Manak Chowk Market – The Never-Ending Shopping Experience in Jaisalmer

Exploring a particular city isn’t complete till you visit by the local streets and bargain through the roadside stalls of the place. Shopping, especially at local shops, is a guilty-pleasure by itself when you are visiting a new city. And when it comes to a city in Rajasthan, all you need is a well-loaded purse, and an extra bag or two to make your shopping spree successful.

Manak Chowk Market – A Quick Glance

Shop in Manak Chowk Market
Shop in Manak Chowk Market

Location: Outside the Jaisalmer Fort

Distance from the main city: 2.5km(1.55mi)

Famous for: Handicraft items, Antiques, Leather goods, Textiles and Jewellery

Duration of trip: 1-2 hours

Timing: 10am to 8pm

Transportation option: Walking (at times light trekking)

Pocket pinch: Great value for money

Best visited with: Family, Group, Couple, Solo

Must carry: Hard cash (cards not accepted); Water bottles

How to reach: Jaisalmer railway station is the nearest railway station

Introducing Manak Chowk Market

When you visit a place like Jaisalmer, you are spoiled for choices, especially while exploring the local markets. The best and the most popular one to head off to is Manak Chowk – the vibrant market place located right outside the Jaisalmer Fort.

Manak Chowk is a cultural amalgamation of all that Jaisalmer as well as Rajasthan have to offer.  With an assortment of items like leather items, antiques, souvenirs, textiles, handicrafts, and jewellery, to name a few, Manak Chowk is a plethora of options without burning a hole in your pocket.

The roadside shops are small, but can’t get unnoticed – thanks to the colourful loaded products they have to offer in various sizes, designs, colours and varieties. Manak Chowk Market, Jaisalmer is the perfect place to pick souvenirs, especially if you are looking for some typically Indian objects.

Jaisalmer Stalls Loaded with Decorative Objects
Jaisalmer Stalls Loaded with Decorative Objects

Fruits and Veg Sold outside the Jaisalmer Fort
Fruits and Veg Sold outside the Jaisalmer Fort

Manak Chowk and Havelis – An Overview

Though the shops and stalls definitely walk away with the majority of attention in Manak Chowk, the Havelis situated outside the Fort and amidst the local market shouldn’t be missed either. Visitors are free to walk through the lanes to explore the Havelis, majority of which date back to a construction in the 18th and 19th centuries. The entire region exhibits rich art and exclusive craft work, and the marketplace reflect the same imperialism.

Some of the most famous havelis of the region include Patwon-ki-Haveli, Salim Singh-ki-Haveli and Nathmalji-ki-Haveli known for their royal craftsmanship and massive architecture. Patwon-ki-Haveli is one of the finest bungalows with gorgeous latticed facade. The relatively new Salim Singh-ki-Haveli is three centuries old, and people still reside. There are beautiful peacock-shaped brackets in its arched roof to hold it up.

The Nathmalji-ki-Haveli has two opposite sides built by two architect brothers. Guarding the bungalow are sandstone tuskers shaded in bright yellow. These havelis are clustered at the narrow lanes of the city, making mesmerizing weaves of carved balconies across the entire city.

Amidst these havelis, the popular marketplace stand and was previously known as Sadar Mandi. Back then, the Sadar Mandi (grain market) used to be populated with traders not only from the different parts of India, but also from Iraq, Egypt, Persia and Arabia.

Manak Chowk Market – Everything under One Roof

Manak Chowk Market, Jaisalmer is swarmed with roadside shops and stalls loaded with decorative leather works, ethnic silver jewellery, antique pieces, exclusive textiles, spices, and several types of craft works and handmade products. Famous as the commercial hub of Jaisalmer, tourist flock here at Manak Chowk Market to witness the creative skills of local artisans and craftsmen, and at the same time to pick a thing or two (read more) as souvenirs to take back home.

Exquisite Jaisalmer Craft Works
Exquisite Jaisalmer Craft Works

Distinctive Textiles
Distinctive Textiles

Don’t get taken aback by the small sizes of the shops, because the size doesn’t restrict the stock inside. You name it, and you are sure to have it in almost every shop you visit in Manak Chowk Market, Jaisalmer.

Things to Buy in Manak Chowk Market

While you must be mentally prepared to get spoiled for choices while visiting through the narrow lanes of Manak Chowk Market, there are few exclusive items you shouldn’t miss picking up.

a)  Mirror Work Embroidery

This is one of the most traditional things to carry back from Jaisalmer. The famous mirror work embroidery on vibrantly dyed fabrics is true reflection of the colourful culture of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer is the main hub for this tradition done on items like cushion covers, totes, quilts, bed covers, wall hangings and Kantha quilts. These elegant, lightweight and fade-proof products are a must buy from Manak Chowk Market, Jaisalmer.

b)  Camel Leather Products

Dating back to ancient civilizations, leather products cater to not only all over India, but are also exported to foreign nations for their authenticity. Camel leather is used to make bags, moujris, purses, phone covers, files, hats, jackets, key chains, diaries and saddles to name few. If you are looking for something exclusive made of camel leather in Manak Chowk Market, then let it be Kopi – a special kind of water bottle.

Jaisalmer Leather Goods
Jaisalmer Leather Goods

Jaisalmer Typically Indian Souvenirs
Jaisalmer Typically Indian Souvenirs

c)  Jewellery

Finding the right silver or semi-precious jewellery in Manak Chowk Market, Jaisalmer is a daunting task, especially when you are bombarded with so many options. Make sure to pick more than one – in unique stone cut, hand cuts and polished ones. Meenakari is another great option to go for.

d)  Fossil Stone

Found only in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, the Fossil Stone or Hadur Stone is an exclusive thing found in the streets of Manak Chowk Market. It carries the residuals of aquatic species from over 180 million years ago, and is famous for its mystical properties. It is reddish-brown with random dark patterns all over and stands out for its looks.

Manak Chowk Market, Jaisalmer is a must visit shopping place if you are looking some of the most exclusive items found in the city. Do make sure to carry enough cash, as plastic money isn’t accepted by majority of the local vendors. Take a walk down the lanes of the marketplace to explore the ancient royal touch and don’t forget to click pictures to bring back memories of one of the oldest and most elite marketplace of the country.

Nearby AttractionsGadisar Lake