Buying fabric in Amritsar, Punjab

This is a pretty short post because whilst Amritsar is full of fabric I only went to one shop.  I had to go alone as Mark was working all day, and I had to pass the time somehow, right? I finished up going to a shop that was recommended by the hotel, and this was probably my first mistake. There are hundreds of fabric stalls in the bazaars, and the shop I went to is in the Hall Bazaar near the Gandhi Gate. It is called Katra jail Singh and their fabric is stunning, but pricey.

But first, I had to take my shoes off and then sit on a white covered foam pad. The floor of the whole shop is covered in this. IMG_1437

Notice that the seller got a cushion for his back? I didn’t. Two assistants then start bringing fabric off the shelves and before long I was literally up to my chest in fabric. Here is a photo about half way through the process whilst I was still enjoying myself!IMG_1438

I can see the seller’s hand already entreating me to buy. Fabric is sold by the piece not the yard, and each piece tends to be 2.5 to 3 yards long and 44″ wide.

My second mistake was finding six pieces of fabric that I quite liked and then reducing to three. I should not have owned up to the six. I should have shortlisted three and chosen one because I would have avoided the whole “if you buy all six, we will give you this special price” malarky and I might have got the special price for the three pieces instead of glum and sulky looks. Talk about pressure. I was their first customer of the day (at  2.30 in the afternoon), I would never get this quality fabric as cheap again, etc, etc. Anyway, my mind hovered over my stash at home so I stuck to my guns. I bought two pieces of silk and one piece of cotton, keeping in mind that I want to hit the fabric shops in Mumbai when I will be looked after Mark’s colleague’s mother, whilst Mark and Krishna (the colleague) go to work. Seems fair to me. I also will feel more comfortable having a woman with me who knows the language and who can protect me a bit. I also will not have to face the domestic baggage allowance of 15kg (upgraded to 18kg) as we will be on the last leg in India.

I can’t take photos of the fabric I bought as Mark has squirrelled it away in his suitcase and is now working, so I can’t ask him for it. Later!

The Hall Bazaar is very close to the Golden Temple and Gandhi’s Gate. I won’t go into the politics of this spot, but if you’ve ever seen the film “Gandhi”, you may recognise it.IMG_1441

Driving through Amritsar (and indeed anywhere in India) is a source of constant entertainment. I cannot describe the noise and the sheer mass of humanity and industry. It’s been 40 years since my last trip to India and quite a bit has changed. The new Prime Minister seems to be transforming the place and there seems to be an atmosphere of hope, progress and prosperity, although there is still a lot of poverty as well.

My last photo is just a random one, but it appealed to me. Bananas are cheap here and I was stunned with this horse-drawn load. Animals are still used extensively as beasts of burden but they seem to be well cared for. IMG_1454

In this post I am wearing my new yellow jeans (using the bespoke pattern) and a Scout tee. Both are really comfortable travel wear. The t-shirt is light enough to wash and dry easily when travelling so I can get a few wears from it.


18 thoughts on “Buying fabric in Amritsar, Punjab

  1. OMG! Sue you look like the kid in the candy shop looking at all that fabric – hope you have some space in your bag. India looks fun maybe you will have to do a return visit!!! Looking at you makes retirement look lots of fun!xx

  2. Fabric shopping in India is quite different to our fabric shopping experience in Australia. It must have been difficult to stick to your guns. Looks like it was an interesting experience. Love the colours in your Scout Tee.

  3. Were you alone for shopping there? If so, you probably paid much more than locals do. Personnaly, I hate bargaining – I’m hopeless at this game – and I admire you for resisting the pressure. Now, I can’t wait to see what you’ve picked! And please keep on posting pictures of the busy city life as they are awesome!

  4. You must be in heaven with all that material around you! Loki Looking great in all your outfits, Keep on enjoying India, S

    Sent from my iPad


  5. A massage after needing to choose from these fabric was a good calming strategy. Each piece did look lovely. Your yellow jeans are really paying off with your travels.

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