Udaipur has a number of attractive handicrafts. You're probably best off purchasing them directly from small factories whose touts will beg you to visit, but beware that the commission system can add significantly to the price, so don't buy the first beautiful thing you see. The main shopping streets run from the City Palace along Jagdish Temple Street to the clock tower and beyond to Hathi Pol. Good areas are Suraj Pol, Bapu Bazaar, Chetak, and Ashwini markets. Rajasthali (Chetak Circle; beware similarly named stores elsewhere), the government-run handicraft shop, is a good place to both pick up basic handicrafts and gauge fair prices. Mangalam (Sukhadia Circle; tel. 0294/256-0259) is best for textiles, handicrafts, dhurries, and a variety of products.
If you'd like to contribute to local communities, visit the city showroom of Sadhna (Jagdish Temple Rd.; tel. 0294/241-7454; www.sadhna.org) where you can browse hand-stitched garments, homewares, and linens. A purchase here means contributing to the income of 500 rural and tribal women who are involved in this enterprise. If you're looking for silver, a great place to start is Boutique Jagat Nikhar at the Jagat Niwas hotel; here, Mr. Harish Arora offers advice on silver items, and his excellent collection comes with fixed prices. Udaipur is considered a good place to purchase miniature paintings (it has its unique style, but if you're looking for a bargain, you're better off purchasing in off-the-beaten-track towns, like Bundi) and pichhwai paintings -- wall hangings painted on cloth or silk, often featuring scenes from Krishna's life, that originated in Nathdwara. Alternatively, you could pick up some of these at the City Palace Museum shop; the prices are higher but well worth the quality.
Further along the City Palace Road and on the same street as Jagdish Temple, is Ganesh Handicraft Emporium (tel. 294/252-3647), which occupies one of Udaipur's oldest, most beautifully renovated havelis. With its cool marble floors, courtyards and ancient carved wooden guajarati doorframes it works perfectly as a store to browse through its uncongested and spacious rooms. The experienced and hassle-free owner brothers will offer you chai or cold water and will leave you to your own devices to wander around their 350-year-old living museum. They specialize in Rajasthani, Guajarati, Central and South Indian and Kutchi textiles.
Other goods worth keeping an eye out for are puppets and wooden folk toys, enamel or Meenakari work, dhurries (rugs), tie-dye and block-printed fabrics, embroidered bags and clothing, and silver jewelry. As is always the case, consider carefully before you buy (cheaper is not always better and often means the object is a poor imitation), and try to bargain. Plenty of places will try to sell you paintings, but if you're looking for top quality (or at least want to understand the difference), you'll need to visit the artist Kamal Sharma (15A, New Colony, Kalaji-Goraji; tel. 0294/242-3451 or 98-2904-0851). A four-time national award winner, Sharma works on paper, marble, and silk. Nearer the City Palace, you can visit Shreenath (City Palace Rd.), where a father-and-son team has been in business for years and conducts considerable export trade; ask to view the more elaborate (and expensive) paintings in the back room, bearing in mind that quality is determined by the intricacy of the brush strokes, which (at first) really need to be viewed under a magnifying glass. You'll soon develop a knack for spotting finer paintings at a glance. For a really kitschy souvenir, you can even commission a traditional miniature with your own face in the scene; just bring a photograph!
To view traditional Udaipur (and Gujarati) embroidery, visit Jagdish Emporium on City Palace Road; but note that a far superior and more affordable outlet, Rama Art Gallery (Haridas ji ki Magri; tel. 0294/512-0771), is located near Udaivil?s and the Trident. For beautiful beaded bags, head for Chandpole Road, where you will also find a number of jewelry stores.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.