What to Shop for in Gangtok?
1. Tibetan Style Lanterns and Wall Hangings
Tibetan Style Lanterns and Wall Hangings are some of the most popular items in Gangtok that are not just preferred by the tourists but you can also find these in local homes. The gorgeous lanterns are made with coloured paper and cardboard, and some even have beautiful artwork on it. Besides, these are really reasonably priced with starting prices from as much as just INR 100.
2. Lord Buddha Figurines
Gangtok is known for its Buddhist culture and preachings. For the same reason, there are a lot of Buddha figurines, products and other items that are available in almost all shops that can be taken back as souvenirs from here. The Feng Shui states that if these Buddha idols are placed facing the right direction i.e. the entrance, it brings peace and comfort. The idols can be bought for as much as INR 250.
3. Sikkim Tea
The Sikkim Tea is known for its delicious Darjeeling tea that is produced in the sprawling green tea gardens in Sikkim and Gangtok. And when in Gangtok, you cannot come back without buying a pack of two of this heavenly drink. The tea is produced here in a very traditional way without using any machinery. And the final produce brims with aroma and flavour. Some popular brands include Temi Tea Gardens, Golden Tips and more.
4. Buddhist Prayer Flags
Sikkim is a place where you will find these colourful Buddhist prayer flags everywhere- on the car windshields, on the entrance of houses, cafes, shops, everywhere. For the same reason, these prayer flags are also the best souvenir to take back from here. The flags have tiny Buddhist Mantras scribbled on top of them. Starting from INR 50, the prices for these flags go up depending on the fabric quality and the length and the number of course.
5. Sikkimese Cups and Teapots
Sikkimese Cups and Teapots another specialty of the Gangtok markets that are sold widely and bought by both the locals and tourists. These beautiful ceramic teacups and pots have printed artwork, beautiful illustrations, dragons and other traditional motifs on them. These cups can be found in local markets like MG Road and Lal Market. The price range of these cups start from INR 80 per piece and can go up to INR 500 and more. The teapot prices start from INR 250. You can also bargain to get a good deal.
6. Tibetan Carpets
Tibetan Carpets are rich in quality and design, and are inspired by the tradition, heritage and culture of Sikkim. Best suited for guest rooms and living rooms, these contemporary yet traditional carpets can brighten up any place. These are mostly hand crafted by local artisans and take hours and hours to be made. You can find these carpets in MG Road market and Tibet Road Market. These gorgeous rugs can be bought for as much as INR 1000 but the prices soar higher up depending on quality and designs.
7. Black Cardamom
Balck Cardamom are grown in house and are known for their rich taste, strong aroma and premium quality. Also known as Badi Elaichi in Hindi, this is the perfect gift for all the elderly people - aunts, mothers and even friends. Known to add special taste and flavour to several curries, the price for black cardamoms range approximately INR 300 for a 100 grams.
8. Tibetan Alpine Cheese
Alpine Cheese is a homemade cheese in Gangtok that is also the staple food of the region. The Dentam village in the area is known for producing this cheese in bulk. The cheese here is rated one of the very best in the country and people end to carry it back with them as a reminder of their visit and as a delicacy. Hard cheese is locally called Chura Loenpa and soft cheese is locally called Chura Kampo, can be found at all big and small stores.
Thangkas is a popular ancient art of Sikkim that can be traced back to the 6th century. Mostly found in Buddhist monasteries, monuments and even in the local houses, these paintings are a testament of the Buddhist culture and dying arts. The cost of these paintings can start from INR 2000 and can go up further.
10. Wooden Buddhist Masks
Gangtok’s culture is clearly inspired by the Buddhist culture. One popular handicraft option that is made here is the Wooden Buddhist Masks. Made out of Zaru wood, you can find a lot of artists and performers wearing these masks, especially during festivals. These masks are made on the designs of deities, animals and mythical creatures. Available in local markets, this is one of the widely sold products in Gangtok.
Best Places to Go Shopping in Gangtok
1. MG Marg Market (Mahatma Gandhi Road)
MG Marg is a popular shopping avenue in Gangtok that is not only a famed shopping spot for the locals and tourists but it is also a popular hangout place in the city. There are a number of shops here that sells garments, footwear, daily utility products, rugs, souvenirs, spices and more. In addition to that, there are also several cafes where you can chill. Besides, you can also find jewellery, book and other Buddhist artefacts here.
Timings: 8:00 AM - Sunset, Closed on Tuesday
2. Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms
Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms is one of the most famous handloom emporiums based on the Tibet Road. It has an impressive collection of art, craft and fabrics that are also made here and sold here. You can buy wooden paintings - Thangkas and wooden carvings - Lepchas and wooden tables - Choktse. In addition to that, you can also find embroidered handbags, shoes, fabrics, sofa covers, bedsheets and more.
Timings: 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Closed on Saturday and Sunday
3. Lal Bazaar
Lal Bazaar was established in 1956, and is one of the oldest and also one of the best markets in Gangtok. The countless shops here sell several items including Tibetan Alpine Cheese, incense sticks, Sikkimese cups and teapots and more. You can buy local items, fresh fruits and vegetables and also authentic spices from this market.
Timings: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
So here’s all you need to know about shopping in Gangtok. Here’s the best buy products and the best places to shop from. So don’t keep the shopaholic in you waiting, head out and let us know about your experience in the comments below.