You said in chat that the colleagues you want to give gifts to report to you as their senior.
I live in South-India. I asked a Hindu friend about this. He lives in Bangalore, Karnataka and is retired. His career was in the financial sector in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The business culture is very similar between those cities.
He says that it's quite appropriate for you to give gifts to your team.
He recommends you give them sweets. You can go to a confectionery shop and buy these neatly wrapped boxes of Indian sweets.
User @AnkitSharma, who lives in Bangalore has provided some details in chat. He says that many items contain milk, so hygiene and quality are important. He recommends that you go for a known store. Typically there are larger chain stores that are known for hygiene and quality. For example, Sri Krishna Sweets, Anand Sweets and Kanti sweets. As per @AnkitSharma's suggestion, you may want to be careful with smaller vendors. Also, boxes don't need to be produced locally, you can get factory-sealed branded boxes. Also, dried fruits, nuts and chocolates are also good options.
Image attribution, fair use.
One of my friend's relatives suggested books. They are quite cheap in India, and they are more lasting than sweets. It depends on whether you know what sort of books your colleagues might like, though.
He also said that owners of businesses typically give more expensive gifts to their employees (like smartphones, etc.) but that wouldn't apply to you since you're just a manager who is visiting temporarily and you're not (correct me if I'm wrong) the owner of the business either. So cheaper items seem like the way to go.
My attempt to find out if I should get something was rebuffed with
roughly "no no, you don't need to, you're from Europe and not a
While it's true that you'd probably be excused for not giving something (on the basis that you're a foreigner) it would still be quite appropirate for you to give something. In India it's very much appreciated when foreigners participate in local traditions.
However, the way it was said made me think it might be a "you don't
need to, but you might want to, and we're too polite to explain
Spot on. Politeness is a big thing here, and especially towards people of senior rank. This certainly sounds like they were just being very polite (as is normal here) and didn't want to risk sounding like they were trying to solicit gifts.
My advice: Get some nicely wrapped sweets, nuts, dried fruits or chocolates for your team. An individual box for each person wouldn't be a bad idea. They don't have to be expensive, 200-300 INR a piece would be alright. Where I live (town in Tamil Nadu) you can get a decent box of sweets for that price, but it might be more expensive in Bangalore. Books and similar cheap items would also be appropriate.