Shopping with a Conscience

By India Guide

Ahmedabad offers some innovative gift and souvenir options for those interested in eco-friendly products that support the local economy. Explore the following venues for goods that are gentler on the environment and help sustain artisans and other communities. 

Kalam Khush 
As part of Gandhiji’s movement to promote cottage industries, he introduced a paper-making unit in Gandhi Ashram. When the initiative outgrew the space, they established the Kalam Khush trust, set up by the hands of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in 1956, which today continues to transform waste fabric scraps into beautiful handmade paper as a means of livelihood. The paper is often accented with flower petals, silk threads and leaves or then dyed. (The dyes are chemical colors, so for the most eco-friendly option go with the shades of white). You can tour the facilities, with prior permission, to watch the process and purchase a variety of handmade paper products, including a selection of journals. You can also choose from their sheets of paper in a variety of colors and thicknesses and make your own diary. Kalam Khush is Opp Morarji Desai Samadhi, Nr Gandhi Ashram, Ashram Rd.

Manav Sadhna
Less than a ten minute walk from Kalam Khush, you can visit Manav Sadhna, a non-profit based in the Gandhi Ashram, which has been working for almost two decades with the humble mission to Love all, Serve all. In response to harsh child labor, they run the Earn N Learn Project, where children are taught paper cutting as an alternative to boot polishing, vending wares, working at roadside stalls, etc. The children work for a few hours every day in a safe environment to help supplement their family’s income and spend the rest of their day at school. A wide selection of eco-friendly handmade paper cards made by the children is available at the small shop on the campus. They also carry journals, bags (including ones made from recycled newspaper), and an assortment of other goodies. Manav Sadhna is located inside the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram. For more information visit .  

Asal is an organic food and natural product store with a range of healthcare, fabrics, utensils and food products, produced manually according to Ayurvedic principles and traditional techniques which do not require fossil fuels. As well as the manufacturing process the shop itself contributes to conserving the environment; it runs without electricity, using limestone plaster and mud floors to keep the temperature pleasant through the year. It is a great place to purchase perfume oils, sharbats (fruit syrups which are diluted with water and served as cooling drinks during summer) as well as everyday food items such as rice, sugar and pulses. Asal also sells block printed fabrics made with natural dyes and cloth bags to use for shopping. Asal is located at 5 Tejpal Society, Nr Fatehnagar Bus Stand, Off Muktijivan Bhandar Rd, Paldi, 079 26622020.

Bodyshine, an Organic Ayurvedic range of body essentials
Bodyshine prepares a wide selection of natural beauty products for the skin, hair and body using Ayurvedic ingredients and recipes. The company was set up around ten years ago by Mamta Shah, a microbiologist with a passion for Ayurveda and natural products. She has developed each moisturizer, hair oil, shampoo, soap and lip gloss based on its capacity to improve the health of our skin and without using chemicals, colors or preservatives. Ingredients are sourced from natural farmers and manually processed at the production studio in Ahmedabad, retaining the intrinsic beneficial qualities of each ingredient as well as providing employment opportunities to the wider community. You can pick up any of the Bodyshine products at House of MG, Opp Siddi Saiyed Mosque, Lal Darwaza or for more information visit

A colorful treasure trove of fabrics, Gamthiwala is a textile shop based in the heart of city that has been dealing in a variety of handwoven, block printed and dyed fabrics for more than four generations. The charismatic Noor Mohammed Haji Abdul Rahim and his family are dedicated to preserving the quality of traditional textile handicrafts and are always ready to impart knowledge to anyone who wants to learn more. Though the shop has a wide range of fabrics, they offer a stock of beautiful natural and vegetable- dyed block-printed fabrics that are great to design into apparel, home furnishings or bags. Visit the Shop at Rani No Hajiro, Manek Chowk. 

Posted on: Jun 06, 2011


  • Ruju

    'Aura' is a company which dyes all of their fabrics naturally with herbs. Their factory is located in Narol and they plan to start an online retail store soon.
  • Tailynn

    Shoot, who would have tuhoght that it was that easy?

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