|Pots and pans are among the considerable brasswear found at The Market at Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, India.
'India's markets are a true delight, with bargains galore'
© 2012 Group Tour Media Article,
June 14, 2012
All the perfumes of Arabia might very well be found in the Middle East.
However, for everything else look no further than the markets of India, where merchants have been plying their wares for centuries, in bazaars that seem straight out of The Thousand and One Nights.
Asia Transpacific Journeys offers the five best places in India for your group to wander, haggle, and purchase those priceless pieces that you’ll treasure forever.
At Chor Bazaar in Mumbai, rummage to your heart's content at Thieves Market. The marketplace is awash with antiques and vintage coins, bronze and an almost endless array of both trinkets and treasure.
At the Market at Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the temple is the spiritual heart of south India. However, its many carved and painted halls also contain a massive market. Elaborately decorated elephants roam through its corridors, and all manner of goods — from incense to Bollywood posters to fake Rolex watches — is traded at this bazaar.
The Spice Market in Kochi has a reputation of being the best antiques and spice market in the south of India. The trading center reflects myriad cultures, with the locale occupied at various times by British, Dutch, Portuguese and Arab traders. Troll for cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and cinnamon of legendary fragrances and quality.
Photo: Varun Shiv Kapur
|Buying and selling is a constant at Dilli Haat’s Nature Bazaar in Delhi, India.
At the Dilli Haat, venture through one of Delhi’s hidden treasures — a lesser known outdoor market with distinct areas representing India’s different states and crafts indigenous to each. Skilled regional artisans eagerly negotiate and sell everything from textile purses to beaded slippers. This is a bargain shopper’s paradise.
The Night Markets of Goa are a marvelous spectacle replete with painted cows and a myriad of stalls offering a wide range of colorful batik dresses and skirts, and hand-beaded necklaces for $1 a strand.
Marilyn Downing Staff, the founder and president of Boulder, Colo.-based Asia Transpacific Journeys, has some sound advice for would-be hagglers.
“India’s markets are a true delight, with bargains galore,” she said. “Start by offering about 50 percent less than the asking price, but only if you are prepared to pay about 75 to 80 percent of the full asking price.”
Downing Staff adds a word of caution.
“Caveat emptor applies to every purchase,” she said. “Antiques may have been made yesterday. Jewels might be glass. It’s often hard to tell.
She notes that, by cultural tradition in India, most goods purchased are non-refundable.
Asian group tours are Asia Transpacific Journeys’ specialty. Its small group trips usually consist of 18 travelers or fewer.
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