Bhuj, the capital of Kutch in Gujarat is famous as being the gateway to Rann Utsav. Each year, millions throng to the White Salt Desert to witness nature’s beauty. Apart from the famed Rann of Kutch, the region is also known for the Dholavira ruins, Mandvi sea-shore, temples and palaces. It’s a unique landscape and tourism has definitely given a much-needed boost to the economy of the barren and earthquake stricken area. It is in the months from November to February that Bhuj is lit up in a million colours to welcome tourists from all over the world. But over and above the tourism – there is one more reason why people throng to this dry and arid land close to the Western coast of India and that is shopping.
Gujarat is a mecca for shopaholics with everything from clothes to accessories and decor items available at dirt cheap prices. The Kutch region tops charts in many of these materials and as it is the homeland where the materials are handcrafted, it’s a pleasure to watch the weavers at work and then buy the same cloth. Also, the region boasts almost all the much-loved designs like Bandhej (Bandhani), Block Print, Mashru Silk, Gajji Silk, Khadi, and much more. But just where do you head for the best haul? There are many places in the region which are perfect for everyone – no matter what your budget. On my trip to Bhuj, I spent two full days scouring the local markets for the best deals and I was not disappointed! Here’s some of the best (and but naturally the cheapest) options I found while in Bhuj and areas around:
As this is all about shopping, I won’t elaborate much on the sights. But to give a quick gist, Bhujodi is a huge tourist spot created to promote the region. Created a few meters away from the original Bhujodi village, the gardens and the museum are named after the village. There are artisan and handloom shops inside the village where you will find traditional goods. However, these are expensive. On the outskirts of the village are a host of shops that sell the same wares for cheaper. However, they’re still more expensive as compared to what you’ll get in the markets. But in Bhujodi, I stumbled upon a rare gem that has a great collection at reasonable wholesale prices. I’m talking Cotton Silk embroidered/Bandhej dress materials for Rs 600/-, silk stoles and scarves for Rs 350/-, Kurtas for Rs 500/-, Beddings for Rs 350/-, and much more. The name of the shop is Dhanji Raja Vankar and it is right at the end of the line of shops on your way to Bhujodi.
2. Vaniyavad Market
Vaniyavad Market is behind the bus-stop in Bhuj and has tons of shops with amazing collection. You can check out the collection in multiple places before finalising what you wish to purchase. You can easily reach Vaniyavad using the Chakdi (shared auto), bus, or your private vehicle. Bhoomi Handicrafts is the most famed shop in the region but honestly, I found it to be highly overpriced with nothing new on offer. Instead, I picked up some much more exciting wares from the smaller, tucked away stores. Give Bhoomi a complete miss – but right next to Bhoomi is a small material seller – do check his collection. You might find some rare gems! I did – Mashru silk material with Bandhani print for Rs 350/- per meter. If you’re still stubborn about Bhoomi, visit at dot 10AM – else you’ll be scrambling and breathless in the tiny shop overrun with loud, annoying shoppers.
3. Khatri Bazaar
Some distance away from Bhuj is Anjar where you’ll find Khatri Bazaar. It is a small market – not more than 5-6 shops in a circle. However, you will find the quirkiest and the cheapest stuff here. To reach Khatri Bazaar, you’ll have to hail a bus from Bhuj. Alternatively, you can also hire a private auto or taxi, but that will cost you more. The journey will take you approximately 45 minutes. You can not only buy dress materials, ready made clothes, bedding, accessories, souvenirs but also patches and quirky elements for your clothes. Oh, and this is place where Bhujodi sellers outsource their wares from. Everything found in Bhujodi will be atleast 20 percent cheaper.
4. Stalls outside Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal
There are a few stalls outside Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal and these have some fun quirky jewellery. I did not find similar designs anywhere else at that price. Bead chokers for Rs 100/- (Rs 250/- in Bhujodi), earrings, hair accessories, and much more. Don’t forget to bargain and as the stalls are small, you might have to hunt through. If you have a keen eye, you could spot some amazing gems here. All my gifts for friends and family came from here and did not set me back by more than Rs 500/- combined.