Laxmi Road situated in the heart of Pune is the fabric centre of the city. Sarees, menswear, kids clothes, fabrics of all varieties and cost are available here. Though the city is rapidly growing in all directions Laxmi Road remains the ulitmate solution for many clothing needs. Saree shopping in particular is unmatched in this area. Despite many upscale retail outlets sprouting up in many areas, Laxmi Road is the place to go for uniforms, books, rainwear, plastics, raw materials for arts and crafts etc.
Appa Balwant Chowk (lovingly called ABC) located a stone's throw from 'LR' is populated only with book stores and those too of the academic kind! So for all engineering, medical, law, entrance tests, school or anything else under the sun, head to ABC. Avoid Sundays as many stores remain closed going against the usual city custom of Monday closed. Mondays too are avoidable as one then cannot club the trip with other shopping.
What is the need to club, you may well ask? Pune traffic being what it is reaching Laxmi Road can be a harrowing experience irrespective of weather you are on 4/3/2 wheels. To say parking is a nightmare is an understatment.
On my visit last evening, Laxmi Road was in its full glory. It seemed as if all of Pune had descended on this one square kilometer. Traffic was choc-a-bloc, there was no space to walk as the footpaths were full of hawkers, two wheelers and what not. The seething mass of humanity seemed to be all hurrying from one shop to another. Be it the jeweller or the new-style garment stores, toy shops or the road side thelawala, all did bustling business. Laxmi Road certainly showed no signs of the much talked of inflation and consequent affect of people spending powers.
I gave up trying to enter the famed 'Tulsibag' a small shopping cluster located in the maze of bylanes. Yet the place is full of exclusive stuff so dear to Marathi households that items from there find their way on the shopping lists for NRIs to take to far away lands.
Laxmi Road does not have many places in terms of food joints to recharge tired limbs though there are many tiny outlets selling fast foods. The best idea is the go the Deccan Gymkhana and recoup at the many excellent cafe's there.
Its these crowds that are the very soul of Laxmi Road, go there on a weekday morning and you will not recognise the place to be the same.
Laxmi Road has a special charm, something exclusive to offer each time I visit. Any number of malls may come up in Pune, yet Punekars cannot do without Laxmi Road! Me a confirmed shop-o-holic can vouch for it!