Laad Bazaar – The Bling, Brand Or Bread Of Hyderabad

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Laad Bazaar walk was one of my last Hyderabad walks as a resident of the city. Anyone who has ever visited these lanes in and around the bazaar in the city knows how every corner shines and shimmers. Bangles in all colors, white pearls along with garments in complimenting combinations vie for your attention.

Bangles of Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad
Bangles of Laad Bazaar

I had specifically gone to learn how Khara Dupatta – a garment that typically belongs to the city, is draped. Of course, once you are in the bazaar there is no way you can miss the Lacquer or Lac Bangles.

It is located between the two famous monuments of the city – Charminar and Chowmahalla Palace is known for many things. I call it the Shringar Rasa of this charming city on the banks of Musi River.

Let me walk you through some of the highlights of Laad Bazaar.

Khara Dupatta – the bridal wear of Hyderabad

The first look as I walked into the street with my camera clicking away to glory and the first thought that crossed my mind was ‘Is this the Bling of Hyderabad’. Everywhere the Lehengas, Dupattas, Saris and Khara dupattas in bright colors with even more shining work on them sparkled competing to catch your eye. I stepped into a few shops and asked them to show me Khara dupatta.

Based on what I was wearing and my demeanor they had serious doubts if I wanted to buy a Khara Dupatta. So I chose honesty. I told them that I am trying to get to know things that are unique to Hyderabad – Khara Dupatta being one of them. One of them obliged and helped me drape a Yellow Khara Dupatta around me to let me have the feel of holding 6+ meters of clothes balanced on both of my shoulders.

Bridal Khara Dupatta

I was told that for the bride there are another 2 meters that have to be balanced on the head along with this 6 meters. Add to this the 4 meters that go into the making of Kurti and Pajama. The material used for Khara Dupatta is light enough though so weight-wise it is not too bad.

If you roam in the by-lanes you can see many people doing embroidery. Some are pasting stones on these dupattas one by one. They are working on various parts of a Khara Dupatta. It is not easy to embellish so much cloth.

Lacquer or Lac Bangles of Laad Bazaar

I have often walked in this bazaar and each time I stopped at some bangle shop picking up some lac bangles. There are shops full of all bangles in colors and color combinations. Most popular ones are the sets of bangles with floral patterns on them.

This time, I went into the lanes looking for those who make them.

Making of Lac Bangles

In various chunks, I got to see the whole process of making Lac Bangles in the lanes of the bazaar.

  • To begin with, there are bunches of thin metal bangles.
  • These raw metal bangles are given proper circular shapes by hand.
  • Lac or lacquer is then heated over burning embers and the desired color added to it. Small stripes of Lac are rolled into the desired shape and size.
  • Lac or lacquer is then rolled around the metal bangles. These raw bangles are then hand-rolled one by one to give a perfect circular shape.
  • These bangles are then sent to workmen who add the zing to the bangle by pasting stones and sparkles in various designs.

Difference between Lac Bangles of Rajasthan and Hyderabad

Hyderabadi Bangles
Hyderabadi Bangles

An artisan explained to me the difference between the lac bangles from Rajasthan and Hyderabad. He proudly said the craft that we have here in this city couldn’t be found elsewhere. Well, an easy way to identify is to look at how much it shines. The more the bangles shine, the more they are likely to come from the lanes of this city. Shining sets of lac bangles are no wonder a brand for the city.

Rajasthani bangles usually come with the pattern on a single bangle while in this city they come in sets where the design goes across bangles.

The economy of Lac Bangles

I saw many small and big workshops with men and women sitting around a small metal stove making bangles in small lanes. In the main bazaar, we see them neatly displayed in rows and rows to entice the customers. I suddenly realized that these bangles are feeding many households.

To me, jewelry and accessories always came across as frivolous things. Things that we can very much live without. Most of the times they are things that belonged to others. It was while roaming around in these streets that I realized the amount of effort that goes into making every single bangle. It is humbling to see the number of hands a bangle passes through before it reaches the wearer. There are so many families involved in this business.

I suddenly wanted to pick up some. And I did pick up a few simple bangles in stone. I am definitely more respectful towards them after this walk. For they are not just vanities but bread for many people working in that industry.

Pearls at Laad Bazaar

Hyderabad is known as the Pearl city of India. Despite nowhere being close to pearl-producing oceans or rivers, it is the biggest pearl processing and trading center. You do not have to make an effort to find pearls when you are in the vicinity of this bazaar. The salesmen of Pearl shops do the effort for you. They will politely invite you to the shop in a way you can not refuse.

You will see strings of pearls, mostly in white or off-white hanging everywhere. There are neckpieces, earrings, and bangles in pearls teasing you. However, I liked the big irregular pearls in unusual colors like smoky grey.

Pearls Processing

Again, I went behind the shops and saw the pearl processing units. Pearls are first sorted based on size. They are literally sieved through to get a pile of roughly same sized pearls. These piles are then manually sorted for exact sizes and shapes.

The sorted ones are then pierced one by one with a small drilling machine. The pierced pearls are then strung together to sell. Some of them are sent to the designers to make all kinds of designs with them. I think everyone needs to visit these workshops to see how handcrafted jewelry is made.

This bazaar is a highly recommended walk in the city. It is a shopper’s paradise.

In the Bazaars of Hyderabad by Sarojini Naidu

More than 100 years back, the famous poet, writer, freedom fighter & Hyderabadi wrote an ode to the bazaars of the city. This was also a part of the Swadeshi movement where the then leaders of the country were trying to promote the products made in the country rather than consume foreign imported products. See how beautifully, she brings out the life of a vibrant bazaar in the city. Not much has changed since her days.

In The Bazaars of Hyderabad 
What do you sell, O merchants?
Richly your wares are displayed
Turbans of crimson and silver
Tunics of purple brocade
Mirrors with panels of amber
Daggers with handles of jade
What do you weigh, O ye vendors?
Saffron, lentil, and rice
What do you grind, O ye maidens?
Sandalwood, henna, and spice
What do you call, O ye pedlars?
Chessmen and ivory dice
What do you make, O ye goldsmiths?
Wristlet and anklet and ring
Bells for the feet of blue pigeons
Frail as a dragonfly’s wing
Girdles of gold for the dancers
Scabbards of gold for the kings
What do you cry, O fruitmen?
Citron, pomegranate and plum
What do you play, O ye musicians?
Sitar, Sarangi, and drum
What do you chant, O magicians?
Spells for the aeons to come
What do you weave, O ye flower-girls?
With tassels of azure and red?
Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom
Chaplets to garland his bed
Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered
To perfume the sleep of the dead.

While you are in and around the Bazaar in the city, explore these Things to do in Hyderabad as well:

Kesar Chai at Nayaab Hotel

Shah Ali Banda & its Silver Foil Makers

Top Hyderabad Souvenirs to Pick

Charminar to Purana Pul Walk 

Sardar Mahal to Purani Haveli Walk

56 COMMENTS

  1. Hi.. This place is called as laad bazar, Charminar very famous for bangles.. I had that bangles which is shown in your first pic.. Thanks for posting about Hyderabad.. I love Hyderabad.

  2. Wow!They are beautiful. You have been to Rajasthan also, did you check the lah bangles there? I totally love them. Got some in Bangalore from a Rajasthani street vendor. Will check more collection on our trip to Rajasthan this year.

  3. I remember Hyderabad well. The place was my wife’s first encounter with India. Good choice.
    It was the starting point of our Karnataka journey.
    Your love for India is easy to recognize 🙂

  4. To an untrained eye, I would have never known that there was such a difference in the jewelry. It looks so absolutely beautiful. I would love to have an occasion to wear it!

  5. This post making me visit soon this paradise to buy at least some colorful Bangles. But I love glass Bangles more than metal one. Great to know the differences between Rajasthani and Hyderabadi Bangles. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  6. India is at the top of my list of places to visit and this post makes me want to book a ticket now! Those colors are beautiful, can’t wait to visit someday.

  7. I just learned more about bangles and the colorful fabrics that the untrained eye (mine) simply lump together as a visual feast typical of India. The more I read posts like yours, the more I realize just how much I do not know, and how much I want to learn more!!! I can imagine walking Hyderabad is a photographer’s paradise.

  8. This looks like a great place to check out! I rarely wear jewelry, but I love checking it out and buying it as gifts for friends and family 😀

  9. I like to learn about the arts and crafts of other countries. I do like jewelry but I am inclined to get unique pieces (I rarely buy stuff when I am home). When visiting a country, I try to get something. In that way, I can think about a particular country when I wear the piece. It is a great way to remember! I would love to get some of the bangles featured in here.

    • Ruth – Ditto. When I wear a piece of jewelry that I bought from somewhere, it is like wearing that culture or country. There is a this pendant that I bought from Poland that I wear all the time or a Inukshuk from Canada that is my latest favorite.

  10. Much excited to see your stuff. Personally am the bangle lover. Will definitely try to visit this bazaar when I hit Hyderabad next time. Thanks for this piece of info

  11. So colourful and shimmery.this bazaar looks really interesting. Have been to Hyderabad but never got time to visit markets. This time I will for sure. Thanks for sharing ????

  12. Being a Hyderabadi , I have been through lanes umpteen number of times through my childhood.Not to shop for myself but as a guide to the relatives who visit Hyderabad 😀
    Though personally , I find buying these frivolous ,I pick some out of respect for these families.
    Hope you also had a chance to visit Marina Bazaar…Where clothes and sarees are sold in heaps!! (NEW ONES STOCKED UP)

  13. So many bright colors and sparkling wares – Laad bazaar sounds like an amazing shopping experience – quite the assault of the senses! Good approach going with honestly on seeing the Khara Dupatta. Sounds like a LOT of material goes into making these bridal outfits! I would love to browse the lac bangles; I often think of jewellery as a non necessity to, but visiting a place like this and as you said, seeing how much pride and effort goes into the creation, and then the wearing, it’s a pretty big deal. And cultural jewellery can really make people feel as though they belong to part of a society, tradition, and make them feel beautiful, which is definitely important if that’s what it does for you. Pearls are stunning too!

  14. It’s so interesting to learn about what goes on to make these fabulous pieces! When I was in India I was in awe of the jewellery there. I think I brought about 10 different bangles and various other pieces of jewellery. Everything was so pretty and bright!

  15. Very interesting about the pearl processing! I never knew any of those details before. I love how bright and vibrant all the fabrics in India are – so beautiful! I would love to visit and bring home with me some authentic outfits in this gorgeous fabric!

  16. Wow all the jewelry and fabrics are so gorgeous, I love all the colors! I had no idea that it so many people to create such a small piece of jewelry, it’s interesting to hear the process. Also good to know that it is their livelihood and not just material possessions that we see as excessive. Laad Bazaar sounds like an amazing shopping experience!

  17. I was in Laad Bazaar a few months ago and I absolutely loved every bit of it! I didn’t know about the bridal Khara Dupatta though. Looks lovely for sure! And the pearls really stand true of their popularity in terms of quality and their charm. Would love to go back to Hyderabad especially for this bazaar any day!

  18. I love that Laad Bazaar has so many beautiful options to mosey through. I would love to pick up some pearls there! I love jewelry in general, but especially pearls!

  19. How colourful! I have been to Hyderabad on a short trip but never knew about Laad Bazaar. Not that I am much into bangles, but I do love a walk through such colourful streets! And I could just buy some bangles for my mother, to go with her saris. I don’t feel great saying this but I don’t really know what khara dupatta is! I’ve heard about it for the first time.

    • Medha – You are not alone, Khara Dupatta is hardly known outside of Hyderabad. Think of it as a Sari worn over a churidaar suit with a dupatta on the head. Next time you are in Hyderabad, go to Laad Bazaar and ask for it.

  20. Needless to say if I find myself at the Last Bazaar, I need to make room in my luggage for these gorgeous Bangles. Love the color and the details. Indian jewelry is so beautiful.

  21. Hi Anuradha Goyal,

    Laad bazaar was very popular. Most of the shops are bangles and costumes business. In marriage seasons this place was very busy with the huge crowd. We can have low to high price bangles. We found different designs from allover india. I am basically from that area. Thank you for your article on Laad Bazar.

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