Pondicherry is a great place to shop what with octroi duty not imposed here. Moreover sales duty too is pretty low. Shopping in this old French town is all about pottery, perfumed candles, antique furniture, handmade paper souvenirs, perfumes, semi-precious stone jewelry, fine fabrics, wood carvings, marbled silks, traditional dolls, aromatherapy products, papier mache toys, silverware, hand-woven rugs, jams and pickles, French bakery items, hand-printed textiles and bronze figurines among other interesting souvenirs.
The Sunday market (M.G Road) of Pondicherry is a must-visit, it sells everything that is unique to the city, and in a great array. If you are visiting in the day, be prepared for a lot of walking. You will find cheap clothing such as sarees, kurtas, scarves, metal plates, shoes, cups, pots and ceramic tableware. But be sure to bargain! While heading north on the East Coast Expressway, you will come across this shop Auro Wood Works that displays oddball wooden sculptures out on its railing. The store has an interesting range of modern art sculptures, mostly masks. Prices here vary from Rs. 1200 to 8000.
Head to Mission Street if you are looking for some casual and arty footwear. Kalki, on 132 Mission Street, is the place to browse for unique leather footwear, hand-painted silk clothing, perfumed candles, incense, oils, ceramics, jewelry and handmade paper souvenirs. Just across the street on 165 Mission Street is the high-profile departmental store Casablanca, housing top-of-the-line international brands spread across three floors. Look-out for some handcrafted leather handbags by Hidesign here. For books, proceed to Focus on Mission Street adjacent to the Church of Immaculate Conception, selling hundreds of reads on Indian culture and religion, owned by the Ashram. Dont forget to peruse through the one-off exhibits at Boutique Auroshree on 18 Jawaharlal Nehru Street, home to a small but impressive collection of silver jewelry, paintings, and handcrafted bronze, brass and sandalwood artifacts.
You can pick up some lovely pottery and handmade paper souvenirs at La Boutique dAuroville, again on Jawaharlal Nehru Street. Curio Centre on 40 Roman Rolland Street, true to its name, offers a unique selection of objets dart including indigenous and colonial antique furniture. You might as well take a stroll next door to Art Colony housing antiques, wood carvings and handicrafts. If you fancy carrying back an exotic Indian painting, a visit to Cottonwood on Rue Nidarajapayer next door to Touchwood is recommended; it showcases works by the top five local artists. Then, return to the promenade. Here, it is worth popping into Splendor on 16 Goubert Avenue exhibiting an interesting assortment of exclusive souvenirs by the Aurobindo Society, in addition to toys, bags, belts, incense, and a range of books on the Society and Sri Aurobindo.
You will be delighted to shop in Pondicherry because the shopping districts are easily accessible, and the shopkeepers friendly and helpful.