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Bazaar, Shopping, Grocery and Indian business in North America

GaramChai.com >> Main Bazaars

There are Indian grocery shops almost all the major towns and cities in the US. The online bazaars provide an alternative to these retailers and sell directly to us, the consumers. The market is huge but fragmented. There are a number of established importers of Indian spices, lentils (dalís), herbs and condiments who distribute them through the chain of Indian shops and bazaars.

Click on the links below for the most comprehensive listing of Indian shops, bazaars, jewelers and other businesses in the US:

Online Shopping: GaramChai.com's Online shopping section has extensive listings of shops, businesses and others catering exclusively to the needs of the NRI, and Non resident community. Some of the popular services offered include money transfer, gifting to relatives in India and shopping for grocery, goods and services in the US.

  • Little India: Feature on 'Little India,' South-Asian and Indian shopping arcades and enclaves in the US and North America. Global Little India section features south-asian shopping in other foreign countries.
  • Ready to Eat : Feature on Ready to Eat Industry in India and the world, including USA, Canada and North America. Details on major players in RTE industry and interesting articles.
  • Book Review: Indian Grocery Store Demystified : `The Indian Grocery Store Demystified' by book designer and illustrator, Linda Bladholm is an exposition of ingredients with a very nice little twist which saves it from being a poor man's `Bruce Cost's Asian Ingredients'.

Devon Avenue

Devon Avenue
Even for the younger generation, `Little India' provides the spice of old-fashioned Indian and Pakistani life

Tea on Devon Avenue is rich, ambrosial Indian masala tea, muddy brown and laced with enough cream to form a skim on top--different from the tea at Starbucks, to be sure, but not wholly unfamiliar. It's a little exotic to my neophyte tongue.
And it's served really, really hot. Scalding, McDonald's lawsuit hot. .....

This "Little India" is the stretch where food fans come for Southeast Asian cuisine. Also here are jewelers, grocery stores, travel agencies and sari boutiques, all competing for sign and sidewalk space, as well as immigrant families, many first-generation and some second........Raj proprietor Divyesh Damji shows off his ranihar pieces, or gold necklaces traditional for brides on their wedding day. If you think wedding dresses are a stiff one-time expense, these ornate crescents practically surround a bride's face in 22-carat gold, and cost thousands of dollars. From the Chicago Tribune If you liked this section, you may also be interested in GaramChai.com's feature on Little India

 

Interesting Articles on Indian Shopping in the US

Sari excuses Designers come up with new reasons to wear one

By Betsy Lehndorff  Special to the News  (Rocky Mountain News)

Although centuries old, the sari remains a subtle, feminine form of adornment. It also is supremely creative, capable of delicate evolution.

Soon these silk, chiffon and cotton garments could draw more notice in the United States. "Saris are becoming very Western in terms of the color," says Denver-area businesswoman Neelam Mehta.

While she prefers the customary bright colors, some Indian designers are creating saris in muted leopard prints, beaded champagne silks, floral-embroidered whites and silver-encrusted blacks.

The West has also influenced the draping of the garments. In New Delhi magazines, saris now tumble seductively about the hips and cascade down from bejeweled, sleeveless bodices. Relaxed evening styles show bare waists, arms and shoulders. Enfolded in five yards of fabric, you can reveal or conceal as much as you wish.

In the metro area, saris are difficult to find, although 5,000 to 7,000 Indian citizens live here, says Mehta, who is originally from Ahmedabad, a city in western India. She and her husband operate busy grocery stores in Aurora and Lafayette.

A search of ethnic clothing stores may yield a few samples. Stores offering imported furniture also may carry some. You can always find silvery quilts, pillows and other textiles made out of the elaborate, embroidered borders from these dresses.


On the Web

Several Internet Web sites offer saris. Check www.gagan.com for their designs. Shijucreation.com carries illustrated instructions on how to put on a sari. Garamchai.com carries a list of stores that sell saris in the United States.


An easier way to locate saris is through an Internet search, which will lead you to stores in the United States, London and Paris.

For background, India is about a third the size of the United States but contains four times the population ó 1 billion people. The country is divided into 25 states, each with its own language, Mehta says. And gods. The country has 57,000 of them.

Each state also has its own fashion dictates regarding the colors, patterns, borders and wrapping styles of saris.

India's fashions have changed in the past decade. Dresses and trouser suits have allowed working women increased flexibility of movement. "Dresses are more comfortable. You can be free," Mehta says.

But saris remain the choice for weddings, funerals, special events and festivals, such as the sacred thread ceremony that marks the coming of age for young men.

Each event requires a special sari, and the costumes may vary by state. Some of the finest saris are made of Kanjeevaram silk and come from the city of Benaras, in central India, Mehta says. Shadowy, damask saris that throw off multiple bursts of color can cost more than $1,000.

Wedding saris are perhaps the most elaborate ó red silks with dense gold and silver embroidery.

Roma Mukherjee Melrose's father traveled to Benaras to buy her wedding sari when she married an American 12 years ago.

"Usually the father gives the wedding costume," Melrose says. "That's the culture of my state, West Bengal."

Her father, an eminent Calcutta banker, also provided her a sari for the reception and 450 additional saris, including matching petticoats, blouses, slippers and accessories for day-to-day use, she says.

Fathers and grandfathers dictate what young women wear and provide the saris, particularly as part of the dowry, Melrose says.

"I thought the wedding sari was very gorgeous," she says. "When you add so much gold to it, it reflects all of the colors like enamels. It circulates light all through, flickering around. It's just an amazing rainbow of colors. The colors hit everything."

How to wear it

If you want to wear a sari, you need two essential ingredients: a tight-fitting, scoop-neck top and a straight, ankle-length cotton underskirt that matches the color of your fabric. The underskirt needs to be secured around your waist with a cotton tie because you'll be tucking fabric into the waistband. You may need to make the underskirt.

One way to wrap a sari is to start with the plainest end of the garment, right side out. The border, if there is one, should be at your feet. Working with the sari lengthwise, fold the top edge of the fabric down toward you, until the width of the fabric is a good skirt length.

Tuck this folded end into the front of your underskirt, slightly to the right, with the rest of the fabric to your left.

Using your fingers, make five or six neat pleats in the fabric at the center of your waist, and tuck them into the waistband. The neatness of these pleats demonstrates your level of dressing skill.

As you continue to wrap the sari to your left, tuck several pleats into the waistband above your left hip.

In the center of your back, create a few more pleats "so you can drive a car," Roma Melrose says. Then bring the fabric around to your right hip and tuck some in.

Having wrapped the fabric around yourself once, gather the rest of the material, including the decorative end called a pallau, run it across your chest and drape it over your left shoulder. You should have about a yard and a half of the fabric cascading down your back.

September 24, 2000

(Rocky Mountain News)

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