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 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 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!
One of the best things about these posters are that they are replicas of the handmade posters that were prevalent in those days, before the age of large scale printing had set in. It is truly marvelous how the artists painted the likeness of the actors and actresses of the bygone eras with such deftness on those huge giant screens that were later put up in the cities. Thankfully, the posters now are saved as digital archives and the replicas are sold in the markets. And if you are in luck, you might just come across an original poster, though they are a collector’s item and will cost you dearly. However, this is something that you are truly going to cherish. In fact, if you have grandparents at home, do make them a gift of these posters of the films they used to love in their younger days.
Parsi Gara Sarees
Parsis are a lovely community that 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 handwoven 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 color.
These sarees are now not just worn by the women of the Parsi community but are quite popular among all the women of the state and some even buy then for their relatives abroad. The colorful sarees just add the perfect touch of vibrancy to any occasion. The colors can be a bit bold, but for those who love to experiment and look traditional at the same time, the Gara sarees will provide the perfect combo. There are qualities you can opt for, each more expensive than the others but it will be a splendid addition to your wardrobe for sure.
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 the 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.
Considering the fact that Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city, expect the art you find here to reflect such a similar vibe as well. There is practically something for everyone and something to suit every pocket. While there is nothing wrong in visiting high-end galleries, it is in places like the streets stalls of Mumbai where you often come across gems made by some unknown artists. The markets in Mumbai are a great place to explore and experiment with art and for those who love quirky or kitschy décor, there are ample choices to pick up to decorate your house. You can also pick up antique furniture, lampshades, and other figurines to add a special touch to your home corner.
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!
Then there is the Frankie and the Baida roti and then the Falooda to wash down everything. The best thing about Mumbai street food is that the food of the city has somehow evolved with the busy vibe that the city has so almost everything you have here can be picked up and had on the go. All the food that you get here is also very filling so that one goes about without having to skip meals, no matter how busy the day is. The food is definitely spicy and you get the true flavors of Indian food here. But most importantly, the food is mostly affordable and people of every strata of society that Mumbai is filled with will have something to satisfy their cravings, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.
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!
Since Mumbai is a city of celebrities, there are a number of people who come here looking for the good stuff and buying antiques is one of the activities they indulge in. Be paintings, sculptures, figurines or craft items, some of them are truly spectacular and are worthy of being in a collector’s collection. For those who have an eye for art, Mumbai is a treasure trove because there are many young artists in the city who want to make their fortune as well as many veterans have made this city their home and have their studios here. There are shops which sell items from dismantled homes and the stories they have to tell takes one back to bygone era.
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.
The best thing about the kolhapuris is they are often handmade and so they provide a great incentive to the local craftsman to produce more. The intricacies of the patterns found here will put any designer to shame. And because the shoes are mostly made from fabric, they are also eco- friendly and extremely comfortable and can also be easily recycled. Apart from the kolhapuri shoes, one can also buy matching fabric bags and they are often printed with colorful Indian motifs that match splendidly with casual Indian wear like Kurtis. They are really affordable and almost college students have them in their wardrobes.
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.
The textile merchants of Mumbai have a long history and there are some really good cloth mills here from here fabrics are brought wholesale by merchants. There is no dearth of fabrics that are found in these shops and one can get amazing dress materials from here. One can also opt for handloom options and even designers come here to have their pick of fabric from the wide range of options available. You can lay your hands on silk, cotton, linen, kanjeevarams and even recycled fabrics from here.
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!
P.s. You might like these related resources:
- Visit Mumbai’s famous places- The City That Never Sleeps
- Visit these unmissable Historical places if you are travelling to Mumbai
- You Can’t Afford To Miss These Places When Planning a Visit to Mumbai
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