Souvenir shopping is an essential part of any vacation, and India is one of the best destinations to indulge in retail therapy. Whether you’re looking to support the local economy or pick up thoughtful gifts for friends and family back home, there are dozens of authentic souvenirs from India to choose from.
From seeking out beautiful silk scarves to collecting an array of vibrant spices, shopping for Indian souvenirs offers an immersive insight into local customs and cultures. Look to roadside hawkers, independent neighborhoods, and buzzy local markets for some of the best artisan and handmade souvenirs.
Save space in your luggage to bring home a selection of style-statement fashion, handcrafted trinkets, and gourmet treats.
Spices and Spice Blends
Rich, ochre-hued ground spices are among the best souvenirs from India. Ground spices are a kitchen pantry staple so visiting India offers the perfect opportunity to stock up. Collect dozens of spices to bring home and impress friends and family with at your next dinner party.
The types of spices you’ll find in India include cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and fenugreek. Flavors range dramatically from fiery black pepper to earthy nutmeg and fragrant coriander.
Spices can be blended or used individually to enhance almost any dish, including soup, stew, curry, and used as a seasoning. Sweet dishes, too, benefit from spices, including cinnamon-topped pancakes or creamy eggnog with just a hint of nutmeg.
You can buy ground spices all over India. In Mumbai, try Crawford Market in south Mumbai. Set in a Victorian building opposite Mumbai Police headquarters, Crawford Market is one of the best markets in Mumbai and famously the first market building in India to be powered by electricity, in 1882. The sprawling covered market is closed on Tuesdays; otherwise, it’s open every day.
For a heady mix of masala blends, try G. W. Khamkar on Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Road, also in south Mumbai. You’ll find containers piled high with red chilies, and strings of garlic lining the open-fronted store.
Step inside and pick out a selection of G. W. Khamkar’s Kashmiri Mirchi Powder, featuring aromatic roasted Kashmir chili powder. You can also customize your own blend of masala spice.
Sandalwood-infused products such as incense sticks, essential oils, and perfume are some of the best souvenirs from India for their heavenly sweet, spicy, and woody scent. Woodcarvers also use fine-grained sandalwood to create decorative objects, such as trays, boxes, fans, cases, and animal figurines to adorn the home.
In historic Cochin, in Kerala, look out for the coveted local sandalwood products to purchase.
Indigenous to South India, including in the Western Ghats region, Indian sandalwood trees are owned by the Indian Government, and harvesting is controlled. Red sandalwood is also found in South India, in Kerala’s dense, green Marayoor forest.
Look out for sandalwood items on Kochi’s Marine Drive, where you’ll find independent retailers, street vendors, bustling markets, and shiny shopping malls. Browse Broadway Market, located just off Marine Drive, for a mix of local and national Indian souvenirs to take home.
Known for its delicious Goan cuisine, sweeping sandy beaches, and bohemian lifestyle, Goa also offers the chance to try tasty Indian treats. One of the most popular Indian souvenirs to buy in Goa is the cashew nut.
Introduced by Portuguese missionaries who are said to have brought the cashew plant to Goa from Brazil, the plant rapidly spread on the west coast of India. Today, cashews are a popular addition to curries, used as a base in candies, or simply eaten whole as a snack.
Between soaking up salty sea air on Cansaulim Beach and exploring the museums of Goa, visit the vibrant Panjim Market to pick up an array of Goan goodies, including bags of cashew nuts. These vary from chocolate-covered cashews to savory masala-flavored cashews. You’ll probably start snacking on them long before you leave India.
Jewelry is an excellent buy to bring home with you, particularly when it’s purchased in one of Mumbai’s city bazaars. In the thick of Muslim Mumbai, stroll the sidewalks around the shopping district of Mutton Street.
The colossal Chor Bazaar, which translates as “thieves market”, is one of the largest markets in India, selling a whole gamut of Indian souvenirs, including homeware items, handicrafts, Bollywood posters, and antiques. You’ll find silver, gold, and colorful beaded necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other accessories on offer.
Wander the warren of streets around Kala Ghoda, a hip neighborhood of downtown Mumbai that offers independent galleries, cafes, and boutiques. The Artisans’ Centre is a social enterprise home to an exhibition space and snazzy boutique that recognizes India’s handmade arts and crafts industries.
You could pick out pretty, glass-beaded bangles made by women of the nomadic Mir tribe from the Kutch desert in western India, and silver-hued hooped earrings, handcrafted using metalsmithing and traditional jewelry-making techniques. Browse other items at the Artisans’ Centre, including handmade purses, shawls, paintings, and stationery.
Sacha’s Shop on Swami Vivekananda Road in Panaji is the go-to for candy-colored statement jewelry and stylish home and resort wear in Goa. At the bunting-adorned Goa Collective Bazaar, you’ll find adorable brands like Meeswa selling attractive handmade jewelry.
One of the best Indian souvenirs to bring home is Indian rosewood serving and dinnerware. The deep, reddish wood is a popular material used for kitchen and dining products because of its durability.
You can pick up stylish Indian rosewood pieces, such as expertly carved bowls, salad tongs, cutting boards, condiment serving sets, and honey drizzler, at Mumbai’s Contemporary Arts & Crafts store.
Mumbai’s eclectic design scene has been bubbling away for decades, evident at this treasure trove of a store, which has traded in chic homewares since 1962, in the upmarket Juhu neighborhood.
Embroidered Silk Scarves
Luxurious embroidered silk scarves make for wonderful souvenirs to bring home from India. From market bazaars to high-end boutiques in cities and beach resorts, you’ll find it easy to shop for silk scarves since they’re readily available in various colors, patterns, and floral designs.
In Mumbai, explore two of the city’s museums, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and DAG Modern, and stop by their respective gift shops to pick up a pretty embroidered silk scarf.
Fashion items, including kaftans, sarees, and sherwanis, a long-sleeved outer coat for men, make for the perfect Indian souvenir. Look for boutiques offering contemporary Indian designs to pick something unique to take home.
Goa’s Paper Boat Collective offers an inventory of handcrafted fashion items for men, women, and children, created by Indian designers. The store’s sublime kaftans come in a range of designs, including hand-block prints on breezy cotton, pretty embroidered hems, eye-catching monochrome, and silky tie-dye.
Goa’s Como Designers Collective on Chogm Road sells gorgeous floral sarees and bold dhoti-style pants. You’ll also discover cute mom-and-daughter matching sets here.
With three outlets in Mumbai, Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop is one of the best places to find opulent saree sets. The designer boutique has rails of topaz yellow sarees embellished with sequins, glass-cut beads, and contrasting shades of raw silk, among the designs.
You’ll also find kurtas, a type of collarless dress typically worn over matching pants, vibrant tunics, and elegant kaftans available in a kaleidoscope of colors and styles.
One of the best things to do in Kochi is to join the crowds on Mahatma Gandhi Road to browse the rows of fashion brands. Popular choices for traditional silk and raw cotton sarees include Seematti and Jayalakshmi.
India is the second-largest producer of tea globally and the largest producer of black tea. As such, tea is one of the best souvenirs you can pick up during your time in India.
From sidewalk brews to quaint cafes and opulent tea houses, you’ll find different varieties of soothing tea sold just about everywhere. Look out for classic teas, such as earthy and robust Assam, aromatic Darjeeling, and rejuvenating green tea.
Blended teas are also widely available with herbs, spices, and flowers to enhance the flavor. Jasmine mixed with green tea, lemongrass combined with mint, and rooibos infused with cinnamon are just some of the complex, thirst-quenching flavors you could pick up for your tea-loving friends.
In Mumbai, get your chai fix at San-Cha Tea Boutique—with outlets in Bandra West and Kala Ghoda—where you’ll find a selection of more than 75 varieties of Single Estate and blended teas sold in attractive canisters. Decorative tea kettles and teacups are also available.
Crawford Market in Mumbai is an excellent all-under-one-roof spot to pick up teas and other local delicacies.
Feni Goan Liquor
In Goa, you’re likely to hear about a local drink called Feni, also sometimes spelled Fenny. This clear liquor is typically produced using the fermented juices of cashew apples, the vibrant plant that the cashew nut comes from, or coconut. The result is a hiccup-inducing 42-45 percent proof liquor.
Feni is best enjoyed in a cocktail—not neat—due to the drink’s high alcohol content. In Panjim, you can purchase a bottle as a souvenir from Tom’s Wine & Liquor, near Panjim Market.
Bollywood Movie Posters
Delving into Mumbai’s Hindi cinema culture is a must-do if you’re a movie buff. You could watch a classic Bollywood movie, take a tour of Bollywood movie locations in Mumbai, and invest in a kitsch Bollywood movie poster.
Explore the stalls of Chor Bazaar and the dazzling Colaba Causeway to hunt down a vintage Bollywood poster to pin up on your return home.
There’s no better souvenir than a pretty pashmina shawl. Pashminas are a practical purchase, too, since you can wear your new shawl if you plan on visiting a place of worship that requires you to cover your shoulders or as an extra layer during cooler evenings while on vacation.
You’ll find silky-soft pashminas in various shades and designs in India. If you’re checking out the lively Candolim Beach—one of the best beaches in Goa—indulge in some retail therapy at the same time and explore the nearby street stalls and shops to pick up a pashmina or two. Beware of fakes; a real pashmina is an investment.
A Kashmiri carpet is one of the best souvenirs from India to give your home a glowing new addition when you return from vacation. Kashmir is a region famed for its coveted carpets sold throughout India.
Kashmiri carpets feature various geometric motifs and designs, from traditional to contemporary styles and are made using luxurious wool and silk.
Browse markets such as Mumbai’s Colaba Causeway for an impressive collection of Kashmiri carpets. There are a couple of things to consider before committing to purchasing a Kashmiri carpet.
First, check if the carpet vendor offers a shipping service to your home country, which could make it easier to get your new rug home. Second, measure the rug to make sure it’s going to fit the space you envisage laying it.
Among the silks and spices, Cochi’s quaint Jew Town is known for its antiques, trinkets, and vintage collectibles. Jew Town is a small neighborhood just south of the 16th-century Mattancherry Palace, and offers plenty of history to explore as you shop.
You could visit the 1568-built Paradesi Synagogue, on the northern fringes of Jew Town, and the Mattancherry Jewish Cemetery, where tombstones are inscribed in Malayalam, the official language of Kerala, and Hebrew.
Focus your attention on Jew Town Road and Synagogue Lane for the best antique dealers, where vendors include Heritage Arts Antiques & Furniture Gallery, Sheratone Antiqarts, and Crafters Antique Shop.
Embark on a luxury cruise to India with Celebrity Cruises and shop for dazzling souvenirs in vibrant destinations including Mumbai, Goa, and Cochin. Browse itineraries on our website to book your next incredible vacation today.