Sikkim is a place with diversified culture when compared to the other cities in India. A beautiful hill station situated in high altitudes, a traveler’s delight, famous among all type of travelers because of its pristine natural beauty, adventures, friendly peoples, local food and shopping.
Sikkim tourism offers various packages to enjoy the scenic beauty and as per your preference you can select the package, but while selecting don’t forget to keep some extra time in your bucket for strolling around the streets of local markets, meeting locals and enjoying shopping. There are lots of unique items that you can shop from Sikkim, especially jewelry, winter clothes & ritual stuff.
The best places to shop in Sikkim.
Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim always tops the list. Old market known as Lall Market, M.G. Road, and the Newmarket both is main shopping sites where you will find all famous artifacts. There are numerous shops with countless handicrafts options.
The old market is also popular for yak’s cheese (chhurpi), dried fish, and yeast to make the local beer. Sikkim is also known for its elegantly woven materials that include shawls, dresses, blankets and knitted garments. Few of the must-visit shopping destinations in Sikkim are;
The most renowned market, where you will find everything. It’s not just the shops and restaurants, look around and you will find lots of irresistible fashion stores to tempt you. The stores are loaded with an amazing collection of clothes, shoes, and bags along with amazing deals on it. Don’t forget, if you are buying from the street markets, bargaining is the key to get the best price because it’s a tourist place and shopkeepers generally quote higher.
Tibetan Handicrafts Centre
State Handloom & Handicraft Emporium are trusted shops for shopping. If you don’t want to bargain and get the products at a reasonable price along with quality assurance, then go for government emporiums. They are famous for carpets, leather goods, wooden wall hangings, masks, Tibetan, Bhutia, Lepcha & Nepalese dress, etc. The Government Institute of Cottage Industry promoted by Sikkim tourism is another best place, if you want to buy something unique from Sikkim.
Let’s have a look at famous souvenirs and the places you will find them.
Traditional Dress/ clothes from M.G. Road
If you love their colorful and beautiful dresses, you can get them easily from local markets. Formal local dresses come in silk and brocade, sometimes in the thick fabric depending on the weather. Do try local dresses and click lots of pictures to make memories. For famous woolens and winter dresses, you can visit shops in M.G Road. They offer lovely fur jackets at a reasonable price which are a perfect life saver in high altitude cold and wind. If you visit them during the end of season sales, you are lucky enough to get amazing clothing in huge discounts.
Sikkim Tea from Temi Tea Estate
Sikkim is popular for its tea plantation. You can enjoy the awesome ride of the beautiful tea estates, taste the tea and do pack the tea for your home and family as a memento. One of the most famous brands of tea in Sikkim “Temi tea”, is from Temi Tea Estate which comes en route Darjeeling from Gangtok.
Souvenir from Lal Bazar and M.G. Road
Souvenir shops can be found everywhere, but Lal Bazar has many shops with cheaper prices than other places. MG Road is also home to lots of ornaments of Tibetan and Sikkimese origin, as well as some Chinese items, but they are expensive, and shopkeepers don’t encourage bargaining. Some of the eminent Souvenirs are;
Carpets- Made of pure sheep wool Tibetan woolen carpets are woven with intricate designs and patterns. little expensive but definitely worth buying.
Prayer Flags- You will see them everywhere, on mountain tops, on roadsides, at waterfalls, the colorful prayer flags fluttering in the air welcoming you. The idea behind the color flags is basically to spread the prayers in the air for the goodwill of everyone. They are available in different sizes with Om Mani Padme Hum mantra written on them, which can be used for your home, car windshields and shop shelves.
Thangka Paintings- These paintings are famous throughout the Himalayas, a true Sikkim Souvenirs, a miniature painting depicting the Buddha’s life, Buddhist deities or the mystic Mandalas available in different materials such as silk, cotton, course paper.
Singing Bowls- They are a must when you are in Sikkim. Made of mixed metals, singing bowls are metallic bowls that come with a wooden stick. When you move the sticks on the rim of the bowl, they produce soothing music which is beneficial for meditation.
Sikkim Jewellery- Himalayan Jewellery is unique and intricately carved in silver and gold which generally include Turquoise stone jewelry. Jewelry with various healing stones (common in the Himalayas) embedded in them is also famous.
Masks- Masks are common in Buddhist monasteries and Lamas use it for ritual dances. You can also buy masks to ward off the evil eye. The masks are carved in wood and every mask has a symbolism, but you can choose the one that appeals to you. You can use these Masks hanging outside homes and shops.
Prayer Wheels- A small cylindrical box attached to a holding stick with a beaded thread dangling from it. Prayer scrolls are kept inside the cylinder and supposed to send good energy in the air when you rotate the wheel. You can buy them as per your budget there are few inexpensive collections that are made in China and few are stone studded expensive one.
Sikkim may be a small town, but it has a rich culture and witnesses lots of tourist throughout the years, so it has evolved into a big style hub. The list for shopping goes on and on, there’s so much to explore and buy that you can’t get everything, but you can get a glimpse of them and select few of the best items to delight yourself, decorate your rooms and don’t forget to buy souvenirs for your friends and family. These mementos will always remind you of the amazing time you have spent in the incredible Sikkim.