Mahabaleshwar holds memories of spending summer holidays in the back of beyond Government guest house , the huge stone structure with a hundred steep steps, high ceilings, spooky bathrooms and huge verandahs surrounded by mist. The days were spent walking through thick woods from point to point, making the obligatory trip to the market to buy the daily provisions and of course seeing the monkey show, the magic show , the visit to the strawberry fields, being stranded in the middle of the lake and of course to the temple in Old Mahabaleshwar. So I was quite surprised when I found that several fashionable women of Mumbai and Pune religiously made their way to Pallod a saree shop.
I was in Pune earlier this week where I had gone to buy sarees. Honestly now many people from Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore or even Chennai will say I’m nuts but honestly, I feel that the best sarees are available in Pune. Perhaps my parents staying there has something to do with it but I truly feel that Pune truly has a wide range of sarees available to suit every customer.
While Mumbai’s sarees are a mixture of the high end couture ones and the absolute low end whole sale ones, Chennai and Bangalore specialise in silk especially the traditional handwoven silks. Delhi concentrates on the Benarasis, chiffons,, block prints and handlooms with the obligatory haute couture bridals.
Which brings me to my original premise that Pune is really the best place to buy sarees. A trip to any shop in Laxmi Road especially Pratibha or Peshwai ( off Kumthekar Chowk) will set you back by a few thousand rupees as it is hardly likely that you will come away without making any purchase. Traditional weaves in cotton and silk mix like Maheshwari and Chanderi in brilliant colours and modern designs, traditional cottons and silks from Andhra Pradesh and Coimbatore, hand woven silks from the south are the perfect gifts for weddings.
But the place where I really struck gold was at Pallod an off shoot of Pallod of Mahabaleshwar. Situated on Bhandarkar Road. this spacious shop has sarees to suit every taste and every budget. At first it is a bit difficult to get exactly what you want but once your salesman has gauged your preferences, he leaves no stone unturned to find what you want.
So if you have any wedding shopping to do – you had best make your way to Pallod.