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When you step through the door of the Galerie Indra warehouse, you enter another world, redolent with the exotic atmosphere of the East. The subtle fragrances of jasmine and patchouli blend with the hushed tones of sitar and tabla.

A storehouse of the antique and contemporary India greets the visitor, conjuring visions of an old-time Indian merchant go down along the camel caravan trade routes. Old brass teapots sit on elaborately carved pittara dowry chests. Old iron, brass and ceramic urns perch atop almirah armoires. Hand-carved deity figures, from six inches to six feet, peek around every corner. Old printing blocks fill a heavy, embellished iron chest on wheels. An elaborate trellised wedding cart waits to carry a rich and hopeful bride to another life...

Antique furniture and stunning artefacts from India fill every inch of the 5000 square foot premises, whose clientele includes major museums and art galleries across Canada. Most visitors can easily spend an afternoon browsing through the ever-changing inventory. You will find here an intriguing array of hand-crafted paper products, unique tribal style jewellery, inlaid jewelled boxes, scented oils and candles - and much more! The rich textile collection allows one to adorn the Western home, and person, with the traditional designs of Indian tribal embroidery. Silken pillow slips and bolsters, magnificent wall hangings, mirrored bags, jangling cloth anklets and spill over the shelves, beside clusters of festive oddities such as camel trappings, antique fans and head coverings for the ubiquitous sacred cow.

All this has led more than one visitor to say it is like "walking straight into Ali Baba's cave". Despite the cultural error, the exclamation is apt. One can't list every treasure - rustic wood camel bells, architectural fragments, old wood casement windows, low pida chairs, iron well pots - time and paper are precious. The best way to get an idea of the showroom and warehouse is, of course, to visit! And unlike Ali Baba, we have regular hours.


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