Best Places to SHOP in LUCKNOW

  • Best places to shop for Lakhnavi things by a person born and brought up in Lucknow.

Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and in this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman. - John Berger


The most loved cities of the world have an identity. A character that is defined not just by their geography, culture and language but also by their eateries, streets, markets and unique articles sold in them.


Arguably, Indian cities are losing their unique charm each day owing to the wave of brazen commercialization. Every city has similar looking malls and each mall has retail outlets of the same brands. Today, one can shop from the same brand in Bangalore, Indore and Pune. While this uniformity has its advantages it, undeniably, dilutes the character of a city.


It is the hyperlocal shops run by small businesspeople in old markets and by lanes, that are helping preserve some of that distinctive character. The true identity of Lucknow is visible in its old markets, not in the swanky malls.


There are several old markets in Lucknow like Chowk, Alambagh, Nishat Ganj, Kapoorthala, Bhoot Nath etc but the centrally-located Hazratganj (fondly called ‘Ganj’ by the Lakhnavis) is definitely the most quaint high-street market. There are many reputed local ‘brands’ in Ganj that are Lakhnavis favourites. 


But this article is for the Mehmaans or guests of the city, who visit for a short while and want to shop for things that Lucknow is known for.

1. Nazakat Chikan 


Lucknow is synonymous with the exquisite craft of Chikankari. A universal favourite, it is the first thing that most people want to shop from Lucknow. While there are thousands of shops in Lucknow that sell Chikankari, Nazakat’s work is the most unique. They have quality products for every budget and taste. The most delightful thing about them is definitely their service as they attend to all their customers with utmost warmth. 

Address: B-28, Janpath Market, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001. + 91 96489 20909.

2. Sanatkada, the Craft Shop



Sanatkada is a cultural space that not just brings authentic craft products, from all over the country, to Lucknow but also works towards preservation and promotion of the local crafts of the Awadh region. One can find Lucknow-theme souvenirs like mugs, coasters, cushion covers and products made from the textile crafts of the region, in the special space within Sanatkada called ‘Awadh ki Sandooqchi’ (Treasure chest of Awadh). Sanatkada is not located in Ganj but it is very close to it.


Address: Qaiserbagh Officer's Colony, Qaisar Bagh, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001. +91 522 407 7698.


3. Batua

Pearl jewellery. 


Lucknow was once known for its Kundan jewellery and blue-green Meenakari (Enamel) work. The craft is in dire need of revival. Skilled practitioners of the craft are rare to find now.


However, faux Kundan and pearl jewellery making is still thriving in the city. Batua is a place where one can find such Kundan look-alike trinkets. These trinkets are preferred by Kathak dancers of the Lucknow Gharana, as they are incredibly light and easy to carry during dance performances.


Address: 31, Janpath Market, Hazratganj, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001. + 91 522 407 7134.

Chikankari and Lakhnavi Kundan.


4. Sugandhco

Ittar bottles.


Itr/Ittar/Attar or fragrances have been an integral part of Lucknow’s culture since the Nawabi era. Wearing the right perfume, chosen on the basis of the season, time of the day and occasion, is considered just as much of an art as making perfumes is.


Sugandhco is one of the favourite perfumeries of Lakhnavis. They make natural cosmetics, incense sticks, essential oils and home fragrances too. The most endearing thing about Sugandhco’s fragrances are their beautiful names like Nazakat (delicateness), Nafasat (Refinement), Noor (Divine Light), Sahar(Morning) etc that reflect Lucknow’s linguistic richness.


Address: D-4 Janpath Market, Uttar Pradesh 226001. +91 86046 05118.


5. Universal Booksellers

Shop entrance.


Every city has old bookstores that speak a lot about the literary inclinations of its people. These bookshops are also good places to find books written about the history and culture of the city. Universal Booksellers is a place where one can find a huge collection of books about Lucknow and Awadh.


It also has a section on Hindi literature, which has become a rare thing even in the Hindi speaking cities now. 

‘Urdu Shayari Mein Gita’ by Anwar Jalapuri (a translation of Bhagvad Gita in Urdu verse) and ‘Qissa Qissa Lakhnaua’ (Tales of the common folk of Lucknow) by Himanshu Bajpai are gems, for Hindi readers that can be picked from Universal. Both the books are great guides to the syncretic Hindu-Muslim culture or the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb of the Awadh region.


Address: 82, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Block E, Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001. +91 98382 04366.


This list intends to help even those on a ‘flying visit’ to Lucknow, take home some mementos from the city of refinement and exemplary craftsmanship. Exploring these shops might also help one discover the character of the city and wonder how John Berger would have described it.  


As a Lakhnavi, the writer courteously urges the shoppers to carry reusable cloth bags. Most shops do give cloth-paper and not plastic bags now but it is much better to avoid single-use bags of all kinds.


The Lucknow Metro is also operational now and the Mehmaans’ of Lucknow can get on-board from the airport or the railway station and help keep Lucknow traffic and air-pollution free.


Author is from Lucknow. She is a Jewellery Designer, runs and lots more. Note that author has given shop names by way of reference only.


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1. Best things to eat in Lucknow during winter, Daawat-e-Sardi

2. Best places to shop and eat in Jaipur

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