Mumbai Shopping: 16 Ideas for Travelers

Mumbai Shopping: 16 Ideas for Travelers

In India, a foreigner can't get far without insider knowledge, whether it's for souvenir shopping or something else. Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is by far the most popular and the largest of Indian cities, teeming with a plethora of things representative of India's millenia-long heritage. To decide what is suited as a gift and, most importantly, how to strike a bargain, check out this shortlist of items drawn up by knowledgeable locals.
Image Courtesy of: Rahul de Cunha

1. Traditional Embroidery Work

Enticing and exotic. This is how the famous embroidery of the Land of Shivaji should be described. Maharashtra has a vast cultural heritage and a vibrant spirit which never dies. Its embroideries earned their fame because of the versatility and complexity of designs created by skillful artisans. There is no such thing as too many colors for the Indian embroiderer. Along history, embroidery has been used to adorn everything, from simple handkerchiefs to royal attires. Among the things that distinguish Indian embroidery from Western works is that the Indians use only natural color for dying and various stitches, most popular being the Holbein, wave and cross stitches. Today, applications of this art can be seen on all possible items, such as stoles, purses, sarees, bed covers and cushions, and even footwear.
Shrujan is a non-profit organization which carries intricate embroidery, work of women of more than a hundred villages in the area. The sophisticated clothing, wall hangings and purses created by them make truly exquisite gifts.
Where to find it:
Shrujan
38, Sagar Villa, Opposite Navroze Apt, Haji Ali, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai - 400026, India
Phone: 26183104 / 23521693
shrujan.org
Hours: 10am-7pm Mon-Sat

Linking Road, Bandra (starts from Waterfield Road intersection).
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

2. Leather Goods (Purses, Wallets with Traditional Motifs)

Leather Goods (Purses, Wallets with Traditional Motifs)
Nowadays, India is the largest livestock company and a source for 10% of the world's leather requirement. Apparently things have always been this way, as India has a very rich history when it comes to leather tanning, dating back as far as the year 3000 BC. Throughout millennia, Indians have developed indigenous techniques of working with leather, mainly for the manufacture of footwear and hand bags. Usually, each product comes in various designs of traditional embroidery, brocade and bead-work. Special textiles in bright and unique designs are used. Being the capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai is especially famous for its kholapuri chappals, which are soft and very comfortable to wear. Besides comfy sandals, other leather items such as purses, wallets, belts and bags are also available in great supply. Silk and gold threads, along with metal embroidery and silk are used to give all leather goods an authentic traditional touch. You can buy just about anything in the dense bazaars north of the Fort. The most recommended, however, is Dhabu Street, where an array of local artisans exhibit their unique leather creations on a daily basis.
Where to find it:
Mangaldas Market
Address: Janjikar Street, Lohar Chawl, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Linking Road, Bandra (starts from Waterfield Road intersection).
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

3. Incense and Perfume Oils

Incense and Perfume Oils
Image Courtesy of: Tomas Barrios
Flavor and fragrance have been vital features of the Indian lifestyle throughout centuries. Ancient Indian literature - the Vedas or Ayurvedic texts, such as Charaka Samhita or “Gandhshastra”-(also known as the science of odor) talk about many uses and applications of essential oils, perfumes and incenses. Using flowers and herbs native to the Indian subcontinent, Indian perfume oil makers create unique fragrances combining jasmine, patchouli, rose, saffron, camphor, nutmeg or sandalwood. The oldest distillation method is commonly referred to as the “Bhbhaka method” where plants are boiled in water and the vapor generated is condensed to create the intriguing mixture of water and essential oil. Because of its lower density, the oil floats on the water surface and can be easily isolated. An interesting story says that queen Noorjahan, the wife of emperor Shahjahn, was fond of taking baths filled with rose petals. One day she noticed, as the sunlight fell on her skin, an oily portion on the surface of the water and when she touched, it smelled like roses. She then asked the scientists of the period to think of a way to collect the oily liquid so it could be worn as a perfume.
Indians use perfumes and essential oils for scenting rooms, perfuming the body, and for rituals, such as worshiping of gods or marriages. Inshaallah Mashaallah is the right place for your acquisition of local oils and perfumes in antediluvian bottles.

Price: A bottle of rose oil (12 ml) is sold for Rs250 (~$5).
Where to find it:
Inshaallah Mashaallah
Address: Mundigar Building, Best Marg, Opposite Electric House, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Transport: Churchgate
Phone: +91 22 2204 9495 ‎
Hours: 10.30am-8pm

Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway, Colaba, south Mumbai.
Daily from morning until night.

4. Jewelry

Jewelry
Image Courtesy of: The ChainMaille Lady Ande
It is difficult to picture an Indian woman without a piece of jewelry adorning her. India is a country of color, light, glitter. Not only the affluent class wears ornaments, all Indians are equally passionate about this beauty caught in the sparkle of a precious stone, in the unique curve of a golden bracelet or silver bangle. Rubies, emeralds, amethysts, sapphires, turquoises and even corals are used abundantly, although most popular of all is, of course, gold, a symbol of status and good fortune. The jewelry-making art has especially flourished in the Mughal period, although India's entire history is a faithful witness of the skills of the Indian jewelers. A special attention received the tradition of wedding jewelry, designed to accentuate the beauty of the bride and the solemnity of the ceremony. During the wedding rituals, the bride must wear an ivory bangle, received as a gift from her family. Other jewelry arts, such as Meenakari, Kundan, Jadau and Navratna, are also popular - often times believed to protect the person who wear them, bring good luck and prosperity.
Buy gemstone jewelries, India's favorite, and give them to someone truly special. It's a great way of being remembered by.

Price: Bargaining is a must when purchasing jewelry, but expect prices to run from Rs 250 upwards.
Where to find it:
Popli & Sons
Battery St (behind Regal Cinema, next to Gordon House Hotel), Colaba, Mumbai, MH, India +91 22 2202 1694 ‎

Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway, Colaba, south Mumbai.
Daily from morning until night.

5. Lampshades

Lampshades
Image Courtesy of: Mikhail Esteves
As you already know, it's all about the atmosphere. Re-create an Indian afternoon and its magic by adding a special touch to your home décor. Or better yet, bring a beautiful Indian lampshade as a gift for your friends and enjoy its soft, romantic light whenever you visit.
This traditional handicraft has been successfully combined with modern creativity, the lampshades are made out of cotton paper, jute and bamboo. Inexpensive but diverse materials, a fairly easy technique and a little imagination are some of the ingredients of their rapid ascent. These lampshades are delicate, sporting versatile structures, whose beauty is oftentimes enhanced by craftsmen with the assistance of cut work, ribbons or hand-made paintings. Jaipur, Delhi and, recently, Mumbai boast rich traditions of making decorative lampshades for daily use and special occasions, such as festivals and weddings alike.
Where to find it:
Chor Bazaar, Mutton St
Sat-Thur 10:30-19:00

Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway, Colaba, south Mumbai.
Daily from morning until night.

6. Henna Body Art Kit

Henna Body Art Kit
Image Courtesy of: PROAsiya Qureshi
Henna Tattoos (also known as Mehendi) is an ancient cultural tradition, used to create exotic designs on various parts of the body. Traditionally, henna has been applied to the hands and feet of women preparing for different ceremonies and rituals. In India, the bride is the finest showpiece in the wedding ceremony and, thus, she has to adorn herself accordingly. Applying henna paste is an important part of the bridal pre-party, when the bride's friends gather to celebrate together the future happy event. Intricate natural motifs, such as flowers, leaves and vines, are painted along with bolder geometric patters of Arabic origin. Mehendi is a completely natural, non-permanent, painless body art technique which is also fun and inexpensive. The females in your life will definitely appreciate an authentic henna body art kit and will let their imagination run while they discover for themselves the unique beauty of this ancient Indian tradition. Each kit usually contains special application cones, 1 bottle of the finest henna oil, instructions and a book full of henna designs.
Where to find it:
Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway, Colaba, south Mumbai.
Daily from morning until night.

7. Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments
Image Courtesy of: Xavier Serra
Traditional India cannot be pictured without accompanying songs and dances. Celebrating life is a part of the Indian identity and its diversity. It is no accident that the Indian movies are so much centered on expressing joy and sorrow by dancing and singing to the magic music of the sitars, tablas, ghungroos and khartaals. Of course, the main varieties of instruments in use are string instruments, although due credit is given to the wind, percussion and rhythm instruments as well. Part of the dancer's attire, ghungroos are the small brass bells connected together on a leather pad or strap and then tied to the feet of the dancers, allowing complex footwork to be heard by large audiences. Widely used in devotional songs, the khartal is an ancient instrument made out of two similar shaped wooden pieces with metal jingles mounted on its frame to produce sound when struck and shaken together. Sitar, however, is one of the most popular classical instruments. This string instrument has a body divided in two pieces: the long neck crafted from toon or teakwood, and the resonator carved from a well-sized gourd. Sitar is played with a mizrab (wire plectrum) and produces high-pitched, but lush and warm sounds. You can purchase a marvelous sitar for your music-savvy loved ones in Mumbai's best place for local and imported musical instruments – LM Furtado & Co.
Where to find it:
LM Furtado & Co
Address: 540-544 Kalbadevi Rd, Kalbadevi ,Mumbai, Maharashtra 400002, India
Phone: 22013163; +91 22 2201 3105  ‎furtadosonline.com
Hours: 10am-8pm Mon-Sat

8. Ayurvedic Skin Products

Ayurvedic Skin Products
Image Courtesy of: Miran Rijavec
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, meaning “the knowledge for long life”. It also assigns a system of traditional Indian medicine, mentioned in the Vedic literature as early as the mid-second millennium BC. At its origins, Ayurveda adopted the system of the five elements that compose the universe and a human body inclusive, later believing that longevity can be attained by balancing the three fine energies, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These energies account for all the forms of matter (Kapha), the force and the direction they move (Vata), and the transformations they go through (Pitta). The Ayurvedic principles (positive health, natural beauty and long life) applied in cosmetics aim to promote the harmony between physical, emotional and spiritual growth. Ayurveda is a all-rounded science, dealing with the beauty of both inner and outer. Various creams, lotions, gels and masks made out of pure herbs, sunflower, almond and sesame oils are available. All products are 100% natural, guaranteeing the long-sought balance of the body, mind and soul.

Price: An expensive line of lotions and massage oils starts at Rs 600 and up.
Where to find it:
Forest Essentials (http://www.forestessentialsindia.com/)
has the following store locations in Mumbai:
S-4 A (2nd Floor), Palladium, Lower Parel Tel: +91-22-66150356

Shop no.12, Opp Mahalxmi Temple , Bhulabhai Desai Road. (Warden Road) Tel: +91-22-23511456 / 32908114

F-19 (1st Floor), Inorbit Mall, Malad (West) Tel: +91-22-65215209

Upper Ground Floor ,65 , Kurla Market City ,L.B.S Marg, Kurla (West), Tel: +91-22-61801385

9. Kolhapuri Chappals

Kolhapuri Chappals
Image Courtesy of: Ranjithsiji
Kolhapuri chappals (also called “Pie-taan” ) are a type of traditional leather sandals which take their name from the Kohlapur district of the state of Maharashtra. Worn all over India and abroad, these sandals have quite a history, although their exact date of origin is unknown. Kolhapuri chappals are completely handmade of leather, each featuring complex designs and decorations. A qualitative chappal is usually made of goat or cow leather, no nails being used for stitching. For decoration purposes, golden cords, pom-poms or colorful silk threads are applied on top of the chappal. Traditional designs, such as kachkadi, bakkalnali and pukari, are some of the widest used patterns. Kohlapuri chappal-making is a hereditary craft, practiced by men and women equally.

Price: Kohlapuri chappals prices vary, depending on the leather quality and design, from Rs 100 to Rs 3,000.
Where to find it:
Joy Shoes, Taj Shopping Arcade, P J Ramchandani Marg, Apollo Bandar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India+91 22 2202 8696 

Linking Road, Bandra (starts from Waterfield Road intersection).
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

10. Salwar Kameez & Sari (Women's Silk Garments)

Salwar Kameez & Sari (Women's Silk Garments)
Image Courtesy of: Sreekumar K. S.
Mumbai is one of India's fashion capitals. Therefore, a wide range of garments to adorn the female body are made & sold here. Even though a more western style has been recently adopted by many Indians, traditional clothes, such as sari or salwar kameez, never go out of fashion. And truly, what can be more beautiful than a woman wearing an elegant silk sari? A sari is a large piece of unstitched cloth which can be draped over the body in various ways and fashions. The most common style, however, (and the Indian movies are faithful proofs) is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist from one end, and then draped over the shoulder. Saris are usually worn over a petticoat (ghagra). Introduced by the Muslims, the shalwar kameez is another popular attire for Indian women. This two piece dress consists of the shalwar (loose trousers) and the kameez (long, loose shirt). Shalwar kameez must be worn with a scarf called dupatta, meant to cover the head. Looking for ideas how to wear your Sari or Salwar Kameez? Grab a Bollywood movie and enjoy the fashion show, as many Indian actresses love to wear this flattering outfit and make unexpected combinations of traditional Indian garments and Western fashion statement pieces.

Price: Generally, prices start at Rs 500, but vary depending on the store and design.
Where to find it:
Warp ‘n’ Weft, Sethna building, ground floor, 55 Maharshi Karve Road, Marine Lines, +91 (0)22 2200 0554
Prices here start at Rs 2,000 and go up to Rs 100,000 or US$2,000. 

Sagar, 502, Jai Mahal, Linking Road, Khar (W); +91 (0)22 2648 5570, 2646 66
Prices start at Rs 500.

Dadar market, Ranade Rd, Dadar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400028, India
Prices start at Rs 400.

11. Traditional Block-Printed Fabrics

Traditional Block-Printed Fabrics
Image Courtesy of: Rick Bradley
An ancient tradition, block-printing has been known since as far back as 2000 BC. At first, fabrics were a day-to-day life necessity, but the creative processes flourished as the fabric received royal patronage, being a must in all royal processions and festivals.
Today, even though modern technologies have had their say on the matter, this craft is still practiced in Rajasthan and the neighboring regions, from the sole efforts of those who are passionate about preserving the Indian cultural heritage. Block-printing is now becoming increasingly popular because of the astounding colors and patterns it produces. In the past, only natural dyes were used, but they have slowly been replaced with artificial ones. In this exquisite technique, dyes are still applied with a wooden block, carved in various designs and usually featuring traditional Indian motifs. Block-printing is especially popular in the production of wall hangings, canopies, and furniture and floor spread in vibrant, rich colors. A bed-spread, for instance, could be stamped as much as 14,000 times!
Where to find it:
Anokhi
Rasik Niwas, Metro Motors Lane
Dr. A. R. Rangnekar Marg, 
Off Hughes Road
Mumbai - 400007
Tel. 022  23685761, 23685308
Hours: 10:30 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday Closed

Linking Road, Bandra (starts from Waterfield Road intersection).
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

12. Kurta (Men's Traditional Shirt)

Kurta (Men's Traditional Shirt)
Image Courtesy of: Quinn Dombrowski
A kurta, literally collarless shirt, is a traditional loose shirt worn by men in all of India and around it. The kurta is a simple, collarless shirt with straight to the wrist sleeves (nowadays, versions with straight up collars have appeared, however, the traditional one does not have any kind of collar). The kurta can vary in length, it can come down to the waist or all the way to the shins, the longer versions have the side seams open below the waist to give the wearer better mobility.
Kurtis were traditionally worn along with salwars (loose pants), however, these days, they are mostly worn with jeans for practical reasons. Kurtis are still a big part of Indian life style and are worn both casually and for formal functions.
Women can also wear kurtis as blouses. These kurtis are usually quite short and are made of lighter fabrics than men's kurtis.
Where to find it:
Bne Collections
+(91)-(22)-28692558 / 28693618 / 28693634
Nightingale Co-Op Hsg. Society, Bldg. No. 2, 201, 2nd Floor, Mumbai, Maharashtra - 400067 (India)

Amarsons Collections
269, Vithalbhai Patel Road, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050, India+91 22 2641 8880 ‎

Ajay Arvindbhai Khatri
No. 30 - 31, Borivali Shopping Center, Chandavarkar Road, Borivali West
Mumbai, Maharashtra - 400 092, India
Telephone: +(91)-(22)-28915463/ 28911666

Linking Road, Bandra (starts from Waterfield Road intersection).
Opening Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

13. Original Vintage Bollywood Posters

Original Vintage Bollywood Posters
Image Courtesy of: Chris
Most of us have seen at least one Bollywood movie in our life. They are truly like no other. Bollywood, unlike Hollywood, is not a physical place, although it derives from the former name of Mumbai – Bombay. As color is the word of the day, Bollywood posters exude in the richness of detail, the brightness of compositions and creativity. Many collectors and simple movie lovers find an original vintage poster to be a veritable treasure, with its own story and soul. Some popular choices include Barssat (1949) painted to resemble the free and untainted spirit of the old Hollywood; Mother India (1957) which perfectly captures the strength and struggles of India, personified by Nargis; Sawan Bhadon (1970) featuring a gorgeous Indian woman and her lover on a brown, dusty looking paper; Umrao Jaan (1981) cherished for the extravagance and refinement of details, as well as for the beauty of the female lead. In the old days, all posters were only hand-painted. Now, printed posters are commonly found, although if you're lucky, you might land a gorgeous, authentic hand-painted one. Choor Bazaar is the place to go to. Not only the vendors here are passionate collectors themselves, but they are also walking encyclopedias of the history of Indian movies.

Price: Rs 300 for one poster.
Where to find it:
Mini Market, Chor Bazaar, 31 Mutton St
Sat-Thur 10:30-19:00

14. Indian Sweets

Indian Sweets
Image Courtesy of: Satish Krishnamurthy
Mumbai is the food capital of Maharashtra. Coconuts, peanuts and cashew nuts are staple ingredients in the Marathi cuisine, which remains a mystery to most Westerners. Deserts have a special place in India's kitchen and heart; they come in a variety of shapes, flavors and, of course, colors. Quintessential to the Marathi sweets is puran poli, a traditional type of sweet flat bread. Mostly served during auspicious occasions and festivals, the puran poli is basically a sweetmeat with an interesting stuffing made out of chickpea lentils, jaggery (molasses or gur), saffron, cardamom and nutmeg for additional flavor. Also popular is modak, Lord Ganesha's favorite food, usually prepared only for the Ganesha Festival. Another major dessert is Karanji, a deep fried dumpling with grated coconut filling, which is especially made for the Diwali festival. Other common desserts include kheer, basundi and shrikhand. Try them all while in Mumbai, and take a bag of karanji back home with you. It can be stored for weeks and consumed both as a dessert and snack.
Where to find it:
Brijwasi Sweets
192/194 Near Cotton Exchange, Kalbadevi Road, Kalbadevi, Mumbai, MH 400002, India+91 22 2683 6880 ‎; 2240 2597

15. Rangoli Cum Diyas Plate

Rangoli Cum Diyas Plate
Image Courtesy of: siddarth varanasi
Rangoli is a traditional decorative art, which is meant to bring good luck. Passed on through centuries, this practice is still alive, especially during festive occasions, such as festivals, weddings and similar auspicious milestones. Rangoli designs range from typical geometric shapes to deity impressions and complex artwork. Rangoli plates occupy a special place in Diwali celebrations, which is also known as the “festival of lights” or “awareness of the inner light”. Although traditionally painted directly on the floor, there are also Rangoli plates, usually made out of wood, terracotta, metal or plastic, and featuring astounding decorations and even gemstone applications. On Diwali, people light up diyas (oil lamps) and candles to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, as well as other significant events connected to the celebration, such as the end of the harvest season. A Rangoli plate is a beautiful and durable gift, which will last for years and bring a lot of light and prosperity into the life of its possessor.
Where to find it:
Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway, Colaba, south Mumbai.
Daily from morning until night.

16. Sula Vineyards Wine

Sula Vineyards Wine
Image Courtesy of: Ashwin John
It may come a bit unexpected, but India produces highly-qualitative wines. Sula Vineyards are largely regarded as the starters of the Indian Wine revolution, which now can be found in some of the world's best restaurants and hotels. Situated northeast of Mumbai, Nashik is India's largest grape-growing region, which oddly enough has never been used for this purpose before. But everything changed when a Stanford-trained engineer named Rajeev Samant endeavored to create India's leading winery on his 30 acre family estate. The first wines release in the year 2000 have been positively received by wine lovers, being widely acclaimed as India's best white wines. Located near Crawford market, Shah & Co is the place where you can buy Sula wine, but also other local wines sold only in the state of Maharashtra. The wines are not cheap, but worth every penny.
Where to find it:
C-1, Sitaram Building, Next To Crawford Market, Fort, Dr D N Road, Mumbai, India+91 22 2342 7996
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Mumbai Walking Tours

Museums and Art Galleries in Mumbai

Museums and Art Galleries in Mumbai

The city of Mumbai is home to a number of interesting and unique museums and art galleries. The Nehru Science Center is especially popular with both locals and visitors, so much so in fact it has become one of the most visited landmarks in the whole city. The Mani Bhavan is another famous museum - it's dedicated to the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. There's also plenty of great art galleries. Take our Museums and Art Galleries Tour to witness the amazing beauty of Indian culture.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
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Malabar Hill Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Walking Tour in the Mumbai's Art District

Walking Tour in the Mumbai's Art District

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km

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