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Pottery, Jaipur. Pic: Aaron irving - India

Pottery, Jaipur. Pic: Aaron irving

Shopping in Jaipur, Rajasthan

Jaipur is a shopper's paradise. This is one of the few places where the shoppers may actually watch the skilled artisans producing the articles they want to buy.

The main markets are along Jauhari Bazaar, Badi Chaupar and M.I. Road. Shops specializing in precious and semi-precious stones are to be found on and along Jauhari Bazaar, but in order to see the celebrated minakars, kunda workers, gem-cutters and ornament makers at work, it is necessary to visit their workshops at Jadiyon-ka-Rasta, Gopalji-ka-Rasta, Haldiyon-ka-rasta and the adjoining lanes.

For bandhej (tie and dye), and block printed textiles, the best shops are along Jauhari Bazaar and Badi Chaupar. The larger establishments are at Sanganer where dozens of workshops produce the famous block printed textiles.

The narrow Khajanewalon-ka-Rasta off Chandpole Bazaar is the main center of stone carving. Shops dealing in marble statuary are to be found here. Maniharon-ka-Rasta in the Tripolia Bazaar area specializes in lac bangles and Ramganj Bazaar, in traditional chappals and jutis (leather footwear). The Hawa Mahal area is thick with shops dealing with antiques and pseudo-antiques. Some shops opposite Hawa Mahal stock the famous Jaipur quilts weighing only a few hundred grams!

Blue potteries, durries, carpets, brassware and other items of handicrafts are best displayed at the Rajasthali emporium in M.I. Road.

The visitor with a sweet tooth can indulge in traditional sweet-meats available in shops that can be found everywhere. The LMB Hotel is one of the most famous dealers of traditional sweets and savouries.

Address: Old Jaipur, Within the City Walls

Directions: The main markets are along Jauhari Bazaar, Badi Chaupar and M.I. Road. Which is within the old city.

Theme: Local Craft

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 6, 2005
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A chiru - - India

A chiru -

DON'T BUY THEM - They are blood products: Shahtoosh Shawls and Stuff.

‘Shahtoosh’ is the name given to wool derived from the chiru. The fabric woven from this wool carries the same name and is worn by the fashionable worldwide. The chiru's natural habitat is Tibet - with populations ranging into Ladakh. Nature has provided it with a two-layered fur, to give it the warmth that it requires for survival. The visible coat is the second coat and is coarse. The short, fine haired under layer hugs the chiru’s skin. Shahtoosh is derived from the undercoat.

International trade in shahtoosh has been prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1979. Domestic trade is also banned within many countries, including China and India. The notable exception is the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is where chiru wool is woven into shahtoosh shawls and scarves. It has been documented trade routes from the Tibetan Plateau to Kashmir and on to upscale consumers worldwide.

What to buy: Once we know that shahtoosh is derived from an untamed animal, which roams wild on the Tibetan plateau desert, it takes little imagination to realise how this wool is harvested.

Technological societies of the 20th century offer huge discretionary incomes to growing numbers. With the growth of wealth, advanced communication, and travel, little known products from remote parts gained currency worldwide. The needs of the wealthy changed to embrace products like shahtoosh shawls and scarves. As a result, where an estimated 1,000,000 animals roamed in the Tibetan Plateau in the earlier part of the last century, current estimates of the chiru population range between 50,000 and 75,000. Chinese government sources state that approx. 20,000 animals are butchered every year. As many as three chirus are gruesomely slaughtered to stitch together one shahtoosh shawl.

What to pay: Traditionally, the animal is trapped prior to killing. However, with today’s increasing demand, contemporary poachers have devised innovative, cost and time effective ways to kill. At night, they shine bright lights at whole resting herds. The innocent animal, baffled by this new experience freezes, and thereby signs it’s own death warrant. The poachers let loose their automatic weapons at these sitting targets.

Since the master weavers are based in Kashmir the wool moves from Tibet (sometimes via Nepal) to India. The shawl is woven in Jammu & Kashmir and then smuggled to international markets across the world and also sold clandestinely in the domestic market.

Address: Jammu & Kashmir , Nepal

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Theme: Men's Clothes


Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 5, 2005
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