India has always been an exciting melting pot of different cultures and traditions, thanks to its massive size and geographical diversity. In fact, each of the 29 states here has something unique to offer to travellers, in terms of landscape, history, heritage, cuisine, and even souvenirs. And since shopping for souvenirs is an important part of a memorable vacation, knowing what to buy where can help.
Each state in India has one or more products that are unique to the place, such as bandhini products in Gujarat, brass sculptures in Jharkhand, coconut shell artefacts in Goa and coir products in Kerala. And these unique products make for amazing souvenirs that help you take beautiful memories back home from the trip. So, whichever state you choose to visit next, make sure you buy a few local and unique products to add to your souvenir collection.
To make things simple for you, we have curated a list of souvenirs that you can buy from the 29 states in India.
1. Andhra Pradesh
Located in the south-eastern part of India, Andhra Pradesh is known for Budithi brassware from Budithi Village here. These brass showpieces made by local artisans have a unique look and feel. Hence, one of the best things to do in Andhra Pradesh is to buy these and bring back some happy memories. In addition to Budithi brassware, the state is famous for Banjara needle art as well. These locally made showpieces and needle-work pieces not only make for perfect souvenirs, but also help promote the talent of skilled artisans in this region.
2. Arunachal Pradesh
If you are planning a trip to this north-eastern state in India, you must buy some wood and bamboo artefacts from here. Owing to large expanses of evergreen and deciduous forests, Arunachal Pradesh has wood and bamboo aplenty. The skilled artisans here craft beautiful wooden baskets, bags, vessels, masks, ornaments and other products from available raw materials. Local clothing items, such as skirts, blouses and shawls are also quite popular among tourists.
The most important thing that you can bring back from Assam is tea. The tea grown in this state is popular around the world for its freshness and flavour. Hence, exploring the plantations is among the top things to do in Assam, after which you can buy some freshly packed Assam tea! And that’s not all, Assamese sarees made from Muga silk sell like hotcakes too. These intricately designed handwoven sarees decked with silver and gold zari are unique, beautiful and a must-have in every saree lover’s wardrobe.
Bihar is particularly famous for Kalam and Madhubani paintings. The unique thing about Kalam paintings is that they are created straightaway from the brush, without tracing an outline with a pencil. On the other hand, Madhubani paintings are crafted with the help of twigs, fingers, brushes, matchsticks and other similar objects. The artisans use natural dyes and pigments to create these paintings. This stunning style of painting is practised in the Mithila region of the state and is one of the best souvenirs you can take back home.
Whenever you visit Chhattisgarh, make it a point to bring back terracotta pottery and sculptures as souvenirs. The state is home to many tribal communities, which is why you will find a range of sculptures and pottery pieces showcasing the traditional costumes of different tribes. The sculptures available here reflect myriad and everyday human emotions in an artistic manner. Plus, they look super realistic and eye-catching.
Coconut shell artworks are a speciality in this state of golden beaches and azure waters. From coconut shell bottles and lampshades to necklaces and hair clips, your options are endless. And that’s not all, the state is famous for breezy dresses, floral shirts, beer mugs, ashtrays, cashew feni wine, silver jewellery and accessories as well. So, when you’re shopping in Goa, make sure you buy some of these products for keeping and gifting.
The vibrant state of Gujarat is particularly known for its Bandhini dress materials, sarees, dupattas and other products. The fabrics are available in attractive colours and patterns and many are adorned with intricate needlework and small glass pieces. All of this combined create some beautiful clothes, accessories, bed covers, ornaments, wall décor and many more products that you will love to take back home. The state also specialises in applique work. You can find umbrellas, wall hangings, clothes and other products with stunning applique designs here. Hence, shopping for eye-catching souvenirs is one of the best things to do in Gujarat.
Haryana is famous for wood carvings and wooden goods and these amazing products also make for perfect souvenirs. From designer wooden frames and toys to furniture and artefacts, the options available here will leave you spoilt for choice. And when you buy these products, you also support the small-scale manufacturers in Haryana. The state is famous for its cricket bats as well, which are exported worldwide, making them a must-buy for every cricket lover.
9. Himachal Pradesh
When you visit Himachal Pradesh, don’t forget to shop for traditional handlooms and woollen products. The state is especially famous for woollen jackets, Kullu woollen caps, antique silver jewellery, fruit wine and local jams and jellies. All of these make for wonderful souvenirs for personal use as well as gifting. If you are visiting Kasol in Himachal Pradesh, you must buy embroidered clothes here. And in case you have Dharamshala on your bucket list, make sure to bring back Buddhist meditation bowls as souvenirs.
10. Jammu & Kashmir
The breath-taking landscapes and shikaras are not the only things that Kashmir is famous for. When it comes to shopping, this picturesque state is known for its Pashmina shawls, cashmere sweaters and Kashmiri Kahwa. A special thing about these superior quality handmade shawls is that they can easily pass through a finger-ring. Although the woollens available here can be a bit on the expensive side, they are long-lasting and totally worth it. Kashmiri Kahwa, saffron, and papier-mache showpieces also make for amazing souvenirs or gifts for loved ones.
While the tribal communities in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh craft beautiful terracotta products, the ones in Jharkhand showcase their talent in the form of brass figurines, popularly known as Dhokra art. When you buy these amazing souvenirs and gifts, you support local artisans and help keep this brilliant art alive. Hence, when you are shopping in Jharkhand, make sure you pick some of these brass figurines.
Your trip to Karnataka will be incomplete unless you buy sandalwood products and Mysore silk sarees as souvenirs or gifts. The Mysore region in Karnataka is famous for its exquisite range of sandalwood products, such as soaps and figurines. And that’s not all, the city is known for its gorgeous and colourful silk sarees as well. If you are visiting Coorg in Karnataka, pick some fresh coffee, organic spices and handmade chocolates.
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Souvenir shopping is one of the best things to do in Kerala and promises another level of fun altogether. There are so many things that the state is famous for, such as organic spices, coir products, ayurvedic oils and handicrafts. The oils or spa products help you unwind and relax, while the spices available here are among the best. Apart from these, this culturally rich state is famous for its Kathakali masks. These eye-catching masks are made from papier-mache and decorated with gold and silver embellishments, feathers, sequins and more. These colourful, lifelike masks are perfect souvenirs for those who love to collect traditional artefacts. Showpieces depicting the culture of Kerala, such as snake boats, lamps and mirrors, also make for amazing souvenirs.
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14. Madhya Pradesh
Cotton carpets or durries are what you must take back home from Madhya Pradesh. These handmade durries are popular for their vibrant colours and beautiful patterns. They are economically priced and lightweight, so carrying them back should not be a problem. Apart from carpets, you can also buy some beautiful and high-quality Chanderi silk sarees and salwar suit sets from Bhopal.
Kolhapuri chappals or flat leather sandals are the perfect souvenirs to buy in Maharashtra. Besides being comfortable, they go well with a range of outfits. Hence, whenever you visit Maharashtra, remember to buy a few pairs of these chappals as the same quality is not available elsewhere. And if you are an art enthusiast, the beautiful Warli paintings available here are a must-buy. These stunning works of art showcase the rich culture of the state and will look extremely beautiful on your walls.
Shopping in Manipur is a treat for sure. From Mekhela Chadar to bamboo artefacts, there are quite a few souvenir options you can choose from. Mekhela Chadar is the traditional outfit of Manipuri women and it looks quite elegant when worn correctly. Or you can also buy bamboo or cane baskets, boxes, pouches and other artefacts. Manipur’s unique black stone pottery, such as teapots, pans, cups and other kitchenware are popular among tourists as well.
When shopping for souvenirs in Meghalaya, do remember to check out Ryndiah silk shawls and cane mats. The silk shawls are made by Khasi women here and they are truly pretty and perfect souvenirs to bring back home. You can also buy the durable and comfortable Tlieng or cane mats here. They are great to sit on and will lend a charming, rustic touch to your home.
Mizoram is famous for its bamboo souvenirs, thanks to the easy availability of bamboo in the forests here. The local artisans make good use of this raw material to create beautiful hats, bags, baskets, photo frames and home décor items. Puan fabric, a piece of cloth worn like a skirt, is also a popular souvenir to take back home from Mizoram.
Whenever you plan a trip to Nagaland, you must buy the elegant Angami Naga shawls. These shawls are available in lively colours and patterns and are quite warm and comfortable. The state is also famous for its wooden handicrafts and organic products made from grass, water lily, abaca and other raw materials that are locally available. Some popular options are bags, purses, wall décor items and footwear. By buying these, you will be doing your bit for the environment too. Multi-strand, colourful and bold Naga jewellery pieces are also a favourite among tourists.
If you are fond of ancient paintings, shop for Pattachitra paintings in Odisha. These beautiful pieces of art highlight the rich culture and heritage of India and make for perfect gifts and souvenirs. Wondering what makes Pattachitra paintings different? Well, these paintings are done on a cloth canvas and then rolled like a scroll. Rich natural colours, beautiful motifs and eye-catching designs are used on the cloth canvas for portraying popular stories from Hindu mythology. However, contemporary variations of these paintings are also available in Odisha.
While shopping in Punjab, you cannot give clothes with Phulkari embroidery a miss. The colourful and beautiful Phulkari or flower embroidery can be found on dupattas, shawls, salwar kameez and sarees as well, so you can easily find something to take back home. Apart from Phulkari products, Punjab is famous for handmade jootis. Since Punjab is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, make sure you plan your trip early on and book one of the hotels in Punjab well in advance. If you are a shopaholic, choose to stay at a hotel that is near popular shopping haunts.
Rajasthan is a haven for shopaholics, and you can take back so many colourful and amazing products from here as souvenirs. From Jaipuri razais and Meenakari jewellery to blue pottery and vibrant jootis, there are so many exciting items to choose from. Jaipuri razais in beautiful paisley prints and colours promise unmatched warmth and comfort and are a must-buy. The colourful and eye-catching blue pottery available here is also quite popular among home décor lovers. Or you can pick a few pieces of intricate Meenakari and Jadau jewellery, camel showpieces, vibrant puppets, marble products – the options are endless.
This small and beautiful state is known for its rich Tibetan culture. Hence, the best souvenirs you can take back home from Sikkim are Tibetan prayer wheels, prayer flags or foldable hand fans. Thangka or colourful paintings of different Buddhist deities also make for excellent souvenirs. You can easily display a couple of them on the walls of your living room.
24. Tamil Nadu
One of the best things to do in Tamil Nadu is to buy Tanjore paintings. These bright and regal paintings can accentuate the look of any space with their intricate designs and pleasing colours. You must hang one of these in your living room to see how many compliments it gets. The state is quite famous for its intricately patterned Kanjeevaram sarees as well. These beautiful sarees are available in vibrant colours and their rich thread work is what makes them so classy and a must-have in every saree lover’s closet. Gold ornaments, stone-carved showpieces, miniature sculptures and marble utensils are also some popular options here.
If you are visiting Telangana, you ought to buy Hyderabadi pearls without fail. The state is known for its finest pearls that are a must-have in a woman’s jewellery collection. They are available in many elegant designs, so you can take your pick quite easily. ‘Itr’ or traditional perfumes available near the old part of Hyderabad are also worth buying. These perfumes have a rich scent and lingering effect and are perfect for gifting as well.
This hilly state in Northeast India is famous for Risa and Riha handloom fabrics. These traditional handwoven cloths are available in different varieties and textures and are quite popular among tourists looking to take back exclusive memories of their stay. You can also shop for bamboo products here, such as handmade bamboo lampshades, sculptures, mats and jewellery. Their meticulous crafting and reasonable prices make them perfect as gifts and souvenirs.
27. Uttar Pradesh
Visit any city in Uttar Pradesh and you are bound to find something unique there. If you are planning a trip to Agra, a miniature replica of the Taj Mahal in marble is the best souvenir you can buy. The city is also famous for decorative marble plates and figurines. If a trip to Lucknow is on your mind, you must buy a few Chikankari clothing items from there. Chikan is a delicate and intricately done hand embroidery on different fabrics, such as cotton, silk, muslin, organza and net. And if you are going to Banaras, then shopping for Banarasi sarees should be on your list. These beautiful sarees with gold and silver brocade design are not only popular in India, but also around the world. Handmade rugs and carpets are some of the other wonderful things to buy from the smaller cities in this state.
Uttarakhand is not only famed for its breath-taking landscapes but also the many beautiful temples that dot its length and breadth. If you are planning to visit Uttarakhand, you must buy Rambaans crafts as souvenirs. These products are created using a jute-like natural fibre derived from the sisal plant. The locals in Uttarakhand use this natural fibre to create some beautiful products, like showpieces, wall hangings, bags and floor mats. And if you are visiting the popular hill station Nainital, fragrant homemade wax candles are great souvenirs to take back home.
29. West Bengal
When it comes to souvenir shopping in West Bengal, choices are aplenty. From traditional Bengal silk sarees to terracotta products, there are plenty of interesting options for different types of tourists. If you love ethnic clothes, go for a ‘Laal Paar Saree’ in cotton or silk. These come with a white base and red border and are widely worn during Durga Puja or other major festivals. You can also get a few lightweight and economically priced Tant sarees that are popular as regular wear in Bengal. And if you are visiting Bishnupur in West Bengal, you must bring back a couple of terracotta figurines and sculptures as souvenirs.
India is a beautiful country and every state here has something special to wow you with. Thanks to the presence of people from different cultures and backgrounds, finding interesting and unique souvenirs is a piece of cake in India, wherever you go. Every state has talented artisans who strive to keep the local culture and traditions alive through their art. So, keep the above list handy and remember to buy special souvenirs no matter which state you visit. Try and buy from small businesses and local stores of good repute, so that you get your money’s worth and can support them too.