Laad Bazaar - The Bustling shopper's Paradise of Hyderabad
Exploring Laad Bazaar for its Bangles and choice fare
If there is one destination that females would make a beeline for, on a trip to Hyderabad, India, it is Laad Bazaar or Choodi Bazaar. Considered one of the oldest markets, from the time of the Qutb Shahis and Nizam rulers of Hyderabad, Laad Bazaar is on one of the branch roads emanating from Charminar, the world-famous tourist spot and close to other historical landmarks such as Makkah Masjid and Chowmahalla Palace.
The attraction of Laad or Choodi Bazaar
It is a popular destination for bangles, saris, wedding related items, silverware, Nirmal and Kalamkari paintings, cheap jewelry, sherwanis, fabrics of silk, cotton with brocade velvet and gold embroidery, pearls, paintings, handmade wooden work, semi-precious stones, Khara dupattas, perfumes, special stone studded bangles, Hyderabadi glass work, etc.
Bangles – The Prize attraction
The star attraction of all these is of course, the bangles by which the kilometer long route of shops got its name. Bangles made of lacquer (Laad), on which artificial diamonds and precious stones are studded are the most popular of buys. But there are bangles of other materials also such as glass, brass, metal, thread and silver with various designs & decorations and effects like shimmer which are also a big draw.
Prices range from Rs.50 for a dozen of the plain and lightly adorned glass bangles in traditional and modern colours to reach beyond ten thousand for the more exclusive lacquer bangles studded with vibrant coloured stones and decorative patterns.
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The higher priced varieties include some extraordinary lacquer bangles with studded stones in ‘sets or families’ with a lot of glitter and sparkling effects that are specially sought for. They are high priced mainly for the look and the effort that goes into their making. Then there are the silver and brass bangles that are also specially embedded with pearls and purchased for bridal attire. The range is wide and exhausting and it would take a keen eye to discern between the average and the exquisite especially when you have limited time.
The keyword is bargaining and though prices are generally within the mentioned range and some shops are in the business for very many years, you could have unwitting buyers, especially the tourists, getting fooled by the smooth talk of the sellers and end giving more than the actual worth. A safe bet is to have a local or knowledgeable buyer accompany to avoid this. Wholesale and retail shops co-exist and if one is smart enough one can make good economical purchases.
Likely time to visit:
Business materializes between ten in the morning and continues right through the day up to nine in the night from Monday to Saturday. Some shops remain closed on Sunday but most prefer to attract the tourists by a 7 day a week schedule. Those in the know recommend that Ramadan is the best month to shop for good exquisite buys when a lot of innovative patterns and designs are on display and prices also get slashed by reasonable margins. The buyers are generally muslims who crowd for festival bargains, taking advantage of extended timings both ways and foreign tourists from Europe, America and the Middle East, who happen to chance by. Of course female visitors from other parts of India also pay a visit regularly for the extraordinary variety and range of bangles on display.
The place is crowded, with only sparse number of two wheelers and cycles allowed. The place has a lot of hustle and movement. Swarms of people crowd the place day after day, and there is the constant heckle of loud bargains flying in the air. It is amidst this noise and din, and the heat and dust that the charm of the bangle and the lure of its craftsmanship which pull the visitors to Laad Bazaar makes the entry and exit a worthwhile cause.