What you see – A small cottage in Banjara Hills + lots of unique Indian handicraft items + delivery service even to foreign locations = 99.9 per cent foreign clientele. This may not be Math but it sure makes economic sense. Manglam, a handicraft boutique in the city does know the pulse of the expat and the NRI community. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise when Sunil Gupta, the owner of Manglam tells us that for him it is foreign clients all the way.
What you get – Now this shop is stuffed with show pieces everywhere. Enter the shop and on the right-hand side is a small room with lots and lots of show pieces. Most of these are Ganesha and Buddha figurines in various sizes. These are available in white metal, brass and even wood, a large number of which have been sourced from Jaipur and Jodhpur. Our pick from this section – The tiny Ganesha (in a relaxed posture) in white metal, available for Rs. 150 and the gramophone that costs Rs. 12,000
Move a little beyond this section and you will have more show pieces to choose from China’s silk road economic belt. Ignore those (except for the carved marble elephants) and go for the painted Easter egg made of papier-mâché (Rs. 30-100) and the small book-cum-keychain made of hand-made paper (Rs. 100).
Walk up the stairs and you will come across more show pieces lined up on the steps. But what you should look for on the floors above, are the nice antique-looking furniture made of silver and white metal. These cost over a lakh of rupees. So if you have the money and the taste for things unique, this kind of furniture (especially the swing) is worth buying.
Now a large number of products here are from Kashmir, though there are several others from Jaipur, Banaras and other hinterlands as well. Check out the silk and woolen hand-woven carpets here. Apart from that do take a look at the Pashmina shawls, sarees, the huge Ravi Varma painting (imitation) and the wooden Jharokhas.
That’s about the products. As far as the service is concerned, the staff is friendly. Now the sales executives may not look like they are the English-speaking kinds. But they sure are the smiling-kinds. And if you think that this may not work with foreigners, their Kashmiri manager, Pervez fills the gap. He can converse in English, has sufficiently good product knowledge and does bring a smile to your face.