Kolkata is not called the City of Joy for nothing – there is always a reason why these nomenclatures stick. Great food, great people, culture and heritage, and most importantly, the abundance of places where you can shop till you drop without burning a hole in your pocket. You name the price, someone or the other will certainly have it at your bargain. Let Stylewati be your fashion guide throughout the city, and give you a tour that actually matters!
New Market/SS Hogg Market:
Located in the absolute heart of the city, this place is the haven of any shopper of any age in the city. Hop on a bus or metro and get off at Esplanade, chances are that you will find yourself in one of the corners or small streets laden with shops selling stuff ranging from clothes to camera equipment to shoes to beauty products to toys and random bizarre artefacts that you probably did not expect to see right at the same place with everything else. But that is the magic of this place, you can expect anything and everything and not be disappointed. Towards the back of New Market, there lies SS Hogg Market, where you can get the best fresh meat in the city for steal prices. If you venture a little bit inside, you can find Nahoum’s – the most authentic Jewish bakery in the city that churns out the best cakes you will ever eat! Generations of merchants have been selling clothes, ranging from different weaves of sarees from all over the country, to kurtis of different fabrics from different part of India to the latest import from the west – there is nothing that you cannot find in here – from traditional to modern, everything. The best part, you can bargain with the shopkeepers as much as you want, chances are that they will be inching closer to the price that you have in mind – because it is a magical place for shoppers where things always work out, and the fashionista on a budget always finds her wishes come true.
Probably one of the biggest competitor of the legacy and heritage of New Market in Calcutta is the Gariahat Market. Located in one of the busiest areas of South Calcutta, this place is known for its cheap and good street shopping experience. Once you get off from the bus or Auto on Gariahat more, you will hear the shrill yet welcoming voices of the hawkers calling the huge spender inside you to come and check what they have to offer at completely steal prices, and chances are that you will fall into that trap one hundred one percent! If you venture around enough, you will find small street shops in the corner which might be selling clothes from famous brands at dirt cheap prices. How? One is never supposed to ask. Like New Market, Gariahat is also famous for the small, amazing restaurants and cabins that just appear right in the middle of shops selling colorful, colorful clothes. This market is also famous for the traditional saree stores that have stood there for generations – benarasi, dhakai, taant, jaamdani – you say it, they have it. If you want to shop for authentic Bengali handloom saree, then this is the place you should go. Gariahat is one of the landmark places in Kolkata, and is one of the easiest to find and locate. Grab your purse and keys and go out shopping already!
This mall is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in Kolkata when it comes to cheap and easy shopping for western clothes for women. Boasting of shops that sell the trendiest and stylish clothes and shoes at a budget and also allows for bargaining, Metro Plaza is a small treasure trove that needs to be explored. Located on Ho Chi Minh Sarani near Tata Centre, this place is known for its cheap and extensive collection of western clothes, shoes and accessories. The best thing about this place is that because of its off location, it is not usually as crowded as Gariahat or New Market, and thus it creates a better opportunity for a shopper to roam around, explore and see what all is there to offer in the market. Known for its shops that have extensive range of shoes ranging from boots to kolhapuris to colorful jootis to pumps to heels and what not, and that too in a price range that will send any shopaholic into a state of utter bliss, Metro Plaza is a safe haven for those who like their style to be chic, up-to-date, but also quite in budget. The mall is a vegetarian one, and there is a shop to the right of the main entrance which sells the most amazing red sauce pasta you’ll have on a street, and couple that with the butter corn chaat from the bhaiya just beside that shop, and your whole shopping experience is going to be mind-blowing!
The go-to place for traditional Indian clothing in Kolkata, Vardaan Market stands on Camac Street as a destination for wedding shopping. Best known for the numerous amounts of shops that sell lehengas, sarees and kurtis with traditional zari work on them, this is a very old Shopping Mall that has stood the test of time. One can also find trinkets, jewellery and ornaments – be it oxidized, or silver or imitation, or gold – and you can pair them with whichever outfit you want, and everything comes at a price you will not be able to believe. Again, this is also one of the shopping malls in Kolkata which lets the shoppers bargain and come to a price that they are comfortable with. There is an unsaid rule amongst shoppers in Kolkata – if you are shopping for a wedding or an occasion, you always go to Vardaan market first, and then elsewhere. Otherwise, where else will you find this plethora of collection at such a steal price?
Located in one of the busiest streets of North Calcutta, this market was originally famous for selling birds and animals in the older days, and perhaps that is where a very popular local phrase has had its origin “You can find Tiger’s milk also in Calcutta, if you care to look for it.” The name of the market literally translates to “Elephant Garden”, and the rest is probably pretty self-explanatory. From clothes on dirt cheap sale and bargain to seasonal discounts, this place is a middle-class shopper’s paradise. No matter what budget you have, you can find something within that here. More than 100 years old, this market houses about 1500 shops in two streets and you can get anything from meat and dairy to fashionable clothes within the diameter of an acre of shopping space. This place is also studded with old, traditional cinema halls and theatres, and they still have the cultural enigma in them. Along with Sealdah, Lake Market, Maniktala and Burra Bazar, this market is one of the largest in Kolkata. It also has a hidden “chor bazaar”, that sells branded apparel for dirt cheap prices. You have to find those ones out on your own, but you can never ask where they got it from. Okay? Okay.
Located in the same area as Sutanuti of old Calcutta, Burra Bazaar has evolved from a textile and clothes market to one of the major economical nexus of the city. This market is obviously still famous for the traditional sarees of different weaves, handloom and design available at prices that can send any dedicated shopper into a tizzy. No Bengali wedding is ever complete without a trip to Burra Bazar at least once. Fabrics like silk, tashhar, muslin etc are found in abundance, as more than 50,000 merchants from all over the country depend on the business of Burra Bazar for their main income. There is probably nothing that you cannot find in this market, as the same allegory of Hatibagan also rings true here. Apart from clothing, there are specific katras that sell assorted spices, electronic goods, artificial ornaments, hardware etc. For example, the Raaja katra, named after Maharaja of Bardhaman to who it originally used to belong, deals exclusively in spices. During festivals, this place becomes the biggest and hugest market for Pujo paraphernalia – be it Diwali or Durga Puja. Throughout years, it has emerged as one of the biggest wholesale markets of the district, and a lot of merchants buy clothes, shoes and accessories in bulk and sell them in profits outside. The unique selling point of these products to the customers would be that they are from Burra Bazar, and thus quality is uncompromised. This market was established in the 18th century by the Britishers, as a commercial hub for textiles and yarn coming from neighboring areas like Murshidabad, Cossimpore, Dhaka etc, and it still has maintained the same reputation, albeit much bigger, larger and more inclusive now.
Dakshinapan Shopping Complex:
Perhaps the most underrated of all places to shop for cheap and still get good quality products, Dakshinapan stands at the foot of Dhakuria Bridge in South Calcutta, about a five-minute auto-ride away from the hustle and bustle of Gariahat Market. Developed by Kolkata Improvement Trust, this place is a landmark around the neighborhood, as apart from being a famous shopping destination, it also houses Madhushudan Mancha, one of the most famous theatres in the city. More than a shopping complex, it is an open-air space of culture and chill, with people hanging around with a cup of chai in their hand, engrossed in deep conversations to which only shopping can provide a respite to. The shopping area includes a lot of State Emporiums from all over the country, dealing in handlooms, textiles, furniture, handicrafts, home décor, fancy jewelry and a plethora of stuff which will soothe your desi taste buds of fashion. Dakshinapan has its own niche of selling mainly ethnic products, including genuine clothes and fabrics from all over the country, that is exactly what it is famous for. Apart from the cultural vibe and the incessant shopping, the very famous Dolly’s Tea Shop is located in one quaint corner amidst the colors and the sweeping smell of new fabric. Roaming around Dakshinapan, even if you are not shopping feels like a small cultural trip around the country, as you can literally see products in stores representing specific states of India.
– Sunshine and Gomukh, Sudder Street: Neither a shopping mall nor a shopping district, actually quite far from it – this place is a small store on Sudder Street, about 10 minutes from New Market on any commute, you can even walk till here from there. This place is one of a kind in the city, with a huge collection of colorful and bohemian fix of fashion and aesthetic pieces in prices that will make any shopper on a budget cry with joy. With something for everyone here, you can pick up colorful Tibetan Bags which come under Rs 1000, and add a little bit of quirk to any outfit you are wearing. You can get Prayer wheels, Tibetan Prayer Flags, Russian Dolls, Singing Bowls and what not here! They also have a huge collection of beautiful earrings which can jazz up the simplest of dresses and add a bit of zing to your look. Gomukh is a store that only caters to the Boho spirit when it comes to fashion, and that too in budget – long flowy skirts start at Rs 300, tops start at Rs 200 and dresses are on sale from a meagre price of Rs 250! You can get very pretty jewelry at both the places at very cheap rates. At Sunshine, silver jewelry starts at Rs 500, and goes upwards depending on the weight, whereas non-silver jewelry starts at Rs 200. At Gomukh, the price of funky bohemian rings start at Rs 50, and different colored necklaces start from a steal at Rs 200! Yes, it is that cheap.
Next time you go out shopping in Kolkata, do not forget to check out these places for a good bargain and a really good experience in shopping. And as always, Stylewati was pleased to help you out in this endeavor!7 Best Places to shop for cheap (and good) in Kolkata! Click To Tweet
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