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Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

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UK
posts: 2
reviews: 57
Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

Smooth.......very smooth

Mukesh is a true professional of the higest quality when itcomes to selling. He gave us some cock and bull story about Richard Gere buying 108 pieces to give to his friends and thatvhe does over runs for the fashion houses of Paris and Italy....

That aside, when he finally showed us the goods, the more expensive ones, were of a good quality....in fact some were quite exquisite, we bought three..... All at fixed prices....

The qestion is could we buy the same at home...... NO

Could we get for a similar price......... NO

Did we like them........YES

so no harm done, this is what you come to expect....from people in India trying to make a living, some of them beome very good at it......

39 replies to this topic
jaipur
posts: 588
reviews: 7
1. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

DEAR

What is the moral of your story ? To make a living you can cheat people .

I think that is not considered fair enough any where in the world than why do you think it is right for Indians .

New Delhi, India
posts: 1,372
reviews: 14
2. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

I think sometimes it just depends upon people how they serve you, yesterday i was sitting in a rikshaw in karol bagh and he asked 60 but i gave 100.. it all totally depends upon us how we pay and does depends upon how people treat ... some times this cheating thing is no more cheating it feels like need for some people around the world and in your story it doesn't show that you were cheated so its good.

Edited: 12:36 am, April 25, 2013
Derbyshire
posts: 6,335
reviews: 63
3. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

Quite a strange first post.

Maybe it is advertising this shop.

MATHURA
posts: 59
reviews: 112
4. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

Frankly I could neither understand the head, nor understand the tail of this posting.

I am recently back from Jodhpur (trip was from 7th - 11th April'13). I have been to Nai Sarak, Clock Tower and all those areas where handicraft shops in Jodphpur are in abundance.

I also drove past this particular shop (under this posting) and a few other shops lined up beside the highway while entering & exiting Jodhpur.

Frankly, walking / ambling around Nai Sarak & Clock Tower area and savoring the handicraft items there in many of the shops is a pleasure of its own rather than visiting the designer big shops dotting the highway. Exploring the place on one's own is always a better option.

If one needs to advertise some new shop, then write about it, give photographs and start a new post in TA (like I did for Ganpati Handicraft Emporium - Jodhpur, which is located near the Nai Sarak Crossing opposite Janta Sweets).

And in terms of market, I found Jodhpur stylish, elegant, spacious, much more colorful and varied than even Jaipur. More charming, more pleasurable, safe. I didn't find any harassing, cajoling, hawking business here. Only some polite requests were thrown to interested customers who were curious enough to look at the colorful items at the shops.

Neither the items are very costly. Then whats the fuss about?

If Mr. Richard Gere decides to blow some of his hard-earned money coming all the way to this desert and buy something for Ms. Cindy Crawford by paying thrice the price of the item thats his choice. We should buy and pay as per our capacity. Why blame a community for that?

And cheating is prevalent worldwide, everywhere. I purchased one metallic miniature Eiffel Tower model as a souvenir at the compound in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris (Mid Aug'2007) from a big black hunk (one of innumerable such sellers loitering, lurking and cajoling tourists there with various models and varieties of the tower) spending a neat 45 Euros. How much 45 Euros translate into INR today, man? Around INR 3000/-? At that price, Mr Gere would surely get a much better item from Jodhpur or anywhere in Rajasthan than a piece of metal.

Rajasthan is much more honest place on earth where people work hard and earn their bucks. At least while visiting Rajasthan no need to be afraid. If you want to be afraid a bit, then come and visit the city of TM. How will you manage the Tajgunj market??

UK
posts: 2
reviews: 57
5. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

I am not advertising the shop, merely pointing out that you will be given a good story in order to be sold something. That is the art of selling and stretching the truth.... does not necessarily constitute cheating in my mind...

Selling an item for more than its worth would be cheating, i don't feel this shop did that, however i would have appreciated honesty at he beginning.....

I would shop here again, he has some great stuff... But you have to have your wits about you..

MATHURA
posts: 59
reviews: 112
6. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

At times, too much wit spoils the basic message. This is a glaring example of the same.

And it appears that we have forgotten the simple art of telling simple things simply and straightforward.

I take pity for the poor salesman.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 1
reviews: 7
7. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

Actually, I was just there. The "show" that they put on is part of the place's charm--tales, presentation and all. Entertainment of the highest order, one of my favorite parts of Jodhpur, and well worth the stop.

Kuala Lumpur
posts: 32
reviews: 7
8. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

Jo.

I am with you about Mukesh and how slick he is. TRAVELLERS TO THIS 'BEST TEXTILE/HANDICRAFT SHOP IN JODPUR' MUST INDEED BEWARE. I have been meaning to write this for ages. I wrote to Mukesh after I got home earlier this year to ask him for a proper receipt for my purchases to replace the scrap receipt I had been given. The receipt I got had just listed, in general, what the items were eg 3 shawls, 2 scarves, etc., and we had spent a small fortune. For the stories he told about what he was selling, these items were supposed to have been 'tooshas' and pashminis in the real sense etc and I had paid a premium so I wanted the details. I didn't get a reply for a couple of weeks. It was only when I sent a reminder that I got a note from a member of staff to say that they would , of course, give me the details and that their first response could have gone to 'spam' -- nope, nothing there. He asked for a copy of the 'receipt' which I scanned and sent him but have not heard back since. I did go against and my better judgement and did not refresh my knowledge of shawls before my trip so I do blame myself. One of them even did a test for genuine toosha by pouring water onto a piece to show that the water droplets didn't (immediately) soak into the wool! You''ll see the same effect on most wools knit or woven in the same way. I was amused but they were so quick and you are just mesmerised by the talk and show. Their stories do engage you emotionally and I must say Mukesh, in comparison to his assistant he took over from, was a sales supremo. The stories I got had to do with orders from Hermes and some other fashion houses in Europe. I was looking to post about him on a fresh thread but cannot find how to do this. PL

Kuala Lumpur
posts: 32
reviews: 7
9. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

You are right. It's not right anywhere but it happens. Unfortunately some countries have earned a worse reputation than others for certain things and if you happen to know about bad practices in your own country you should do what you can to try to stop it rather than take offense. Tourist Authorities in Italy for example warn visitors about pick pockets. Others may tell you to be sure to bargain down more than 50% of a given price when buying in the streets and certain establishments. Thailand has earned a bad reputation for jewellery scams. I constantly warn visitors to my city about dishonest taxi drivers, for example. London, on the other hand, is known for their very honest black cab drivers.

I would collect some evidence about Maharani Textiles and forward these to your Government Tourist Authority to investigate. It won't always work but worth a try. We all earn our reputations and my own experience with Maharani Textiles and Mukesh would support the opinion you question. Visitors to India are told to beware of prices quoted out of proportion for some services and goods. In fact, on my last trip to India earlier this year, a tuktuk took me to a handicraft shop in a seedy part of Delhi even when I said I only wanted to go a certain address in Connaught Square. He left me stranded without asking to be paid when I came out of the shop a few minutes later without any purchases even though I had told him to wait while I walked down the road to look for my target location. I subsequently came upon a "Government Tourist Agency" to ask for directions and the young man who volunteered to walk me to my "nearby" destination also turned out to be looking for a commission even though he had said when he offered that there there was"no need to pay anything" to him. Again, he did not take me to the given address and asked for money to 'buy books' when we got there. Fortunately, I had worked in Bangalore for a short while some years ago and I was not altogether uncomfortable about saying no to those who turn out to be touts. Experience helps us deal with such things. I for one will NEVER return to Maharani Textiles.

MATHURA
posts: 59
reviews: 112
10. Re: Maharani Textiles and Handicrafts - be afraid,be very afraid

There’s nothing to be afraid of once you know all the tricks of the game.

Well, I come straight to the point.

Gone are the days of ignorance and lack of information.

In information age, with internet and wi-fis available everywhere, a little bit of homework about the destination before we embark on a journey can save us loads of hassles. This is easily achievable though our own efforts instead of depending on others’ information and advice.

Now here goes a few of my very simple “do”s and “don’t”s suggestions for apparently gullible tourists like all of you visiting an intricate, bizarre and beautiful land like India, which I have learned myself thru’ my own (i.e. so-called first-hand) experiences:

1.0> Never purchase gems and jewellery unless its gold (22 carats max available in India). If at all need to purchase the same, go only for branded shops (Tanishq is the only brand I’ll recommend; they are a part of our reputed TATA organization – hope you folks have heard about Tata Steel, Tata Motors – else please google it and you’ll get all info… they are in jewelry business also).

Jewelleries purchased from Tanishq matches in caratage (they will check carats and weight in front of you, which if you cross-check anywhere will match with what you’ve purchased).

They carry Hallmark (a govt certification about gold-purity), a certificate of purity document along with your cash-memo, jewelleries are exchangeable anytime in any shops, and if you bring them back to Tanishq they have a good cash-back as well based on that prevailing days’ gold rate.

Why tell all the above? Because in India there is no organized way of monitoring, controlling, certifying these gemstones and any other precious stones market (even diamond not fully safe, platinum/diamond – why to take from India??). There is no brand-name or established business worth its salt who will stand guarantee to your precious gemstone product if you come back here after say 5 years? And please surf in net to find out what is the chance nowadays of hitting upon a genuine piece of beautiful gem like Emerald, Ruby, Saphire etc etc!! And please pinch and ask yourself – where on earth in India do produce any gemstone?

Common-Sense, Dear Watson. Rajasthan produces what? Marbles, Silver (that comes from its Zinc refineries), Zinc, Yellow Sandtones, Garments (block prints of Sanganer) etc. Then what are we expecting to get authentic in Rajasthan? Only these products – that too…anyway I’ll touch it afterwards.

Tanishq showrooms are available in Jaipur, Udaipur, Kota, (Jodhpur I am not sure). You can shop from there. But being a pan-indian chain, whether they will keep local flavored design or not is another big question.

2.0> I am quite bemused to read about shopping for Toosh and Pasminas from Jodphur.

Toosh – we call Shahtoosh. Pashminas are sourced, painstakingly woven in the factories in and around a place called Srinagar, which, I think you all know, is capital of Indian state of Kashmir (also called Heaven On Earth for its beauty). People are scared to visit Kashmir nowadays for obvious reasons. But if at all you have a choice and liking for authentic Pashminas (and I do mean only “authentic” Pashminas), then Srinagar in Kashmir is the place to go, direct visit in the factories is what is essential, or else, government emporiums are the shops that you should visit to have an idea what this pashmina/toosh actually is.

Beyond this, all-over India, if anybody claims that he/she is selling “authentic and original” pashminas to you, you are being taken for a smooth ride.

How does an authentic pashmina look like? Very unimpressive – no design – a pale orange / saffron / yellow piece of shawl will be shown to you and you’ll lament why you came so far to have a piece of it.

Now take it and hold it in your hand, close your palm. Once you hold a pashmina in your hand, you won’t even notice when your palm has started sweating. Even when the atmosphere outside may be chilling.

(Now compare the climate of Rajasthan and please think whether any trader there will ever stock authentic, good pashmina or not)

When you fold a pashmina, you can crumple it down into a miniscule piece of small thread of a clothe, it may become so thin that it can even pass through the circular opening of a finger-ring, it will be a small roll and normally the government emporiums take out only these rolls from their drawers, where they keep it carefully like ornaments – they are so valued.

Do you know what is the price range of an “authentic” pashmina shawl? Not much. It starts somewhere around INR 40,000 – 50,000 only (US $ 800) – the simplest, bare-minimum ones, the barest ones with no design nothing and then goes upwards to ……there’s no limit……at that price you may get a sedan in your country also.

I am very curious to know how much price did you pay for the pashminas and the toosh you purchased from Jodhpur.

Anyhow, the above are some of the common check points specifically for this product.

3.0> Frequently I also read about travelers are purchasing parsi / kashmiri / silken carpets (and getting cheated hands-down) after paying a fortune towards the same. This happens in Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra etc etc.

Same suggestion is also valid for carpets (like Pashminas). “Authentic” Silken Kashmiri Carpets are available, hand-made, painfully, painstakingly woven only in and around the grim factories of Srinagar or the interiors of Kashmir (now please don’t venture the interiors, stick to Srinagar only). The prices will depend on the numbers of knots in a carpet and its size, depending on size, “authentic and decent ones” will start costing from INR 40-50,000 (US $ 1000) onwards. One shop sent me a photo of a silk carpet that contained the highest nos of knots and had “Tajmahal” design in it; the same was priced at only INR 2,27,000/- (only around US $ 3800/-).

Why I am quoting these price-ranges? Just to make you people aware about some of the check-points to ascertain the authenticity of any products (local exotic products) that your so-called “local suave salespeople” want to market in front of you and fleece you all and sadly enough he is allowed also.

So when next time any of the exotic shops anywhere (Rajasthan, UP, Agra, Delhi) talks about may be Richard Gere, Cindy Krawford, Johny Depp, Rob-De-Niro shopping there and purchasing items from there and being happy (may be you’ll be shown a photo of the celebrity as a proof of the claim - sitting with the shopkeeper, grinning down the frame – to impress you), but be unruffled and kindly ask the man some very humble, simple questions in a dead-pan manner:

1.0> “Please weight the jewellery in front of me. Please check the caratage in front of me.”

2.0> “Where is the hallmark sign on this jewellery? Show me.” He will use a microscope. Take a very clear view. Please google for this “Hallmark” and be thorough on it.

3.0> “ Do you have cash-back facility? Where? How much will you deduct then? Do you have exchange? Where? Where can I exchange? How much will you deduct if I exchange here only?”

4.0> “Where is the gold-purity certificate? Will you not give any purity certificate along with the cash-memo for this item?”

Many of the time, the answer to this question will be “Oh Sir/Madam, our cash-memo itself is a certificate, you see, the weight and the details are written here…”

In case if you face this answer, even if you might have liked the item, my suggestion will be that immediately you put up a polite, dignified “Namaste” with your hands, take your bag and immediately leave the shop. Without hallmark symbol, without gold purity certificates, without gemstone purity certificate, whatever you purchase in India will worth a piece of stone lying wayside beside the road. This also will mean that this man out there is planning to cheat you.

(But do remember in Bangkok where they sell 23 carats gold, I got only their paper as a cash-memo cum certificate cum what-all. They did not give me anything else. With a heavy heart I came back to India and checked the weight and caratatge of the items in Tanishq. The weights and carats matched with Bangkok upto 2nd decimal points. This was back in year 2009. But don’t expect a Bangkok in India. So insist for certificate here.).

5.0> “Ohh… is this authentic pashmina? Let me see – let me hold this in hand”

– (you need to check for the warmth, whether your palm sweats – it will surely in any case sweat if its an authentic pashmina – more so after you hear the price if it is authentic).

“Kindly fold it, roll it, let me see how small it becomes.”

“Can you pass the roll thru’ my finger-ring?”

And finally…”what’s the cost of this item?”

“Pashminas are manufactured in Rajasthan / Agra / Jaipur, isn’t it? Factories are there, isn’t it?” (a trick question just to lay a trap for the cheat…see what’s the answer and then quietly enjoy the fun)

If the answer is anywhere less than what I’ve already mentioned earlier, in case if any of the points mentioned above are not complied, and if some duffer by any chance answers “yes” to the last trick-question, then again it’ll be a time for you to say a polite “Namastey” and immediately hit the dusty road outside the shop.

6.0> “Ohh… is this authentic Kashmiri Carpet? Let me see – what’s the price? OK, kindly let me know how did you fix the price?”

“How many knots are there in this carpet?”

“Where are the knots?”

“What is the size of the carpet”?

“OK..fine…now tell me how did you fix the price…based on these knots and the size of the carpet, whats the rate…?”

I hope by now the seller is already feeling uneasy. Then comes again the silly but tricky question asked innocently (if possible ask with a sheepish grin dangling down your lips, so that your wisdom is not suspected)….. “Where are you manufacturing these Carpets?? Rajasthan? Agra? Jaipur? Ohh Delhi then. Factories are also there, isn’t it?”

Based on the responses, you may kindly decide about your Namastey time or otherwise.

I dropped only a few hints in this write-up that touches only a few specific items. In my next one, I will touch upon “marble handicrafts” and so-called “ANTIQUE FURNITURES” items and try to provide you all some guidance so that in your next-India visit you don’t end spending a fortune on a trash.

All the above information are widely available in net also, accessible for all. If one comes with a little bit of homework, I don’t find any reason why people will be deceived here. In Aug’07, when I was befooled in Paris, spread of travel informations in net was not so exhaustive as it is today.

And lastly, its all a game (life itself is a game), we all are playing across the board, we, the hosts, the service providers, the sellers are hungry for your dollars, you the buyer, the tourist need to be a ruthless bargainer and extract the best out of the service-providers and make him give his best for every penny you pay.

Worldwide, Tourism at the end of the day, is a big game of business. May the better side win.

Namastey and here I depart for the time being.

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