Shopping can be a lot of fun. If you are bored of mass-manufactured, soulless, and plastic products that infest your local mall, try going antiquing, thrift-shopping, and flea-market hopping in some offbeat and authentic places like the Chail Market in Himachal Pradesh. Here you will find keepsakes that are unique, durable, and nostalgic.
Many people go to hill stations like Chail just to shop. Instead of filling their homes with cheap and commonplace items, these shoppers are particular about their possessions and meticulous about what they buy and where they buy it. With time, expertise, and some luck, one can find some true treasures in these places.
The Chail Market
Chail is a great hill station that has a lot to offer to visitors. One of its prominent features is its understated market where small shops peddle a smorgasbord of assorted wares from local sources. These include the usual products that one can find in most hill stations but also the odd gem.
Going shopping in Chail is a markedly different experience from going shopping in the city. There are no large shops or well-furnished boutiques here. Instead, you are invited into small enclosures, crowded basements, and far-away warehouses to peruse through a variety of products until you find what you are looking for.
Shopping in Chail is more akin to hunting. One has to be patient and quick-witted to locate the prey, which may be hiding in the thickets or camouflaged by the scenery, and then coax it out rather than having things thrust upon you. When the prey is spotted, the game begins. Only by using advanced negotiating and social skills can you bag it and add it to your collection.
What to buy at the Chail Market
There are a lot of modern and antique items that you can buy in Chail. Depending on what you are looking for and the budget that you have set aside, Chail offers many opportunities for the avid shopper. Here are some of the typical products that you should look for:
- Jams and Jellies: This is one of the best things to buy in Chail. Made from fresh and organically grown fruits with no preservatives or chemicals, the preserves that one can buy here taste heavenly and are chock-full of nutrients that are great for health and building up your immunity.
- Hand-Made Shoes: Before shoes were mass-produced, there was a rich tradition of made-to-order customized shoes in India and China. This tradition still lives on around Chail and at some of the costliest boutiques in France. If you want to try the luxury of bespoke shoes, this is your chance.
- Hand-Made Rugs and Carpets: True connoisseurs can easily spot which rugs are made by machine and which are made by hand. The unique handmade rugs and carpets found in Chail can transform any living space with that unmistakable handmade look and feel. If you are interested in buying a unique collectible, Chail is a fertile hunting ground for these divine creations.
- Woolen Garments: Like rugs and carpets, Woolen Garments and Knitwear made by hand also have a unique look and feel to them. With a rich tradition of good-looking garments that are functional and warm, Chail is the best place to buy a hand-made sweater that is sure to keep you warm and help you stand out.
- Pashmina Shawls: These unique shawls are made from the fur of the Changthangi Goat found in the Himalayas. The wool of these goats is extremely fine and soft. Therefore, it is famous all over the world as one of the most luxurious garments that one can wear. In Chail, one can find original Pashminas made traditionally.
- Apple and Plum Wines: If jams and jellies are children’s favorite pick, the fruit and flower wines found in Chail are usually high on the list for adults on vacation. These uniquely sweet and full-bodied wines are perfect for warming you up on chilly hill station days.
- Fruit Squashes: For teetotalers, the variety of Fruit Squashes and concentrates are a fitting substitute for the alcoholic wines that are famous from this region. Just like the wines, these concentrates are made from fresh fruits and flowers and flavored with spices that naturally preserve them for months.
- Wooden Toys: There is a rich tradition here of making wooden toys and replicas from the sturdy wood of trees that grow in this area. The toys are often very clever and have moving parts that do special things without the use of batteries or external power. They make great and long-lasting gifts for children.
- Colonial Relics: If you are interested in history and nostalgia, you can buy many unique items here that are leftovers from colonial times. From ceramics to foundry products made in England at the height of the industrial revolution, one can pick up some amazing products for decorative use.
Besides these 9 product categories, there is much more than Chail has to offer. To find the true hidden gems, one has to simply walk around, ask people and follow up on leads. For the seasoned shopper, shopping here is as rewarding as finally finding what you are looking for.
Where to stay in Chail
If you are visiting Chail for shopping or a vacation, there is one resort that is ideal for a short or long stay. This resort offers the best location and views in Chail along with warm hospitality, amazing food, and great service. This is the Tarika Resort and Spa in Chail.
This resort has an in-house spa that offers both traditional Ayurveda as well as international treatments that are sure to rejuvenate and revitalize you. The breathtaking views, crisp mountain air, and luxurious setting only add to the experience.
Tarika Resort is one of the best hotels near Chail Market. From here, one can easily access the main market of Chail as well as some of the smaller nooks and crannies that are fertile hunting grounds for finding the right product for you. With a comfortable and centrally located hunting lodge, you should be able to bag some beauties on your next trip.