7 Things To Buy In Hyderabad That Aren’t Available Elsewhere!
Western-attired youth from the technology industry rub shoulders with those in traditional Islamic attire and perhaps even the descendants of the Nizam, as they battle the city’s increasing traffic. This is a common scene in Hyderabad, the land of the Charminar and the capital city of the relatively newer Indian state of Telangana.
Hyderabad – A City Constant In Its Variety
Hyderabad is a place where one can find a mix in everything from people and culture to food. This blend is evident also in the fact that the city has two official languages – Telugu and Urdu. The different monikers of the city include the City of Nizams, City of Pearls and Hi-Tech City, an indication of its historic culture and current technological advancements.
Shopping In Hyderabad
You’ll never be at a loss for things to do and places to see in Hyderabad. So it’s only fitting that you carry back a piece of this city with in the form of souvenirs. Here are some recommendations:
Pearls are an obvious choice on your Hyderabad shopping list. For centuries, the city has been a major pearl trade centre, despite not being located anywhere close to the sea. The Nizams were fond of imported pearls, and today most of these jewels are sourced from Asian countries like China and Hong Kong.
The city is dotted with pearl shops, particularly in the area near the Charminar. Char Kaman is another area where you can go pearl shopping. However, the city’s markets are also flooded with fakes, so beware!
Shopping Tip: Rub the pearl on your teeth to check for authenticity. If it feels gritty, it’s probably the real deal. A fake pearl would be smooth and slippery.
#2 Hyderabadi Bangles
For those interested in traditional Indian jewellery, Hyderabad is a shopping paradise. Make a trip to Choodi Bazar (also known as Laad Bazaar) to pick up some colourful lacquered bangles, which also make for excellent gifts. Moulded purely from lac and decorated with colourful stones and mirrors, these bangles are another Hyderabadi souvenir to take back home.
Shopping Tip: Choodi Bazar also has antiques, spices, traditional fabric, and silverware, so you can collect more than one keepsake from your vacation without even leaving the area.
In keeping with the tasteful history and culture of the city, there is a charming perfume market also located near the Charminar, between Moti Chowk and Laad Bazaar. Here, you can stroll through lanes full of stores, most of which are family-owned and have been around for decades, selling locally-produced fragrances.
Shopping Tip: Get a vial of ittar to take the authentic smell of Hyderabad back home with you.
#4 Gongura Pickle
Although not as famous as the pearls or perfumes, the gongura pickle is an edible treat perfect as a souvenir for travellers who wish to taste or gift someone a distinctive edible from their travels. Gongura is an edible leaf, mostly used as a souring agent in the local cuisine.
Shopping Tip: Want to know what the gongura tastes like? Try some daal (lentil soup) made with gongura for an authentic taste.
#5 Bakery Products
Hyderabad is also famous for Karachi Bakery, a store that sells the most delectable biscuits and fruit cookies. Boxes of these products are available at many retail stores in the city so you don’t have to go far to pick one up. Another baked treat to taste and take home is the Osmania Biscuit, a sweet-and-salty treat that is said to have been invented for Mir Osman Ali Khan, Hyderabad’s last Nizam ruler (which is how the biscuit got its name).
Shopping Tip: Subhan Bakery and Karachi Bakery are some popular places to buy these biscuits.
#6 Pochampally Sarees
Also known as Ikat, this is a traditional weave available in cotton and silk in various colours and patterns. Not into sarees? Pick up an Ikat handbag, blanket, mat or carpet.
Shopping Tip: Make a trip to Pochampally village, located just 45km from Hyderabad, to see how the cloth is woven. Here you can buy directly from the source.
#7 Bidri Work
A metal craft, originally from Iran, Bidri work can be seen in items like vases, jewellery, plates, and other decorative pieces. This intricate art involves exquisite work with silver sheets on copper and zinc alloys, which creates a wonderful contrast. Although the town of Bidar (where these are crafted) is part of Karnataka, Bidri ware is almost impossible to miss when in Hyderabad and makes a beautiful souvenir to take home.
Shopping Tip: These crafts are available at Lepakshi outlets (the state emporium) as well as several small, family-run establishments in the old city.
In addition to these souvenirs, Hyderabad is also referred to as the “World Capital of Biryani”. Now that might be a tricky thing to carry back as a souvenir, but you can surely gorge on some scrumptious Hyderabadi biryani when you take a break from all the souvenir-shopping. And remember that when you’re street shopping for souvenirs, don’t forget to bargain!
Published on: Apr 19, 2017