You can't ignore these 9 marvellous places for street shopping in Mumbai! by - Siya Gupta
Mumbai not only has the glamourous world of Bollywood, a striking cityscape and architectural wonders but also houses infamous shopping streets. Bombay’s bazaars have a wide array of things to offer, and when I say ‘wide,’ I mean it: from clothes to bangles, from toys to books, from watches to typewriters and from mats to even drones. So, to help you find your way through the crowds and chaos, I decided to list 9 incredible places for street shopping in Mumbai.
I can describe the streets of Mumbai with one simple Hindi phrase. This phrase, commonly heard by the sellers in the markets of Mumbai, is “Sab kuch milega”, which means “You will get everything you ask for.” If you are a shopaholic, Mumbai is your Wonderland. In its lively streets, shopkeepers bargaining at the top of their voices and the tinkling sound of bangles mixed with the smell of sweat and local food creates a lovely atmosphere. Nonetheless, for me, it is not the fascination to shop; I enjoy the youthful ambiance, the aroma of the street side pav bhaji, and the mingling of different cultures. Every place has its specialties, so let’s dive into the shopping districts of Mumbai!
So here are 9 incredible places for street shopping in Mumbai!
1. Linking Road Mumbai
Linking Road in Bandra is a blend of expensive and affordable, with brand outlets as well as local stalls. Majorly draped with feminine products, you will find both traditional and modern clothes here. It is particularly known for its footwear, said to be comparable to branded ones, sold at an inexpensive price. Scarves, cosmetics, trinkets, purses and embroidered bags are also found here. The shops are grouped according to the type of goods that they sell, so explore the entire area before setting your mind on something. The shops open up at 11 am and are bustling with a browsing and bargaining crowd till 9 pm. Linking Road in Bandra is a perfect place to grab hold of all the trendy accessories that you want!
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: Bandra
NOTE: Don’t hesitate to bargain! Apply the Indian Shopping Rule: Bring it down to half the quoted price.
image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_XK2qJAXfD/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
2. Colaba Causeway Market: The Culture Square
Colaba Causeway, with its metropolitan pizazz, is the perfect place to jostle, haggle and return laden with shopping bags and calories. Close to the renowned Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway Market brings forth a range of thrifty offerings- statement jewelry, chic clothes, and lip-smacking street food. A famous place to refresh you after a day of pushing through locals, backpackers, and college girls buying plastic earrings is Cafe Mondegar, one of the oldest Iranian restaurants in Mumbai. The café is known for its interior design because the famous Indian cartoonist Mario Miranda has painted the murals on all the inner walls.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: CST/Churchgate
Do you want to read about a similar bazaar during our trip to Istanbul? Read our blog post now.
image source: https://www.instagram.com/madhura.ap/
3. Chor Bazaar: The Thieves’ Market
Considered to be the largest flea market in India, Chor Bazaar is around 150 years old. Initially called ‘Shor Bazaar’ in Hindi, or ‘Noisy Market’, it was mispronounced by the British till it started to be known as ‘Chor Bazaar’ or ‘Thieves’ Market’, eventually living up to its name by a developed practice of selling stolen goods. Beware of pickpockets here. According to a popular legend, if you lose anything in Mumbai, you can buy it back at the Chor Bazaar!
In modern times though, the reputation of the market has changed and mostly secondhand goods are sold here instead of stolen ones. Particularly famous for antique goods, you can buy gramophones, typewriters, trinkets, lamps, handicrafts and authentic Victorian furniture. True, an antique typewriter would surely be an amazing souvenir! Buying a retro Bollywood poster from one of the shops is a must! Many shops here sell beautiful bronze statues of Hindu gods and goddesses. Checking out exquisite mats is a must too! Chor Bazaar is easily one of the best places in Mumbai for shopping.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: Grant Road Station
image source: https://www.instagram.com/sanketsjoshi/
4. Crawford Market: The Labyrinth of Shops
When it comes to street shopping in Mumbai, you cannot miss this! Spanning around 72000 square yards, the iconic Crawford Market has everything under the sun: fruits, flowers, sauces, spices, tea, pasta, exotic dry fruits, chocolates, cheeses, oils and all kinds of cookies from around the world. Containing a large whiff of British Bombay, it is prominent for its Norman and Flemish styles of architecture, retaining elements of the old world charm. Built in 1871, the building was designed by Lockwood Kipling, the father of Rudyard Kipling, and was the first building in India to be lit by electricity. The vibrant market also has side stalls selling pets and birds. Before Diwali and Christmas, the market is adorned by candles, balloons and other decorative stuff, making it quite magnificent in all its chaos.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: CST
NOTE: Crawford market remains closed on Mondays.
5. Dharavi Leather Market: Where to seek for hide?
Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia, also happens to be known for its leather market that provides high-quality leather supplies. Dharavi, spread over an area of 2 square kilometres, has a population of over seven hundred thousand people. It has a low rise building style and a narrow street structure which make the area very cramped and confined. The Oscar-winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was shot here. That being said, Dharavi is also a thriving hub of disorganized small scale industries like leather and waste recycling and exports goods around the world, with an annual turnover of around 1 billion dollars. This is a perfect place for street shopping in Mumbai if you want to explore the true culture of the area!
The market here offers pocket-friendly options to real regal stuff. Bags, slings, jackets, shoes, wallets, belts, all leather accessories are available in top-grain, suede, bonded or any other type of leather one can name at almost one-fourth of your normal price. Some tourists carry back gifts for their entire family bought from here! You can ask around for 90 Feet Road in Dharavi, which has many workshops, where items can be bought at an even cheaper price.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: Sion
6. Fashion Street: the name itself is a title, what else do you need?
Fashion Street, like the Colaba Causeway, is where you will find high-quality garments in various sizes dumped unceremoniously in petty stalls. Spread across a few blocks lined with around a hundred shops, this is the place you go to buy a pair of expensive-looking jeans bought at throwaway prices. One important thing to keep in mind is you have to know your size because there is no way of trying on clothes here.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: CST/ Churchgate
7. Lamington Road: The Techie Haven
This busy thoroughfare in South Mumbai is a one-stop solution to all your tech needs. The street offers every IT related product, from the cheapest laptops and mobile phones to remote controls, robotic kits and motors. With around 200 shops, this street is simultaneously famous for its specialized technical tools which are not readily available online and infamous for selling ‘first copies’, or unauthorized versions of branded products. An exciting saying is that you can build an airplane out of the things available at Lamington Road.
A student looking for a part required for his science project, an old person searching to repair their TV whose company shut down a long time ago or a wandering tourist with a keen interest in electronics: if you happen to be any one of these, Lamington Road is one of the best places for shopping for you.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: GRANT ROAD
NOTE: Thoroughly check your product before buying it. Prefer ones with a warranty given by the shop.
8. Fort: The Reader’s Paradise
The five-way intersection around the Flora Fountain is for bibliophiles what Linking Road is to fashion freaks. The street has numerous shops with literal walls of English and Hindi books stacked one upon the other. Be it a recent YA novel or a copy of a classic; you can get your hands on anything here with the help of the shopkeepers. These shopkeepers have a piece of surprisingly deep knowledge about books and will recommend the perfect read according to your taste. The most phenomenal thing about Fort is the extremely low prices of books, where a rare edition worth 2000 rupees can be bought for as low as 350 rupees. Shops even let you return the books with a 75% return of price. At some of these stalls, books are sold at a price per kg!
So if flipping through second-hand books and caressing the letters on a hardcover is more of your thing than choosing between two bangles and arguing over the price of a pair of heels, Fort is the right place for you.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: Churchgate Station
TIP: When exhausted from shopping, try spicy Mumbai street food like Vada Pav or drink a refreshing glass of sweet lime or sugarcane juice!
9. Kala Ghoda: The Talent Street
You cannot miss street shopping in Mumbai, especially when you are during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Mostly famous for the huge art festival happening here in February, the pavements around the Kala Ghoda area resemble an aesthetic outdoor art gallery on a normal day. A riot of colors can be seen at the stall of the artists selling paintings and other artworks. Buying yourself a souvenir sketch and strolling around appreciating the colonial architecture will be a perfect end to your hectic shopping spree.
NEAREST LOCAL RAILWAY STATION: Churchgate
A day of shopping in Mumbai is like running a marathon: often too long and too exhausting. The do’s and don’ts thus should be clear! Wear comfortable footwear because you will have to walk and use local transport (finding a parking spot is close to impossible). Remember to be charming with the shopkeepers and be shrewd while inspecting goods. And always keep an eye on your own belongings, the pickpockets are everywhere. Nevertheless, once arriving home from this exhausting experience, you can have bought the most amazing things without feeling guilty. Pocket-friendly and culture-tasting are the keywords of the Mumbai street shopping experience!