With a number of street shops and malls all over, Kolkata has always been known to spend copious amounts of time and energy on shopping. Catering to the rapidly evolving shopping trends, South City Mall is designed to be a one stop shop with a number of international as well as Indian brands under its wing. Located opposite Jodhpur Park, this wide glass structure is visually stunning and rightly projects the grandeur that awaits inside. With special attention to harmonious design, shops are placed systematically in order to appeal to the customer. Some of the brands found here include Pepe, Zodiac, Wills Lifestyle and Reebok. Those who crave refreshments after or in between their shopping spree can visit Food Talk, a large food court serving all kinds of mouth watering specialties. The multi-level parking lot can accommodate about 1400 cars; even so, it is sometimes tough to find parking space on weekends. This swanky establishment is considered the best in southern Kolkata and is always dotted with teenagers and students at any given time.
In a city like Kolkata, where art and literature are a top priority, books and bookstores are regarded in high esteem. Oxford Bookstore is one of the prominent bookshops right from the Victorian period. During the British Era, the Oxford store also had toys, trinkets, silverware, photo frames and perfumes. As time went by, the brand and the bookshops radically changed and modernized to adapt to the younger generation. This shop on Park Street, on par with the name 'Oxford' that connotes quality, has an excellent collection of books and an impeccable service. From classics like 'Gone with the Wind' to the latest released titles, cds, dvds and accessories, the store has it all. It also has a computer, which allows you to check if the desired book or novel is available at the store sans any hassles. It also has a Cha Bar upstairs, where you can enjoy a cup of tea and conversations with your peers. For further details, check the website.
Started in 1874, New Market was supposed to be an enclosed shopping area reserved exclusively for English residents during the British colonial rule. The original Gothic structure was laid out by the East India Railway Company and housed prestigious names like Rankin and Company, Cuthbertson and Harper and Thacker Spink. In 1903, New Market was officially named Sir Stuart Hogg Market, honoring the then Calcutta Corporation Chairman's involvement in the project. The original covered market area was expanded over the years and the defining clock tower was introduced in the 1830s. Today, New Market includes the S.S. Hogg Market as well as the large expanse of open shopping area all around it. Taking up a major part of Lindsay Street, now Neli Sengupta Sarani, New Market includes a number of crafts stores like CCIE, Curio Crafts and Kashmir Government House Emporium, restaurants like Ralli's, Nahoums, New Karco and Aminia, and various hawkers all along the footpaths. In spite of the many malls the city now boasts of, New Market continues to see throngs of locals and tourists alike. You can find almost anything you want here and at cheap prices too, as long as you navigate the crowds and use all the possible bargaining tactics. Make sure you carry cash, as most shops in New Market do not accept credit cards. Bear in mind, this is a tiring experience for most; the claustrophobic should avoid going in the evenings and during Durga Puja season.
Quest is a very famous and the most preferred shopping mall in the Park Circus area of Kolkata. It is also the second largest shopping mall in the city. This mall was inaugurated in the year 2013. It is a huge shopping mall with ample parking space. Customers need not worry about getting a place to park their cars as it can accommodate 1300 vehicles at one time. Some of the famous brands available in this mall are Jashn, Gucci, Paul Smith, Rolex, MAC, United Colors of Benetton, Nike, Adidas, Puma and so on. The mall also consist of a food court and is always filled with people. KFC, Pizza Hut and Red Mango are a few restaurants where shopaholics can relax after spending a hectic day at the mall. The mall also has other international dining restaurants.
Arushi Boutique forms part of the Xport Agencies. The company specialises in custom-made clothing such as sarees, scarves, kurtas, silk handkerchieves, cotton handkerchiefs and paintings. It is located at Salt Lake in Kolkata and allows customers to choose their products online. It also has a variety of hand-made greetings for all occasions. All its products are designed keeping in mind the taste of the end consumer. Attention to detail and meticulous designs makes Arushi Boutique a famous shop in Kolkata.
From busy street markets and bargain shops to sprawling malls, Kolkata's shopping options include something for everyone. If you're looking to buy a pair of trousers or a T-shirt, United Colors of Benetton is sure to have something to suit your need. The international brand is all about casual comfort and brand value, and this particular store on Shakespeare Sarani has collections for men, women as well as children. The store shelves also feature a number of accessories like eye wear and travel bags. This relatively small store situated in Central Kolkata is perfect if you're looking for a quick shopping trip. There is a Levi's store right next door and a Barista around the corner. Other Benetton stores can be found at Shopper's Stop in South City Mall (375 Prince Anwar Shah Road) and City Centre Mall (Sector 1, Salt Lake City).
With the traditional terracotta horse or the 'Bankura Horse' as its logo, The Central Cottage Industries Emporium or CCIE is a Government of India undertaking started in 1948. Over the years its dedication to preserving and showcasing various facets of Indian heritage has made it a trusted name among many. In fact, it has been visited by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Jacqueline Kennedy in the past. Art, handicrafts and handlooms from all over India can be found here. Some of the interesting products include Filgree art objects, Brass and Bronze artifacts, traditional paintings, unique ethnic toys, embroidered works as well as a range of ethnic jewelery and accessories. CCIE also extends its facilities to interior designing and event management projects. A number of events with an aim to exploring and popularizing Indian art are frequently organized by the establishment. If you're looking to buy a few souvenirs, this New Market store is definitely one worth visiting.
In India, there is no dearth of sculptors, painters, craftsmen and other skilled artists and artisans, but there is a lack of the the right platform to these creative groups that hail mostly from rural India. Curio Craft showcases art pieces and ethnic stuff from far off villages and ensure that villagers get a fair price for the same. It has hand-woven Pashmina shawls from Kashmir, sandalwood carvings from Mysore, curios and royal jewelry sets from Jaipur and much more. You can chose from a range of beautiful paintings for your living room or small miniature lamps for your bedside table. The helpful and friendly staff will give you a detailed explanation on each artifacts tirelessly. Be it the string puppets, wooden boxes or delicate accessories, each piece is crafted to perfection. So do not worry about buying gifts for people back home, all you need to do is drop in at Curio Craft.
Auctions have been a long standing tradition in the city, first introduced during the British colonial rule. Once considered to be symbols of wealth and prestige, most auction houses have now closed down due to poor business. Russell Exchange, one of the oldest of its kind in the country, stands neglected on Russell Street; a stark reminder of its glorious past. What was once the premier stop for antiques and furniture only manages to sell a few items that, sadly, can only be termed as junk. Gone are the days of chandeliers and china sets and the celebrity bidders. However, if you do want to visit this auction house, auctions generally take place on Sundays and Thursdays. On any other day, the auction house remains open for people to browse through the display. If you want a detailed account of the history behind Russell Exchange, make sure you speak to one of the employees.
Situated near Baghbazar, Shyambazar and Kumortuli, Shobhabazar or Sovabazar was once one of the most prosperous areas in Kolkata, Maharaja Nabakrishna Deb being one of its most prominent residents in the past. It was also a place that was known for its extravagant Durga Puja celebrations as well as the rich architecture that dominated at the time. Of course, most of the past extravagance is lost today, but it still has an air of nostalgia all around. Today the area is marked by many old markets that sell household goods, Puja items and other such sundries. None of the markets are worth shopping at, but if you want to view something that has stood the test of time, however battered and tattered it may be, do visit this unique neighborhood in North Kolkata.