As a shopaholic, I am never quite at home in a new location until I find a great place to find good deals on clothing. I have been in Pune for more than 6 months now and I think I know my way around town well enough to share a few tips. So there it is: my favorite places to find a bargain in Pune.
For a small city like Pune, there are way too many malls (Inorbit, Central, SGS, Ishanya to name a few). I should not really complain because they did not exist a few years ago. I usually do not like malls because they are way overpriced but once (or twice like August and January) in a while, during sales times, the prices are slashed. Then the mall becomes a one stop shop for everything you need. I am very partial to Phoenix market city mall located in Vinam Nagar because it has cheap shops I like such as Max, Reliance trends, and Much More. It also has Zara and Mango if you are into high street fashion. As a mall, you can find everything under one roof for the entire family: clothes, toys, books, grocery. It is packed with fun things like a cinema, a bowling alley and game arcade. But really the mall is so huge that it is perfect for a power walk.
There are many markets in Pune. But I prefer the following:
M.G. (Mahatma Ghandi) road market is a market located at the street with the same name. It has many shops lined in arcades on both sides of the road but also street sellers. You can find everything in MG road but it is great for Indian wear. Depending on where you shop, prices may differ so never buy at the first shop you enter unless you feel it is a unique piece. Plus you can always bargain with the shop seller. M.G. road can be pretty overwhelming because it is big, and it is never easy to find parking for your car. Nevertheless, the shopping experience there is fun.
Not far from M.G. road is a small shopping arcade called Clover Center. It has two floors lined with shops selling Indian and western wear at affordable prices. However what makes Clover Center special is that it is home to many tailors, fabric stores and materials stores. If you are into DIY or tailoring, that is the place to visit.
F.C. ( Fergusson College) road is another market that takes its name from the street it is located. F.C. road is located in Pune's college district so the market is designed to please college students. One one side you can find shopping malls and name brands shops and behind them you have street sellers and smaller shops in tiny alleys. If you want to find a good bargain, I suggest you ditch the mall and arcades and go for the street sellers. They have the good stuff sometimes mixed with the lower quality one. So you have to take your time and browse well. In one of my trips to the market, I found Zara buttoned down and H&M tops for 200 Rupees each. I could not believe it. F.C. road is also a great place to buy accessories such as clutch bags and Indian bangles. But bear in mind that being a market in a college area, it is chaotic. Moreover traffic to get there is a pain at all hours. So do not go there when time is an issue.
Koregaon is an oddity in this post as it not a mall ( There is Koregaon Park Plaza located on the opposite side), nor a market. Koregaon is a posh area of the city that many expats enjoy to live in. It has many restaurants and bars but also a famous Ashram. It is also home to Pune 1st and only posh Starbucks coffee shop. On the main road but also on many different lanes perpendicular to the road are small boutiques filled with trendy wear. Often these boutiques offer clothes from overseas like Oasis, Forever 21, even Ross. But there are also a wide variety of knock off items. The prices are between the mall and the market and you cannot really bargain. But I say go there if you want to find that trendy Zara lookalike dress you do not want to pay full price for at the mall. My favorite shops there are Cupid on the main Road and Brandmart on Lane 7. I really like the later as they offer name brands for 80% off. However, since they are small boutiques, do not expect them to have new items every two weeks like the mall. Give them at least 3 months before returning there. Often they will even ask for your contact so that they can email you when they have new arrivals or sales.
I said it before and I will say it again: Fairs are the best way to shop in Pune, particularly if you are looking for that special something to decorate your house or that special Indian dress. Pune has fairs fairly often in all parts of the city so do not feel bad if you miss one out. I usually buy Indian accessories, dress material, ornaments for the house and Chappals there. The atmosphere is very fun as you can discuss and bargain with the shop owners who come from all over India sometimes.
Do not overlook grocery stores
Some grocery stores like Big Bazaar, Star Bazaar or Dmart have nice collection of clothes for a cheap price. I found almost all my cotton button downs at Dmart for less than 300 Rupees. However those places are often packed and disorganized. On top of that the staff will harass you to enter this way, or to keep your big bag secure in their lockers. But what I hate the most is that there are only two cashiers open when there is a huge queue. That is why I often think twice before shopping there even if it is cheap. If you have the patience for all that crap, go there.
There, I share all my knowledge with you. If someone has something to add, please holla. This post may be updated as I venture in the city more.