Darjeeling Shopping Guide & The Top Stores
What to buy in Darjeeling?
So where do you go for shopping in Darjeeling and what should you buy? Well, having come all the way to this vibrant hill town, I am sure you won't like to get into a typical city type shopping mall.
Popular locally handmade items in Darjeeling include the Tibetan masks, cloth paintings reflecting ethnic Bhutia faces, local jewelry items including brooches and pendants with carved-in gems, many types of curios, traditional boots, Khukri (curved Gorkha knives with decorative handles), woolen items including shawls & pashminas, jumpers, scarves, caps, leather items, and lot more.
Shops along Nehru Road, Darjeeling
Another unique artwork is the scroll paintings locally known as Thankas that are typically created by local Bhutia artists depicting Buddhist religious stories. If you take keen interest in Art and Handicraft, then there are some places including craft centers, emporiums and stores that stand out from the rest in terms of craftsmanship and authenticity. Check out Darjeeling Art & Craft
to know about them and what kind of stuff can you get there.
Darjeeling is where the Toy Train was first introduced in the country by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) in 1881 which later went on to get the UNESCO World Heritage status. A great souvenir from Darjeeling hills is a small memento that reflects this rich heritage. There are several outlets at Darjeeling station area that sell miniature toy train models, T-shirts with DHR logo, or even beer mugs and wine glasses with DHR tags, caps, pens and more ... great buys.
Darjeeling soared into the world map because of its famous aromatic tea. There are 87 operational tea gardens in Darjeeling hills that produce the world class tea that is known for its muscatel flavor. Having come this far, you must buy few packets of authentic Darjeeling tea.
Shops on Nehru Road, Darjeeling
For tourists, the main stores are mostly lined up on both sides of Nehru Road that leads up to the Mall (Chowrasta) and also around the Chowrasta Mall itself. As you walk along Nehru Road, you will see many stores selling fashion wears & apparels, Darjeeling tea, curios, all kinds of woolens, books, handicraft items, studios offering original pictures of Himalayas and lot more.
Nehru Road essentially starts little below Keventer's Restaurant
which has an address of 1 Nehru Road and goes uphill towards the Mall. The top stores in Nehru Road are mentioned below along with their offerings.
Nehru Road Darjeeling
On the left and after Keventers is a store called Singh Studio that offers books and photos including children's books and novels. This is a good place to pick up picture postcards of Darjeeling including that of Toy Train and Himalayas. It also sells gift items, cameras, toys and music as well.
The next one is a large Bata Shop
having well stocked shoes and slippers for both men & women. Next to that is House of Tea
which is an exclusive outlet of Goodricke Tea Estate (11 Nehru Road). This is a great place if you want to buy Darjeeling Tea of various qualities that are sold in packets that have beem plucked and processed at the Goodricke gardens and factories. You can also have a cup of hot tea here.
Next is Radha Swamy Store selling various kinds of apparels including Cardigans, Sweatshirt, Embroidered Sweatshirts, Pullovers, and other Winter Wears.
Upstairs is the interesting Khukri House, a nice compact store selling different kinds of Khukris or curved Gorkha knives. If you are looking for one, then this is the place to come. They also keep other curio items and models of Buddha. The next store is Rajesh Enterprise selling shawls, jackets and other clothing items. Then you will find the Tirupati Handloom Emporium selling all kinds of shawls, jackets and sweaters.
Next is Darjeeling-Pharmacy
. (12 Nehru Road). Other than medicines, it also sells many types of toiletries, hair colors, conditioners etc. Followed by this is the popular vegetarian restaurant Hasty Tasty
Next is a small shop R N Agarwal Tea & Co. selling Darjeeling Tea both loose and in packets. It proudly displays "Fresh Pure Darjeeling Tea" and "Flavory Darjeeling Tea". There are black, green and even white tea packets on sale. However, the quality of tea sold here are questionable and not comparable to few other popular outlets that have earned huge names over time and are separately discussed in the sections below.
Then you will see Frank Ross Chemist Shop
- a popular medical store which has been here since many years. Adjacent to it is the Frank Ross Cafe
, a vegetarian eatery and coffee shop run by the same family that owns the medical store, and this too is quite popular.
The next store P. C. Banerjee
established in 1900 offers a range of spectacles, sunglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids etc. Shortly thereafter is the landmark Glenary's
- which has a bakery downstairs, a multi-cuisine restaurant upstairs, and a modern bar at the basement, all of which are owned by the Edwards family.
Opposite to Glenary's is Chandulal's, a typical clothing shop selling mostly woolens such as shawls, jumpers, scarfs, mufflers etc. They are also trader of Pashmina shawls.
Next to Glenary's is Das Studio
, a well known family run business since 1927 that has grown far beyond just a photo studio. You can get all kinds of stationery items as well as gifts & souvenirs. They have some wonderful and rare collections of pictures of Darjeeling scenes and surrounding areas. Many pictures come in poster size prints. Once framed or laminated, they can serve as a great personal asset.
Das Studio Darjeeling
Next is the Elite Studio which is also quite large and sells diversified products. You can get picture post cards, soft dolls, posters, cameras, films and many other souvenir and gift items.
Next is Biswa Bangla store which came up on Nehru Road in 2015 by renovating and converting the erstwhile Manjusha Emporium. This is a chain of such showrooms opened as part of State Government initiative to showcase the art & craft work of West Bengal and its heritage including handmade products from rural artisans and weavers.
The store which is now a prominent landmark on Nehru Road was inaugurated remotely from Kolkata by the Chief Minister on 9th October 2015. The large store has fully wooden floor and many wooden display cabinets showcasing the state products. Inside, the store looks quite spacious and impressive.
So what will you get here at Biswa Bangla store? Other than local art & handicraft of Darjeeling, you will get hand crafted products from all over the state of West Bengal. In Handicraft, items include dokra (metal craft) like statues, book holders, jewelry etc, leather products like bags, handbags etc, conch shell products, masks, dolls, clay work, wood carvings, jute products, paintings, etc. This is a great place to buy Darjeeling tea including 1st flush, 2nd flush, organic green tea, etc that are sourced from Ming tea garden located in Ghum area. Note that Ming is the only tea estate in Darjeeling which is run by the state government, all others are leased out.
Several different food items are also available including sweets and rice. The store also has collections of men's wear like pyajama Kurta, women's wear like sarees (such as katha stitch), footwear and accessories - all these are products of the state and in wide variations. But one thing though, they are all quite expensive.
Next is the Nepal Curio House selling all kinds of Nepalese curio items and souvenirs. You will then see Asian Art Palace, a longish narrow store packed with curio items. They have different kinds of necklaces, earrings, chains, gems & other semi precious stones, brooches and many other items. This is where you will also get framed and unframed posters depicting vibrant photos of the faces of Lepchas and even Bhutias.
Then there are couple of small shops selling dolls, cloth bags etc and one selling pure organic honey, followed by Kalimpong Art Gallery that has all kinds of artwork including paintings on cloths that can be rolled, brass models of Buddha. Then there is a tailoring shop.
If you look to the right of Nehru Road, you will see the Hotel Shangri-La & Restaurant
, a boutique hotel & restaurant located close to the Mall (currently being renovated after it was ravaged by fire). After that on the right side of the road are a bunch of clothing stores including Manipur Handloom
, Himalayan Hosiery and Handloom
, Dayal Handloom
and few others. All of these sell items like jackets, sarees, shawls and other woolen items, and some like Manipur Handloom almost always offer items on sale (up to 30 - 40% discounts).
Manipur Handloom, Nehru Rd., Darjeeling
You will soon see the huge Pine Ridge Hotel
on the left. There is a shopping arcade below the hotel and facing the road that has a few outlets including Pine Ridge Travels
which is a travel agent offering flight, train and tour bookings.
Shops in Chowrasta Mall
As you walk past the Pine Ridge hotel, you will be on the Chowrasta Mall. There are many stores located along the periphery of the Mall selling all kinds of items including curios, books, jewelry, Darjeeling tea, and various other items. Here you will find some of the oldest and famous stores of Darjeeling such as Habeeb Mullick (for curios and gifts) and Oxford (bookstore) that exist since colonial days.
Golden Tips, a well known brand of stores selling Darjeeling Tea leaves, has a large Tea Lounge on the mall as well as a separate Tea Bar. You can not only buy finest Darjeeling tea of various types from these stores, you can also have a cup of tea here and accompany that with snacks. These outlets also sell many exquisite tea accessories such as tea pots, cups, mugs, tea cozy, and more.
And leading down from the Mall on a narrow lane there are numerous Bhtutia stalls lined up on both sides of the alleyway... this is known as the Bhtutia market (also as New Mahakal Market) and is well known for woolen garments at very reasonable prices.
Mall Market (a.k.a Bhutia Market)
Several years back (before 2013) you could see numerous temporary Bhuitia stalls lined up along both sides of Nehru Road. Other than all kinds of woolens, some of them also sold small souvenir and curio items. They were eventually evicted from Nehru Road because of major encroachments and relocated to a new place which was later named as Mall Market.
Nehru Road in 2011, see the Bhutia stalls on right
Mall Market is also known as Bhutia Market. This market is a row of temporary stalls set up by local Bhutias and located on a narrow lane that leads down from the Mall next to Nathmulls Tea Store and passing by Hotel Sunflower. This is where you will get varieties of woolens like sweaters, gloves, woollen caps, mufflers, etc, jackets, folding umbrellas and even jeans at very reasonable prices.
Mall Market, Darjeeling
New Mahakal Market
While most Bhutias have found their new home at the Mall Market, some had to move to Mall Road (East) as there was no more space left there. Right at the entry of the Mall Road (East) which starts right next to the statue of poet Bhanubhakta at Mall (Chowrasta), there is a huge signage for New Mahakal Market.
Once you enter the Mall Road at this end, initially you can see several Phuchkawalas (vendors selling Phuchkas or Golgappas/ Panipuris) on your left... some of them also sell bhelpuris and chaats. And then there are many stalls lining the left side of the road. The row of shops continues for over 100 meters.
Note that this market is nowhere related to the Mahakal Market which is located on Laden La road. This is basically an extension of the Mall Market (i.e. Bhutia Market) selling similar items as woolens such as shawls, sweaters, caps, gloves, jackets, etc, clothes for men, women and kids, souvenir items, trinkets such as fridge magnets, etc. Prices are quite reasonable.
Note: Most of the stores in Darjeeling (except the stalls at Bhutia Market) accept Master and Visa cards. Some also accept BoB and American Express.
This is a typical multi-storied shopping mall located prominently on Laden La Road at a turning and having many branded stores as well as a large Big Bazaar and Inox cinema. This mall is mostly visited by the local residents for purchasing regular household items including utensils, branded apparels, shoes, accessories, etc.
Rink Mall Darjeeling
You won't find many tourists in Rink Mall because most tourists coming from various cities would be well familiar with even much larger versions of such a mall, and this mall doesn't have anything different or unique to offer, except that it has a Golden Tips tea store where you can buy Darjeeling Tea.
Mahakal Market and Dragon Market
Although these two are two different markets, they are located opposite to each other on Laden La Road. Walk down Laden La road from Gandhi Road, go past State Bank of India and you will see Mahakal Market on the right and Dragon Market on the left. Mahakal Market is located in a large building and stores are spread out in several floors including basement. There are also several stores outside facing the road.
Mahakal Market is a relatively high-end market and you get great woolens here as well as branded foot wears. Woolens include hand-stitched and locally made exquisite sweaters, caps, shawls, etc. So, if you are looking for quality woolens, then Mahakal Market is the place to go.
The Dragon Market on the other hand has shops full of items that are brought in from Bangkok and other countries such as fashion and other accessories, gift & souvenir items, trinkets, sculptures, beadwork items, batik printed items, etc. You will also get fashion foot wears, T-shirts, etc here.
Another popular area with the locals is the Chowk Bazaar
or the lower bazaar... a hyper busy market located at the lower town (at a walking distance from Chowrasta Mall) and selling all kinds of household items, food, grocery items etc. This is where locals come for their regular marketing. This is also the hub for wholesale market of dress materials, woolens, spices etc. Prices are relatively cheaper than in the upper town where most shops target the tourists.
Other Important Stores & Outlets
Nathmulls Tea Room
This is a heritage tea store in Darjeeling and the original one out of the several outlets they have. It has been operating since 1931 and run by the Sarda family since generations. One of the current generation owners is Girish Sarda. They collect Darjeeling tea leaves from various tea gardens in Darjeeling as well as from the tea auctions. They also export premium Darjeeling tea. This is one of the best tea stores in Darjeeling to purchase high quality Darjeeling tea. They have black, green, white and Oolong tea among others.
You can choose the type of tea or simply ask Girish the kind of tea you want and the budget you have, he is the best person to advise you about the best you can get in that budget. They sell loose teas and will pack it for you and seal the packets... you can ask them to pack the tea in packs of 250gms.
This Nathmulls store is located on Laden La Road (which branches off from Gandhi Road) and opposite to State Bank of India. It's a prominent landmark and has a large yellow board on top displaying Nathmulls Tea Room. They also have an outlet at Mall (Chowrasta) next to Tibet Art which is run by Shailesh Sarda.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
This is a fairly large complex created by the Tibetans who once fled Tibet and settled in Darjeeling following China's invasion. While they have their housing within the complex itself, they have also created a self sustainable livelihood by making hand crafted products which are exported as well as locally sold. You can get nice quality handicraft items, scarves, clothes, jackets, hats, shawls, thangkas (scroll paintings) and other accessories. You can even see the artisans creating the products.
The Yellow Box
From Nehru Road, take a short walk along Gandhi Road, and you will see the souvenir shop The Yellow Box on your left. This has been a homegrown store which is run by two local friends. It is a design led brand which designs, creates and sells products that are of Darjeeling origin. They also collaborate with local artists and artisans of Darjeeling and showcase their artwork and crafts.
The Yellow Box offers products such as tote bags, stationery items, apparels including T-shirts, ceramic mugs and pots, fridge magnets, notebooks, gift hampers, candles, etc.
Phone: +91 89181 49456
Store Hours in Darjeeling
Typically the stores in Darjeeling would start opening around 10am and stay open until 7:30pm and virtually all stores will close by 8pm when the Clock Tower bell dings for 8 times. However in high season, some stores stay open until about 9pm.
Aniruddha S Gandhi (November 2021)
I have travelled from Pune to Darjeeling. I was shopping in the market on Rink Mall road. The shop owner of Kala Mandir shop opposite HDFC Darjeeling branch was very rude to me and my friends. He just cannot behave with his customers and particularly tourists who have come from far. My friends have also complained about arrogance of the owner of this particular shop
Gita Mani (August 2018)
Thanks for your extensive write up on Darjeeling and it's surroundings. I am quite looking forward to my trip there, and more so, since I came upon your web-site. Could you tell me where the artists who paint these pictures live? Are they from Darjeeling, Sikkim or Assam side? Do they come to the market place? PS: I really appreciate your little updates. Are the markets also open through the week? We are arriving Sunday afternoon and will be there for 3 days. Thank much for your write-up.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 2018
Hello, 'Thangka' or scroll paintings are traditional Tibetan art and mostly center around Buddhist gods & goddesses, each depicting a historical or religious story. They are done on a piece of cloth and using vegetable oils & colors. The faces that you see are a variation, and what you get in the market may not be original paintings... rather printed versions. You won't usually get the artists at the market place.
Namgayal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok (Sikkim) is one place where students are trained on Thangka paintings by monks from Sikkim, Darjeeling and even Bhutan. However tourists may not get entry to the students' wing. A good place to see trainees working on Thangka paintings is Directorate of Handicdraft & Handloom (DHH) located in Gangtok. They have a large sales outlet in the same premises where you can even purchase such authentic paintings. Go through Handcrafted items in Gangtok
where I have described DHH and making of Thangka.
Sourav Kundu (May 2018)
Hi--Are the shps/restaurants in Darjeeling accept credit/debit card for payment? Want to check that do we need to carry lot of cash here. Thanks in advance.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2018
Many stores in Darjeeling accept credit/debit cards but not all ... particularly the small stores and roadside stalls mostly take cash.
Sanjeev Mohan (February 2016)
Planning to visit Darjeeling and want know the alcohol policy, is it a dry place ?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2016
Alcohol is freely available... there is a store at Chowrasta (Mall). There is another one accessible from Gandhi road through a narrow steep stairway and located in a building full of shops. A third store is located at the bottom of Laden La road. Some stores remain closed on certain days of the week, but not all of them.
Abir Dey (December 2014)
I will be visiting Darjeeling on this 24th. I would like to know where can I click photos of my daughter wearing the traditional dress. From where can we buy one such.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2014
A popular place for taking pictures wearing traditional Nepali dress is at Batasia loop. There are stalls outside selling clothes and dress materials. If you want to buy the traditional dresses, check with them. You can otherwise get them at Chowk Bazaar market.
Prasenjit Mondal (September 2014)
Hi, I want to know the approximate price of winter wears at Darjeeling local markets, specially gloves, caps and jackets . actually I will buy this things for my trek to Sandakphu in early December. If you recommend me some clothes with there approximate price from Darjeeling local market then it will a great help.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, September 2013)
The price can vary widely depending on what you buy. For the cheapest woolens, go to the Bhutia Market located on the narrow road which originates from the Mall and meets Robertson Road.
Karthi (February 2014)
Hi Raj, I have planned to visit Gangtok, Kalimpong, Darjeeling for 5 days on 15th March 2014 with my wife and 1 year old son. I am unable to get proper clothing in my place, I would like to know that will I be able to find shops near Bagdogra airport to buy winter clothes for my 1 year old son? Suggest me the best place to buy.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, February 2013)
Hi, Bagdogra market is a at a short distance from the airport and is on your way. You will get a few shops there and also further down at Matigara (this is where you will leave the highway and take a left turn if you are heading for Darjeeling). But both Bagdogra and Matigara are local bazaar areas and you will only get some local low scale clothing shops there. If you want proper clothing stores, ask the driver to go further down on the highway and there is a huge City Centre shopping mall on the left. You will get all kinds of stores there including Shopper Stop etc. If you are heading for Gangtok or Kalimpong first, then City Centre will anyway come on the way. Otherwise you will need to pay a bit extra to the driver for this (may be around Rs. 50-75).
Santosh Kumar (Feb 2013)
Actually I am staying in Chennai. Here its always hot and we never require warm clothes. But to visit Darjeeling we ought to wear warm clothes to avoid cold. so I wanted to know whether there are any shops which rents warm clothes for few days. I know it sounds cheapish but can't help asking this query.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, Feb 2013)
Hi, No, I don't think there is one. But there will be lots of small temporary Bhutia stalls along Nehru Road that leads to the Mall selling warm clothes at cheap prices. You can ask them if they would offer clothes on rent which I doubt. You can also check if they would buy them back on your return (which they might if they see good profits). At least you will not have to carry them back home.