The word Kashmir conjures up images of shimmering lakes surrounded by snow laden mountains, long chinar trees, well laid-out gardens and beautiful houseboats. No wonder Kashmir is called paradise on earth. While the scenic beauty bowls over a traveller, it is Kashmir’s flourishing tradition of exquisite handicrafts that keep a die-hard shopper hooked. The papier-mache boxes and flower vases, the miniature samovars and Pashmina shawls, the model houseboats with colourful floral designs make for excellent souvenirs.
But of all the items, it is pure silk Kashmiri carpets that many travellers set their eye on. Fish for the exquisite Kashmiri carpet as Kashmir is quite popular for its fine quality of carpets and an average piece being made with about 324 knots per square inch. The colours of carpets usually range from maroon, beige, ruby-red, gray to shades of blue. The motifs based on shawl patterns, leaves & flowers and traditional paisley bring in more vibrant colours like emerald and aquamarine.
Pure silk Kashmiri carpets are well known for their softness, sheen and fine workmanship. And to bring back this slice of Kashmir with you head to the old city, where artisans are in business of making carpets from generations. Lal Chowk and Badshah Chowk have a number of shops. Shaw Brothers on the Boulevard offers a huge range of carpets. The Bund facing river Jhelum has Asia Crafts and Sadiq’s Handicrafts. If bargaining is not your cup of tea, state government shops are your best bet. Here is a list of emporia in Srinagar
- Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, New Airport, Srinagar, Kashmir
- Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, Lal Chowk Branch, Srinagar, Kashmir
- Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, Boulevard Road, Srinagar, Kashmir
- Kashmir Government Arts Emporium, Emporium Buildings, Residency Road, Srinagar, Kashmir
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Agra is home to the city of the Taj and no wonder why it is among the top tourist destination in India. The city attracts travellers from different corners of the world. It’s not only the monuments in Agra that draw travellers to this age old city but Agra is also an exciting shopping destination when it comes to shopping of soft-stone inlay work, carpets and leather goods.
Agra is an important hub of the rug and carpet weaving industry in India. One can shop for carpets at reasonable prices with an incredible range of patterns and motifs in Agra. Agra offers a wide choice of carpets, rugs prayer mats and wall hangings in various shapes and sizes. The rugs and carpets made in Agra are woven by descendants of weavers who worked during Mughal reign and learnt the craft of carpet weaving from Persian master weavers.
So where can you go to buy some of the finest carpets produced in Agra? The main markets for shopping for rugs and carpets in Agra are near the Taj Mahal complex. Sadar Bazaar, Kinari Bazaar and Munro Road are quite popular. The U.P State Emporium called Gangotri at the Taj Mahal Complex offers a range of rugs and carpets. The Shilpagram crafts village is another venue where rugs and carpets are on sale, directly by the craftsmen themselves.
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Perhaps the largest concentration of carpet weavers in India can be found in the Mirzapur-Bhadohi belt in Uttar Pradesh. The Mirzapur town is approximately 650 km from Delhi and 60 km from Varanasi. Mirazpur is a good place to head to if you are looking to buy carpets in the budget range. The area specialises in the lower, medium and low-fine qualities and accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the total production of carpets in India. The quality for carpets in Mirzapur Bhadohi belt ranges between 100 and 200 knots per square inch. The fineness of a carpet is judged from the number of knots per unit area, and the design, colours and quality of yarn. The firmness, thickness and appearance of the back of a carpet are the important considerations in determining the quality of the carpet.
Buying Carpet: 5 Tips that work for you
- More knots per square inch, the greater its value and durability
- Identify single and double knotted carpets
- It is easy, look at reverse of the carpet
- A double knotted carpet has a pile that bends when you brush it one way with your hand and stands upright when it is brushed in other direction.
- A single knotted carpet is fluffier and more resistant to touch.