Shopping in Vizag While Vizag may be better known as an industrial centre, it is in reality a city of shopkeepers. For some reason shops in the same trade tend to be located next to each other (security in numbers?) which makes shop-hopping and bargain hunting easier.If you are new to Vizag, you might find the following information useful
GOLD & SILVER JEWELLERY : The area around Kurupam Market with its narrow lanes and poky shops used to be the only place for Gold & Silver. Here, goldsmiths (often bare above the waist) stoking their furnaces by blowing into them or using a mechanical rotary device, melting ornaments in their crucibles, used to be a fairly common sight till recently. The advent of mass-produced machine-made jewellery has more or less killed these skills but our jewellers have been quick to adapt to the changes forced onto them. Of late jewellery shops have sprung up in another area (with more fancy shops and trendier names) - the area in Dwaraka Nagar on the other side of TSR Complex.
Bargaining is common (and expected!) especially on the "making charges". A discount for bulk purchases can be obtained after a little wrangling.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS / WHITE GOODS : No two ways about it - TSR Complex, although there are a few shops to be found across the road and in Dabagardens. Since the shops are located next to each other, it is easy to compare prices. Big names include Archana Electronics, Preethi Emporium and JD Electronics. Even here, prices are negotiable.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES : Poorna Market is the name that springs to mind. If you don't feel like going that far (residential areas have moved away from that part of town), an unofficial fruit market is to be found near the LIC Building at the junction of Jail Road. Prices vary with the way you are dressed and the make / model of your car. Asilmetta also has a veritable vegetable market and you can also find vegetables in the Raithu Bazaars situated in various parts of the city. FLOWERS : Flowers in Vizag used to be available only at the entrances of fruit and vegetable markets; florists are a recent phenomenon in Vizag. Now they are widespread over the main road going towards the station and the shopping arcades of most big hotels have one. Nandan Florist at Asilmetta is fairly reliable.
CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES : The Main Road - that entire stretch of road extending from Jagadamba junction to the Old Post Office still has literally countless shops with interesting names like "--- textorium" (textile emporium!). "Traditional" things like silk sarees are still to be found only here. However, the more "upmarket" names are now to be found on the Dabagardens road. A word about this road to digress a bit : the number of brightly-lit shopping arcades on this road has earned it the moniker of "Little Mount Road" (after the road of the same name in Chennai). Like the real thing, finding a place to park can be a problem.
HARDWARE & AUTOMOBILE ACCESSORIES : Police Barracks - not in it but around it.
SURGICAL EQUIPMENT AND MEDICAL BOOKS : The area around the King George Hospital.
DRY FRUITS : There are numerous Cashew Centres mostly located on the Chitralaya Theatre road (Suryabagh).
CHEMISTS : Better known as "Medical Shops" in Vizag - they are found all over the place. Going by the number of them, you'd be led to believe that Vizag is plagued with epidemics and that Vizagites are a sickly lot. Not true, thankfully. Most of them don't ask for (or don't know what is) a prescription even for "Controlled Drugs", which is both a good and a bad thing.
HANDICRAFTS : The government owned / run Lepakshi is the place for cheap (even if a little shoddy) handicrafts. Eastern Art Museum on Kotha Road, which once catered mostly to "rich" foreign seamen, now welcomes the locals with equal ardour.
BOOKS : Older members of Vizag will remember a time when "bookshop" was synonymous with (the monopoly that was) Gupta Brothers Books. Now there are several new players in various locations. The established names with several branches are still Gupta Brothers and Book Centre with their biggest branches in Dwarakanagar.
LEISURE SHOPS : Shops selling a whole lot of nothing. Picture frames, cards, posters, and "gift items". Archies Gallery and Darlings Paradise (located diagonally opposite each other, surprise, surprise) on the main road very close to the Vinayaka Temple are a few of the well known ones.
SPORTING GOODS : Though Vizag is not known for its sporting activity, Dabagardens is what comes to mind, when looking for quality sports goods. Anything from cricket sets, balls, to skates can be found here with three to four shops all located on the same street making your quest much simpler. You could check out both quality & disparity in cost & plump for the best.
PAVEMENT / ROADSIDE SHOPPING : For most of you who may not wish to spend too much on clothes, especially, if you have growing children, you could settle for clothes and shoes which are both cheap & trendy. Spending a pittance doesn't pinch at all & you could probably have a new look for the kids as often as you wanted. Asilmetta junction has a lot of pretty decent stuff in clothing on the roadside including many "designer" export rejects which are very reasonably priced. For the short mild winters of Vizag, you can pick up warm clothing like sweaters, mufflers etc. from the Tibetans who put up their ware near the Police Barracks.
BAKERS AND CONFECTIONERS : There used to be a time not too long ago in Vizag, when if you were found eating bread, meant that you were ill. Times have changed, and now the bakers & confectioners are the hangouts for the young as well as the young at heart. Apart from a variety of breads, you can find cakes, sweets, snacks & other savouries here.
Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings & celebrations of any kind are somewhat incomplete without cakes. Forget about the calories (gained) & have a ball at FoodEx, Bakers's Inn.
COSMETICS AND PERFUMES : Want to look good? Who doesn't? A wide range of cosmetics (both branded & unbranded) are readily available. Women of all age (and men too at times) use these add-on-beauty products. Besides being full-fledged department stores, both Karachiwala and Nilgiris, market a wide cosmetic range.
Customs Notified Shops in the Jagadamba and Dabagardens area carry quite a few imported perfumes. Watch out -- many are cheap imitations.
NURSERIES : In spite of living in this concrete jungle, you can still have a beautiful green world around you, if you only desire it. There is a roadside nursery alongside the Lepakshi Handicrafts Emporium where you can pick your favourites and adorn your "Home Sweet Home". And if you are looking for pots for your plants & seedlings, you will find a potter moulding pots, piggy-banks and "kujas" as you go down the road in the same place.
You can also find a few plants, saplings in the Iskathota area.
TOYS : Everyone loves them & kids go ga-ga over them. Infants to teenagers would find an assortment of innovative toys at Toy Centre, Tots and Toddlers next to Rainbow Colour Lab, near TSR Complex, Mira Collections very close to CDR Hospitals etc. Prices are more or less fixed in these shops.
OPTICIANS : The oldest and most reliable shop to find a good pair of glasses, is Aarif with many branches all over the town. They offer a wide range in reading glasses and sunglasses and also offer contact lenses.
Lawrence Mayo in Jagadamba junction is another reliable optician.
FOOTWEAR : Again the name that comes immediately to the forefront is TSR Complex with more than a dozen shops, all very close to the other making shopping for footwear very convenient. Other than this there is the household name Bata with 2 or 3 branches spread over the city. A few more shoe shops can be found near Jagadamba Centre. Rehin & Sons is another reliable name in footwear though it is a pity they have stopped making "made-to-order" shoes.
NAMING QUIRKS : If you see a shop with the words Ladies & Fancy, expect to find glass bangles, ribbons, hair clips and the like. A Cool Point is more likely to indicate a place where chilled bottled drinks are sold than one where the trendy hangout. A Matching Point has nothing to do with match making or matrimony but is a place where you can expect to find material for matching blouses for almost any colour / shade of saree.
TIPS & TRICKS : Not too long ago, a shop that sported the Visa / MasterCard logo meant it was an upmarket (and expensive!) one. Not any more -- many shops accept credit cards but the more unethical ones try to pass on the merchant's credit card charges (of up to 4%) to the buyer.
An extended "festival" season beginning with Dusshera going through Deepawali, Christmas, New Year and ending with Pongal is the time when discounts (some genuine, some not) are given.
For book lovers, a Book Fair is held usually in November and December of every year.
Like in many other places it is better to compare prices before closing a deal.
In some places, expect to pay a little more if you don't speak (or pretend to speak) Telugu.
If you are on the lookout for clothes, then the ideal places for you to visit would be the city-centre around Jagadamba junction which has a large variety of clothes that include readymades, materials and sarees; Dabagardens and Dwarakanagar for readymades. If shopping for jewellery, the main jewellery showrooms are mostly located close to TSR Complex and Asilmetta junction. For fruits, apart from Poorna Market, there are quite a few fruit vendors near LIC Building which is close Dabagardens, as well as close to Waltair Club, Siripuram. Vegetables can be found in Poorna Market and also in the Raithu bazzars, located in various parts of the city.