Most handicrafts stores are strictly for gullible tourists. They're packed with overpriced curios and 'indigenous' craft of doubtful origin. Any practicing city-dweller would fulfill his handicraft needs at only either Shilparamam
or one of those All-India Expos at Nizam's College Grounds
. At a place where he can either haggle, or has no need to. Let the suckers have their air-conditioned emporiums.
Well, the Central Cottage Industries Emporium at S D Road makes a welcome exception. Neither snooty nor overpriced, the store is comfortably designed, so you can take your time browsing. You'll find arts and crafts of every type here, from the utilitarian to the purely aesthetic. Wood, ceramic, silk, clay and metal conspire to create the most pleasing forms, in clothing, furniture, crockery and linen.
Of the many, many things you'll find at the CCIE, some of which are quite common, you must look out for the unusual good deals: the glazed clay pots and vases, the kalamkari
range of linen, the silk scarves (heart-breakingly expensive), and the pashmina
shawls (sigh). This last item is not always available, so do call before you drop in. Apart from all of that there's the usual Andhra specialty crafts like bidri
ware, Warangal toys, leather puppets and the like.
The prices are reasonable, but by no means rock-bottom. Expect uniqueness for your money, not a bargain. The buyers here have really good taste, so if you're looking for a gift, you'll be quite charmed.Insider tip
: The store occasionally has some rather quiet sales and special exhibitions. Get on their mailing list, to make the best of the season.