Kolkata, one of the biggest cities in eastern India, looks like a fantasy town where you can find an amalgamation of modernity and traditionalism. The colonial buildings, iconic bridges, ghats, local cuisines, yellow taxis and an array of markets to the city’s charm. Even in the era of globalisation, the core of the city has remained intact. Tourists from all over the globe come to visit this former British capital.
If you are visiting Kolkata for the first time and thinking of bringing the essence of the city back home, then you can go shopping for souvenirs. Even if you are not a frequent shopper, the beauty of unique artefacts, locally made handicrafts, and clothes will definitely lure you. There are a number of traditional shopping streets like the Hogg Market or Gariahat Market where you will find exquisite collections of textiles, terracotta figurines, conch shell crafts, local sweet shops and so on within a very reasonable price. And if you are good with bargaining, you can acquire these items as per your preferred deals too! But do not forget to book hotels in Kolkata that are located nearby some of the famous shopping destinations in the city as per budget. Here is a list of things that you can shop in Kolkata.
Sholapith or Shola Handicrafts
Indian Cork plant. found mainly in the wetlands of Bengal, has a type of birch that is lightweight and white in colour. It is known as Shola. The substance is considered pure and auspicious among the locals. Local artisans have made it their canvas to curve it as per their imagination. You can often see it as the headgear of a Hindu Bengali bride-groom and as ornaments on idols. Besides that, various statues, ornaments, garlands, and home decorative crafts made of Shola can be found in various parts of the city. These crafts are completely weightless, cost-effective and eco-friendly, making them luggage-friendly. To look for these souvenirs, you can visit local fairs, as well as various street shops in the city.
Tokens of Terracotta
Mainly crafted in the district of Bankura and Bishnupur of West Bengal, Terracotta handicrafts are quite a popular token among the tourists of Kolkata. Figurines of various animals, showpieces, pieces of jewellery and utensils made of burnt soil are called Terracotta handicrafts. Most of the medieval Bengali living rooms are decorated with this kind of craftwork. The beauty of the intricate and rich work of clay make these terracotta artefacts magnificent. Their pocket-friendly pricing makes them one of the best things to buy in Kolkata. You will find these types of artefacts in street-side shops of Ballygunge and Park Street.
Sarees and Kurtas
Availability of a wide variety of sarees can spoil you with choices when you are in Kolkata. Traditional Bengali Tant sarees, hand embroidered Kantha Stitch sarees, Tussar Silk Sarees, Swarnachari and Baluchari Sarees are worth mentioning. Sarees are considered a crucial part of Bengal culture. So, if you want to deck up in a traditional outfit of Kolkata, then a saree is the best choice. For men, kurta is the traditional Bengali outfit and can be bought for wearing on Bengali occasions when you visit Kolkata.
Conch shell crafts
Although conch shell carvings are a popular art form of Bishnupur, these craftworks can be found majorly in Kolkata’s shopping streets too. Artists use conch shells and chip off parts to weave a story. You can purchase the whole conch shell to decorate your house or you can buy jewellery made of these shells. The conch shell bangles are used as a symbol of a Bengali married woman.
The Bengali sweets are popular by their names all over the country. Rasgulla or Roshogolla, Nalen Gurer Sandesh, Mishti Doi and Chamcham are some of the renowned Bengali sweets that you must try in Kolkata. Most of the local sweet shops have all the necessary measures to pack the sweets properly in airtight containers, so the tourists can carry the sweets along with them without any spilling.
Dokra is a type of ancient bell metal craft using the lost-wax casting technique. In Bengal, this technique has been used to facilitate the usage of brass. Dokra artisans make idols, folk motifs, statues, jewellery, and room decorative products. The dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro is one of the oldest and most popular Dokra artefacts. You can find Dokra crafts in various parts of Kolkata and buy them at a reasonable price to decorate your home.
The Kalighat paintings originated in the adjacent areas of Kalighat, the famous Kali temple in Kolkata. For the visitors of the Kalighat Kali Temple, these paintings are perfect souvenirs. The main themes of this kind of paintings are Hindu deities including the popular scenes of the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Now, the Kalighat painting artists cover contemporary themes as well. You can get these for your home or your loved ones to offer prayers or for decoration purposes.
Of course, the things to shop in Kolkata do not end here. Various types of dolls or puppets, jute products, junk jewellery, and wooden decor items are also worth mentioning. Now, that you have a list of products that you can refer to while shopping in Kolkata. So, without any delay, book a room at one of the best hotels in Kolkata and when you reach the city, do buy some of the listed items as souvenirs.