Rug shopping in India

Jun 23rd, 2014, 07:05 PM
  #1  
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Rug shopping in India

As some of you may know, we're heading to India in December.

In a parallel universe (at home), we're on the hunt for an area rug for our living room and a little bird has told me that we're traveling to the proverbial nucleus of amazing rugs when we go to India.

Ironically enough, all of our favorite rugs that we've been looking at so far (mostly bamboo silk rugs) have been made in India--but their price tag here is way beyond our means. I have no idea if rugs made in India, in general, are far more affordable (once you factor in shipping) but I definitely have hope.

Given all the places we'll be visiting, where is the best place -- at least that we've got in our itineary -- in India to shop for an area rug? We'll be in Delhi, Jodhpur, Narlai, Udaipur, Agra, Varanasi and a few places in Kerala.

Of course, any specific shop recommendations are always appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
filmwill is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2014, 10:57 PM
  #2  
 
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One name that comes to mind,as you said you are looking at rugs in India is Shyam Ahuja.

http://www.shyamahuja.com/

I've shopped,though a few years ago.Known for their design .I'm no expert.They have outlets in all the major cities in India.Sure there will be one in Delhi.Hope this helps.
inquest is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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If you are planning to rug shop, set aside big blocks of time. Be very specific with colors and patterns you like. Size they understand, but color and design is another story. I went my paint chips,fabric samples to show the hues I was after. I wanted a more open pattern , no orange. So we were shown rugs with aqua, purple and all sorts of wild colors. Eventually we did find exactly what I was looking for. Even with the shipping cost (usually built into the price) we saved from a third to half of what the cost is here. It arrived one week after we got home. Yes it was the one I selected, because I signed it on the back.

Have fun , but it is a process. I am now thinking of one for the living room. Time to go back.
kmkrnn is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 01:53 PM
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No doubt, the rugs will be cheaper in India even with shipping. Are you sure you want "bamboo silk?" I'd go for the best quality wool carpets, personally (unless you plan to hang it on the wall). Give yourselves plenty of time to shop, as shopping for rugs is time-consuming. I haven't purchased rugs in India, but I have in Singapore (many years ago, when things in Singapore were a bargain) and in Istanbul.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 02:10 PM
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as K has said it is a bit of a frustrating event---rug shopping in india..

we found something we liked in delhi and put a small deposit... later we found something nicer in agra which we purchased and after about 5 years on our dining room floor it still looks new.. it is 100% wool and I would not consider anything else for the floor. I think we paid $1700-2000 for an 8X10' including air shipping (5 days) by UPS or FEDEX.

let me look up some exact info
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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unfortunately I did not record the shop's name..

we also bought a couple of small rugs on a later trip... this time in the "bush" outside Jodphur... if you take the jeep tour outside of town, you will go to this place... they will tall you how Richard Gere was their customer.

you will "know the carpet" when you see it... be forceful, insist to move on to more carpets... read a book on indian carpets before you go.

btw, our carpet has a strong dark green color.. it looks different from one end to the other, meaning looking from one end and then looking from the other end..
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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Bob, all hand-knotted rugs have directionality - that is from one side they look much darker, richer in color than the other.

Also, decide if you want a traditional pattern. Most of the traditional patterns you see are variations of the original patterns from Persia (Iran, now). If you are interested in a traditional pattern, do look at lots of photos of them so you know what they "should' look like. We have antique Persian carpets, a Sarouk from the turn of the last century, a semi-antique Kirman, etc. So traditionally patterned carpets make the most sense for us. Others prefer tribal carpets that have simpler, more geometric patterns. While we have a few of these they are in rooms away from the more formal Persian carpets.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 03:19 PM
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Do your research, buy what you like and bargain hard. Kathie's points are spot on...
Craig is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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As are Karen's with regard to time and specificity (which apply to any major purchase in India).
Craig is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 04:42 PM
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insult them with way low bids, like 30%. then do the back and forth until a reasonable price is reached..

many of us had a look at the cottage industry store in deli--fixed prices, so we knew ball park figures.. I actually found them high...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 10:01 PM
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When I first started travelling to India more than 15 years ago, I did buy several rugs and found some very nice ones at what were then good prices even compared to Hong Kong and Singapore where I have also purchased rugs over the years. I have not purchased a rug in India in quite a while, so I can’t speak to whether they are still a bargain, I believe that they are. I have some shops to recommend, see below. And some general tips.

1. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING IN AGRA. It is far far too touristed and overpriced.

2. I think Delhi is the best place on your itin to shop for carpets. Jodhpur and Udaipur may work, but like Agra, they are quite touristy. The Pali area might have some interesting things, probably more tribal rugs than anything, but might be worth spending some time looking there. I don’t think you would find much in Varanasi, other than those aimed at tourists. The south is not really known for carpet weaving, so I don't think you would spend much time looking in Kerala. They may have tropical items like sisal rugs or cotton durries, but that may not be what you are looking for. Delhi would be more home goods stores where locals also shop.

3. Although prices are lower in India generally, it is good to have an idea of what US prices are, esp if you want a big run that you will have to ship. It appears you have done some homework already.

4. Bargain very hard. If you are carrying the rug with you, bargain based on paying cash; if you are shipping, bargain based on a credit card. A Visa or MasterCard is preferred to an Amex, as Amex charges the merchant a higher fee.

5. Try to bring the rug home with you rather than shipping it. You would be amazed how small the rugs can be folded and wrapped. Even a 9 by 12 rug can be folded into a square (albeit a heavy one) which you can check. You may have to pay excess baggage, but this should be cheaper than shipping. However, bear in mind that you will have to lug it around with you for the trip, and may pay excess baggage several times.

6. If you want to ship, the store can arrange it for you. This is probably the easiest way. Shipping by DHL or FedEx would be very expensive, IMO. You can also ship yourself by using a commercial shipper, but if you are there for only a few days, it is probably not worth the time and hassle of finding a shipper, bringing the rug to them (they are often at the airport or near the piers), and picking it up at the other end (as they often don't deliver, just do point to point).

7. Also note that if you ship the rug, the rug's value is NOT included in the US$800 duty-free exemption you get from US Customs for items you bring back with you, so you may have to pay import duty on the rug when it arrives into the US. Between this and the cost of shipping, it is sometimes better to check it in as luggage.

8. Particular shops in Delhi

I have purchased rigs from these shops:

Yak Carpets
53 Ring Road
Lajpat Nagar 3
New Delhi- 110024
+91-11-29840922
Fax +91-11-41716361
http://www.yakcarpet.com/
[email protected]

They also have a showroom in San Francisco now, so they may not be the cheapest. But reliable in terms of shipping and quality. They shipped a very large rug to me in Hong Kong and it arrived safely.

Shaw Brothers
D-6 Nizamuddin West, New Delhi

http://www.shawbrothersonline.com/index.html

One of the best, but not the cheapest. They used to have a shop in the ITC Mauyra hotel, I think that is closed now. The above shop is neaer the Mizamuddin train station and the Oberoi hotel, they have other outlets in Delhi as well.

The Central Cottage Industries Emporium may be worth a look. This is fixed price. Their selection is tremendous and I find the prices unbelievably good; however for really high-quality items like a carpet, this may not be the best choice, but at least you can get an idea of value for money and quality. It is a very low-pressue place, often you can’t even find salespeople. The Cottages is great for printed cottons like tablecloths, napkins etc and they have lots of handicrafts large and small. They also take credit cards which is nice if you are buying a lot. The shop is located quite near the Imperial Hotel (a good place for lunch or tea on the lawn).

Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan
Janpath, New Delhi
Tel. : 23725035
http://www.cottageemporium.in/

9. Shopping Areas

Hotels - most every 5 star hotel has a shopping arcade or mall and you may find carpets. Not the cheapest for sure, but quality is usually excellent. If you already know your prices, you may find bargains at a hotel shop.

Shantushi Shopping Arcade - has several houseware shops, including an outlet of Carpet Cellar (I don’t know the shop), Good Earth and Tulsi. This is an outdoor shopping "mall" owned and operated by wives of Navy officers. The shopping area is a series of small cottages surrounded by lawns. Extremely pleasant as it is enclosed and no beggars or hawkers are allowed.

Santushi Shopping Arcade
New Wellingdon Camp, Delhi
Phone: 11/467-3322

Hauz Khas Village - This is sort of the "Soho" of New Delhi, lots of small and trendy shops, with some good restaurants. An interesting place to wander for an afternoon. It is not far from the Quatab Minar and could be a stop for lunch and shopping after a visit there in the morning.

Khan Market - this is in South Delhi, not far from the Oberoi and not far from the Qutab Minar and Haus Khauz Village area. Every taxi or car driver knows it. There is also an outlet of the excellent Good Earth there for housewares, not sure if they have rugs (see http://www.goodearthindia.com/ - great café on the top floor of the shop. There is also a FabIndia and Anokhi textiles, both of which may have rugs. It is fun to wander around, and there are plenty of little coffee places.

You might also look visit the Indian Crafts Museum (Bhairon Road Pragati Maidan, New Delhi). This is a good small-scale museum showcasing various Indian handicrafts. They have a shop selling the handicrafts, not sure if they have rugs; proceeds go back to the local communities.
Cicerone is offline  
Jun 26th, 2014, 06:34 AM
  #12  
 
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the areas C suggests are all must visit places for your shopping, imo...
rhkkmk is offline  
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