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Shopping in Pondicherry - Boutiques, Art, and Street Bazaars

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The colourful wares sold at Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry) market show off the splendor of the city's past and the talents of its local artists. Boutiques and curio shops are bursting with bright fabrics and interesting handicrafts. A shopping spree in Pondicherry is not just about picking up vacation souvenirs, it's a fascinating introduction to a vibrant artisan culture.

Mission Street

 

For shopaholics, all roads lead to Mission Street. A busy alley at the heart of the French Quarter, Mission Street is dotted with boutiques that might persuade you to loosen your purse strings. At the warmly lit Kalki store, negotiate crowded aisles to stock up on comfortable shoes and elegant hand-painted fabrics, as well as essential oils and incense sourced from nearby Auroville. When you've filled your shopping bags, hop across the road to Casablanca, an enormous store where you can browse through funky jewelry, stylish clothes, linens, and fashionable leather goods.

 

  • Kalki, 134 Mission Street, Pondicherry 605001; Tel: +91 413 2339166; Website: Kalki
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  • Casablanca, Mission Street, Pondicherry 605001, Puducherry; Tel: +91 413 2336495; Website: Casablanca

Nehru Street

 

On Nehru Street you'll find more boutiques. A must-visit store here is La Boutique d’Auroville. Its wide glass doors welcome you in to browse shelves brimming with locally made earthenware, stunning fabrics, and handmade paper. The leather goods on offer are fairly priced and popular with shoppers. A short walk away, you'll come across Boutique Auroshree. Though compact, it's filled with a wide selection of silver jewelry, clothes, and paintings from across the country.

 

  • La Boutique d'Auroville, 38 Jawaharalal Nehru Street, Pondicherry 605001; Tel: +91 413 2337264; Website: La Boutique d'Auroville
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  • Boutique Auroshree, 18 Jawaharlal Nehru Street, Pondicherry 605001; Tel: +91 413 2222117; Website: Boutique Auroshree

 

Elsewhere in the French Quarter

 

Tucked into various corners of the French Quarter, there are several stores that should feature on any Pondicherry shopping itinerary. On Romain Rolland Street, Curio Centre and Art Colony rub shoulders: both showcase an impressive array of antiques from the colonial era. You'll find gorgeous furniture, handicrafts, and wood carvings that are generations old. Over at Rue Suffren, vibrant Cottonwood is a pleasure to explore. The brainchild of 2 enterprising women, Martine Mallard and Cécile Hoorelbeke, the store revives vintage treasures and creates new collections.

 

  • Cottonwood, Le Café des Arts, 10 Rue Suffren, Pondicherry 605001; Tel: +91 989 4038615; Website: Cottonwood

 

Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville

 

If you'd like to create a sense of tranquility back at home, then Sri Aurobindo Ashram's souvenir shop might be able to help you. The outlet sells incense sticks, perfumed candles, and essential oils to travellers who have discovered their spiritual side. At nearby Auroville, you can buy handmade soap, organic products, books, and natural foods.

 

  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Rue de la Marine, Pondicherry 605002; Tel: +91 413 2233649; Website: Sri Aurobindo Ashram
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  • Auroville, Auroville, Viluppuram 60510, Tamil Nadu; Tel: +91 413 2623424; Website: Auroville

 

The Sunday Bazaar

 

Every Sunday, rows of stalls set up shop along M.G. Road for a carnival of sorts. Far removed from the plush boutiques of the French Quarter, the market is a mix of bright colours, bustling crowds, and bargain buys. Ceramics, handicrafts, accessories, and clothes are all up for grabs. While a lot of it might not spark your interest, keep an eye out for a few prized items worth haggling over.