Ours is the exotic land of ancient knowledge, Mughal riches and exotic spices. Why shouldn’t our souvenirs reflect this magic?
Luxury Souvenirs from India. Does such a thing even exist? Shopping for souvenirs in India used to be anything but fun. We were so jaded by our multiple, highly unsuccessful trips to the usual souvenir shopping spots in Mumbai – Cottage Industries, Colaba Causeway etc. All we would find were the same old tacky papier maché elephants, mirrorwork and lac bangles from Jaipur. Ours was the exotic land of ancient knowledge, Mughal riches and exotic spices. There had to be something authentic and aesthetically appropriate that we could carry as gifts on our travels. So after much investigation we found them. And they’re easily our favourite things to gift visitors to India or people we meet on our travels. They’re beautiful, luxe and definitely Indian.
Our Top 10 Beautiful Souvenirs from India
Being the second largest producer of tea in the world, it’s no wonder that this is India’s national drink. But with such a wide range of teas, how do you go about finding one that’s absolutely fabulous? This one’s a well- kept secret and we’re letting you in on it. The beautiful collection of teas from Three Clive Road are deliciously divine. We love the Kashmiri Kahwa that comes in a gorgeous box, foilpacked inside a cloth bag for freshness. The tea mix looks stunning with the beautiful pink rose petals and cinnamon bark bits while the brew itself is rich, intoxicating and exotically, unmistakably Indian. It’s a fabulous gift for someone or a nice little indulgence to bring home for yourself. Shop these at ThreeCliveRoad.com
In India, there is definitely wisdom in the age- old science of Ayurveda and its properties, but we normally can’t stand the stench of Ayurvedic products. Thankfully Kama Ayurveda has products with a bit of finesse that incorporate these wondrous Ayurvedic properties with wonderful fragrances. Their Khus soap with Vetiver and coconut oil regenerates the skin while smelling oh so wonderful. Ditto for their hand cream which is rich and absolutely divine! Hand creams, lotions, shampoos and conditioners, lip balms, night creams, face mists, face oils, there’s just so much to choose from! Definitely our pick for the most hardworking, yet luxurious products. Shop the Khus soap at KamaAyurveda.com
3. Love Travel Guides
We first came across these India City Guides for the Luxury Vagabond at Good Earth. Beautifully packaged in silk and khadi pouches, these luxurious guidebooks caught our eye instantly. It’s a beautiful little black-book of insider secrets on where to stay, eat and shop in the most travelled of Indian cities. But recommendations aside, it’s also the perfect immersion into the local culture and nuances, beautifully explained for the luxury loving traveller. If we were to write a guidebook, this is how it would be and we’ve enjoyed gifting these to some of our friends planning trips to India. Currently there are Love Travel Guides for Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and Jaipur but we know Fiona’s got some more up her sleeves! Shop at LoveTravelGuides.com
Have you ever wished you could bottle up a city and take it with you? Our next pick is kind of like that! A city in a tin, with these beautiful themed candles from Forty Red Bangles. In fragrances that embody the essence of some of India’s most beautiful cities, these candles are an ode to your journey. We love the Mumbai candle (after all, it is our home) with its unique mogra, fennel and vanilla blend it’s definitely one to remind you of the eclectic spirit of Mumbai. Shop at FortyRedBangles.com
5. Essential Oils
India was among the first civilizations to crack the secret of the healing power of Aromatherapy. It’s a wisdom we haven’t lost, and the sheer range of essential oils available here are telling proof. A few drops of 100% natural product in an oil burner smells heavenly (and helps us make our home feel like a luxury hotel). Mix it with your body lotion, massage oils, some of them can even be ingested with food. Finding one that works for you could be as simple as just picking up the ones that smell the nicest to you, or deciphering your aromatherapy profile with a licensed practitioner.
So many of the high end leather products you shop abroad are actually made from Indian leather. So why not go right to the source! Apart from the wide range of products you’ll find here – books, bags, jackets, shoes, accessories; there’s also that fabulous possibility of picking up your own leather swatches and getting your own designs customised,, embellished and embossed. Most local leather shops and manufacturers will be willing to do this, at a fraction of what you’d pay abroad.
Just yesterday I came across a meme that said Indian housewives hold 11% of the world’s gold, that’s more than the reserves of USA, IMF, Switzerland and Germany put together. Now I’m not too sure about the accuracy of the figure but the observation definitely seems legit. We Indians love our jewellery, and this is definitely a great place to buy some gorgeous pieces made of gold, silver and precious gems! Also read about shopping for pearls in Hyderabad.
Another thing we Indians are obsessed with is lamps. Oil lamps and lanterns of the past now updated for modern interiors still come in gorgeous and intricate designs born of Indian heritage. We love ones with a non-garish patina on them as well. This pretty one we have in our hallway, inspired by the Mughals, they’re such a lovely motif to gift a visitor (or carry home) as a remembrance of the riches of India.
We’ve said it before, we’re saying it again. Indian cuisine is about so much more than just “curry”. And what better way to take advantage of the wonderful range of spices we grow? Sure, you probably get toned down, ground and powdered versions of these abroad. But it just doesn’t hold a candle to the freshness, shelf life and versatility of whole spices. Cloves, Peppercorns, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Sesame, Poppy seeds there’s just so much to discover! And a small dash of this can really transform your meals elsewhere, as a little reminder of the one’s savoured in India.
In yet another endeavour to celebrate the idea of “Make in India” our Government recently instated a Handloom day. And there’s just so many ways you take a little piece of this craft away. Plush Pashmina shawls, glitzy brocade, organic khadi or my favourite – intricate chikan. This beautiful style of white shadow embroidery looks gorgeous on pastel cloth, and definitely a lovely way to style maxi dresses, kurtas and other kinds of tops.
So that’s our pick of the top 10 most beautiful souvenirs from India. Have you ever bought any of these? Do you have any recommendations to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!
This post was made possible by ThreeCliveRoad, Kama Ayurveda and FortyRedBangles. Opinions as always, are our own.