To protect India’s cultural heritage, the export of certain antiques is prohibited – especially the export of those that are verifiably more than 100 years old. Reputable antique dealers know the laws and can make arrangements for an export-clearance certificate for old items that are OK to export. Detailed information on prohibited items can be found on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) website (http://asi.nic.in).
The Indian Wildlife Protection Act bans any form of wildlife trade. Don’t buy any product that endangers threatened species and habitats – doing so can result in heavy fines and even imprisonment. Banned items include ivory; shahtoosh shawls, which are made from the down of chirus (rare Tibetan antelopes); and anything made from the fur, skin, horns or shell of any endangered species. Products made from certain rare plants are also banned.