Sikkim, the Himalayan state, is blessed by nature’s bounty. This draws visitors like magnet to this paradise. However, a lesser known fact is that it also offers a unique shopping experience.
MG Road is a long stretch of open air mall on boulevard square. This road provides endless opportunities to shop. There are numerous shops that stock souvenirs and trinkets. Tibetan, Korean, and Chinese woolen items are also largely available.
Lal Bazaar, just below MG Road, is now called Kanchendzonga Shopping Complex. It is best known to provide a range of traditional Sikkimese products. Intrepid foodies, can delight in purchasing ‘churpi’ or dried cheese made from yak’s milk. The more conventional can buy Alpine cheese, made of cow milk, manufactured by Sikkim Dairy Products. Other interesting items like yeast patties, noodles, or ground roasted barley can also be purchased. On Sunday, it is Haat Day (weekly market). The diverse Sikkim culture is showcased, when locals gather to sell their produce.
The Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms is at the end Tibet Road, has a large collection of traditional Sikkimese handicrafts. There is a good selection of ‘Thankas’. These are religious scroll paintings. The ones done by the Masters on silk, can fetch a good price. Other beautiful items which enchant the shoppers are Lepcha weave bags, carved wooden artefacts, wall hangings, and carpets. These Tibetan woolen carpets are made from sheep’s wool and come with intricate patterns and designs. ‘Choktse’ are carved wooden tables which can be simply folded and taken away.
The iconic Rachna Bookshop, has books on Sikkimese and Tibetan history and culture. It’s a store house of books about Buddhist culture. This bookshop also serves as a venue for cultural activities.
Temi Tea of Sikkim is the special Sikkimese tea produced in the Temi Gardens. It has a rich flavor and can be bought for giving as gifts as well.
‘Kandoika’ at New Market can be visited by people interested in Buddhist books and artefacts.
The Dragon Set jewellery, the traditional jewllery of Sikkim, is intricately carved in silver and gold and inlaid with precious stones. Earrings, bracelets, and pendants are most popular.
Cardamoms are grown in abundance here, and should be a must buy for your ‘elachi chai’.
Jams and juices too are popular. Try the passion fruit juice or the tangy orange marmalade.
Sikkim Ginger Liqueur, Cardamom Liqueur, or the slightly stronger ‘Chang’ (rice beer) are much sought out beverages to buy.
So ladies what are you waiting for? You can join The Wander Girls, this October, and be dazzled by the most beautiful sights and have a shopping experience which you will remember for a long time.