The old market area of Lal Bazaar was built in 1956 and is now a modern shopping complex called the Khangchendzonga Shopping Plaza. The organic produce market here is a big draw. You will find stalls selling mounds of different kinds of chhurpi (local fresh cheese), fresh-churned butter, homemade noodles, pickles, dried meats, a variety of beans, vegetables like nettles, nakema (a wild orchid variety that is made into a dish), fiddle-headed ferns, and miniature eggplants. The produce is sourcd from small village farms.
Address: Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim 737101. Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
The Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom (DHH) in Gangtok, located at Zero Point, is the best place to shop for handloom and handicraft items produced in the state. Your Gangtok trip should definitely include a visit to this green-hued, multi-storeyed building to pick up handcrafted gifts, and also to observe how they are made. Established in 1957, DHH is essentially a training-cum-production hub, which promotes and helps nurture Sikkim’s traditional arts and crafts.Sikkim is home to the Lepchas, Bhutias, and Tsongs, communities with a rich tradition of crafts. At the DHH training centre, you will come across people creating thanka paintings, handwoven and handknotted woollen carpets, handcarved furniture, handlooms and many other items. These handmade products are sold at the DHH shop.
Address: Zero Point, NH 31 A, Gangtok, Sikkim 737101. Timings: Monday to Saturday. 10am to 4:20 pm.
If you are an urban gardener, you must visit the Flower Exhibition Centre (and Ridge Park). Situated just below Ridge Park and adjacent to the White Memorial Hall, this small, greenhouse-like space houses a collection of flowering plants found in Sikkim, including orchids, anthuriums, and liliums. The best time to visit is during the annual flower show (April-May) when the place is packed with flowers from around Sikkim and neighbouring states. A small shop outside sells seeds and pods of different local flowers.
Address: 8JJ8+MG7, Arithang, Gangtok, Sikkim 737111. Timings: 9am to 5pm
The Sikkimis store on MG Marg is a quirky lifestyle label that makes teabags, postcards, notepads and diaries, key chains, T-shirts and other products that all tell stories of Sikkim and its people. Even their packaging is lovely.
Address: 8JH6+HVW, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Arithang, Gangtok, Sikkim 737101
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A Local Dress
Don’t go back without picking up a Sikkimese dress—bokhu (bakhu in Nepalese), or kho in local lingo. You will find stores in New Market selling a variety of dresses. Made with Chinese brocade, they have colourful flowers or Buddhist cultural motifs woven in.
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