The state of Himachal Pradesh has widely known the world over for its exquisite natural beauty. Travelers and tourists flock to Himachal Pradesh from various corners of the world mainly to enjoy the beauty of the majestic snow-covered Himalayas.
Every travel destination will have its own quota of shopping involved. There is hardly any vacationing that get complete without its bit of shopping extravaganza. Shopping for souvenirs to be carried back for memories and for gifting to the near and dear ones is a necessity. Himachal rolls out a vibrant array of handicrafts to catch the fancy of every traveler.
Himachal is the home to some of the renowned traditions of arts and crafts famous in the whole of India. All the major tourist places of Himachal Pradesh have something unique to offer to its guests. Going city wise, Dalhousie is famous for woolen shawls, Tibetan handicrafts and a multitude of other handloom items.
Dharamshala allures shopaholics with the charm of inquisitive art pieces such as thangka, which are Tibetan Buddhist painting drawn on various kinds of fabric such as cotton or silk appliqué. These colorful intricate painting usually depicts Buddhist deity, scene or mandala and has rich religious associations. People usually carry samples of mandala paintings and traditional hats.
Every hill station of Himachal Pradesh boasts of its shopping arcades, big or small, and have loads of interesting merchandise spread to offer to the travelers. For ages, the culture of Himachal having been nurtured in isolation from the rest of the country has developed a specific culture of its own. This distinctive culture is reflected in the items that are handcrafted by the humble artisans of these mountain towns and villages.
Himachal Pradesh has a collection of various handiworks that are admired by people across the world. There are some broad categories of shopping items that are popularly bought by tourists.
Notable shopping items of Himachal
Some majorly loved and adored articles or handicrafts of Himachali Pradesh that has spread across the world and are sold in significant quantities can be listed as follows.
Rugs and Carpets: The ethnic rugs and carpets designed and handcrafted in the hilly folds of Himachal is a premium item to be found in a vast number of Indian households. This item comprises one of the most popular shopping items of Himachal. The motifs are conceptualized based on ancient Indian traditions and they reflect the rich association of culture and tradition of the state.
They also tell a lot about the city from which the item has been purchased. There are some very popular traditional motifs such as Garuda perched on a flowering tree, or flutes, or even lotus flower in full bloom or I bud stage. While rugs are often produced from beaten wool. Soft blankets can also be purchased made from fleece.
Paintings: The traditional style of paintings are a forte of the talented artists of Himachal. The artisans of this part of the country are well known for their painting skills since ancient times. Thangkas form a major painting item and are simply loved by the tourists. They are usually exhibited in various Buddhist fairs and festivals. Even the monasteries usually have handicraft corner where they exhibit these works of art such as Thangkas that depict Lord Buddha in various different poses.
Himachal Pradesh is also famous for the Kangra style of panting. Such paintings usually depict local or regional lifestyle. The areas from which the Kangra style of painting originated are Guler, Basohli, Chamba, Nurpur, Bilaspur, and Kangra and later on spread to other regions such as Mandi, Suket, Kulu and more. The Pahadi school of painting are champions of Kangra Painting and have touched millions of Indian hearts with their timeless eco of the hills.
Brilliant artworks carved out of Wood
Himachal Pradesh has a rich legacy of wood carved items. Such exquisite pieces of artwork are available at quite reasonable rates. Most of the items are steeped in traditionalism and retain the charm of the past. The most common wood items to be found in the state are cradles, household items, bedsteads, settees, boxes, utensils, decorative wall hangings, wall clocks, and tablespoons.
Fabrics with exquisite hand embroidery is a specialty of the region. The shopping list of most of the tourists who visit Himachal definitely includes embroidered articles. These beautifully embroidered items with the touch of the local tradition in the figures and motifs are done not only on clothes but also on shawls, caps, hankies, coverlets, tea-cozies, hand fans, etc. The kurtas with gorgeous embroideries, the salwar suits, the sarees, and shawls are special attractions.
Want to go for a crazy shopping spree in Himachal without actually knowing what you want to buy! You can definitely try the Kullu shawls, Himachal caps, woolen sweatshirts, sweaters, pullovers and cardigans, jackets, gloves, socks, apples, pickles, jams and juices, metalware, silver and turquoise jewelry, and leather items.
It is advisable to buy from the government accredited shops in order to get the correct prices. The emporiums exhibit unique items but are comparatively expensive. Tibetan markets and Bhutia Markets are recommended for shopping.
When in Shimla for a shopping, straightway hit The Mall. You can also find some attractive government-run emporiums and private outlets on Mall Road. Lower Bazaar has its usual quota of avid shoppers but is quite chaotic, noisy and busy. Shimla is famous for walking sticks from Lakkar Bazaar, which as the name implies, is very famous for selling exceptional items of wooden souvenirs.
The Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, Tibetan carpets Kinnauri mufflers and scarves are hot selling items. The Pashmina shawls are worth investing. The shops near The Ridge sell a lot of Tibetan jewelry, beautiful pieces of junk jewelry and other accessories. Manali is famous for woolen items antiques, handicrafts, inlaid silver jewelry and souvenirs, apricot oil, honey, and fruit products.