Jalpaiguri district or the Dooars region had been an important economic transit point between the people of the hills and the plains. The Bhutanese had used the Dooars (meaning doors or passages) region to establish trans-Himalayan trading and commercial activities with the Bengal plains.
Traditionally materials like cotton and rice were bought by the Bhutanese or exchanged for woollens and silks of Tibet and China. Bhutan chiefly manufactured dark blankets which it sold in the Jalpaiguri region. In fact, the name Jalpaiguri itself is thought to have originated from the Bhutanese term “je-le-pe-gu-ri” meaning a place for the barter or exchange of woollens or warm clothes.
Handicrafts in Jalpaiguri
After Indian independence, Siliguri which is the twin city of Jalpaiguri has developed as a major shopping and business hub due to its strategic location connecting three international borders of Bangladesh, Nepal and China as well as its connection to Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kalimpong by road and train. Jalpaiguri has also profited by its proximity to this commercial centre of North Bengal. There are a number of traditional shopping markets and shopping malls which perfectly blend the ethnic and modern dimensions of this rapidly growing city.
Shopping Attractions in Jalpaiguri
Cane Crafts in Jalpaiguri
Jalpaiguri streets have been a shopper’s delight with its range of traditional handicraft items, jewellery, dress materials and fabrics, furniture and electronic goods which embellish the city’s major commercial zones. Jalpaiguri is famous for its traditional handicrafts especially cane and bamboo crafts. Other materials which you can carry back as souvenirs and gifts include wall hangings, jute and wooden artworks and other traditionally made jewellery.
Since the Jalpaiguri district is one of the prominent places for tea cultivation, tea produced in Jalpaiguri or nearby Darjeeling is a must carry back option. Some of the noted shopping attractions in Jalpaiguri include wood products, jute products, pottery, leather products, silk and other fibre textiles, plastic products and rubber, bevarages, wool knitted items, electronic goods from the nearby Siliguri Hong Kong market and many others.
Major Shopping Markets in Jalpaiguri
There are some reputed traditional shopping areas in Jalpaiguri. In effect these are the places where the tourist can experience the authentic feel of Jalpaiguri city and its local culture. The most popular shopping zones are also the oldest parts of the town. The Dinbazar main market in Jalpaiguri is at least a century old, as the Jalpaiguri-Baikunthapur zamindars had set it up in the 1890s. The primary business of Jalpaiguri town has been in retail and the main shopping centres are around D.B.C Road, Merchant Road and Temple Street. Some of the other shopping markets in Jalpaiguri are situated in Kadamtala, Raikatpara, Kamarpara, Hospital Road, Club Road, Hakimpara, Race Course, Shanti Para, Ashram Para, Shilpasamiti Para, Beguntary and the Deshbandhu Circle.
Shopping Malls in Jalpaiguri
Shopping Mall in Jalpaiguri
The shopping mall culture has developed in a big way all over the world and Jalpaiguri is no exception. With the availability of parking lots, food courts and entertainment options like cinema clubbed with retail shops, people have increasingly become reliant on shopping malls to meet their diverse needs. As places where entire families can hang out with kids, they are ideal options for both shopping and amusement in Jalpaiguri. Some of the shopping malls in Jalpaiguri include Cosmos Mall in D.B.C Road, Big Bazaar and Unique Collection near Din Bazar in Jalpaiguri.
Proximity to Siliguri as a Shopping Destination
Hong Kong Ladies Market in Siliguri
In addition to the shopping centers, arcades and shopping malls in Jalpaiguri, tourists and the local population of Jalpaiguri can always go the adjacent city Siliguri, the shopping destination of North Bengal. Siliguri houses large stocks of foreign merchandise at cheap rates. The traditional stores are situated in SIliguri’s Hill Cart Road while the Sevoke Road is the destination for upscale shopping with a number of shopping malls like Cosmos, City Mall and Orbit Mall. Siliguri’s Hong Kong Market is a shopper’s paradise with multiple varieties of affordable imported goods and unique Tibetan handicrafts.
So enjoy the unique blend of traditional and modern styles in the range of commodities and shopping areas which Jalpaiguri offers to its local population and tourists. With numerous shopping attractions in the region, it becomes one of the most important leisure activities after sightseeing for all tourists visiting the Dooars. With a variety of traditional handicrafts on sale, Jalpaiguri-Siliguri becomes the major stop for buying souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends back home.