Tulshibaug: Pune’s Best Kept Secret for Street Shopping
A visit to Tulshibaug, popularly known as the Ladies’ Market, turned out to be one of the most tiring and rewarding street shopping experiences. Tulshibaug is a paradise for those seeking cheap bargains or even a good window shopping experience for traditional Maharashtrian ware. Be it the nine yard Maharashtrian saree, fashion jewelry, amazingly innovative household items, clothes, shoes, purses, baby stuff or toys, head out to the famed “Tulshi Market” in Tulshibaug. If you find an empty parking spot, don’t be surprised if you feel yourself crying tears of joy. We sensibly took an auto.
Now onto the cheap bargains! We tried to cover as much as we could in a day to bring you the best bargains in shoes, clothes, accessories and household items!
A word on bargaining in Tulshibaug. Most of the stalls will bargain up to 40% on the quoted price. But bigger shops will try and turn up their noses at customers who bargain. But we persisted, threatened to walk out, tried all tricks in the trade and won in the end by getting a 20% discount on the already discounted prices.
Bargains under INR 50! (After bargaining)
- Cute everyday earrings in snazzy neons start as low as 10 bucks a pair. Work your way up to 50 bucks for more elaborate designs.
- Gold colour plated bangles are a rage at just 50. An army of girls and women, all talking at once to the harried shopkeeper, kept elbowing me out.
- Handy and smart water bottle holders made from jute were available right outside the market starting at 45.
- Useful kitchen items like the extra sink drain, metal dustpan, plastic hangers, metal strainers, ‘haldi kunku’ holder, etc are at jaw dropping prices of just 50. We recommend the Tulsi store for best quality.
- Colorful hair clips and bands for kids start at just 5 bucks a pair!
Bargains under INR 150! (After bargaining)
- Shiny wallets embossed with Chanel and YSL logo started at 100 bucks. Plainer ones could be had for 80 bucks depending upon the fabric and design.
- Bigger jute bags with Warli print and Bagh print were all selling under 150!
- Sets of imitation jewelry too were a hot selling item. From kundan to meenakari to pearls, everything was up for grabs at just 150 bucks.
- There was a cart full of toys for children, and most of the items were priced under 150. There were fake Barbie doll houses, Talking Toms, Doreamons and what nots.
- Fake buns anyone? A whole shop dedicated to fake hair buns and braids starting at 80 bucks.
- Cartoon characters and super hero inspired shoes for kids were selling in the range of 100 to 150.
- From the traditional Maharashtrian green bangles to colorful lac and glass bangles, you are sure to find the perfect set matching your outfit at the Bangle Lane.
Bargains under INR 250!
- Bags, bags and more bags! Stalls and shops dedicated to just bags were a sight for my sore eyes. Right from trendy bags, office bags, party bags and sling bags, you can choose as many as you want starting at just 150 bucks.
- Semi stitched salwar suits in a basement shop were decent and you could even find Pakistani lawn suits at 250. All machine made of course, but it’s a steal at 250, if you are into Indian wear.
- Children’s traditional clothes like Pune’s famous Kalpana saree and dhoti kurta sets are available at a store called Gajanan Hosiery.
- Buy bed sheets, bed covers, sofa covers and table covers in a wide variety of fabrics right outside the main market, all at 250 bucks.
Copper and Brass Idols of Tulshibaug
One of the oldest buildings inside Tulshibaug is dedicated to brass, copper and alloy idols. This section is dedicated to the art of making ornate diyas, antique cooking vessels, bells, idols of Lord Ganesha, Shiva, Laxmi, etc. All these are made from brass and copper or an alloy that mixes the two together. Prices for small items start at INR 150 and can go up to INR 5000 depending upon the size of the piece you choose. We were simply mesmerized by the variety of standing diyas.
As we exited the market after almost 4 hours of non-stop walking, a friend suggested ‘gulkand’ ice cream at Kavre Ice cream Shop, one of the oldest ice-cream chains in Pune. Needless to say, after a healthy dose of all things Maharashtrian, I loved this new take on making ‘gulkand’ flavored ice cream. I remember passing another street lined with fruits, vegetables and lots of ‘Puja samagri’, but let’s save that for another day, shall we?