Let’s face it, Shillong is not a shopper’s paradise. Having said that, there are a few things that are quite novel there, and which you must pick up should you have the time.
Bamboo Handicrafts: Emporiums and street shops selling bamboo products are easy to find in the main commercial area of the city, Police Bazar. While these days they keep a whole lot of Chinese products too, go for the local stuff like bamboo baskets, curtains, vases. Look properly and you will just be able to dig out some nice chic stuff. I bought a basket to carry my daughter’s baby-items about 4 years ago. I use it till day!! It’s still as new and gets me a lot of compliments. Bargain as much as you can, for the sellers quote ‘obnoxious’ tourist prices.
Shawls: Remember, Shillong is cold for most part of the year. And therefore the market for warm clothing. Choose from a wide range of tribally rich Naga and Manipuri shawls. You will see most people wearing them in the city. Buy and take them to any part of the country/world, and you are sure to make a strong fashion statement. Most shops also keep Manipuri lungis (made of lighter wool) – you could stich them into kurtas or shirts. And boy, do they look chic!
Scottish Cloth/Dress Materials: They are my favourite – make them into jackets, shirts, skirts for yourself or even frocks for children. Extremely warm and fashionable, you don’t need to wear sweaters along with them. While a number of ‘dress-material’ shops stock them, my favourite is Hanumanbux (opposite Dreamland cinema in Police Bazar) for the variety they keep. You will get a good collection of Manipuri lungis too in this shop. Extremely reasonably priced (about Rs 250 a meter max), you are sure to like more than what you can carry back!!
Khasi Scrub: Eco-friendly and cheap, have never been able to use the scrubs you get in the cities. You will find them almost everywhere. They cost about Rs 50 per scrub and are super quality. Cut them to the desired length and squeeze them into your suitcase. You will not regret the buy.
Food Items: Burra Bazar is for the traveller who loves food that is authentic. Buy spices from the huge market there, chief amongst them being, turmeric. Also, if you have trekked all the way there, buy a good momo-making utensil. Why I make ‘modaks’ in them during the Ganapati festival here in Mumbai.
“These are a few of my favourite things..” 🙂