Shopping in Kolkata can be fun as the city has some interesting markets where you can get a great deal. Popular purchases include textiles, handicrafts, and terracotta items. Here’s where to look.
New Market, also known as Hogg’s Market, is Kolkata’s oldest and most well known market. It’s got over 2,000 stalls and is a bargain hunter’s delight. Head to the reconstructed section of the market, which got rebuilt after a fire in 1985, if you want to buy saris. You’ll find plenty to choose from there. In the evenings, street vendors come to sell cheap jewelry and eye-catching bags out the front of the market. Just be prepared for the crowds!
- Location: Lindsay Street, just off Chowringhee Road.
- Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, and until 2.30 p.m. on Saturday. Closed on Sunday.
Handicrafts: Dakshinapan Shopping Center
This open-air shopping center is a little out of the way, but it’s an excellent place to buy Indian handicrafts and artifacts. You’ll find many Indian state government emporiums there, stocked with fixed price goods from all over the country. It’s also the place to buy cheap Indian clothing. Tea enthusiasts must stop by the renowned Dolly’s Tea Shop. This small but enticingly decorated boutique tea shop has 20 different fruit flavors of tea to choose from, as well as refreshing fruit infused iced teas. You can even buy attractively packaged gifts and quality tea leaves.
- Location: Ghariahat Road in Dhakuria, near the flyover (overpass).
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., and Mondays after 2 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
New Books: Oxford Bookstore
Anyone who loves books shouldn’t miss visiting Oxford Bookstore. Without a doubt, its the best place to shop for books in Kolkata (apart from College Street), and you can relax and unwind in there as well. It has a number of specialist book sections, including a separate space, especially for children. As well as books you’ll also find a tea bar, gift shop, reading room, and exhibition space.
- Location: Park Street, next to the entrance to the Park Hotel.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Old Books: College Street
Books, books, and more books is what you’ll find at College Street. The book market there is the largest second-hand book market in the world, and largest book market in India. It’s renowned for stocking rare books at cheap prices. Do haggle! In addition, some of Kolkata’s oldest bookstores and publishing houses are in the College Street area. For an added touch of nostalgia, drop into the Indian Coffee House opposite Presidency Collage. It’s one of India’s historic restaurants, dating back to 1942.
- Location: North of Park Street. It stretches from Ganesh Chandra Avenue in Bowbazar to Mahatma Gandhi Road.
- Opening Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
Indian Market Experience: Bara Bazaar
If you want to experience a chaotic Indian-style market area that’s often likened to Delhi’s famous Chandni Chowk, head to Bara Bazaar (also known as Burrabazar). This wholesale market, which started out as a yarn and textile market, offers everything at cheap prices. It’s not easy to navigate though. Similar to New Market, it’s divided into separate sections specializing in various items such as spices, electronic goods, textiles, home decor, toys, cosmetics, and artificial jewelry. The market is particularly colorful during festivals such as Diwali, when special stalls selling diyas and lanterns are set up.
- Tours: Visit College Street and Bara Bazar on this Morning Kolkata Market Walking Tour.
- Location: Adjacent to the Howrah Bridge, near Mahatma Gandhi Road Metro station.
- Opening Hours: 10.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
Textiles and Clothes: Sunshine on Sudder Street
It’s unfortunately easy to get ripped-off while shopping on Sudder Street, Kolkata’s somewhat seedy backpacker strip near New Market. However, Sunshine is a store that travelers have grown to trust. It’s run by two brothers and stocks a huge range of the usual Indian fare including textiles, embroidered bags, and silver jewelry. You won’t be hassled to buy anything and the prices are reasonable. The brothers also help out with travel arrangements and SIM cards for cell phones.
- Location: 7 Sudder Street (off the main street, down a lane).
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Terracotta Items: Chowringhee Road
A huge variety of pavement vendors line Chowringhee Road from Park Street to New Market, selling everything bizarre to tacky. However, if you look through all the junk, you’ll find some wonderful terracotta wares, which are a Kolkata specialty. The decorative terracotta wall plaques are particularly attractive and come in some unique traditional designs.
- Location: Chowringhee Road, near the Oberoi Grand Hotel.
- Opening Hours: Street vendors set up mostly towards the evening but other shops are open during the day. Many are closed on Sunday.
Quest Mall (previously Spencer’s Galleria) is the place for branded products and high-end shopping in a convenient central location. Launched in September 2013, this international standard shopping mall is one of the largest in Kolkata. The mall is spread over seven levels and has a diverse mix of stores, including fashion, entertainment, cafes, food court, and fine dining restaurants. There’s an INOX six screen multiplex cinema as well.
- Location: Syed Amir Ali Ave, Park Circus, Ballygunge.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.