In January 2013 my family and some friends travelled to Sawai Madhopur primarily to visit the National Park. Bal, who was our escort for Ranthambhore National Park, took us to Village Women Crafts as several of us girls had expressed the need to shop...which we did a lot!
From the minute we arrived I felt welcome and comfortable, which was unsual considering some of my other previous experiences at 'touristy' shopping locations.
We were given a clear and personal demonstration on how various handicrafts are made (which is not unusual for 'touristy' stops) however from there the shopping experience was very different from other places. Firstly, we were not made to feel we had to tip everyone who talked to us - a pleasant change! Secondly, the staff were helpful without being pushy, demanding or making you feel guilty if you didn't buy something. Honestly this place was a breath of fresh air.
In the carpet showroom there were lots of options of designs, materials used and sizes.
The staff calmly presented the different options and were up front with the prices which I feel are reasonable, unlike some places we visited. They were also very accomodating in carrying carpets outside so we could see the true colours in natural light. I asked a million questions and they were always patient and polite.
My mother purchased a beautiful silk carpet which again I believe was reasonably priced.
She was asked to sign her name on the back so when the carpet was delivered home to Australia, she could feel at ease that this was exactly the same carpet she had purchased in the shop. True to their word, the carpet arrived in its original condition and without any issues. It was packaged very well and it now looks fantastic in her livingroom!
Other people in our group also bought a smaller wool carpet, which they carried home themselves. The staff wrapped the carpet well so it would be easy for them to pack and/or carry for the rest of our travels.
It took me a while in make up my mind, I didn't plan to buy a carpet, in fact I had to think about it over night and went back the next day! There were so many lovely options. Everyone was very patient with me and were never pushy. Bitu understood the colour palette, design and boarders I wanted in a carpet and tried to accomodate all my requests. I eventually chose to order a custom made 5 x 7 foot carpet which I am so excited about receiving! I left a fair and reasonable deposit. It will take many months to make but knowing the quality of the pieces, the amount of work involved and the overall workmanship, I am very happy to wait for my purchase knowing the ladies and gentlemen will do a lovely job on my carpet. To me it is a wonderful momento from my travels, which I will cherish for the rest of my life - the carpet will out live me!
But wait...there's more! It's not just carpets or rugs! In another area is the shop. I could have spent many more hours in there - I think we spent about 2 hours there infact! Silk pajamas, silk gowns, scarves, pashminas, saris, hats, sweaters, traditional ornaments, wood pieces, exquisite mirror and embroidery work (of which I could have bought many), children's wear, small touristy nick naks and so much more. Again, we were never pressured to buy, which I really appreciated. I hope this way of doing business continues as I intend on visiting again, as well as recommending other family and friends. I would love it if they increased their range of items to buy in their online shop, which you can access via their website.
A special mention to Bitu who made us feel at ease and was friendly without being fake and 'over the top' polite - which can often be the case in India. I have been in contact with him since my visit, via phone and email, regarding my carpet. In all cases it was Bitu who called or emailed me to clarify what I want. This contact and clear communication puts my mind at ease and I apprecaite the time he has taken to get my order right. As I said, I am excited to see it!
Take the time and visit this place. I bought many different things and even after getting them home and washing them, they are still in good condition.
Shopping in India can be 'hit and miss' however I recommend Village Women Crafts and will shop there again in the future...and it helps the local community!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.