor stuff. In the end, we picked up a couple of things as gifts for family and some jewelry for yours truly!
Here are 3 stores we really enjoyed browsing and which we would recommend to other shoppers in Udaipur.
Ashoka ArtsAddress: 339, Ashoka Haveli, Gadiya Devera Marg Phone: 91 294-2523427, 2422303
Run by the same management that runs Hotel Gangaur Palace, Ashoka Arts is a great place to find miniature paintings. They have them framed or un-framed, on paper, silk or camel bone. They come in a variety of price range as well so there’s plenty to choose from. All of the paintings are produced by local artistes. They have some wooden and metal handicrafts as well but not as much as the paintings, which they seem to specialize in. What we liked most about Ashoka Arts was the warm and friendly staff. We went to their store a couple of times without buying anything but they were always patient and never pushy. They also advised us not to ever go to a store with an auto-driver or anybody else who claimed to take us to the best store, as the store would mark up prices to include commission to the person who brought the customer in. On the last day of our stay, we eventually bought a painting on camel bone from them. We bargained a bit and (we think) got a good deal for it!
Vinayak Arts & CraftsAddress: 10-Gaurav Path, Punjawati, Bhuwana, Udaipur, Rajasthan Phone: 91 294 6451677
We stumbled upon this store quite accidentally when we lost our way after the boat ride at the City Palace. Of all handicrafts store in Udaipur’s old city, Vinayak’s seems to have the biggest collection and that too of good quality. We loved browsing through their stuff. They didn’t seem to have much of miniature paintings but quite a bit of wooden handicrafts, silver jewelry and furnishings (bed covers, cushion covers). The store is managed by a couple of young lads who were again quite friendly and not overtly pushy. We loved a large wooden camel with a male and female figurine atop it. They quoted Rs.8,000 for it but I’m sure if we had pushed hard enough, it could have been bought for around Rs.5,000 and it would have been well-worth the money. But we weren’t sure if we really wanted to lug the massive thing around with us so we let it go. Someday when we set up our own home, I hope to go back to Vinayak’s and buy some stuff from there.
Gem HandicraftsAddress: 39 Lal Ghat, Near Poonam Haveli, Udaipur, Rajasthan Phone: 91 294 2561518, 94609 33224 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Prerana Kothari, owner of Gem Handicrafts, is one of the friendliest people we met in Udaipur. She has a perpetual smile on her face and a great attitude. She also loves to chat so we spent nearly an hour in her store buying just a small silver pendant and getting my nose pierced. Her tiny store is crammed from ceiling to floor with a variety of silver and metal jewelry. She has everything from nose rings, earrings, bracelets, anklets, finger rings and pendants to even jewelry from Nepal. One can spend hours browsing through this all. Since her store was on our way to the hotel, we passed it several times a day and always found it busy with potential customers. Prerana, herself, is very easy to do business with and I felt assured of finding good quality stuff from her. She has a ‘Fixed Price’ sign on her door and she means it – no bargaining here!