When it comes to sari shopping in Kolkata, you are spoilt for choices. While there are quite a few popular names in the city, like Adi Dhakeshwari Bastralaya, Sari Kutir, the other authentic brands are Tant Ghar and Manjusha.
One of my favourite places to shop in Kolkata is at the Dakshinapan Shopping Complex, which has a state emporium from every state in India. So, if you are hard pressed for time and shuttling between cities, Dakshinapan is an ideal place to hop by and pick up saris, kurtas and curios.
Bengal cotton saris, tant, tangail, kantha, silk and dhakai saris are available in all price range and vibrant colours.
I was on a short trip to Kolkata and had to shop for some cotton saris for people back in Kerala; they love Calcutta cotton saris owing to the climate there. One thing I have noticed that in Kerala, they wear their saris absolutely perfect, with every pleat of the sari turned out perfect. So these Bengali cotton saris look perfect on their skin tones and especially the way they drape it.
Luckily for me, both Tant Ghar and Manjusha are available in Dakshinapan (both the shops are located side by side) and both had a sale during the festive season. I picked up beautiful tant cotton saris of ocher, blue, purple and magenta with lovely replica of brocade designs on the pallu and the border that added a tinge of glamour and the richness to the cotton sari. The price range is quit affordable between Rs. 999/- to Rs. 1,050/-.
Manjusha on the other hand had more humble and subtle designs on pink, mustard and bottle green, perfect for a day wear, nothing too loud. The price range for these saris was between Rs. 595 – Rs. 672/- perfect budget to take back plenty of stock to gift people.
Manjusha however, did not seem to have much stock as much Tant Ghar had, but I did notice that the other outlet of Manjusha in New Market had wonderful designs, though not a single shopper inside.
Of course, with globalization of fashion, even people in Bengal are now more open to new designs and fabrics than the regular Bengal cotton saris as they require some amount of maintainance like starching them and ironing them before wearing, else they lose their sheen and charm.
If you’re visiting Kolkata for the first time and not too sure where to buy original Bengal cotton saris, then Tant Ghar and Manjusha are safe bets. Manjusha is a Bengal Emporium, a Government of Bengal undertaking and so you’re assured of the quality and the value for money of your purchases.
I don’t doubt and deny that there are more and maybe better places to shop for saris in Kolkata, but somehow I have a certain faith in the Government or State run emporiums as I feel that I am in some way contributing and supporting the artisans of the country.
Buying from designer outlets is fine, but at times I cannot fathom the price for a sari if it is way beyond one’s means, only because it is from a certain designer. So the next time you plan on buying a sari, you know at least two places where to go in Kolkata.
Manjusha (Bengal Emporium)
West Bengal Handicrafts Development Corp. Ltd
(A Govnt. of West Bengal undertaking)
Karuangan, Sector III, Block – 1B – 181, Bidhan Nagar,
Calcutta – 106
Manjusha has a branch in Dakshinapan and New Market.
Shop No. g-1,
Dakshinapan KIT Complex
Dhakuria, Calcutta – 700 068
Phone – 033-2423-7617