Goa – Paradise on Earth
Goa offers visitors a myriad of opportunities to shop, ranging from top end boutiques that offer exclusive knick-knacks, exotic silks, embroidered products, handicrafts and antiques to the popular weekly flea markets on various beaches, with pleasant and affordable shopping experience.
In between these are delightful little shops, some that are no more than a hole in the wall, but stock up some unique stuff.
Of course, the most popular ones are the flea markets of Goa which were basically introduced by the foreigners in the early ’80s, when they used to assemble at one place to sell their electronics or barter other things with the native residents.
These beach bazaars are an entertaining and colourful world of crowds, chaotic sounds and an elaborate variety of products ranging from clothes, junk jewellery, spices, fabrics and handmade crafts at reasonable prices.
Most of these products are also available at various Government Emporiums located across the state if one wants to buy authentic stuff at fixed prices. However, other shopping haunts are definitely much more fun and worth exploring for the variety as well as for the sheer experience.
The state capital, Panjim is the most popular shopping destination in the state for its showrooms and shopping malls. Some renowned designers (think Wendell Rodricks) have also set their shops in the city. 18th June Road and the Craft Complex in Panjim are some of the main shopping districts in the city.
Old Goa is where you will find exclusive, traditional antique and handicraft items. The Old Portuguese houses of Goa, which are renowned for their home decor and styling articles as well as designer fabrics, have become the fashion destination for most tourists.
Anjuna Market is the most popular flea markets in Goa. It is organised every Wednesday, amidst coconut trees near the rock-strewn Anjuna beach. While almost everything under the sun ranging from home-decoration items to spices, fabrics and junk jewellery is on the offer, even handicrafts from Goa, Kashmir and Tibet are available at bargain prices. The foot-tapping Goan music in the background adds to the exuberance of the entire experience.
The Friday market at Mapusa, a small town 13 km away from Panaji, has been the shopping hub of North Goa since ancient times. This market has a vast collection of fascinating items like old coins, handicrafts, antique pieces, fish (dried and fresh), pickles, preserves, exotic fruits, the famous Goan ‘chouricos’ (spicy Goan sausages), spices, beach wear, sarongs, trinkets, fresh food items and even the country liquor at extremely affordable prices.
Calangute Beach – located 14 km north from Panaji – is crowded with shops selling a wide variety of souvenirs, metal items, leather crafts, clothes and jewellery from all over the country. The expansive beach stretch, which is lined with coconut palms, is full of sheds with vendors selling sarongs and beachwear and enthusiastic astrologers wanting to read your fortune. Calangute also houses a Tibetan market and many Kashmiri retailers too throng the place to sell carpets, handicrafts and other embroidered fabrics.
Baga Beach, nine kilometres west of Mapusa, is actually an extension of Calangute Beach with clean white sand but is much better maintained. A beautiful flea market is organised on Saturday here, complete with many lamps under the night sky in addition to the live bands which tends a true Goan carnival-like spirit to the place. It has several shacks and huts which offer delicious mouth-watering Goan delicacies and the infamous Fenny. Apart from the usual collection of shops selling some lovely handicrafts, trinkets, clothes, brassware and wood carving items, the place is thronged by many astrologers, funky haircut and tattoo artists and tarot readers.
Cuncolim in South Goa is famous for its colourful wooden lacquer articles called ‘chitaris’.
Irrespective of the market that you visit, remember that even the most shopaholic customer needs to keep certain things in mind before you venture out for shopping. ‘Haggle, bargain and negotiate hard till you find the right price for something that has caught your attention.’
It is an integral part of the Goan shopping experience and adds to the zing. And last but not the least, do not let anything come in your way of taking a slice of Goan life back with you.