Shopping in Mumbai
Visa and Master cards are widely accepted in the city shops. Many shopping establishments also accept American Express, Diners and host of other cards. However, some of the small shops or family-run shops may not accept these cards and some handy cash can be of help here. ATMs are widely available and many debit cards accepted as well. If you have an Indian bank account or credit card, you may not need to carry too much of cash. If you are a foreigner, it is a good idea to carry some cash to avoid charges while using your credit or debit card.
In general, costs in Mumbai are higher than the rest of India, though they are still much lower by Western standards.
The shopping experience in the city is a study in contrasts. At the lower end of the spectrum are street vendors. Existing at the borderline of legality, entire streets have been given over to these hawkers and in many places it is impossible to walk on the footpaths, because they have blocked the way. On the other hand, these vendors often give you a great bargain though you will have to haggle a lot and be careful about what to buy. There's nothing like taking a local along to shop for you. Some famous shopping streets are:
- Bhuleshwar Market, Kika St, Bhuleshwar . for fruits and vegetables
- Chor bazaar (Thief Market), Bhandarwada Ln . Chor Bazar which literally translates to "Thief Market" is a colloquial term used to refer a place selling stolen items. It consists of number of interconnecting by-lanes with street vendors hawking a wide variety of items from antiques to shoes to car accessories etc. The place can be quite a surprise for the number and type of items on sale. A great place to spot bargains and bartering is a must. Shop with a keen eye - look out for fakes or second hand items that are shoddily repaired and can be passed out for a quick buck. Don’t carry too many items like money / jewellery / watches on you when visit the market. Keep it to bare essentials and keep an eye on your belongings. There is a very good chance that you may get robbed since locals are apt at spotting first time shoppers.
- Colaba Causeway, Lala Nigam Rd (It is located very close to the Gateway of India. ~1.0km South?). is filled with tourists and locals. It is a place where you will be able to find many authentic Indian souvenirs, antiques, carpets, and chandeliers. But foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price. If they refuse a price just walk away and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.
- Crawford Market (Marathi: क्रॉफर्ड मार्केट, officially Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, Marathi: महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले मंडई), Central Line? Lokmanya Tilak Marg, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area (It is within 10 minutes walking distancenorth from the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. - West of the J.J. flyover at a busy intersection.). Earlier it was the major wholesale trading market for fruits & vegetables. Now it houses shops selling imported items such as food, cosmetics, household and gift items. - The market was designed by British architect William Emerson, in Norman and Flemish architectural styles. The friezes on the outside entrance depicting Indian farmers, and the stone fountains inside, were designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of novelist Rudyard Kipling. The market covers an area of 22471m², of which 5515m² is occupied by the building itself. The structure was built using coarse buff coloured Kurla stone, with redstone from Bassein. It has a 15 m high skylight awning designed to allow the sunlight brighten up the marketplace.
- Dadar (W) Flower Market, Gurunanak Marg? Tulsi Pipe Road, (Opposite Dadar Train Station). early morning. Visit early morning to see colourful and wholesale flower market in action
- Family-run shops, Or one could do shopping at family-run shops, where the items are behind the counter and one has to ask the salesperson to get items from the list. The traditional way to buy sarees or jewelry is to go to a shop where you sit on a bedspread laid out on the floor and the salespeople bring out their wares one-by-one until you make a decision. Shops like Bharat Kshetra in Dadar have scaled this model up to such an extent that they have a two-storied complex where you can do the same.
- Fashion Street, Fort district, Mahatma Gandhi Rd. Best place in Mumbai to buy cheap clothes. Bargaining/haggling skills are a must if you want to shop here! Offer to pay 1/4 of the asking price or less and then work your way upwards.
- Mangaldas Market, Janjikar St (From Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ~0.5km NW). closed on Sundays?. for silk and cloth
- Shopping Malls, Mumbai has been experiencing a boom in malls in the past few years. You can combine your shopping, dining out, and watching movies all in one place.
- Zaveri Bazaar (Marathi: झवेरी बाजार), Bhuleshwar Road, (Just north of Crawford Market, Marine Lines station ~1.0km West). Best known jewellery Market, all at one place.
What to buy
- Antiques & second hand items, Visit Chor Bazar for the best options and bargains
- Burlingtons, in the Taj is a tailor specializing in Indian outfits. Buy some material and get some clothes made up by a tailor. It's an incredibly cheap way to get quality made-to-measure clothes. Usually only takes a couple of days.
- Carpets, rugs and shawls
- Cotton clothes, Mumbai is great place to buy quality and cheaper cotton clothes. Amongst many notable shops and brands, Cottonworld is a place to look out for.
- Dhoop, (translates into Sunshine or Incense) A quaint, stylist store where you can find really interesting quality crafts and home accessories. On the corner of Union Park, Near Olive, Off Carter Road in Bandra.
- Indian musical instruments, Indian music has its own set of musical instruments such as Tabla, Harmonium, straight Flute that it relies upon. These can be brought at various music shops scattered across the city. Some well known shops are L.M.Furtado, Ghaisas & Bros.
- Khadi clothing, Khadi is an authentic Indian variety of home spun cotton. Mahatma Gandhi advocated the use of khadi as a form of satyagraha against the use of foreign goods and a form of rural self-employment for India during the pre-independence days. Check out the Khadi Gram Udyog Bhavan located at 286, DN Road, Near the Mumbai GPO & Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It is run by the Khadi Gramudyog Vikas Samiti which is an umbrella organization started by the Mahatma himself which today has evolved into a government registered unit promoting the use of khadi. A good place to buy souvenirs including khadi Indian flags. These are similar in type to the ones used during the freedom struggle. It also houses other forms of fabrics like pure cotton wool, and silk. Items on sale include Blankets, Sweaters, Shirt pieces, Sandals, Shoes, Folders, Files, etc. All the items are hand made. Some of the items make use of natural straw. They also offer a collection of handmade paper products.
- Kurties and tunics', a must have in India. Linkin Laado has a wide range of classy kurties, fushion ethnic wear and exquisite dress materials in most sought after pure fabrics such as muls, cottons, maheshwari and chanderi silk etc. in handblock prints and intrinsic chikankari work. The shop is situated at Link Square Mall, Shop No. F5, Opposite KFC, Above Croma, Linking Road, Bandra West.
- Leather jackets, go to the main road in Dharavi. You can fit yourself with a leather jacket (they stitch it for you) of leather you pick. Usually takes just one day to get it and it costs around ₹1,000-₹2,000.
- Luxury Retail, Mumbai has witnessed a massive boom in luxury retail. All the brands you can buy in any other major city are available there.
- Pashmina, cheap stuff is everywhere and decent shawls in every hue can be purchased at various markups in any hotel arcade. High-quality items in unusual colors and unique designs require more searching. The "pashminas" sold on Colaba Causeway are not anywhere close to pashmina.
- Sarees, the best place to buy them is Dadar (both east and west). The place is buzzing 12 months a year. On Sundays the crowd can be maddening for outsiders. Good shops to buy Sarees are Dadar Emporium, Lazaree, Roop Sangam. On N C Kelkar Road and Ranade Road you can buy almost everything a woman needs. Bargain hard.
- Traditional clothing & handicrafts, State government operated emporiums such as those for Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir etc. sell state specific items of clothing and handicrafts. These are located in places around South Mumbai or the shopping arcades of Five Star Hotels. There is also a Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Emporium located near the Gateway of India beside the Tendulkar's restaurant. The items on display include embroidered clothing, carvings, paintings, sculptures etc. and are reasonably priced. Amongst the private labels, Fabindia is a must visit for its variety of kurtas [tunics], salwars, pyjamas, churidars & dupattas. They also offer bedspreads, cushion covers, decorative pillows, quilts, table linens, home furniture etc. Just like the government owned emporiums, Fabindia operates on a cottage industries model where products are hand crafted by artisans and sourced from villages across India. Good quality, smart colours, trendy designs but prices are a bit on the higher side. Stores are located across Mumbai.
Mumbai has large number of organized book shops. However it also has number of streetside second hand book shops or displays that give opportunity to come across rare collections. Many of these roadside book shops can be prominently found, among many, near Flora Fountain, Maheshwari Udyyan (former King's Circle) and Dadar west market.
If you are somewhere in the western suburbs (santacruz,juhu etc.) Granth on juhu road could be a good bet to find the book you are looking for.
The Crossword chain of book shops has an outlet in most malls around the city, as well as the main store in Kemp's Corner. Strand book shop in the Fort area in south Mumbai is a long-standing institute, and well known for its bargains.
In a place without clearly displayed price tags (and sometimes even in places with), you will get charged about 3-4 times as much as a local if you seem like a tourist. Take a local with you if you're going to local markets to haggle. Haggling is much louder and ruder in India than elsewhere. Don't be afraid to haggle things down to 1/4 of the asking price. And most importantly remember that almost all stores that sell carpets, jewelry, handicrafts, etc. pay huge amounts of commission (25% up to even 50%!) to the cab drivers, hence avoid tourist taxis, cabs, etc. Another thing to remember is not to haggle just for the fun of it. The shopkeepers may take offence if you don't buy an item after they have agreed to your price. One of the places that you can trust is The World Trade Centre (in Cuffe Parade, near Hotel Taj President). Besides being the only World Trade Centre in Mumbai, this place has an amazing range of exquisite carpets, handicrafts, shawls, etc. with reputed government approved stores and state emporiums too. Ask for receipts everywhere, including bars, and check what you have been charged for. Don't ever accept a guide offer or escort of somebody from the street: You will certainly get conned. If some place (including cabs, eateries, stores, etc.) claims it doesn't have change (this is highly unlikely), insist they get change from a neighbouring store.
In addition to the local grocery stores which can be found on most of the streets, there are new additions to the city in the form of new big and small supermarkets and hypermarkets where you can get all the food items you need. Some of them are Big Bazaar , Food Bazaar , Hypercity , DMart, Spinach Local, Apna Bazaar.
If you are looking for exotic fruits and vegetables then you can try looking in stores like Natures Basket.
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