Agra is renowned for its marble tabletops, vases and trays, inlaid with semi-precious stones in ornate floral designs, in imitation of those found in the Taj Mahal. It is also an excellent place to buy leather: Agra’s shoe industry supplies all India, and its tanneries export bags, briefcases and jackets. Carpets and dhurries are manufactured here too, and traditional embroidery continues to thrive. Zari and zardozi are brightly coloured, the latter building up three-dimensional patterns with fantastic motifs; chikan uses more delicate overlay techniques. Shopping or browsing in Kinari Bazaar and Sadar Bazaar is fun, but be prepared to haggle; tourist emporiums are worth avoiding. A lot of private shops try to disguise themselves to look like state-run “cottage” or “handlooms” outlets – an indication of their level of integrity.

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