When in Manali - get familiar with local stuff.
Angoora (rabbit wool) shawls. It's possible to see busy looms weaving away if you visit on week-days.
The finest of these shawls can easily pass through a finger-ring, and cost upwards of Rs 80,000.
One of the older factories at KulluThe shop at Naggar palace, where Subhash cheerfully shared secrets of the different varieties of shawls and cautioned "Take care to look for genuine local produce, not bulk items shipped up from factories in the nearest cities"
Another showroom on the way to Manikaran
The traditional headgear Manali native - of late, the sunglasses are part of the costume. Several ladies like Bimla carry a set of costumes including traditional jewellery for couples to try out. (Be wary - rates vary from Rs 10 in the late evenings to Rs 250 to the gullible non-native)We are dismal shoppers, but very happy to watch the items on offer, and gave in to some fascinating palate-ticklers at a cooperative outlet on the main street at Manali.Sun-dried apple - can be used along with other vegetable preparations, we were told.
Apple pickle - once I got over the taste of mustard oil that is a favourite in North India, I didn't mind the mildly sweet flavour.
Lingri pickle - Lingri is a fern variety and is a popular local vegetable. We initially saw only 1/2 kg bottles; at our third visit, the lad finally consented to part with smaller packs.
Handmade jute-and-wool footwear (Rs 60 a pair) Take a leisurely world tour here