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Shopping in Mumbai

Mumbai's streets, corners and pavements are lined with shops and virtually anything you want is available in parts of its famous bazaars and markets. Shopping in Mumbai was a magnificient experience where one will get an opportunity to know about the city. In Mumbai's retail stores, you'll find interesting cotton dhurries (rugs), Maharashtrian brasswork, blackwood furniture, Rajasthani dolls, block-printed bedcovers and hand-made, environmentally friendly paper. Keep your eyes peeled for textiles decorated with the distinctive Warli tribal designs. Indian leatherwork is made from buffalo-hide, camel or goat. The centre of Mumbai's noxious leather industry is in Dharavi, where goods sell for half the price they do in slick city centre stores. With a bit of sifting, you can also pick up decent belts and wallets from the stalls along Dr D Naoroji Rd. It's still worth a stroll along Dhabu St in Kalbadevi, though it's not the centre for cheap leather goods that it once was.

Shopping in Mumbai is a memorable experience as one wanders through its Bazaars with striking names like Chor Bazar, Mutton Street and Zaveri Bazar. Shopping in Mumbai can be anyway one likes - air-conditioned and fixed price, or street market and lots of hard bargaining.

Chor Bazaar


It is believed that the original name of Chor Bazaar was shor Bazaar or the Noisy Market, that aptly described the yelling and shouting of the local traders on Mutton Street while selling their second hand house hold goods. Today, it is a hustling bustling market selling an eclectic range of new and old furniture and bric-a-brac.The phenomenal collection of antiques, jewellery, wooden articles, leatherware and general bric-a-brac at Chor Bazaar is really amazing. Mutton St in Chor Bazaar specialises in antiques, ingenious reproductions and miscellaneous junk. This is the place where one can find curios and most of the wanted items at prices, which seem so unreal. Don't be carried away with its name. It is a good place to see many unusual goods on sale.

Crawford Market

Crawford market is famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish. The place is worth capturing on camera. Crawford Market was named after the city's municipal commissioner Arthur Crawford. Cowasji Jehangir donated the building, completed in 1869, to the city. Lockwood Kipling designed the friezes on the outside walls and the stone fountains inside. It was the main wholesale market for fruits in Bombay until March 1996, when the wholesale traders were relocated to New Bombay. Built in Norman Gothic style, it provides an elegant covered shopping experience dominating the skyline with its clock tower and steeple, with cavernous spaces inside, where one can buy fruits, vegetables and meat under a single roof. It is now rechristened as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market.

Zaveri Bazaar

Zaveri Bazaar is the main retail centers for gold and diamonds, and nearby Pydhoni for silver. It had excellent Jewellery that was upto the mark and had international quality. There's plenty of shiny stuff available. It ranges from simple glass bangles and classical necklaces to the kind of ornate folk art and elaborate costume jewellery that requires strong neck muscles and the poise of a princess to wear. If you are more interested in decorative items than counting carats, there's wide selection of jewellary in the market opposite the Novelty Cinema on Grant Rd, bangles glone in the markets of Bhuleshwar and a small smattering of street vendors selling so-so jewellary along Colaba Causeway. At the other end of the scale, there's cluster of upmarket boutiques in Om Chambers at Kemp's Corner and a series of showrooms on Hughes Rd., just behind Chowpatty Beach. Islamic attar (essential oil) perfume shops are found scattered along Mohammed Ali Rd, clustered in Bhendi, Null and Zaveri Bazaars.

Colaba and Flora Fountain

Colaba and Flora Fountain (Hutatama Chowk) in the heart of South Mumbai is famous for ethnic artifacts and departmental stores. There's a large number of fairly mediocre shoe stores lining Colaba Causeway. For a much better selection try the stores clustered around Kemp's Corner or the huge number of shoe stalls lining Linking Rd between Bandra and Khar. You can get everything from Kolhapuri chappals and loafers to high-heeled sneakers and white steel-tipped cowboy boots. In Colaba, small antique and curio shops line Mereweather Rd behind theTaj Mahal Hotel and spillover into nearby Battery St. Prices are not exactly cheap but there's some interesting items ranging from bronze figurines to silver cigarette cases, and the quality of the handicraft artefacts on offer is certainly one step up from the government emporiums.

Fashion Street

The street is frequented by people for cheap clothes. Kemps Corner, Warden Road, Breach Candy and Napean Sea Road are the ideal places for glamorous, trendy and costly items. There's a cluster of hip boutiques on Bhulabhai Desai Rd at Kemp's Corner, wedged between the flyover and the junction with Nepean Sea Rd. Pieces by Indian designers sell here for half the price of off-the shelf gear back home. The clothes are trendy and western oriented, but with a healthy dash of local style thrown in.

Bandra

Bandra, the so-called Queen of Suburbs, is the residential abode of the's who of Mumbai, film stars, industrialists and the likes. Linking Road joins Bandra to Khar and is lined up on both sides with showrooms for the elite. Bandra's Linking Rd is worth a stroll, though the clothes here tend to be familiar western labels rather than innovative local designs.

Hutatma Chowk

Hutatma Chowk Formerly known as Flora Fountain. This is the business centre of Mumbai, surrounded by offices, banks, colleges and shops.

Mumbai Nightlife

Mumbai has a good nightlife. At night, dozens of nightspots become packed with dancers moving to the beats of Western music. Rhythms tend to be modern western dance music with the Hindi film song or bhangra (Indian Pop) number thrown in. Dancing is conducted with a degree of modesty and asking a complete stranger for a twirl is considered a breach of social etiquette. Nightlife of Mumbai represents the hope, zeal and energy of this dynamic and vibrant city. It has bars and clubs to suit everyones taste. Most pubs and discos close by 1 am, but a few stay open all night. Nightlife in Mumbai provides an enthralling experience.

Weather

Winter

In Mumbai extends from mid-October to the end of February. The thermometer invariably peaks around 33o C, the sky is clear and the humidity bearable. Winter nights are temperate rather than muggy.

Summer

lasts from March through to mid-June and Mumbai is very hot and humid at this time. Monsoon lasts from mid-June to mid-October. Getting around can be a problem since flooding and transport failures are common; boats to Elephanta Island do not operate on stormy days. The big advantage of the monsoon is the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, which takes during late August and early September.

Best time to visit

Mumbai can be visited any time of the year, though the hot and humid months of June, July and August are best avoided. Budget and mid-range accommodation becomes hard to find and process occasionally rise between mid-December and early January as thousands of backpackers pass through on their way to and from Christmas celebration in Goa.

How to Reach Mumbai

Air :

Mumbai's International Airport is at Sahara (30 kms) & Domestic Airport is at Santacruz (26 kms). Most of the International Airlines, Indian Airlines, & many other private airline touch Mumbai & connect it with the major cities of India and abroad. Sahara International Airport is an important point of entry for many foreign airlines, and nearby Santa Cruz Airport serves domestic flights. Mumbai handles about 60% of the international and nearly 40% of the domestic air traffic in India.

Rail :

Mumbai (Bombay) is the railhead for the Western and Central Railways, and trains from the city carry goods and passengers to all parts of India. Intra city trains in Mumbai are very good, and are the fastest and cheapest way to move around in Mumbai. Two suburban electric train systems provide the main public transportation and they daily convey hundreds of thousands of commuters in the metropolitan region.

Road :

Mumbai (Bombay) is well connected by a network of roads to the rest of India. Intra city bus services are also very good.