The following articles may be imported into India duty-free (people aged 17 and over) if they do not enter via Nepal:
100 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 125 grams of tobacco;
2 l spirits;
Personal use items and gifts up to a value of Rs 8,000; other amounts for citizens of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan depending on the country and length of stay.
High-quality items such as video cameras must be declared upon entry. Offenses against the Narcotics Act are punished with draconian imprisonment even if small amounts (including hashish) are owned. Violation of customs regulations threatens arrest on departure.
Poultry, poultry products (including eggs, feathers and meat), pigs, pork products and unauthorized weapons, pornographic products, gold coins and bars.
According to computergees, the traditions and methods of Indian handicrafts have been passed on from generation to generation for centuries and have thus been perfected. Each region has its own specialty and each city has its own artisans with special manual skills. Silks, spices, jewelry and many other typical Indian goods are world famous. Bargaining is common except at State Emporiums and a few other fixed-price stores. State Emporiums are the state craft stores whose set prices are designed to aid artisans.
Textiles:Fabric manufacturing is one of the most important industries; Indian silks, cotton fabrics and wool fibers are among the best in the world. Among the silk fabrics, brocade from Varanasi is the best known, other variations come from Patna, Murshidabad, Kanchipuram and Surat. Colorful batik cotton fabrics are made in Rajasthan, while Chennai is known for a fabric in which the colors mix after a few washes, which is valued as a special effect. The Himroo cloth, a mixture of silk and cotton, is made nationwide. Cashmere wool is probably India’s best-known export good.
Carpets:India’s carpet industry is also one of the largest in the world, and many examples of this ancient and beautiful craft are on display in museums. Cashmere carpets show patterns of Persian origin, are made of pure wool, cotton thread or silk, are extremely exquisite and very expensive. In Darjeeling you can find the unmistakable colorful Tibetan runners.
Clothing is very inexpensive and is made to measure or changed in many shops on request within a short time. There are dresses made of silk, himroo, cotton, brocade, chiffon and chinons. Clothing from Rajasthan is brightly colored and covered with countless small mirrors; Bags, hats and money belts in this style can also be found.
Jewelleryis steeped in tradition, difficult (especially from Rajasthan) and extremely diverse. Indian silverware is world famous. You can have gemstones processed directly at the place of purchase. In addition to diamonds, there are lapis lazuli, rubies, sapphires, moonstones and aquamarines. Hyderabad is one of the world centers for pearls. Indian women and girls often wear a large number of bracelets made of silver, colored glass or plastic, which can be bought in every market in an amazing variety of colors and sizes.
Applied arts and leather goods:Here, too, each region has its own specialty. Works made of bronze, brass (often inlaid with silver), wickerwork and ceramics are available. Cashmere is known for the artful processing of paper mache; the finished products are often decorated with gold leaf. Agra’s specialties are marble and alabaster inlays in chess games and jewelry plates. Indian leather goods such as sandals and slippers are of excellent quality.
Wooden items: statues, boxes, bowls and other objects made of sandalwood are made in Karnataka, rosewood in Kerala and Chennai, and Indian walnut in Kashmir.
Other specialties: chutneys, spices and teas; Perfume, soaps, handmade paper, Odisha playing cards and musical instruments.
Shop opening times: Mon-Sat 9.30am-6pm in the big shops.
Nightlife in the western sense is difficult to find in India, with only a few large cities having nightclubs and discos. Cultural events with performances of Indian dance and music are the usual highlights. Mumbai and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) are the metropolises of the Indian film industry (also called Bollywood. The name comes from the abbreviation Bombay Hollywood), the number of feature films produced is three times as high as in the USA. Almost every city has at least one cinema, some sometimes showing films in English. Music and dance, love dramas and politics, along with other influences, play a major role in Indian cinematic art. In large cities, theaters often perform plays in English.