To Shop the Streets of Mumbai can be confusing to those new to the city but memorable and rewarding at the same time. Mumbai’s streets, corners and pavements are lined with shops and virtually everything is available in it’s bazaars and markets. Here are the specialties of some of the main shopping streets and areas of Mumbai and do read my ‘Shopping the Streets of Mumbai’ post for Tips & Tricks to street shopping in Mumbai.
One of the busiest shopping areas in south Mumbai is Colaba Causeway, home to everyone, from backpackers seeking nirvana, briskly efficient Far Eastern airline crews out to get the best bargains, to price-conscious housewives who know it is a good place to find shoes, cotton clothes, caftans, and children’s clothes. There are shoe shops galore all along Colaba Causeway: should one want authentic Maharashtrian Kolhapuri chappals, there are any number of stalls selling them in the little streets off Colaba Causeway, opposite Cusrow Bagh Parsi Colony. This market is located at a walking distance from Bombay VT and Churchgate railway stations. You’ll get wonderful faux jewelry here in brass, terracotta and silver for no more than US$ 2 apiece and lots of ethnic artifacts. Barring the Government emporia or some of the elegant boutiques, nobody will raise an icy eyebrow if you haggle.
For shirts, tee-shirts and wonderful cotton clothes for children, all at rock-bottom prices, visit Fashion Street, a street market opposite one of Mumbai’s smartest clubs, the Bombay Gymkhana, but known to everyone as the Bombay Gym. Fashion Street stacks export rejects, and export ‘over runs’, often at knockdown prices.With clothes keeping up with the latest market craze, fashion street is always flanked by college goers and enthusiastic shoppers. The clothes and garments found here are trendy, amazingly cheap and mostly of a good quality. Fashion Street is a paradise for bargain-shoppers.
Crawford market, between the once British Fort and a local town has traces of both, with a bas relief that depicts Indian farmers in the wheat field, just above the main entrance. The fresco of the Crawford market was designed by Lockyard Kipling, father of the renowned writer Rudyard Kipling. Crawford Market is famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish along with a whole lot of imported food stuff that are difficult to find elsewhere in India. It also has a wide range of fabric shops and decoration shops. The color and vibrancy of this market is something you will want to capture with your camera.
For more off-beat souvenirs, go to Chor Bazaar, the literal meaning of which is ‘Thieves’ Market’. It’s the ideal place for bargain hungry buyers and antique lovers. Chor Bazaar has everything, from the genuine bargain to downright mass-produced junk. One can find brass ware and copper galore, a profusion of pots, jugs, boxes, kettles, vases, and cups; old wooden blocks used for fabric printing that make good paperweights; beautiful old glass lamps; cast-iron café-style tables and chairs, perfect for a terrace or garden; superbly carved Gujarati dowry chests; round, wooden millstone bases, easily converted into coffee tables, and delightfully scented camphor chests…the list is endless.You need to be really alert to save yourself from being easily hoodwinked by the street smart sellers here.
For silver, the best place to go is Zaveri Bazaar. There are stacks of lovely things to be found in Zaveri Bazaar: old, heavy jewelry as well as newer, lighter styles, pretty little coasters, statues of animals, old coins, napkin rings, ornately worked picture frames, and boxes galore. But, just be careful about the prices and do not forget to bargain. In-fact before buying do compare the prices with other shops.
Bandra: Linking Road
Bandra is the residential abode of Mumbai’s elites,film stars, industrialists and the likes. Linking Road joins Bandra to Khar and is lined up on both sides with showrooms for the affluent. But the striking contest here is the pavement selling, a world of contrast from a posh showroom. Linking road is popular with local street shopping for Shoes, bags, fake jewelry, clothing and lots more. The amusing thing is that most of them sell replicas of same things sold by the posh shops they stand in front of and lure hoards of shoppers. There is usually a mad rush in the evening that even causes traffic jams in the area so the best time to shop peacefully there is in the morning or afternoon.