Time and indulgence converge in the old city of Hyderabad. Soak in the ambience of Laad Bazaar, the bangle souk, and the fragrance of yesteryear in the Perfume Market nearby. Purnadas Ranchchodas (www.puransons.com/perfumes.htm), parfumeur since 1896, has single florals, bouquets and oriental fragrances, all alcohol free and in a sandal oil base.
Unfinished pearls from across the world are graded, drilled, polished and strung into exquisite strands in this Pearl City. Mangatrai (www.mangatrai.com) , Krishna Pearls (www.krishnapearls.com), Kedarnathji Motiwale (www.kedarnathji.com) and Jagdamba Pearls (www.jagdamba.com) with branches at the Charminar and across town, as well as at the departure lounge in the airport, offer an astonishing range at reasonable prices.
Bidri is a medieval craft unique to Hyderabad. Silver inlaid in a contrasting alloy of zinc and copper is shaped into stunning vases, bowls, decanters, hookahs and pen drives. Shop at Kalanjali (Hill Fort Road, Saifabad; 91 40 6666 5308; www.kalanjali.com), Bidri Crafts (Gun Foundry; 91 40 2323 2657) or at Lepakshi (Gun Foundry; 91 40 2323 5028).
Before the age of cavalier selfies, Hyderabad was home to Raja Deendayal, photographist and documentarian par excellence of Princely India. Elegant sepia prints of his portraits and ‘sovereign scenarios’ may be viewed at www.rajadeendayal.com and purchased very reasonably from his great great grandson Ashutosh Deendayal (1-2-9/F, Sardar Patel Road, Secunderabad 500003; 91 40 2781 5174; fax 91 40 2781 4116; email firstname.lastname@example.org). Enquire well in advance, as Ashutosh works with the utmost dedication on these one of a kind photographs.
This region of India is renowned for its fine cotton and silk weaves. Fabindia (at Uma Enclave, Road No. 9, Banjara Hills; 91 40 2335 4526 and Inorbit Mall, Hi Tech City; 91 40 5768 4056; www.fabindia.com) stocks comfortable cotton and silk wear and matching accessories, and Daram (Boorugu Vihar, Begumpet; 91 40 2776 5503; www.dacottonhandlooms.in) does too. Suvasa (Sindhu Chopra Residency, Road No.12, Banjara Hills; 91 40 23303965; www.suvasa.in) has an eclectic selection of clothing from across the country while Gurjari (Sarovar Complex, Secretariat Road; 91 40 2324 0149; www.gurjari.co.in) stuns with colourful handlooms and handicrafts from the desert regions of Kutch. Visit Suraiya’s Traditional Weaves and Crafts (Dargah Hussain Shah Wali, Raidurg, behind the Traffic Police Station; 91 40 2356 1576, 929 146 6930) to watch master weavers at their looms. Their outlet store stocks yardage, home linen and dhurries in complex weaves that have been revived with painstaking care.
Crafts from all over India are on display at Shilparamam Crafts Village, across the main road from HICC, where one can buy directly from the artisan. The Chumbak Store (Ground Floor, Inorbit Mall, Madhapur; 966 677 7915; www.chumbak.com) stocks funky gifts and souvenirs to remember your trip by. Good Earth (8-2-686/D, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills; 91 40 2333 7000; www.goodearth.in) has stylish retail with a contemporary twist.
India’s famed spices can be picked up at the organic store, 24 Mantra (Near Ministers Quarters, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills; 91 40 2330 0202; www.24mantra.com) or at QMart, the boutique supermarket (5th Floor, Uptown Banjara, Road No. 3, Banjara Hills; 91 40 2355 3345; www.qmart.in), which also stocks teas and other goodies for foodies and serious culinarians.