WHY HERE A restored 350-year-old mansion in the centre of India’s most romantic city, housing 16 cavernous galleries crammed with Rajasthani treasures.
NEED TO KNOW The family-owned Ganesh Emporium experience begins with finding the place. You’ll be browsing the small shops lining City Palace Road (Udaipur’s main drag which leads to the magnificent granite and marble City Palace) when you’ll stop at a particularly lovely hole-in-the-wall. You’ll be fingering an embroidered cushion cover when the shopkeeper whispers in your ear, “want to see more?”
You’ll be wary. But you will shush your inner skeptic, just this once, and follow the man down a narrow alleyway. After crossing a courtyard filled with intricately carved Gujurati doors and marble and wooden statues, you’ll enter a four-storey Aladdin’s cave filled with rare, one-of-a-kind pieces sourced from around the globe.
You’ll be offered a cup of sweet chai and you should accept. You’ll be traipsing these cool marble floors for a good few hours.
BEST BUYS Fabulous woven camel dressings detailed with beads, tassels and mirrors which can be used as a wall-hanging back home, for about $100. Chunky silver anklets, dangly earrings and necklaces made from old rupees, priced from $20. Lovely handmade bedspreads and antique rugs from $30 up into the thousands.
SHOPPING STRATEGIES Arrive with a clear idea of what you’re after or risk complete bamboozlement. Prices can be negotiated; the more you buy the bigger the discount you can swing. Open 8am to 8pm.
PIT-STOP Ambrai restaurant, serving a taste of real Rajasthani cuisine, is right on the edge of Lake Pichola with views of the City Palace.
ESSENTIALS Splurge on the Lake Palace, the floating hotel from the James Bond film Octopussy that was once a summer palace for kings. For incredible value for money, try Madri Haveli, a renovated 300-year-old haveli (mansion).
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