As a child and a teenager, I knew Hyderabad to be the city of Sultans, and that the Hyderabadi pearls are the best of the kind in India. Growing up a little, I learned about the famous Hyderabadi biryani. But never did I know that as an adult, there will be more to explore on my part as a traveler. I have never been a shopaholic. However, the streets of Hyderabad has such treasures strewn on them that you cannot resist the temptation of picking a thing or two.
Here’s lowdown on what I discovered while shopping in Hyderabad.
- Laad Bazaar
Let’s begin with a relatively less known product- the very vibrant lacquer bangles. The Laad Bazar, which connects the famous Charminar to Chowmahalla, is a haven for bangle lovers. You can even go behind the shiny shops to visit the artisans who create them. It’s fascinating to see how they prepare each bangle manually and paste stones on them to create interesting designs and patterns. The shine, as well as the bold colors, make the bangles one of a kind.
- Begum Bazaar
Looking for some takeaways and ‘been there’ souvenirs for your friends and family? Try the Bidri metalworks. Basically, this form of art is native to Bidar, a village in the neighboring state of Karnataka. Yet, the place is culturally quite akin to Hyderabad. No wonder that the Bidri works found immense patronage here. The Begum Bazaar in Hyderabad is a wonderland of exquisite metalworks. I even went to visit some families living near the celebrated Salar Jung museum. They have their workshops of Bidri works over there. However, when it comes to Begum Bazaar, you might feel daunted by seeing its magnanimous size. But I assure that you can get your souvenirs for fantastic deals over here. If plain metalwork does not interest you, then you can also shop for exclusive bidri-studded jewelries, all for a very reasonable price. Begum Bazaar is one of the best shopping places in Hyderabad.
- Char Minar Bazar
Now back to the basics. It is the biggest pearl drilling center in India. Pearls and Hyderabad share a special bond that has passed the test of time. So most of the tourists I have made a rush to buy the ‘best pearls’ from Hyderabad. However, though shopping in Hyderabad tends to be incomplete without pearls, you should know that there is no ‘best place’ to buy them. There are a number of cultured pearl shops lining up in the major shopping areas. It is where you can find some good deals in pearl accessories.
Did I tell you that Hyderabad is also the home to Khada Dupatta? This traditional bridal wear typically comes with 12 meters of heavily embroidered fabric. They are simple yet classy and can be a part of your trousseau if the wedding bells are ringing in. You might want to have a look at the bridal boutique shops in the Char Minar Bazaar area.
- Abida, Nampally
Pochampally, Kalamkari… sounds familiar? Both of these schools of art have their roots in Hyderabad. Pochampally sarees might have been here for long. However, in Hyderabad, you can also shop for Pochampally-inspired home linens and upholstery that gives a complete makeover to your room decor. Nampally, in particular, hosts a grand Annual exhibition cum sale of myriad products for shoppers of different needs. So when you are looking for excellence in the budget, then the good old Nampally is for you. I also spent a day in the Pochampally village, which is just about 45 km from the city. I picked some Kalamkari or hand-painted fabrics. If you take it from me, then I’d bet that they are one of the best fabric options to wear when you are on the go.
- Perfume Bazaar
The name speaks enough of what you are going to get here. If you have a nose for some of the best natural fragrances in India, then a visit to the century-old perfume market is a must. It is a wonderland of ittar or fragrances made by extracting natural fruits and flowers. The best ones are going to be expensive. Yet, they are worth every penny that you spend on them. Situated in between the Laad Bazar and Moti Chawk, you can buy the ittars in a vial, as well as in bottles, as you prefer. When you get there, stay prepared to get introduced to some very unique fragrance combinations.
- Sunday Book Bazaar
Drugged by books? Then make sure to hit this market for some biblical intoxication. Every corner of this flea market tends to have some hidden gems. Find the old versions of your favorite books, and have a collection that you can pride yourself with. Books and magazines are available in subsidized prices. You can even donate or sell the books that you won’t need anymore.