Besides the places of interest, Sikkim also offers the added attraction of shopping.
A wide variety of handicrafts are available for the tourist to take back as souvenirs, showpieces and even items of daily use in the Government Institute of Cottage Industry and the many curio shops in Gangtok. It is worth taking a few handicrafts back home to decorate your Drawing rooms as a remembrance of your visit to Sikkim.
Canvas wall-hangings depicting paintings on different aspects of Sikkim can cost from Rs 20 to Rs 200. Most of these paintings portray face profiles of tribals, eight lucky signs, dragons, religious processions etc. Thankas or religious scrolls can also be purchased but these are very expensive and cost above Rs 500.
Choksees are small wooden tables about one and half to two feet in height with intricate local Tibetan designs on the sides. They are collapsible and can easily be carried.
Carpet and rugs
Tibetan woollen carpets are very expensive and are adorned with intricate designs and patterns reflecting the art and culture of this state. Made of pure sheep wool, these carpets use brilliant vegetable dyes.
The exquisitely carved Dragon sets of silver and gold inlaid with precious stones are unique to Sikkim. These consist of finely designed dragons on ear-rings, pendants, finger-rings etc. and can be ordered either in silver or gold.
Sikkim tea, which is mainly grown in Temi Tea Estate, is famous the world over and carries a big premium in the world market. The tea is characterised by its exotic taste and flavour and costs about Rs 100 a kilogram. It sells by the brand name of “Solja” and “Kanchendzonga” and it is a good idea to carry a few packets back home.
Juices, Jams and pickles
The Government Fruit Preservation Factory produces a wide range of Juices Jams and pickles under the brand name of “Sikkim Supreme”. Orange Juice and Dole Khurchani (Cherry Chilly) are recommended. Various Self Help Groups in Sikkim also produce pickles for sale.
Sikkim Alpine Gouda Cheese is manufactured in Dentam in West Sikkim in collaborationwithAmul the world renonownedmilkproducts producer. Gouda cheese is made from cow’s milkand has a rick yellow colour. It has long chelf life and therefore can be conveniently carried back home. Incidentally this cheese derives its name from a town Gouda near Rotterdam in Netherlands that is famous for makingcheesefromcow milk.
Yak hardened Cheese
Available in the form of cubes, this cheese is hard as stone and you require vice like teeth to chew it. A good buy to carry back home.
Orchid and gladoli bulbs
Sikkim is famous for its flora.Take a bit of it when you go back. Orchid and Gladoli bulbs are a good option but require humid weather to grow in. They can be brought from the various nurseries in town and also from the venue of the Flower Show.
Big Cardamom or Bari Elachi
Cardamom or Elachi grows in abundance in Sikkim and costs about Rs 800 a kilogram. A few hundred grams should be purchased.
A gift pack which consists of small 50 ml bottles of rum, brandy and other liqueurs is a good buy. Khukri and Fire Ball brandy are also good buys.
HANDICRAFT AND JEWELLERY SHOPS
Besides the Government Institute of Cottage Industry, Mandala Handicrafts Centre ( (206562) adjacent to the Tourism Information Centre, Kandoika((208115) in New market and Snow-white ((205501) and Junction ((221431) both on M.G. Marg all stock a variety of Sikkimese handicraft.