India Journal: New Delhi Textile Shopping Guide

New Delhi is a whirlwind city filled with honking cars, traffic congestion, auto rickshaws that zoom in and out inches from the next vehicle and an efficient, safe metro system. I never saw an accident but thought we would surely collide on multiple occasions. Traffic lanes do not exist although the roads are marked.

Curated textile choices at Kamayani, New Delhi

On a good day the air pollution is passable. On a good day, I could muster the stamina to visit two or three places — a museum or two, a textile boutique or emporium or folk art exposition.

Where To Shop for Textiles in New Delhi

Based on recommendations from my textile expert friends, Nidhi Khurana and Aditi Prakash and what I discovered on my journey, here is my list of where to shop for great cloth in New Delhi, India.

  • Fab India*, retail shops with fine Indian clothing and silver jewelry
  • Crafts Museum* Gift Shop, near Connaught Place
  • Kamayani* (private boutique), 16 Anandlok, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi. Tel. 011-262-58680
  • Kamala*, opposite Hanuman Mandir near Connaught Circus
  • Khadi*, A-1, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, Tel: +91 11 2334 3741
  • Anokhi Clothing and Outlet*
  • Nature Bazaar*, Andheria Mor, Kisan Haat, near Chattarpur Metro stop. A curated, rotating artisans exhibition that features vendors from throughout India. Wonderful!
  • Raj Creations, 30 Hauz Khas Village, Tel. 91-11-26963602. Clothing gallery owner Sunaina “Dimple” Suneja curates a stunning textile collection from throughout India. Don’t miss the historic archeological site at the far end of the village.

*Takes international credit cards.

Embroidery on pashmina (cashmere) shawl, Craft Museum, Delhi

Shopping Tips

  1. If you like it, buy it. You will likely never see the same thing again.
  2. Once more, if you like it, buy it. Each textile in India is unique.
  3. Fixed prices in retail shops. Don’t bargain.
  4. You can bargain in big local markets, if you wish. I didn’t. Exchange rate is 70 rupees to the US dollar.
  5. Get rupees at the airport or from your bank before you leave the USA. There’s a big cash crunch. You need cash to pay taxis and vendors. Still no $$ in ATMs throughout India.
  6. Many shops that “take credit cards” are not set up to accept international credit cards, only those issued in India
  7. Sign up for Transferwise, an easy way to wire transfer funds from your bank account to a hotel or textile artisan
  8. Ask your hotel if you can charge the car/driver to your room to save spending rupees

Bhuj bandhani and mirror work embroidery at Kamayani, Delhi

How To Get Around

The best way to get around is to hire a car and driver for the entire day at around 1200-1800 rupees (about $17-25 USD). The downside is you can sit in traffic for an hour (or more) to go a few miles. But the driver takes you door-to-door and waits for you. For intrepid travelers who like an independent approach, I say, try to adapt.

If you use the Metro, you still need to get from the Metro stop to your destination, a challenge in and of itself. Sure, you can save a few dollars but you’ve spent time trying to find a vehicle and then communicating where you want to go. It’s always a choice about how to spend your time.

Walking is impossible.

Indigo block print and shibori fashion, Nature Bazaar, New Delhi

Where To Stay

Saket Bed and Breakfast, extraordinary hospitality and accommodations, walkable to Saket metro stop. French press coffee. Great food. Dinner available. Accepts credit cards. Easy to arrange car/driver services. Clean and comfy. Currency exchange services available. Close to Nature Bazaar, Sanskriti Museum and Hauz Khas Village.

If you have any other recommendations, please add them in the COMMENTS section!

hand-woven, embroidered mirror shawl from Bhuj at Craft Museum, Delhi

5 Responses to India Journal: New Delhi Textile Shopping Guide

  1. Thanks so much for the great pictures and shopping recommendations. Sounds like India is as wonderful as I had hoped, but maybe it is better to wait until the cash crisis ends. Would be great if you could pass on traveling advice from your amazing cousin over the coming months! Thanks, again, Norma.

    • Hi, Marsha. If you are planning a visit, best to get the India Times for an English update on the cash crisis. My cousin goes everywhere in a car with her driver. That’s my traveling advice to all, or hire a tour guide for your days so you don’t lose time trying to figure out an itinerary as you go and how to get there! Thanks for your comments, as always!

  2. The cash situation in India is chaotic for travellers by the sounds. India is such a cash culture..especially for the poor. How it will all resolve itself is anyone’s guess. I’m putting off travelling there for a while until I work it all out. 95% of my transactions are direct to artisans. Another great article and some terrific tips. I am in love with India. Chaotic but so real. No food that’s processed and full of chemicals, incredible community and family spirit and religion and colour and festivals everywhere. i often return with infected sinuses and a touch of diarreah but can’t wait to return. Thanks.

    • I hear the banks are hoarding new notes. That Modi is consolidating the economy for the benefit of his cronies. The beauty of India is in her small production artisanry. Once there is commercialization by eliminating cash, this will drive small producers of anything out of business. They have no bank accounts. Some small vendors would take dollars, willing to stand in line for hours at a bank to convert currency. Yes, perhaps it is best to wait. But the universe gave me a path while I was there. So there is risk in everything.

  3. Thanks for the above news but India is not on my “bucket list” but will keep your information. Happy Holidays with your son.

    Susanne

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