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Shopping in Gujarat

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Shopping in Gujarat

Gujarat is a land of rich and vibrant culture and this has been amply reflected in its handicrafts. Therefore, if you are on a visit to the state, do not forget to pick up few of them. They come in all price range.

Handicrafts of Gujarat

It is true that the Patola saaris made in Gujarat is highly expensive, but there are many other affordable but pretty items that one can easily pick up as souvenirs. However, we will start our tour with Bandhni work, which is also famous as ‘tie and dye’.

Shopping for Tie and Dye Materials in Gujarat

Tie and Dye Sarees from Gujarat

It is widely believed that the art of tie and dye originated in Gujarat around the city of Wadhwan. It is also believed the art was first invented by the Brahmkshtriya (Khatri) community residing in this area. Even today, a large percentage of artisans engaged in this trade belong to this community.

Since cotton is the main crop grown in Wadhwan a large percentage of the population earned their living by spinning and weaving. Color extracted from natural stones lying in this region is one of the key reasons why the trade flourished here. In those days when artisans had to depend upon natural colors to dye the fabric, Wadhwan’s soil provided plenty of them. However, with passage of time, as colors began to be more easily available, the art spread all over the state and also to neighboring Rajasthan. Today, Bandhni materials are being made in all parts of Gujarat; especially in Jamnagar, Kutch, Anand and Surendranagar districts.

 Things to Consider While Buying Tie and Die Items

1. Different kinds of floral as well as geometric patterns such as dots, squares and circles are used strategically to provide a harmonized effect. Greater is the number of patters on the fabric the more expensive it is. The price also depends on the fineness of the dots and number of color used.

2. It is to be remembered that more colorful a piece is more laborious and time consuming the process has been. The Bandhni work is available in all kinds of apparels such as sarees, ghaghra, odhni, kurtas, dresses etc. While day to day wears may be simpler with only two or three colors, wedding outfits generally have the most intricate designs; they are also embellished with zari work.

3. Last, but not the least, printed materials in bandhni designs are available all over India. Beware of them. Know that genuine bandhni materials are never cheap. The process involves pinching and resist-tying before being put into the dye. That way the areas under the tie remain untouched. The process is repeated for each color used and consequently it takes a long time to make a single piece of fabric.

Shopping for Patola Sarees and Stoles in Gujarat

How is Patola Saree Made in Gujarat?

1. Making a double-ikkat patola saree involves six to seven months of hard work by two or three weavers and such painstaking work has to be accompanied by deep concentration and unbelievable mental calculation.

2. Unlike tie and dye, the process starts at the pre weaving stage. Bundles of thread are first strategically knotted so as to allow the areas under the knots to resist coloring.

3. Once the procedure is complete, the threads are knotted differently and the process is repeated for each and every color that is to be used in the saree. The weaving can start only after that.
Patola sarees are one of the most sought after souvenirs that the state has on offer.

The art was first invented by the weavers of the salvi caste in the region of Patan more than 700 years ago and flourished under royal patronage.

Originally, Patola sarees were made out of silk using the double ikkat technique. Such a technique involves a process known as resistant dyeing and is used both to the wrap and the weft.

Today however, many weavers use the single ikkat technique. Under such a technique resistant dyeing is applied either to the wrap or to the weft.

Although such a process saves time and cuts cost, the end result is not as grand. 

Patola Sarees
Source Flickr

Things to Remember While Shopping for Patola Sarees

1. As we have already said, a double ikkat patola saree takes long time and back breaking hard work to finish; consequently, the cheapest double ikkat patola saree may cost Rs. 150,000. The costliest may go up to Rs. 800,000. That is why, in olden days such sarees were mostly used by the royalty.

2. Today however, more affordable patola sarees are being made under government patronage. Such sarees are mostly made in Rajkot and Surendranagar districts. Some of these sarees may cost as little as a few thousand rupees. It is important that you should compare the two and know the difference.

3. Another point to remember is that a genuine patola saree has no right or wrong side. Such sarees are wearable on both sides.

4. The fourth point to consider is the dye used. The high end products generally use natural color extracted from vegetables and minerals. On the other hand, cheaper grade of sarees are made using chemical dyes.

Shopping for Zari Work in Gujarat

Zari Work from Surat

The zari industry of Surat is another of Gujarat’s heritage. The art has been in practice since the Mughal days. Today, we find two principle types of zari work being done in Gujarat. One uses real gold and silver threads and other uses imitation variety. Needless to say, the former is priced higher.

Here too you have a wide choice. You can buy sarees, blouse pieces, turbans, caps etc made out of or decorated with zari work. For example, kinkhab is a cloth made entirely out of gold threads. Otherwise, you can opt for zari border weaving, embroideries done with gold or silver thread, gold laces etc. Chalak, Salama, Kangari, Tiki, Katori are few of the different types of zari work done in Gujarat.

Also look for Gharchola and Panetar; these are wedding dresses and are usually decorated with intricate zari work.

Shopping for the Embroidery Works of Gujarat

Embroidery Work

Saurashtra, especially the district of Kutch, had traditionally been center of needlework in Gujarat. The art was excelled by the nomads living in this area.  Today everything from bedspreads, curtains, and cushion covers to ghaghra cholis and sarees are made by the artisans using various embroidery techniques such as ari-bharat and abhala.

In Gujarat, appliqué work is known as ari-bharat. In this art form, colored (or even printed) fabric is cut into various patterns and then sewn into the main fabric. Using this technique, the artisans here make beautiful sarees, kurta pieces, dress materials, ghaghras, bedspread, curtains etc. Mirror inset work, on the other hand, is known as abhala. It is used to accentuate different types of motifs such as flowers, plants, different geometrical shapes etc. This type of work is generally done on dark fabrics.

Other than these two, different other embroidery techniques have come up in different regions of Gujarat. Among them, we can mention Soof, Neran, Kathipa, Rabari, Kharek, Mahajan, Kanbi, Ahir, Mutwa etc. These techniques are mostly prevalent in Banaskantha, Jamnagar, Junagarh, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Kutch districts. Over the centuries, village women in these districts have used these techniques to create beautiful ghagra cholis, sarees, dress materials, bedspreads, quilts etc. While you are hunting for mementoes you should always keep them in mind for they represents the very essence of rural Gujarat.
Other Things to Buy in Gujarat

Torans are the popular doorway decorations in Gujarat. They are supposed to bring in good luck. Those made here have beautiful embroideries done on their flaps.

Then there are
Pachhitpatis. These are a kind of an embroidered frieze and are hanged from the corners to welcome visitors.

Bhitiyas are also another kind of an embroidered wall hanging found in Gujarat. Three to five diamond shaped pieces are joined together to make a bhitiya. They are so gorgeous that one is enough to dazzle the whole room.

Then there are
Chaklas; these are square pieces of cloth skillfully embroidered and used as covering for furniture and many other things.

Shopping for in Mata Ni Pachedi in Gujarat

Mata Ni Pachedi

Mata Ni Pachedi is a form of kalamkari painting typical of Gujarat. In this form of art animated images of Gods and Goddesses are created by applying natural dyes on cotton or silk fabric with  help  of a bamboo pen (kalam) and hence the name kalamkari. Literally, it means behind Mother Goddess.

Mata Ni Pachedi is a 300 years old art originating in the region of Ahmedabad. Initially, the pictures were drawn on the walls of the temples. Later it began to be drawn on cloth and used to build makeshift temples by nomads and also by people of lower castes who were denied entry into main temples. The paintings always follow a narrative and are divided into seven or nine columns. Ahmedabad and Viramgam of Kheda district can be identified as the hub for this art.

Shopping for Beadwork in Gujarat

Khambhat and Saurashtra region of Gujarat also specializes in beadwork. The Kathi tribe of this area was the main exponent of this art form. Traditionally, the work is done on white background. Today different kinds of wall decorations, pot holders and torans are made using this technique.

Shopping for Jewelry in Gujarat

Ethnic Jewelry of Gujarat

Gujarat is also famous for its jewelries. Ornament worn by each tribe is distinct in style and characteristics. Among the ethnic jewelries used now the most common forms are silver, brass, agate and bead jewelry. Besides, the state has a very thriving gold and diamond industry. In fact, Surat is known as the diamond capital of India.

Anjar, Bhuj, and Mundra in Kutch district are still the main centre for the silver jewelry making. However, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Anand and Ahmedabad are few other places where this industry has considerable presence.

Shopping for Furnishing Materials in Gujarat

Cushion Covers Made in Gujarati Stitching

It has been already mentioned that Gujarat produces some exquisitely embroidered furnishing materials in the form of curtains, bedspread and cushion covers etc. However, the collection is not limited only to that. You can also look for block printed bed covers and table linens. Woven or kalamkari table covers and tablemats also make functional keepsakes.  You may also look for traditional floor spread such as namdas and dhurries made in Kutch District.  In Gujarat they are generally woven with camel and goat hair. Sometimes wool and cotton are also used.

Shopping for Woodwork in Gujarat

Wedding Jhulas in Gujarat

Gujarat is also famous for its woodwork. In fact, the state has a rich heritage in wood carving. It is not only the temples, which can boast of intricate woodwork; one can also find beautifully engraved wooden balconies, door  frames and even wooden floors in old residential mansions.

Lacquered furniture made in Sankheda is famous all over the world both for its beauty and resilience. The place is quite closed to Baroda (also known as Vadodara) and can be reached by two and half hour’s drive. Minakari furniture made in Rajkot is another item to look for. Patara of Bhavnagar, which is essentially a bridal chest decorated with brass or silver plates, also makes interesting memento. However, you may now look for smaller items made in the same style. Gujarati jhula or cradle is another very useful buy, especially if you have a baby at home. cradle cloths made in this sate is also very attractive.

Surat and Kutch too has a vibrant woodwork industry. Pethapur in Gandhinagar is the place where wooden blocks for hand printing of textiles are made. However, unless you are in that business there is a great chance that you will bypass it. Yet, you may find it interesting to note that the town has been a hub of block making industry for the last 300 years.

Shopping for Terracotta Work in Gujarat

Clay and terracotta items of Gujarat are another interesting handicraft of Gujarat. You can look for beautiful clay utensils that are still being used by villagers in the state. Terracotta toys too make interesting keep sake. Also do not forget to look for long necked Gora Dev who is said to the protector from all kinds of evil and is worshipped by the tribal population in Dangs district.

Other Items to Look for in Gujarat

Pithora Painting

Gujarat has a long history of metal craft. Today, different kinds of ornate as well as functional metal items are being made all over Gujarat. However, metal jewelry worn by the tribal women has a distinction of their own. You can look for them in the art emporiums located in different cities. 

Also look for Tangaliya shawls made in Surendranagr district. Pithora paintings and Virli paintings created by different tribal groups in Gujarat may also interest you. Today, these paintings are being collected by connoisseurs of art for their beauty and vivacity. Since they depict the life and belief of their creator they also have a sociological value. 

Besides, puppets made out of cloth also make an interesting buy. These were traditionally made puppetry shows. Today however, many buy them just as keepsake. Gujarati embroidered shoes, locally known as jootis, are also worth looking into. Most of them are intricately designed and some are also embellished with mirror or bead work.

Tourists generally do not buy them, but it may not be out of place to mention that Morvi in Gujarat is famous for its clock industry. If you are there, you may also see if you can pick up a few interesting ones.

Shopping Destinations in Gujarat

Art Emporium of Ahmedabad
Source: Gurjari

Many are of the opinion that Ahmedabad is the best place to shop in Gujarat. However most big cities in Gujarat have many shopping malls as well as traditional markets where you can find all kinds of purchasable product. Besides, there are quite a few handicraft emporiums that you may visit. Let us look into them one by one.

Shopping Malls in Gujarat

Shopping in malls has a big advantage; they have multiple shops under one roof. Fortunately many cities in Gujarat have a number of shopping malls where one can shop in comfort. For example, bigger cities like Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad has many shopping malls; some of them are truly big while some are comparatively smaller. However, all of them offer an array of shops loaded with interesting merchandise. In addition, smaller cities like Surat and Morvi have also taken up this culture and more and more shopping malls are opening their doors to the buyers in Gujarat.

Markets in Gujarat

Cities in Gujarat also have traditional markets and many people prefer to shop in those markets instead of big malls. Indeed, if shopping in malls is comfortable, shopping in these markets is fun. There you see array of shops loaded with colorful goods.  There you can actually feel the pulse of Gujarat. It is as much fun to window shop in these markets as it is to buy the product. 

Handicraft Emporiums in Gujarat

Handicraft emporiums in Gujarat are almost like a museum, which showcases the culture of the state. Among them Gurjari, located on Ashram Road in Ahmedabad, is a popular shopping destination. For exact location you may call them at 91-79-2324-7033 and also at 91-79-2324-1712. However, there  are many more spread across the state. You just need to keep your eyes open.
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Comments / Discussion Board - Shopping in Gujarat

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    vipul from kolkata 1364 Days ago

    Nice article. An embroidery works is a unique one art of Gujarat.

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  • P
    Piyush from Ahmedabad 1403 Days ago

    from last 2 3 days i am in ahmedabad city, can you suggest me some popular market places in ahmedabad?

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    Gujaratonline.in Expertfrom 1402 Days ago

    Hi Piyush, Please consult the article above. It will give you a number of options to choose from. There are various links for you to choose depending upon where you are located and what you wish to buy. Thanks.

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