Monday, February 22, 2010

The Merchants of Mumbai - Shopping in India

India is a great place to visit, particularly for the off-beat and unique shopping. Below is an article from Qantas The Australian Way (January 2010) that will help you plan the shopping trip of a lifetime…

"Mumbai offers some fabulously fun shopping; it’s just a matter of finding it. From tiny treasure-trove antique stores and bijou boutiques to galleries and street markets, with a few places to eat and drink along the way, here’s a sampler of some of Mumbai’s best. The majority of listings are in history-laden South Mumbai, with some included for the new Bandra/Andheri business districts. Shops generally open about 10am-11am and close 7-8pm. Absolutely essential for a successful sortie is a driver with an air-conditioned Cool Cab.

South Mumbai (Colaba/Apollo Bunder/Kala Ghoda/Fort)

Stay: The historic five-star The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower is as much an icon as the Gateway of India opposite, and the time-poor will find great retail ops in the hotel’s arcades. The excellent Nalanda Book & Music Shop is near the lifts. Natesan’s Antiqarts features museum-quality ancient Indian sculptures and objets (also in the basement of Jehangir Art Gallery), Joy Shoes offers jewelled sandals, Ravissant, ravishing silverware. Also Fendi, Burberry, Moschino and Louis Vuitton. Some of our destinations are also an easy walk from the Taj.

Shop: Heading south from the Gateway of India and the Taj, turn right for Bombay Electric (high-end men’s and women’s clothing from local and international designers, striking old and new jewellery, antique photos), and a branch of Good Earth (homewares featuring stylish Indian motifs such as funky cushions with retro Rajas). Four blocks south you’ll find the must-visit Bungalow 8 over three floors of the beautifully decaying 19th-century Grants Building (covetable vintage furniture, elegant homewares, interesting clothing and extraordinary jewellery). There are also two studios in this building, Kishmish and Mosaic (stylishly detailed women’s clothes and handwoven scarves), which you can visit by appointment (+91 22 2288 0362). In the same street is the hip, contemporary art space Chatterjee & Lal for edgy work in various media. Pick up a copy of the Japa Arts India art map here to see what’s on at The Guild ( and Project 88 (, both nearby, and Chemould Prescott Road (

To check the pulse of Indian designer wear (racing), continue along the waterfront to Tarun Tahiliani, the eponymous boutique of India’s couture king (extraordinary bejewelled designs). Tahiliani also co-owns the Ensemble boutiques, which showcase many of India’s top designers. A short drive on is The Courtyard, an upmarket collection of fashion, furniture and homewares boutiques. The highlight here is stepping into the shoebox showroom of the famed Gem Palace (their main shop is in Jaipur) – it’s like a tiny museum. Exquisite stones and antique settings.

Back towards the Taj is Colaba Causeway and the tourist-filled Colaba Street Market. Along with the usual market offerings of T-shirts, bags and toys, AR & Sons has a fun selection of gift cards and notebooks.  Near the Wellington Fountain is Battery Street with D Popli & Sons Jewellers, a small shop with lots of drawers of antique and contemporary silver jewellery to explore; and Essajee & Sons, a fantastic repository of old wares – and the odd bit of contemporary bling – from ceilings densely hung with glass hanging lanterns and chandeliers, to floors stacked with old photos and prints. For souvenirs there’s always the nearby Central Cottage Industries Emporium, a huge government-run, fixed-price emporium next to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s restaurant. On the corner opposite the Regal Cinema, don’t miss Phillips for a wide range of quality Asian and European antiques and home accessories, from the exquisite to the inexpensive, plus superb old photos, engravings and maps.

Just north of the Wellington Fountain you’ll find one of Mumbai’s numerous Fabindia outlets. The Kala Ghoda store is a good intro to the chain’s wares, with clothing, table and bed linens, quilts and dhurries. For a coffee and snack there’s smart Moshe’s cafe in-store upstairs, or head to the atmospheric Café Samovar in the nearby Jehangir Art Gallery.

If stationery is your thing, take the car up to Bombay Paperie for handmade paper goods, and if you’re a real aficionado, continue on to Chimanlals for the most fabulous selection.

While you’re up this way, a good lunch option is Mahesh Lunch Home. The small air-conditioned venue is famous for its seafood dishes. Nearby is the Strand Book Stall (good books, helpful staff, and they will deliver to your hotel). Further north again is Chor Bazaar (The Thieves Market) for antiques (and fake-tiques). The main strip, Mutton Street, is lined with treasure-filled little shops selling every sort of bric-a-brac, including old Bollywood posters, antique locks and lovely glass lightshades. Nearby Kemps Corner is Indian fashion central.

Wind Down: Relax with an aperitif and a young cosmopolitan crowd in the stylish Indigo Delicatessen, then Trishna for dinner.

North Mumbai

West Bandra and Andheri are fast becoming commercial hubs. Here are a few places to shop and eat when business is completed.

Stay: Le Royal Méridien Mumbai is more luxury European mansion than business hotel. Ten minutes’ drive from the international airport in Andheri, it has opulent decor, intimate bars, pool, gym and spa. The exclusive Royal Club floors have their own reception, bar, restaurant and business centre. The hotel is a half-hour cab ride from Bandra, and if you’re going for dinner, have the driver wait. The all-new Taj Land’s End is another five-star Taj property also featuring Arabian Sea views, right in Bandra, with a 24-hour gym and pool. Purveyor of striking silverware Ravissant has a shop in the lobby here as well.

Shop: Lots of luxury and other chain brands (both Indian and international) have stores in Bandra. For those with limited time, Dhoop in Khar is a one-stop gift shop with artisan goods ranging from Buddhist singing bowls and tribal jewellery to glass tealight covers featuring Bollywood stars from the ’60s. Nearby is Moss, with shelves of bejewelled bags and sandals.

In Bandra, Anokhi offers beautiful Indian woodblock-printed clothes and quilts. By contrast, fun and funky clothes and accessories can be found at Karma Kola. For a snack, head to Elco Vegetarian Restaurant, a McDonald’s-style air-conditioned establishment famous for its Mumbai snacks, pani puri (fried spicy Indian bread) and bhel puri (puffed rice dish). The Bagel Shop also has coffee or juice. Upstairs are two boutiques with divine frocks. Kashana stocks beautifully tailored, updated-Audrey-Hepburn-style ’50s and ’60s dresses in superb fabrics. Next door, Marca has summery frocks in fab prints, sparkly shoes and quirky bags.

Wind Down: For drinks with atmos, try The Hawaiian Shack, where it’s all lashed-bamboo ceilings, candlelight, a boat for a bar and whacky retro music downstairs. The floors above (hip-hop and DJ) heave later, but come early for a drink and snack before dinner at Soul Fry – a relaxing mix of mood lighting and music, local and international diners, and great Goan fish curries.

 Visit Qantas to read the full article.


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  2. The places of tourist interests are endless in Mumbai. A number of sites with historical importance, contemporary wonders, archaeological sites, religious places and natural wonders in the backdrop of modern day marvels is an experience of life time. The Gateway of India is the main attraction of Mumbai city. Built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in the year 1911, The other sites like the Mani Bhawan or the Gandhi memorial, Prince of Wales Museum, Marine Drive and Juhu gives the feeling of being in the commercial capital of India. Mumbai sightseeing places

  3. There is only one thing better than shopping in Hong Kong, and that's eating. From small noodle joints to upscale French restaurant, you will locate all sorts of restaurant, eating hall and snack stall on earth in Hong Kong. Here I found small amount of Hong-Kong-styled snacks online ( This is definitely a good choice before I have $ for another trip.