Book: The Treasures and Pleasures of India

This book’s authors are a couple who love to travel and shop. They’ve written guides about traveling and shopping for treasures in many countries including Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Australia,Turkey, France, Italy, Mexico. And there’s more … they’ve been everywhere. Just imagine the life!

When we’ve traveled to Thailand, I’ve used the The Treasures and Pleasures of Thailand book to supplement Nancy Chandler Bangkok and Chiang Mai maps, Frommers, Lonely Planet and DK Books. For us, the value of the book was confirming and building on what we already knew from previous trips about “how things work” when shopping in Thailand. Thus we rented a car and drove ourselves rather than have anyone drive us when we needed to do serious furniture shopping around Chiang Mai. We wanted to go where we wanted to go, not where someone else wanted to take us. The book did suggest new places to shop for quality goods. I’d caution the preference of these authors is pricey. I prefer to look in the pricey shops and learn about style and hallmarks of quality. Then I go to other places and try to get the best of what I can find for less. For example we browsed the upscale antiques stores around The Oriental in Bangkok (it’s a hotel that won’t let you in the door if you’re without reservations and wearing a T-shirt and a backpack, ask me how I know!), then got reproductions for far less at Baan Tawai near Chiang Mai.

Until now, I haven’t yet had occasion to use our Treasures and Pleasures of India book. It covers Mumbai, Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Hyderabad and Chennai.

In Chennai they recommend shopping for:

  • Textiles, especially silks like Kanchipuram silks
  • Gold and silver jewelry
  • Old furniture from South India and Sri Lanka
  • Paintings, sculptures and other art forms made by Chennai artists
  • Bronze figurines, wood carvings and terra cotta

Much shopping of interest to tourists seems to be near the Taj Coromandel, Sheraton Chola and other larger upscale hotels.

They write some about shopping near Panagal Park, which is great because our apartment is in T Nagar near there. Panagal Park and Pondy Bazaar are busy-busy-busy — here are street scenes from The Hindu newspaper:

But as this photo from PixMonk shows, there’s enough for everybody:

I like visiting best at night, when it’s cooler, there’s energy among the people, and the views are much better:

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