Antique aficionados are spoilt for choice in India. Furniture, decorative items, jewelry, carpets and various other antique bric-a-brac require a keen, practiced eye to hunt down, but once you know where to look, there’s no stopping you. Several antique shops sell the reproduction of various antiques, and also custom makes recreations of the ones you like. Here are some antique markets that you must visit if your heart lies in finding these old treasures and recreating some of that vintage magic.
Chor Bazaar, Mumbai
One of South Mumbai’s bustling markets, Chor Bazaar has something for everyone. An ardent collector of antiques can find a jewel amidst other things here, and haggling is a part of the game. There are plenty of decent reproductions available, and if you’re lucky you may catch the odd original. You may come across an absolutely classy grandfather clock that you won’t want to leave behind. Bronze statues, bells, even vintage bird cages – you name it, and it is quite likely that you will find it in Chor Bazaar.
Phillips Antiques, Mumbai
Mumbai’s oldest antique store, Phillips has a wide range of charming antiques including intricately done Tanjore paintings. The 500-sq. ft. warehouse houses an incredible range of Anglo-Indian and Indo-Portuguese furniture, and you will need to make an appointment at the main showroom opposite Regal Cinema, to visit. The city itself is easy to get to, thanks to lots of cheap low-cost flights to Mumbai.
Antique shops in Jodhpur
Jodhpur is an antique treasure seeker’s fantasyland. The eye-watering ornate antiques available here are quite unparalleled, especially those made of silver. Rajasthan Arts and Crafts House, Rajasthan Art Emporium, and several other antique shops located in the city have first-class wall hangings, puppets, silver jewelry, vintage furniture, marble figures, and even rare first edition books.
Antique shops on Rue Romain Rolland, Pondicherry
A shopper’s paradise, tiny antique shops on Rue Romain Rolland have a host of goodies from Burmese lacquer boxes to restored relics from palaces in Southern India. Do visit Curio Centre, which is run by Rajiv Asokan. This jewel of a shop has hand-carved doors, chests, and beds. If you’re game, you can request Mr. Asokan for a visit to his warehouse that is around 150 miles away.
Jew Town, Cochin
As you wander around the maze of Portuguese-style houses in Cochin’s Jew Town, you will find a number of shops that sell a variety of antiques. Bronze vessels, hand-carved wooden coffee tables, wooden boxes from China, glass paintings and a host of other trinkets are available in this erstwhile spice market. Indian Arts and Curios, Cinnamon and Madonna’s Exports are some of the stores that you can visit to get a true taste of Jew Town’s antiques.