Shopping in Jaipur is simply one of those things every tourist has to do when they visit the Rajasthani city. This wonderful place is absolutely teeming with products that any smart traveller would want to snatch up, for it was a seat of culture and arts in the past that even now continues to play host to some of the best craftsmen and artisans in India. This is the city of bandhani, of rajais, and of rubystars. What more could the eager shopper want?
First of all, it must be noted that there is no end of options for trademarks of the city to bring home: the Jaipur artisans are known for everything from their smart metalwork to the exquisite pottery they produce. An especially nice souvenir might be a trinket or small sculpture fashioned out of carved ivory, but you could just as easily opt for something more practical like a bolt of the famed bandhani cloth, or perhaps of the wonderful quilts called rajais. There are also a great many sellers of jewellery here, for the city has long been known for the trade and cutting of precious stones and gems.
One particularly valuable gem to be found here is red corundum, otherwise known as the rubystar. The rubystar (also called the star ruby) is often found in an ovoid or roundish shape from the jewellers of the city, and can span the full spectrum of reddish hues, from the lightest pinks to the darkest burgundies. There have even been stones found in the orange shade. The true distinction of this stone, however, is in the intriguing six-rayed white star that spreads from its centre, lending it an unmistakeable appearance. This is an expensive stone, so be prepared to shell out quite a bit for it if it is your intent. That said, be aware that bargaining is almost always possible in Jaipur. Only the top accommodations like major hotels, restaurants, and other facilities do not allow it, as a matter of fact. For just about everything and everywhere else—lodgings included—you should be ready to flex your haggling muscles.
Where should you go to find the best bargains? The bazaars! Jaipur’s bazaars are some of the best places to really get a feel for the local culture, not least because the shop owners shall be only too willing to talk you up for as long as an hour in an effort to persuade you to buy what they have to sell. From Johri to Nehru, the bazaars are definitely well-stocked with everything you might want to buy for souvenirs. Just remember to be friendly while keeping your options open: something found at one shop may well be found in another, and if you are willing to take your time going around to get quotes, you may well end up with a bargain even you never expected. When in doubt, haggle: shopping in Jaipur will definitely become an experience to remember once you walk away with your hard-earned loot after that.