Set in the lesser Himalayas at a height of around 6700 feet, lying in the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is a premier travel destination in India. Offering awe-inspiring views of the mighty Kanchenjunga, towering over vast stretches of emerald-green tea plantations, the city of Darjeeling is a must-visit for those who love visiting hill stations. The best time to visit Darjeeling is between March and May or October and mid-December.
The steep and winding bazaars at the foot of the town offer a lot of special things to buy for tourists shopping in Darjeeling. Make sure you don’t miss out on these things to buy from the markets of Darjeeling: –
Famous all across the world for its refined taste and subtle aroma, tea is, without doubt, one of the top things to buy in Darjeeling. Grown locally in tea estates across the city, Darjeeling tea can be obtained at numerous locations. To start with, there are local shops within the market where you can buy tea for cheap. However, if you don’t want to compromise on quality, you can also head to tea gardens around Chowrasta that have their own outlets for selling tea. Some of the other good places in Darjeeling Market to taste as well as buy tea include Nathmull’s tea shop, Sunset Lounge, Darjeeling teahouse, Goodricke and also Afternoon Tea at Windamere Hotel.
Darjeeling is also popular for its beautiful winters. Once you are here, you will find a fine range of woollen apparel and textiles that are among the top things to buy in Darjeeling. From intricately designed shawls to hand-knitted sweaters, caps, gloves, and mufflers, there’s an endless variety of woollen items that you can look at. The hand-knitted woollen items especially come in both classic and creative modern designs. You can buy them for yourself or for gifting to your friends and family. One of the best places to go shopping in Darjeeling for winter wear is Mahakal Market, formerly known as Bhutia Market.
Another special thing to buy in Darjeeling would be Tibetan artifacts. While going around local shops and flea markets, you will come across temporary stalls and even emporiums selling a variety of Tibetan relics and souvenirs that are too hard to resist. Some of the best items that you can pick up at Darjeeling markets while shopping include Buddha figurines, prayer wheels, prayer beads, traditional masks carved in wood, and thangkas (Tibetan scroll painting). Some of the places that you can check out for Tibetan artifacts and oriental souvenirs are Dorjee Himalayan Artifacts and Ava art gallery.
The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre is another great place for some excellent Tibetan artifact shopping in Darjeeling. Here, you will find hand-crafted carpets, woollen shawls, wooden crafts, leather jackets, paintings, cards, pouches, bags, etc. all made by Tibetan artists.
Home to various cultural communities including that of Tibetans, Nepalese, Bengalis, Biharis, Chinese, Marwaris, and Anglo-Indians, Darjeeling is a culturally diverse city and so is the Darjeeling market that has a lot of interesting curios on offer, for the tourists to see and purchase. Some of the best knick-knacks that you can buy when in Darjeeling are locally made sweet and sour candies, baked goods, Dalley paste, fresh bamboo shoots, organic honey, and pickles.
Khukuri/Kukri is another item that you can purchase here. It is a traditional weapon carried by the Gorkha Nepalese of India and Nepal. It comes in various shapes and sizes and with beautifully designed covers too.
In addition to all the shopping in Darjeeling, book lovers and literature enthusiasts can head to Oxford Bookstore at Chowrasta, to explore some excellent collection of books and travel guides. And in case, you find yourself tired and in need of a break from your exploration, remember a hot cup of Darjeeling brew is not far away.
Enamoured by tales of its elegant colonial-era architecture and serene Buddhist monasteries, numerous people from different regions of India and even outside, purchase Darjeeling travel packages to visit this place. While the amiable locals, jaw-dropping sunrises, and old-world charm of the city can make it difficult for you to say goodbye, some souvenir shopping might be a good way to manage your fondness for the place.