Next time you are in Shantiniketan, hit up Alcha Shop. Tucked away in a palatial bungalow in Ratanpally, it is a haven for shopaholics and artists. You can browse through a variety of embroidered apparel, tribal jewellery, artsy home décor items and accessories, all handcrafted from locally available materials.
This Quaint Little Shop In Shantiniketan Is Handcrafted Paradise
What Makes It Awesome
Alcha employs a community of talented local craftsmen and weavers excelling in kantha embroidery, batik, tie dye, khesh (weaving with strips made from old saris), dokra (lost wax bronze casting), wood carving and wrought iron moulding. You will be amazed at how these artisans use every bit of the material available to them in imaginative ways (scraps of leftover fabric are used to make fridge magnets, for instance). Besides their endeavour to delight with each product, Alcha as a venture that supports 150 families in and around Shantiniketan.
The shopaholic in you will be spoilt for choice here. The store stocks a huge collection of kantha bags and batuas, block-printed and batik sarees, printed and embroidered blouse pieces, gamchha and khesh curtains, fabric ornaments and dokra jewellery, cutlery, lampshades, handmade soaps, coconut shell candles, woodwork showpieces, the list goes on, phew! We are loving their range of postcards and diaries made of handmade recycled paper, too.
Even if you are not in the mood to shop, you must visit Alcha for its rustic and relaxed charm. Upon entering you will be greeted by a big bough of bougainvillea marking the entrance to a compound wrapped in greenery. The store itself is a sight for tired eyes. Woven bamboo separators, an iron stand fashioned into a swirly tree, an abstract mannequin, wicker storage baskets and handloom curtains create an inviting aura.
Although the famous Alcha café that used to operate beside the store was discontinued years back, they still run a home-based food delivery service in Shantiniketan which (as per the local lore) is a must-try.