Shopping in Pondicherry

This post is certainly not for those who hate shopping! But, this is not really about the malls, which are there in Pondicherry, but about the small niche boutiques, which dot mostly French Pondicherry.

Some of the boutiques of Pondicherry are quite popular mainly because they are indigenous and exclusive to Pondicherry; you will not find them anywhere else in the country.  Most of the apparel designs retailed are Indo-western in nature.

Considering it is a small town, albeit a popular one, I was nevertheless surprised to see so much of organically made cotton apparel on offer, including chic dresses, men’s shirts, skirts, palazzo skirts (large flared trousers, which almost look like skirts) and children’s wear.

What else apart from apparel is available? O lots!  There is hand-made organic paper (a specialty of Pondicherry), special hand crafted pottery in hues of blue and brown, scented candles and last but not the least the immensely popular hand-rolled incense sticks.

While we walked through French Pondicherry, we spotted a few quaint shops tucked away, mentioned are some of them I particularly liked..

Casablanca on Mission Street

This multistoried, air-conditioned retail store houses well known brands as well as some niche brands, which are only available in Pondicherry. This is especially true in case of women’s wear, which is available on the top floor of the store.  I fell in love with intricately hand made velvet jewel boxes and gift boxes with rich zardozi work (a type of embroidery popular in India and Pakistan).

Casablanca houses a small café too, called Rick’s Café’, where you can sit and relax, post some shopping. Head for this place if you are looking for knick-knacks, cosmetics, accessories, clothes, sun hats and unique gift items. Yes, this store does stock quite a few things!

Kalki on Mission Street

Situated exactly on the opposite side of the road, Kalki offers a range of products hand made at Auroville. Personally, I quite liked the summery chic apparel wear.

Spread across two floors, the Kalki at Mission Road is much smaller and stocks lesser products compared to their much bigger store at Auroville.

The Kalki store at Auroville apart from scented candles, hand made paper, incense sticks, delicately weaved silk /wool scarfs, shawls and some uniquely made jewelry, also has a wide selection of organic and herbal products made in the Auroville farms.  I was absolutely in love with the store. Do drop by, if you happen to be there in Auroville.

Hidesign Flagship Store on Nehru Street

If you happen to be in and around Mission Street, then the Hidesign store is just a few blocks away.

If you are looking for world-class leather products, then this is the store you should visit. Leather apparel, accessories, handbags, and travel –gear, you will find them all here.

Boutique D’ Auroville at Auroville

The USP of this store is an exclusive alcove where wind chimes of various shapes, sizes and sounds are available.

Get organic cotton apparel for everyone in the family here; for you, the spouse, and the child. A great place to get hand made bed spreads and jewelry made from terracotta, semi-precious stones and linen.

Play Clan on Rue Suffren  

A concept store, Play Clan offers unique kitschy (but nothing over-the-top) products including funky clothes and a host of small accessories, like fridge magnets and paper napkin holders.

Play Clan is right above the Fab India store in Pondicherry; check it out; it is unlike most stores that you will see in the town.

Titanic on Madam Street

This store was a disappointment. Known for its retail surplus merchandise of international brands like Gap, Abercrombie, Puma etc, Titanic can be given a pass!

Nirvana on Rue Suffren

This is a small kitsch boutique specializing in all things funky and retro, especially, Indian Bollywood / film influences. You will get a variety of tote bags, coin bags, a few clothes, furniture and accessories. So, if you particularly fancy having some cushions with Indian film influences (read an smiling SRK, Shah Rukh Khan for the uninitiated, and other Bollywood favorites), then Nirvana is a place you will surely like.

Personally what I liked was the attached café to the Nirvana Store. It looked cozy and very welcoming, more because of the presence of a riot of yellow blooms all around the quaint café.

Neemrana Boutique on Rue Rolland

 The Neemrana boutique is a beautiful small shop, which has curios, clothes and home decoration products. Most of the products at the Neemrana boutique have strong Rajasthan influences. This small little shop houses many treasures!

Essentially a part of the Hotel De L Orient (which is a Neemrana property), the boutique is managed and run by the hotel. In case, you see, the door shut, fret not, just go up to the hotel lobby and ask them to open the doors!

Happy shopping! There is nothing like bringing back a little bit of the place back with you from your travels, is it not?

 The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her! 


About nishi01

Savoring and writing…
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4 Responses to Shopping in Pondicherry

  1. The Empress says:

    Owwwww no old book shops, no antique shops, no second hand shops selling faded old clocks with broken hands that tick no more, no curio shops, no sweet shops, no flower markets, no lively hustle bustle of fruit sellers…

    I always give the big name shops a miss, and am usually wandering around the little local markets, and run down old rickety shops! Truly you get to know a lady by her shopping preferences. I am of the old order, and you herald a brand spanking new age of confidence. Vive la difference!!!

    • nishi01 says:

      Local markets would have the flower shops, which mostly cater to the local population, so you will find flower garlands etc…no really long stalks of flowers. …Pondicherry is mostly known for its hand made organically produced crafts…In fact most of the names mentioned are not big names…except that they are very indigenous to Pondicherry! Yes, There are book shops…but old old books..will keep a lookout for the next visit, if ever!

      Thanks you Empress for reading! Warm wishes

  2. reshamblr says:

    Once again it is ‘memories revisited’ for me…sashayed and strolled inside the shops at quaint Pondicherry through your blog. Well researched and aptly described, I would have loved it even more if your post had accompanying photos like the previous ones. In fact, I have a beautiful photo of the Hidesign flagship store…although taken from outside, can send it to you in case you want to use it in your write up. One more shop we chanced to visit is called Aurofurn, which was very near the Ashram in the French part of the city. This boutique store has an amazing collection of shoes, bags, belts and other leather products. The owner is a lady who told us that the profit earned from the sales and export goes to the Ashram as she has pledged to do something for the aged and senior residents of Aurobindo Ashram. Absolutely loved the store 🙂

    Great post. Keep them coming!

    • nishi01 says:

      Thanks so much Resh, for the offer for the pic! Yes, would use it…was so busy browsing, that forgot to click the pics! Will ofc give you the pic credit:D!

      Warm wishes

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