Cheap markets of Kolkata abound in fancy goods, apparel, local crafts, lip-smacking food and so much more. Enriched with colonial architecture, cultural heritage and places of historical importance, these markets in Kolkata welcome you with a warmth that you might not find elsewhere.
If you love shopping and are roped in on a tight budget, Kolkata won’t let you go empty-handed. The cheap markets of Kolkata have so much to offer for its local residents as well as travelers alike. Not only will you be able to find an assortment of things, but also at reasonable prices.
From cream coloured saris marked by the red border to thick bindis, from rustic tapestry to old books – the bazaars of Kolkata have it all. In the current blog, I will elaborate on the many cheap markets of Kolkata, the stuff available there and also my recommended picks.
Cheap Markets of Kolkata
Kolkata as a city is buzzing with all kinds of markets. Let me introduce you to some of the places that I prefer.
The three most nominal markets or bazaars (as we call them in Hindi) in Kolkata for both the locals as well as the tourists are as follows.
Since Kolkata is a metropolitan city, it has no dearth of marketplaces. The city, in addition to various street markets, also comprises a number of luxury malls.
If you happen to visit the latter during the annual discount season (December-January and July to August), you can avail of some great offers from these otherwise expensive places.
Malls and Street Shopping Markets in Kolkata
Here are some of the malls and street shopping markets in Kolkata that are recommended by me. Check them out for yourselves and find your favourite pick-ins.
Avani Riverside Mall
South city Mall
|Street shopping markets
Bow Bazaar Market
Now that you know about all the must-visit cheap markets in Kolkata as well as luxury malls, it’s time for me to mention the things that you can buy there.
What All to Buy from the Cheap Markets of Kolkata?
If you are a first time traveler to the city of joy, it is important that you know about the things that you should be buying in Kolkata or just taking back home as souvenirs for friends and family.
The three cheap markets of Kolkata, also the most popular ones need special elaboration. So, I’m putting forth some details for you below.
This is the first market on my list and I suggest that when you’re in Kolkata, you visit here for sure.
10:30 am to 8 pm
Monday to Saturday
The colonial structure of the New Market will give you a feeling that time has stopped here. The market had first started its journey in 1857. Over the years, Calcutta became Kolkata and everything in the city changed but the structures of Newmarket stand with pride as living history.
Innumerable small shops and a large number of customers keep the area buzzing at all times of the year. The sellers arrange their variety of items on the street and customers can go and ask about the prices, if not written already. The sellers answer all your questions with full energy.
It is you who needs to gear up fully charged before you visit New Market. It is not going to be a short shopping trip because your heart will not allow you to come back without exploring the whole place.
Things to buy from New Market?
Here are a few important items that you can easily shop from New Market.
You will see thousands of colourful bags of various shapes, designs and sizes. Handbags, clutches, side bags, jholas , purses and more.
The material can be leather, cloth bags with stitched designs using coloured nylon threads and wool, or bags with hard texture much like wooden texture and golden brown in colour, with printed figures on them. Classy ones I must say!
Price starts at 70 INR.
Have you ever bought figure rings or toe rings with 10 INR? Well, you can select from hundreds of rings for 10, 20 and 30 INR at New Market. Prices of Statement rings may start from 80 INR.
You will find sellers standing displaying their collections in mobile vans. The same goes for earrings. A huge variety to select from – silver, golden, fancy ones, threaded, feature earrings and whatnot. Prices start from 50 INR.
Bangles or Churis in Bengali are a famous accessory. Glass bangles with stones on them can steal the show at any wedding ceremony. Price starts from Rs 60-70 INR.
The best place to buy bangles is from the street shops in front of ‘Treasure Island’, a mall in the new market area.
Hundreds of cute fluffy teddy bears lie on the roads of the new market all piled up together one above the other.
Price starts from 100 INR.
Dolls and a big section (above the Sampark Mall which is in the basement) consist of games, play stations, toy cars etc.
You won’t get watches anywhere cheaper than this place. Fancy watches with bright stones make them glitter.
One condition: No warranty. However, they start from as low as 60 INR and you will get to choose from a wide range of products.
Dresses, Kurtis, Punjabi chunris etc are available in various designs, colours and materials.
Other products of daily use
These include groceries ranging from fruits, vegetables and whatnot.
There is an old saying that there is nothing you cannot get in New Market – from a needle to an elephant. Well, you will not see elephants now, but you can buy anything and everything in this oldest market in the country
Moving on from New Market to Bara Bazaar now.
Bara Bazaar witnesses hundreds of footfalls daily. You too should be a part of the shopping experience here.
10 am to 8 pm
Monday to Friday
Bara in Hindi means big. As the name suggests, it is a huge market with thousands of stalls. Bara Bazaar is a hub for various kinds of products to be sold wholesale for buyers from all over India, Bangladesh and some parts of other countries as well since the 18th century.
Cloth merchants of West Bengal specially buy clothes and dress material from Bara Bazaar. This market covers the entire area from Posta to Canning Street, Strand Road to Chitpur Road.
Things to buy from Bara Bazaar
Here are the stand out items that you can shop from Bara Bazaar.
You should see the huge collection of junk jewellery that Bara Bazaar offers. It starts at as low as 20 INR.
You have to bargain to get the best price.
|Blankets and woollens
If it is winter season during your visit, you will see rows of stalls displacing blankets starting at unbelievable prices. A small blanket costs around 70 INR. Shawls and sweaters too are available at takeaway rates.
Apart from Kurtis, saris on-street shops, do visit Priyo Gopal Bishoyi – a shop in this bazaar with the latest and traditional saris at fixed rates.
Do you have a plain sari, Kurti or any dress that you wish you could add some colour or design to? Can that design be of your choice? Well yes!
Here you can get various ready-made designs to complement your dress the way you like. Even if you don’t have a plain dress, you can always keep these for future use. Your shopping mood will get charged up when you come across these.
Take some ‘gurer misti’ (molasses sweets ) home. You will get delicious sweets – sanpapri, sandesh, mowa, laddu of various kinds here.
|Items of daily use
Home decors, food, clothes, tea, spices – you will get anything and everything here. Name anything, and it will be found. The quality of lassi is mind-blowing in Bara Bazaar. When you really drop after you shop, have a glass of cool ‘lassi’.
Moving from Bara Bazaar to Gariahat.
Visit here for that personalized street shopping experience.
Gariahat Road, Ballygunj
11 am to 9 pm
All except Sundays
This market covers a huge area, and never-ending lines of shops display a variety of items. The best part is the price. Unless a ‘fixed price’ tag is given, you can demand to get something at half the price, especially on clothes. Say 200 INR if a seller says 500 INR; you may get it at 250 INR if luck permits!
Visit the ‘Select stores’ shop to get authentic saris at a fixed price. The saris displayed will force you to enter the shop.
Things to buy from Gariahat
The things that can be bought from Gariahat are as follows.
|Bags, Kurtis, sarees, products of daily use, home decors, cups, glasses|
In addition to all the above mentioned cheap markets in Kolkata, there is also this place known as the Hatibagan market.
This is an old marketplace of Kolkata where you can easily shop for affordable things. The stuff available for women is especially nice. So if you have the time, do visit this place.
Types of Saris Available in Kolkata
The best handloom sarees are available in the Dakshinapan market. The prices of the really good ones start from 1000 INR. You can pick some handicraft items too from here.
Indian Silk House is the hub for silk saris starting from 500 INR; good quality ones start from around 2000 INR. Good Tusser silk starts from 3000 INR.
Other good sari shops include Priyo Gopal bishoyi and Mohini Mohan Kanjilal (on college street).
Spices and Raw Food Items of Kolkata
Kolkata is famous for sweets. You can get all kinds of Indian spices in Bara bazaar and Newmarket.
A trip to the cheap markets of Kolkata cannot be deemed complete until you taste the local Roshogolla, Shondesh and other delectable sweets. Also, some of the famous snacks.
As for sweets, do try them even if you are on a diet. The sweets will taste so good that you won’t mind putting on some holiday weight.
Good Eateries in the Cheap Markets of Kolkata
|Nahoum and Sons bakery
Aminia (Biriyani special)
Both these places are located in the New Market area
|Bedouin Sher E Bengal Restaurant (opposite to Basanti Devi College), Streetside shops.
These are located in Gariahat
|Plenty of sweet and dry food shops.
Bara Bazaar will have them all.
Moving from the culinary places to literary circles of Kolkata now.
Book Town Kolkata – The Place to Buy Old Books
College Street (boi para) or Book Town is the world’s largest market for second-hand books. It is a place where you get every kind of book possible. Academic to storybooks, new to antique, Boi Para is surely the place for bibliophiles.
A row of hundreds of book shops is there allowing you to choose from lakhs of titles. The best part is that the prices are negotiable. The collection of old books is quite decent here.
You get old and rare books at unbelievably discounted rates. You can get storybooks at prices as low as 30 INR. Pick as many as you want. After all, you are in Kolkata, the land of Gurudev – Rabindranath Tagore (He was the first Indian to win a Noble Prize for Literature).
College street book shops remain closed on Sunday and on Saturday, they remain open till 12-1 pm.
Sip Piping Hot Coffee while on College Street
When you visit College Street, do not forget to visit the historical Coffee House located at the heart of college street, near college square. I highly insist you visit here.
Indian legends like Satyajit Ray, Amartya Sen and many famous poets, authors, politicians, and artists have all once chatted here over a cup of coffee.
Established in 1942 by the British rulers, this place is a heritage eatery. A cup of coffee, a cutlet and the flavour of the coffee house will make you be in awe of the place.
The coffee house is open every day from 9 am to 9 pm except Sunday (9 am to 12:30 pm, 5 pm to 9 pm).
The Art of Bargaining in the Cheap Markets of Kolkata
If you really want to explore the cheap markets of Kolkata and enjoy your shopping experience, learn the art of bargaining. You cannot begin to imagine the reduced prices of things in Kolkata’s markets once you bargain.
So, make sure to bargain and walk away from a happy shopaholic.
Top 5 Tips for Travelers Visiting the Cheap Markets of Kolkata
Every newbie visitor heading to the cheap markets of Kolkata should be aware of certain things that most locals would surely know. Being from Kolkata myself, I’d like to offer the following tips to all shopaholics.
|The cheap markets of Kolkata will remain super crowded at all times. So, be patient and wait till your turn comes.|
|You have to bargain. There is just no escaping this fact. So learn to bargain.|
|Taste as many street foods as you want to without worrying about hygiene. Just because they are being sold on the roads don’t make them dirty.|
|At least once, try the Bengali ‘phuchka.’ Its worth it.|
|Bengali ‘rosogolla’ and ‘misti doi’ will complete your Kolkata tour. So do not miss out on them.|
Make sure to keep the above tips in mind at all times while shopping in the cheap markets of Kolkata.
Important Travel Information about Kolkata
Here are some essential tidbits about Kolkata as a travel destination. This information will help you plan your trip well.
West Bengal, eastern India
|Best time to visit
Winter (December –January)
|How to reach Kolkata?
By flight (Land at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport)
By train (Arrive at Howrah station, Kolkata station or Sealdah station)
|Markets to shop
Malls, street markets and local bazaars
|A top tip while shopping in the streets of Kolkata
Good bargaining skills can get your products at half the original price
Kolkata is a lovely destination when it comes to shopping, eating and celebrating indigenous festivals. It’s the land where Shakti (the powerful goddess in Hindu mythology) is revered and the people have their faith in goodness over evil.
If you haven’t been to Kolkata till now, I insist you do so now. Plan your trip and feel the vibe of the garden city yourself. Be patient, bargain boldly, eat tasty food and relish the experience.
Happy wayfaring 🙂
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