Home Travel India Shopping: Embroidered Shawls

India Shopping: Embroidered Shawls


I bought this wonderfully artistic shawl at Dilli Haat. It is hand-painted wool and has been reembroidered with a colorful chain stitch. I bought a bunch of this style shawl as presents, as I had not seen this technique on my previous visits.

The shawl on the right is also a lightweight wool, hand embroidered on the borders in a palette of blues and purples. A lovely touch is the open-work detail at the edge of the shawl. While this, like a number of the others below, were gifts, I know it came from the Cottage Industries Emporium, which is on my list of never-miss Delhi shopping spots. It houses handicrafts from all over India, including jewelry, hand-knotted silk carpets, essential oils, men’s and women’s apparel, stone sculptures, and wood carvings, and they have a fabulous textile department. The lighting leaves a lot to be desired, but the products speak for themselves.


On the left is a new favorite acquisition from Dilli Haat. I had to have it, as I had never seen this technique before. The shawl was dyed in two shades of coral, but what differentiates this piece is that the dyeing was executed in a zigzag pattern. After it was dyed, multiple hand-embroidered motifs in shades of navy, white, and gold were added. In the center of the shawl there is a single embroidered paisley motif that sits squarely on your back once the shawl is arranged around the shoulders. I have been stopped and complimented on this shawl on numerous occasions.

On the right we have a similar persimmony palette, but  this shawl is of a significantly higher quality—not necessarily more beautiful, but certainly more valuable. First of all, the base cloth is pure pashmina, and, second, the quality of of the embroidery is exquisite. It takes a year or longer to complete a shawl like this. The entire pattern on this beauty is created by tiny hand stitches in a variety of complimentary colors.


Here is a Ajit, my trusted shawl-walla at AhujaSons in Delhi.  This is my never-fail, favorite stop during any trip to India.  This image is from last year’s visit, and I own the two shawls on the left, and had to let the gorgeous one on the right go, hopefully to a deserving someone, somewhere. There are so many to choose from. Each of the muslin-wrapped packets behind Ajit holds a stack of shawls of varying colors, qualities, and techniques! So many shawls, so little time! I could spend a week in here and not see all of them.



This shade of green is really hard to come by, so this amazing piece was a bit of a no-brainer. It goes with almost anything, including my eyes! I love the oversized paisleys and the intricate border patterns.

Subtlety cannot be overrated. I generally get sucked in by the more vivid colors and patterns, but when I get home, I find myself looking for some simpler yet equally luxurious options. So this natural, undyed pashmina has become a go-to shawl. In fact, I am wearing it right now! I love the delicate, meandering, white-stitched vine pattern that covers the majority of the shawl. I look forward to sporting it with white linen and cotton dresses this summer. On my next visit to AhujaSons, I am going to look for a fabulous navy and a not-so-basic black!


Last but not least is this UNBELIEVABLE shawl. The color is definitely saturated and sassy, but it is delightfully toned down by all the stitching that covers the practically 90 percent of the shawl. This one is a showstopper. It’s also an Annie Stopper. I have been stopped by so many people, including many well-dressed Indians both here and there. Clearly, this one is in a class all its own, and I am so happy to have it as a  key piece in my growing collection of these works of textile art.



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Mary April 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I’m glad you wear these stunning pieces of “textile art” and don’t keep them folded away somewhere.

PS The “2 shades of coral” is my initial fave.

Jean Wethmar July 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Hi Andrea..
I sooo enjoyed your article from India.. the afternoon we visited Dilli Haat I was caught up with a group of young cricket talking boys! And alas, only got to buy one outfit and two pashminas! Nothing like yours either! I’ll HAVE to plan a return trip there one day! thanks for the memories! Jean Wethmar

Ramandeep Kaur August 16, 2017 at 7:03 am

Very nice article Annie! You have a very nice collection of beautiful pashmina shawls. The intricate designs and the hard work in creating these master pieces makes them a must have in the wardrobes. Just loved the post!!

Deepali Nainwal April 22, 2020 at 4:37 am

Lovely article Annie ! Looks like you have a beautiful collection of shawls. Also, checked your blogs in other categories and really like the content published !


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