Where to Shop in Kolkata

by Nabanita Dutt, Jun 20, 2003 | Destinations: India / Calcutta (Kolkata)

1) Charnock City

Charnock City in Kolkata's satellite township of Salt Lake is an air-conditioned shopping complex spread over three floors. A cafeteria in the ground floor and a multicuisine rooftop restaurant are two eateries located inside the precincts. There is a capsule elevator which services all the floors -- including the fourth which houses several offices. There is also a free car-parking facility. The ground floor takes care of all your domestic needs, and there's frozen goods counter where imported ready-to-eat food is available. The rest of the complex is devoted to garments, shoes, toys, cosmetics and books. Charnock City is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, business hours are extended to 9 pm. Mondays closed.

2) Dakshinapan

Dakshinapan is to Kolkata what Dilli Haat is to New Delhi. It is a sprawling, open-air complex spread over two floors with a huge courtyard in the centre. The shops are mainly state government outlets selling handloom and handicraft products. Besides these, there are also a number of privately-owned shops selling footwear, Indian ethnic wear and dress materials at reasonable prices. Dakshinapan is open from 11 am to 7: 30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. On Mondays, shops open only after 2 pm. Sundays closed.

3) Fancy Market

Fancy market in the Kidderpore area roughly comprises both the Fancy and 5-Star shopping complexes. It is famous for smuggled goods. You will find a huge range in electronics, jeans, glassware and perfumes brought into India by couriers from Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. But the quality -- especially of high-priced electronics items - are dubious. Unless you are familiar with the shopkeeper, you have no way of knowing if you are buying an assembled product in the name of National or Moulinex, and the shops will give you no papers to guarantee their authenticity. Prices of almost everything in Fancy Market are negotiable. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm. Mondays closed.

4) New Market

New Market, formerly known as Sir Stuart Hogg Market, was established by the British in the 1800s. Today, New Market still remains a landmark of sorts in Calcutta, and no trip to the city will be complete without a visit here. There are over a thousand shops broken up into seven blocks - from A to G. The C block and part of the D block had been burned down by a fire some years ago, and these shops have been shifted next door to what is popularly known as the `new' New Market. Everything from clothes to footwear, jewellery and food are available at pretty reasonable prices. Bargaining is the norm here. New Market is closed on Sundays.

5) Shreeram Arcade

Located opposite the New Empire cinema complex in Dharamtala, Shreeram Arcade is one of the newest supermarkets in Calcutta. Spread over three floors overlooking an elaborate fountain in the centre of the building, are rows of small shops selling everything from clothes to footwear. Shreeram Arcade is open from 10am-8pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Shops open only after 1 pm on Mondays and closed on Sundays.

6) Treasure Island

Treasure Island is located close to New Market and Shreeram Arcade, so you can make it a part of a protracted shopping spree. After the heat and dust of New Market, walking into this air-conditioned arcade will be, if nothing else, a huge relief. The Treasure Island building is three-storied with little shops crammed into the three floors in no specific order. Garment shops take up most of the available space and there are a number of good shops for Indian ethnic wear and western wear. Besides clothes, you will find a really good music shop, Rhythm, on the ground floor and a costume jewellery shop, Sasaram's, which is literally packed with bright and colourful trinkets. From Tuesdays to Saturdays, Treasure Island is open from 10 am to 8 pm. On Mondays, shops open only after 1 pm. Sundays closed.

7) Vardaan

Vardaan air-conditioned market is located on Camac Street. Shops in this building are spread over three floors. In the basement, there are outlets selling imported casual wear for men and children, cosmetics and other knick-knacks. The ground floor has several music and jewellery shops. Almost all the shops on the first floor deal in Indian ethnic wear. While there are no eateries other than a small snack counter within the building, there are a number of street food stalls selling puchkas, jhal muri, bhel puri and battrish bhaja just outside on the pavement. These stall-owners set up shop after 2 pm every day, and probably handle more customers than the Vardaan market itself. The complex is open from 11: 30 pm - 7 pm from Sunday to Wednesday. On Fridays, shops open only after 2 pm. Thursdays closed.

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