A shopping experience in Jaipur’s Bapu Bazar is as colourful as the city in the north-western state of Rajasthan. It’s a place where tradition continues to thrive in the form of material goods that are a representation of the place’s culture and heritage.
The shopping arcade is pink, the colour the city is synonymous with. The pastel shade all shops are painted in serves as a subtle backdrop to the bright colours that lay in front. There are vendors on foot selling puppets draped in bright-pink costumes, hawkers with clothes that have traditional patterns on them and shops, which are displaying goods ranging from quilts to sarees, dupattas, shoes and more.
There is no dearth of goods and chattels that one may find among this party of traditional items; and for tourists there are souvenirs aplenty.
In the crowded alleys of this old market, part of which was built right after India’s independence, we make our way to one of the many shoe shops here that sell handcrafted jutis or mojaris made of camel leather.
The leather, which is locally and responsibly sourced, is hammered to make shoes of various shapes and patterns. Put together using handmade glue, the shoes can be rolled into a tiny ball, which is indicative of the fine quality of leather used. So, if a shoe doesn’t roll in compactly enough to fit in a small handbag, it’s a sign that faux leather was used in its making. The price of the shoes depends on the authenticity of the leather, so don’t refrain from bargaining if the quoted price comes across as unreasonable and don’t refrain from buying a good pair as it can last a couple of years and even survive rain.
With tanned shades as their base, some shoes have intricate embroidery on them that is fashioned to match local designs. Both unadorned and colourful as the various types are, they are an article Baapu Bazar is most popular for and sees both locals and tourists come in to buy.
Negombo, Sri Lanka