The cosmopolitan nature of Mumbai allows it to welcome cultures from, around the world. Metropolitan cities across the world have now merged into a uniformity, with the same shopping and entertainment options, the same brands and retail outlets available everywhere. However, like all great cities, Mumbai too has its own character, hidden gems and nuances. Mumbai comes alive in the little cultural uniqueness.
While we can recommend a number of things you can buy in Mumbai, these are things you can probably buy anywhere in India too. So, we’ve put together a list of things to buy in Mumbai, which will remind you of the city and help you carry a little bit of Mumbai with you.
For those looking to buy a memory from Mumbai, here are some things that are characteristically Mumbai, that you must take with you.
Vintage Bollywood Posters
Home of the largest film industry in the world; has got to have some good old Bollywood merchandise for you to take home! Places like Crawford Market and Chor Bazaar are great for seeking out vintage posters from movies of the yesteryears.
If you’re lucky, you may even find handmade posters, made by people who once did this as a living, before the digital age of movies. You never know what lovely gems you might unravel here, and take home a part of the Hindi Film Industry with you. Surely something to remember Mumbai by!
Parsi Gara Sarees
Parsis are a lovely community who are mostly located in Mumbai. They take pride in their culture and heritage, and since there are so few of them left in India, there is even more emphasis on preserving things unique to them. So, when in Mumbai, do shop for the authentic Parsi Gara Sarees – usually a family heirloom, passed down generations. Introduced to India in the early 19th century, the Gara sarees are hand woven sarees, worked on by a number of craftsmen at a time, to break the monotony of the pattern. Beautifully embroidered Gara sarees are bright, with intricate flowery patterns, and are bold in their use of colour.
You can buy a good Parsi saree anywhere near Cama Baug or Grant Road, where there is a dense Parsi population. You can also learn to tie the saree in the typical Parsi manner, and feel totally exotic as you leave adorning the garment! This traditional saree also works well as a souvenir from home of the Parsi community – Mumbai.
Art has a special place in Mumbai, and you see it everywhere. Whether it is on the streets as a graffiti or in swanky South Mumbai galleries like the famous Jehangir Art Gallery. Art and art forms are much loved and respected in the city.
It is no wonder that thousands throng to the city every day to make their dreams come true. If art is your interest or if you simply need some beautiful pieces to decorate your house, there are plenty of places where you can buy art in Mumbai.
We recommend the Kala Ghoda market, where you get a number of art pieces, handmade products and handicrafts. Now, won’t a beautiful painting of the majestic Marine Drive liven up your living room?
Now, we know it’s cliched, but with good reason! How can you fathom leaving Mumbai without the typical Mumbai food items?
The Vada Pav, can be packed nicely and carried for short flights easily, and the recipient on the other side will devour it with a vengeance!
Things that you may be able to carry home (might not survive a long flight, but you can try) are Batata Vada, Sabudana Vada, or the special Modak which is made during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. But once you’re in Mumbai, how can you not try some of the most delicious local delicacies, which you can probably not carry home.
You must not leave Mumbai without trying the Pav Bhaji, Bombay Duck, Keema Pav, Mutton Dhansak, Puran Poli, and oh-so-much more!
Mumbai has grown as a city for centuries and generations, with several cultures coming together to make the city a symbol of integration and diversity. One can find mementos from the eras that Mumbai and Mumbaikars have seen. From brass telephones to antique grandfather clocks.
From vintage Bollywood memorabilia to art capturing the years gone by. Mumbai is a great place to buy antiques, that give a vintage character to any home. You can find some real gems at Crawford Market, Chor Bazaar, and other flea markets. It’s in these antiques that you can find the Bombay in Mumbai, and you definitely feel happy nostalgia as you collect these antique treasures!
The Kolhapuri chappals, although originated in Kolhapur, are readily and widely available in Mumbai. These traditional open sandals are probably owned by most Indian girls, and a good Kolhapuri can be your comfortable companion for a very long time.
These flexible, flat sandals go well with all kinds of outfits, and an authentic pair will be great for walking and fighting the crowds of Mumbai! Head to Linking Road or Colaba Causeway to buy a good pair of Kolhapuris.
Textiles and Fabric
Mumbai, was once known for its textile industry, where scores of mills and factories produced clothes and textiles for India. Dating back to the early 20th century, Bombay mills and their labour unions were some of the strongest in the country. Even today, a lot of fabric trade happens from Mumbai, and the city remains a key port for fabrics of all kinds. You can get your fix of good quality fabrics at Mangaldas Market, which is one of the largest markets for fabric in the country.
Mumbai is a place for endless possibilities and while you explore the markets of the city, do remember to enjoy the experience of shopping in this uniquely magnificent city. Hopefully what you carry in your heart will last for longer than what you carry in your bags!
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