Rajasthan showcases the colours of India at their kaleidoscopic best, and nowhere is this more true than in the region’s vibrant markets. From fragrant flowers to vivid textiles and quirky trinkets, here are 10 of the most colourful markets in Rajasthan:
At Indian Excursions, we know the importance of balancing architecture and history with culture, adventure and people-watching, to get under the skin of this fascinating corner of the globe. It’s likely our specialist, Madeleine, will suggest visiting one or two of these markets in Rajasthan during your tour with us (our morning market walk in Jaipur is especially popular). If exploring the bazaars is a compelling interest for you do let us know: all our tours are tailor-made to suit your tastes and interests perfectly. We can plan as many market visits as you like! If you’d prefer to wander the bustling lanes on your own, spontaneously, your car and driver are always on hand to get you there and back, and the complimentary phone we provide comes in handy for keeping in touch.
We’ve listed these markets in no particular order.
1. Phool Mandi (Flower Market), Jaipur
Best visited in the early morning, Jaipur’s flower market will awaken all your senses! Ladies dressed in bright saris prepare and sell garlands of marigolds, while the sweet smell of jasmine whisps through the air around you. Next door, the bustling fruit and vegetable market is just as radiant. One of the most colourful markets in Rajasthan, we recommend immersing yourself in the bustle of Phool Mandi with our experienced local guide.
2. Sardar Market, Jodhpur
Jodhpur’s vibrant bazaars are among the city’s key sights, particularly Sadar Bazaar and the Girdikot Bazaar, near the clock tower. Wandering among the tiny shops dotting these crowded, narrow lanes in the heart of the town, you’ll get a real feel for the life and colour of Marwari jewellery, utensils, kitchenware, leather shoes, trinkets, and wedding clothes. You can find just about everything here, including locksmiths and indigenous dentists sitting side by side on the street. RAAS, a delightful luxury hotel in the heart of the old city, is perfectly located for impromptu evening strolls through the bazaars (check out more of our favourite hotels in Rajasthan, here).
3. Bapu Bazaar, Jaipur
Markets in Rajasthan are typically bustling with noise and colour, and Bapu Bazaar is no different. This thronging hub is lined with shops selling a rainbow of textiles; from bedsheets to saris. You’ll also find jooti (traditional embroidered Indian slippers) on display here, and a catalogue of trinkets. Like most markets in Rajasthan, bargaining is generally de rigeur.
4. Johari Bazaar, Jaipur
While Bapu Bazaar is overflowing with textiles, Johari Bazaar is the local go-to for jewellery. Reams of stalls glitter with gold, silver and semi-precious stones, and shopkeepers encourage visitors to take a peek at the artisans in action.
It can be tempting to stock up on rubies and pearls at ridiculously low prices but do practice caution – coloured glass is known to masquerade as baguettes and cabochons at Johari Bazaar. For the real deal, check out co-founder Madeleine’s guide to luxury shopping in Jaipur.
5. Sadar Bazaar, Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort is one of the world’s last living forts, with people living, working and shopping within its walls. Sadar Bazaar sprawls at the heart of the citadel and sprawls into its narrow lanes. Browsing these labyrinthine-like lanes full of colourful souvenirs is a banquet for the senses. Sadar Bazaar is particularly well-known for leather goods, but you can find everything here; from textiles to jewellery to traditional Rajasthani puppets. For easy access, we recommend staying at Killa Bhawan, a charming boutique hotel within the fort walls.
6. Bada Bazaar, Udaipur
Quite aptly named Bada Bazaar (Big Market), Udaipur’s main market houses everything from hole-in-the-wall vendors to fancy showrooms. Meander along the buzzing streets, and you’ll find a plethora of textiles – particularly the local Bandhani or tie-dye style – antiques, leather goods, traditional jewellery and more.
7. Tripolia Bazaar, Jaipur
Jaipur’s Tripolia Bazaar is best known for its beautiful selection of glass and lacquer bangles. However, you can also find cheap and cheerful fabrics here, including embroidery work and local Bandhani (tie-dye) pieces. Tripolia Bazaar is also flooded with stalls selling utensils, brassware, and other metal goods.
8. Nai Sarak Bazaar, Jodhpur
Nai Sarak Bazaar is a brightly-coloured street market selling textiles; in particular, local Bandhani (tie-dye) pieces. You’ll find a rainbow of vivid unstitched fabrics, as well as sarees, dupattas (long scarves) and turbans.
9. Hathi Pol Bazaar, Udaipur
Udaipur’s Hathi Pol Bazaar (or Elephant Gate Market) is a treasure trove of handcrafted products from embroidered shoes to leather-bound journals, sparkling Rajasthani quilts, and wooden antiques. In our opinion, it’s the traditional miniature paintings that steal the show, illustrating local artistry at its best. For easy access to Hathi Pol Bazaar and the rest of Udaipur’s old city, we recommend staying at Jagat Niwas Palace – a charming, simple heritage haveli on the edge of Lake Pichola, within walking distance of the markets.
10. Kote Gate Bazaar, Bikaner
To feel the pulse of a Rajasthani market, wander the lanes of Kote Gate Bazaar in the desert city of Bikaner. The streets are lined with stalls selling soft camel-hide mojris (traditional Indian shoes), leheriya dupattas (tie-dyed long scarves), and embellished textiles in a multitude of colours, as well as miniature paintings, wooden crafts, and a plethora of other local handicrafts.
If you’d like to explore the colours of Rajasthan through its vibrant bazaars, please do get in touch. As specialists in private, tailor-made tours of this very region we’d be an ideal match to assist with your arrangements. To get the ball rolling, you may find our sample itineraries insightful, though you can treat them simply as inspiration as we’ll design every detail of your itinerary around you.0