Originally a part of the Kingdom of Sikkim and inhabited by the Lepcha tribes. Dar-jyu-lyang or Darjeeling is the abode of gods. This hill station was used as a sanatorium by the British, who loved the excellent climate of these hills.
Visitors to Darjeeling can not only enjoy the weather here but also carry the memories of their trip back home by going shopping in Darjeeling for local handicrafts and curios, not to forget the tea that’s grown here. Let’s look at some of the shopping places in Darjeeling.
Shopping in Darjeeling: Stores
1. Life & Leaf
This is one of the most popular places for shopping in Darjeeling, where you can pick up locally made items from small artisans. This well-maintained shop has really unique and high-quality items and people who enter the shop rarely leave it without making a purchase.
You can get locally made hand-knitted woollens, earthenware mugs and kettles, tea sourced from small farmers and small handicrafts.
Location: Chauk Bazaar
2. Biswa Bangla Store
This handicrafts store on Nehru Road is a good place for shopping in Darjeeling if you want smart gifts or souvenirs to carry back home. Biswa Bangla showcases the traditional handicraft of West Bengal and the handloom textiles which are a particular pride of the region.
This chain store is definitely an up-market shopping place in Darjeeling, where you get to pick up a variety of clothes, jewellery, toys, dolls, furniture and even food.
Location: Nehru Road Chowrasta
3. Bhutan Tibet Arts
Bhutan has traditionally promoted thirteen different types of arts and crafts called Zorig Chusum. These are basically Painting, Sculpture, Carving, Calligraphy, Paper Making, Casting, Embroidery, Weaving, Carpentry, Masonry, Bamboo and Cane Weaving, Gold/Silver Smithy, Blacksmithy.
Pick up your choice of items and carry them home with pride, as these artists are highly dedicated professionals who devote their lives to these arts.
Location: Lower Toong Soong Road, Chauk Bazaar
4. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
You may have heard of this centre for Tibetan refugees which help train Tibetan artisans in various crafts. But you may not have realized that this is one of the best places to do shopping in Darjeeling.
Visit here to buy carpets, jackets, scarves and many other items as souvenirs or gifts at prices markedly lower than the market.
Location: West Lebong Cart Road
5. Gorkha Ink Tattoos
Ever wanted to get yourself a tattoo and proclaim to the world that you have arrived? If so, a holiday may be the best time to put your wished into practice and there’s an option for you to do so at Darjeeling.
Head to Gorkha Ink on Laden La Road and get yourself inked in an extremely ornate and intricate design of your choice.
Location: Laden La Road6.
If you hail from a tropical place with little or no need for protection from cold weather, you may want to go shopping here first for woollens which keep you protected from the excessive cold.
This retailer of woollen wear is reasonably priced and offers you a vast variety of styles to choose from.
Location: Laden La Road
Shopping in Darjeeling: Markets
7. Dragon Market
You get to visit two markets for the price of one as the Mahakal Market and the Dragon Market complex are basically to be found on either side of the same Laden La Road. If you want the locally-made woollen shawls, caps and sweaters, head to Mahakal.
If you want high fashion imported stuff from Bangkok, with other fashion accessories and trinkets, Dragon Market is where you need to go.
Location: Laden La Road, Limbugaon
8. Bhutia Market
An immensely popular market, it is also called the New Mahakal Market. You can get the genuine woollen items of Darjeeling like shawls, caps, sweaters (some of which are hand-knitted) at very reasonable prices and with no compromise on quality – almost seems too good to be true.
When you visit the Mahakal temple, just follow the Mall Road until you come to the statue of Bhanu Bhakta Acharya and take a right to find this market.
Location: Bhutia Market
9 Mall Road
The Mall Road or Chowrasta Market is busy at all times with locals and tourists eyeing the great products in the shops lining either side of the road. Busy and bustling with activity, you get a variety of items here from fashionable clothes to books and handicrafts.
Location: Mall Road
10. Chowk Bazaar
The items in Chowk Bazaar come reasonably priced while the variety makes you want to keep on buying things, at this popular shopping destination in Darjeeling.
Apart from all things needed by the locals on a daily basis, this bazaar also offers local art and handicrafts. Don’t miss enjoying a cup of Darjeeling Tea when you are at the market.
Location: Hill Cart Road, Chowk Bazaar
11. Chitray Bazaar
You may have thought of tea as just something you brew of a morning but never really seen a tea plantation up close. Head to Chitray Bazaar for an experience of a lifetime where you get to see huge expanses of tea gardens and buy fresh packets of the famous Darjeeling tea to carry home as a souvenir or gift.
With a good set of binoculars, you could catch a glimpse of the Himalayas in general and Kanchenjunga in particular.
Location: E Lebong Road, Upper Bhutia Busty
12. Nepali Beads Jewellery
Archaeologists have found many instances of man’s interest in ornamentation and jewellery from olden days. Bead jewellery is still considered to be an extremely important part of human existence, especially among communities which have remained closed to external influence and modernisation.
Whatever may be your reason for picking up the bead jewellery, remember that it is a dying art which is being practised by very few people today and be assured of having something very special and unique to take home with you.
Location: At handicraft shops all over
Shopping in Darjeeling: Malls
13. The Rink Mall
Located in the centre of the city, close to most of the hotels, the Rink Mall offers you a lot of opportunities to shop for things, both luxurious and useful. The Inox theatre here is another opportunity for you to unwind and lose yourself in the world of fantasy, woven for you by cinema.
Once you are done with all the things, you could eat your fill at the many food joints located in the mall.
Location: Laden La Road, Chauk Bazaar
14. Jai Complex
The swanky new mall in Darjeeling is an exciting new place with many branded and unbranded stores selling their wares to eager customers, drawn from locals as well as tourists.
Built in the middle of town, the mall has a huge collection of stores selling haute couture or high fashion clothing.
Location: HD Lama Road, Chauk Bazaar
When you visit Darjeeling, you have the unique opportunity to pick up exquisite, handmade items which showcase the skill of the craftsmen, whose skills are traditionally acquired through painstaking effort.
Carry home proof of this in the form of a Tibetan mask, a piece of jewellery or an embroidered piece of cloth, and re-visit the beautiful time you have spent in Darjeeling, whenever you look at it.