Shoes and slipper shopping
Agra is biggest manufacturer of gents and ladies leather shoes, almost 95 % of India’s leather shoe export is manufactured and exported from Agra so if you are on your Agra tour and have a little time then you can end up buying a pair of leather shoe not only at great price but much superior quality as well. Few years back most export houses did not entertain the retail customers but now the things have changed and almost all major export houses in Agra have a retail shop at their premises. You can try best quality shoes from Tej shoe factory, Hitz exports, Virola exports, Valentino.
The valentino shoe factory and retail shop is located at proximity to the Taj Mahal and hotel area making it easier for you. Even if you choose to buy the shoes from retail shops like Dawar shoes, Berry shoes at Sadar Bazaar you still will save a lot in comparison with the prevailing prices in other big cities of India.
Zardozi (Embroidery Shopping)
One very famous but not very well known art from Agra is that of Zardozi. This intricate embroidery done only by the extremely talented Muslim artisans can be bought on your Agra tour. The best designer houses of India who decorate their ethnic collection with “Dabka” embroidery also get the same done at Agra. While they pay very little to get the job done the finished pieces are sold at exorbitant rates.
There are emporiums which sell the zardozi master pieces, crafted by master craftsman like late Mr. Shamshuddin (Shams)of Agra. Though art has no set retail price but you can certainly negotiate to get the best deal. If you just want to admire and adore the zardozi art form then do visit “Kohinoor” an emporium which displays some exotic master pieces of zardozi art from the master late shams of Agra. These pieces are not for sale but sure you can buy little gift items like purses, jewellery boxes etc decorated with zardozi.
Most Indians love sweets. Today when there is so much concern on purity and every other day questions are raised on purity of milk products, here is an option from Agra the petha sweet which does not uses any milk products so there is no chance of any sort of adulteration. The petha sweet is produce of Agra though now some other cities are also making the sweet none can parallel the taste of Agra, made from bitter gourd using lime and lots of sugar probably the reason for its peculiar taste lies in the water of Agra.
Panchi petha is the most famous brand of petha in Agra , this is where you can buy petha in many flavours. Gopal das Petha wala, Munna petha in old city of Agra are some more renowned petha manufacturers of Agra.
Apart from petha another well known produce of Agra is the “Dal Moth” it’s a favorite snack prepared from fried lentils, gram flour and lots of dry fruit. Do try the Shahi daalmoth of Munna laal pethe waala.
Marble Inlay handicraft
Taj Mahal has made Agra world famous. Agra and its monuments are most sought after tourist destination in India. Millions of tourists both Indian and foreigner come to Agra annually to admire the Taj Mahal. The workers who had sculpted the Taj Mahal lived in Agra, their descendants know how to do the job they often were called to different parts of India to make other amazing edifice. Sri Darbar sahib popularly known as Golden Temple was constructed by Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he called upon the marble inlay workers from Agra to work on his dream project. Golden temple has amazing work of marble inlay which sure was done by the artisans from Agra. Sachkhand Shri Huzoor sahib at Nanded is another Sikh temple constructed by maharaja Ranjit Singh here too the work of inlay is exhibited in similar brilliance as has been done at the Taj Mahal. As the tourism started some decades back the tourists became ready buyers for the marble art work. The tourists used to see and admire how with simple tools the artisans made pietra dura. Today thousand of marble craftsman and artisans in Agra derive their livelihood from making marble handicrafts and inlay stuff. India gets precious foreign exchange by exporting these marble items.
On your Agra tour you can buy the marble handicraft and beautiful coasters, jewellery boxes, table tops embellished with the art of pietra dura . In local language it is called “Pacchi Kari” This art is practiced today only in Agra, here too the new generation of these artisans is not ready to take up this family vocation further as other jobs are in comparison better paying so in a way the tourists are contributing in preserving this age old art.