Cutting Open the City’s Silk Cocoons!
With the 10 lakh plus Bengali population in Bangalore – the city has aptly been christened BENGAL-OORU (the local Kannada term meaning place of origin)! I was looking for some exquisite junk jewelry in Commercial Street the other day when I could hear “Ei, kota sari kinli” (how many saris have you purchased) and “Ebare Bangalore theke Ma ke silk e kine debo” (this year I will purchase Mom a silk saree from Bengaluru). However, most of my bandhobis (women friends) were scanning the saree shops with a not so satisfied expression on their face – and hence the article on the blog!
‘A sari makes a woman look sexy yet graceful at the same time – Gauri Khan’
An elegant silk sari is a must have for every woman in her wardrobe! Especially for those living in the city! Be it wedding attire or a classy evening wear, this fabric makes every woman look drop dead gorgeous! And yes, while you can choose between a Mysore Silk, Bangalore Silk or a Kanjeevaram – remember to look for the silk hallmark with the butterfly logo (for the young buyers). This six yard fabric on which you are investing can be passed on as family heirloom if well maintained!
Being a probashi Bangali (Bengali brought up away from the hometown) I have paraded the streets of this city at this time of the year for the last 25 years – with different demands each time! Mashimoni (Mom’s sister) wants an elephant border maroon silk signifying prosperity while Thamma (Paternal grandmother) always wanted the elegant white and gold. Pistuto Didi (paternal cousin sister) wants the latest chic designs and not “Ma der amoler sari” (traditional patterns). The enthusiasts travel all the way to Kancheepuram to buy the traditional Kanjeevaram’s while some look for fresh-out-of-the-handloom pieces at Chickpet for lesser prices! Not many are comfortable to carry out the southern patterns such as bold temple borders and are keen to find the intricate designs.
Sarees are the first to get checked on the shopping-list because you definitely have a lot of accessorizing to do ladies, but it is ideal you pick up the latest designs immediately since the shops are flocked with locals already prepping up for the Gowri Ganesha festival.
I suggest looking up at individual store timings – most of the shops open by 10:00 am and start winding up around 8:00 pm. I am sure the women will take their time to look at the best options, so the men must take their loved ones way ahead of closing time!
You would find a silk sari in any apparel store – like a Soch. However I am jotting down the popular stores exclusively for traditional pure silk and Indian ethnic wear. While most stores would have something which appeals to you, here is a list of top ten places for buying silk in the city. Some of them have several branches – I have listed the more popular/bigger showrooms with the latest collections.
1. Nalli – Magrath Road (Diagonally opposite Garuda Mall)
There are several branches like the one in Jaynagar – however Margrath Road gets the stock first because of the office space they occupy in the same building. While there are several sections – my suggestion would be the Kora Banarasi Silk which comes in rolled up silk thaans. Needless to say, there is a limited hand-woven collection and has a rare chance of being replicated.
Address: Old No:11/A, New No:8, Magrath Road, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025
2. Angadi Silk, Jaynagar
This exclusive store in Jaynagar has a beautiful collection of the best silk in town! The extremely polite and well behaved staff tirelessly drape you and explain the origin and design of each piece of silk they show you. A traditional South Indian shop with beautiful Tanjore paintings adorning the walls, this shop makes you wonder about the richness of South Indian culture and the likes of Rekha who have always worn silk and stunned the audience.
This area also hosts a couple of other famous sari shops and is a window shopper’s paradise.
Address: 514/39, 46th Cross, Near Raghavendra Mutt, 5th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560041
3. Sudarshan Silk, Malleswaram
Sudharshan also has a huge showroom in Chickpete which is worth a visit to get the same deal at an approximately 30% discount. This is the place for saris with classic temple border, deeper shades and traditional designs. The finest of Kanjeevarams and South Indian wedding silk is available here. So if you have a biyebari (wedding) coming up this winter, you could pick something which the guests definitely cannot take their eyes off!
Address: 9, Margosa Road, 8th Cross, Next to PAI International, Malleshwaram West, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560003
4. Prasiddhi Silks, Malleswaram
Like the name suggests, they’re famous! Prassidhi has expanded to several large stores in prime areas of the city – and has a very unique collection. The store at Amarjyothi Layout and Banerghatta Road house apparel worth a pujo bari look and the nemontonno bari look
Address: No 62/1, 17th Cross, Malleswaram West, Bangalore – 560055, 4th Main,Near Himanshu School (Map)
5. Mysore Silk Palace, Commercial Street
An excellent store where you get beautiful saris which strike a chord at once! And at all price ranges. This is one place which is always crowded. The return customers purchase more than the new ones! There is a new collection hitting the stores every 2 weeks and a brilliant store manager & staff who will guide you through the various sections.
USP is the silk brocade material which they have – which can be used for the blouse to give a coy ethnic fusion look to your attire.
If you are crunched for time and can visit only one place – close your eyes and make a bee for it. I had once heard someone mention that her hobby is to frequent Mysore Silk Udyog!
Address: #316, 1st Floor, Mahaveer Mall, K Kamaraj Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560042 Commercial Street
6. Deepam, MG Road
Another classic store – the MG Road branch has a collection to kill for! Deepam is known for its beautiful color combinations and has various sections for Garad and other silk as well. A sincere suggestion would be to go at the non peak hours because the staff tend to gauge your budget based on the initial choice and are hesitant to show different saris of various ranges when the store is crowded (which is most of the time). I suggest you have a bargaining power by saying you will buy quite a few saris – otherwise the staff would catch the eye of a more probable customer. All said and done – they can show you varieties from which your heart would definitely swoon over a few saris and it would be a tough choice to make
Address: Shop No. 67, Blue Moon Complex, Opp. to Metro, MG Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
7. Aanchal, Commercial Street
The choice and collection at Aanchal never ever fails to mesmerize me. With the new segregation of stores at Commercial street for Indian wear and Sari, the management seems to have done a perfect assessment of the target audience. It is an ideal place for Indian and Ethnic Wear – even if your looking at something trendy and more easy to drape – this would be the best bet for you.
Address: No 149, Commercial Street, Shivaji Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
8. Vijayalakshmi Silk, MG Road
The favourite store of most of my Tamilian friends! Vijayalakshmi Silk boasts of a beautiful collection. I would suggest this store only to an expert who is aware of the price range – since some saris have pretty steep price tags.
Address: No. 20J/61, Blumoon Complex, MG Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
9. Samayakk, Richmond Road
The only reason why I have kept this store at the lower half of the list is because of the price range. The focus is slightly more on the high end collection – but if you are buying that one sari for that very special occasion, you deserve every bit of this indulgence my lovely lady, because you are the woman who has made those unseen and unheard of sacrifices for the family.
Address: No.24,D Souza Circle,, Richmond Road, Landmark – Opp Life Style, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560047
10. Kalamandir, Marathahalli
In the heart of Marathalli, most advantageous to this store is the location. The store ranges a variety of saris under one roof and is a one stop destination for the buyer who does now want to be travel too far from the IT hub of the capital.
Address: 1/24, K. R. Puram Hobli, Ward No. 85, Near Marathahali Bridge, East Taluk, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560037
PS: These are purely my observations over the years! Constructive criticism would be appreciated. This article is just a rough guide to my fellow shopaholics and is not an advertisement for any store