From internationally renowned haute couture to dirt-cheap one-season wonders, intricate jewelry and unique antiques to tawdry gifts and fabulous textiles, Mumbai is known as a shopper's paradise, and you'll find pretty much everything the country has to offer here. If you're shopping on the street or in the markets, take your time, sift and sort, establish authenticity, and, if necessary, don't be afraid to bargain hard. Bear in mind that (as elsewhere in India) a "bargain," particularly when it comes to jewelry and antiques, is probably a cheap bauble or reproduction -- fakes are a dime a dozen, as are the con men who sell them. By and large, you can steer clear of the kitschy outlets that line Colaba Causeway and the surrounding area, but be on the lookout for little gems that may be hiding down a side street (we've mentioned quite a few below). Besides the areas described here, you will find that the suburb of Bandra has become a local shopping haven, with Linking Road, Hill Road, and several other streets overflowing with shops and street stalls selling clothes, shoes, and everything else under the sun. In addition, Western-style multistory department stores are filled with all kinds of garments and fashions, and the trend towards a fully-fledged mall culture is definitely in full gear -- sadly (for some), most of the shops are Western franchises, meaning you need to hunt a bit to discover underrepresented local outlets. You'll find several shopping complexes in the converted mill compounds of Lower Parel (right next to Worli, in central Mumbai) -- the Phoenix Mills area is a shopper's dream. Note, too, that most major stores described below have a parallel store in either Bandra or Juhu, so if you're based in north Mumbai, call and check before making a trip downtown. If you don't mind a potentially massive capital outlay, it's worth knowing that the in-house shops at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower are stocked with sought-after Indian (and international) brands and products (particularly Pashmina shawls, from simple water Pashminas at around Rs 2,000 to high-end quality ones for Rs 10,000), though obviously you pay a price for the convenience of location, and the shopping experience is relatively sterile. The same holds true for the shopping arcade at the Trident Nariman Point.
Shopping Beneath the Grandstand -- If you choose to make an event out of just one shopping venue, we urge you to head for Bungalow 8, a fabulously eclectic store stashed into an elegantly converted space beneath the benches of world-famous Wankhede cricket stadium. Beautifully laid out, with vintage furniture as a backdrop, and stocked with all kinds of curious, beautiful, wearable, and collectible objects -- from jewelry and clothing to chandeliers -- Maitthili Ahluwalia's gorgeous store is a destination in its own right. The shop is located under the stadium's north stand (Vinoo Mankad Rd.), in block E-F; your cab driver will get you to the stadium, but call tel. 022/2281-9880 if you need help finding the exact spot -- you wouldn't want to end up in the home team's dressing room, would you? Check it out at www.bungaloweight.com.
Indian Handicrafts & Traditional Souvenirs
Central Cottage Industries Emporium (behind Regal Cinema; tel. 022/2202-6564 or -7537; daily 10am-7pm) is the large, government-owned, fixed-price shop aimed at tourists, with a reputation for carrying well-crafted items that offer relatively good value (not the cheapest stuff out there but you won't get ripped off). Established during the late 1940s in an attempt to sustain traditional handicrafts, the massive showroom is crammed full of everything and anything that's likely to remind you of India. We're not recommending it, but at the very least, a visit here will give you an idea of what items should more or less cost. A far superior shopping experience, with a more up-to-date look and contemporary service standards, is The Bombay Store (Sir P.M. Rd., Fort; tel. 022/2288-5048, -5049, or -5052; Mon-Sat 10:30am-7:30pm, Sun 10:30am-6:30pm), where you'll find every imaginable Indian handicraft and design, from bed linens and crockery to incense and aromatherapy oils (not to mention some very touristy souvenirs bearing the store's own logo). An alternative branch that we like is in the High Street Phoenix Mills complex in Lower Parel (it's in a tucked away section of the mall; tel. 022/2497-1024); among the usual stock of sandalwood Buddha statues, candle stands, leather accessories, and homewards, they sell a range of handsomely packaged "Chaitime" teas (ideal gifts), as well as vintage photographs of the city. Directly opposite, is an even more fascinating store, Omved (tel. 022/4004-8218), selling mostly organic products, including textiles made from organic cottons (from which they fashion luxurious bed linens and T-shirts), organic spices, massage oils and toiletries (for men and women), and 100% natural, Ayurvedically treated baby products. If you want to give something back (and don't mind getting something lovely in return), visit WIT (Women's India Trust) (23 Bombay Market, Tardeo; tel. 022/2351-1753; www.wit.org.in) where a wide range of handcrafted items -- from soft toys to unique artworks -- are produced by a charitable organization that trains women from underprivileged backgrounds, providing skills and opportunities to many people who might otherwise be destitute. Shoppers who care should also visit Shrujan -- Threads of Life (Saagar Villa, 38 Bhulabahi Desai Rd., Breach Candy; tel. 022/2352-1693; www.shrujan.org) where you can pick up homewards and ethnic designer wear embroidered by a women's collective from the drought- and earthquake-affected region of Kutch (in Gujarat); they produce truly stunning one-off pieces, so this is well worth a visit. Finally, Dhoop (101 Khar Sheetal Apartments, Dr. Ambedkar Rd., Unio Park, Khar; tel. 022/2649-8646; www.dhoopcrafts.com) is a brilliant assemblage of craft products from across India, produced and sourced in conjunction with charitable organizations -- everything here is handmade and your patronage helps sustain a traditional skill.
Homeware & Beautiful Objects
Easily one of our favorite stores in the country, Good Earth (www.goodearthindia.com) has several branches across India, and even one in Singapore. There are three beautiful outlets in Mumbai: The one across the road from the Marriott in Juhu (R/154 Juhu Tara Rd.; tel. 022/2611-2481) specializes in fabulous textiles and fabrics -- not to mention everything in between, including glassware, candles, and especially popular dinnerware. Look out for coasters, lampshades and gorgeously fun cushion covers by Krsna Mehta and Sangita Jindal (under the "Bombay Project" label) -- their offbeat designs cleverly rework classic Mumbai icons and images to create hip reminders of your stay here. You can also pick up copies of Fiona Caulfield's brilliant Love Mumbai guidebook -- it's packed with tips on the best shops in the city. Good Earth's branch at Raghuvanshi Mill (Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel; tel. 022/2495-1954) has a huge showroom as well as a fairly decent cafe with some scrumptious salads (but slow service). With less down to earth prices, but specializing in the finest quality, Ravissant (New India Bldg., Madame Cama Rd., Colaba; tel. 022/2287-3405) has a selection of sterling-silver teapots, vases, photo frames, and assorted stylish collectibles that sport clean modern lines and hark back to the Deco period. Yet, among all the restrained minimalism, you'll also encounter fabulous waist-high silver Ganesh statues -- apparently they sell like hotcakes.
Contemporary Arts and Crafts, in the residential neighborhood of Napean Sea Road (near Kemps Corner; tel. 022/2363-1979; Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-7pm), has tasteful and sometimes uncommon gifts from all over India. If you're shopping in Bandra, make time to visit the very upmarket Frazer and Haws store (Landmark Bldg., Pali Naka, Bandra; tel. 022/6675-0200), which carries eclectic and funky silver objets d'art, including sleek idols of Indian gods and goddesses like Ganesha and Lakshmi.
Fashion & Fabrics
Bombay's fortunes were built on its cotton mills so you'd be right in assuming this is a great city to shop for fabrics, whether for you to wear or have fashioned into something later -- and there are plenty of tailors who'll whip you up something fabulous in just a few hours. While you'll be overwhelmed with choice when it comes to global labels, you really should seek out the edgy, memorable wardrobe pieces by local designers.
Having created garments for Hillary Clinton, Demi Moore, and Liza Minnelli, and earned the accolades "Crystal King" and "Czar of Embroidery," Azeem Khan is one of Mumbai's best-known designers. To find your very own slice of Indian haute couture, visit Azeem Khan Couture in Colaba (1 Usha Sadan Bldg.; tel. 022/2215-1028; www.azeemkhan.com). Ensemble (Great Western Bldg., 130/132 Colaba Causeway; tel. 022/2284-3227) is another upmarket boutique, owned by designer Tarun Tahiliani, where you will find the greatest variety of East-meets-West evening wear; besides his own creations, prominent designers to look for here include Rajesh Pratap, Monisha Jaisingh, Tarana Rajpal, Abhishek Gupta, Sunita Shankar, and Sabyasachi. If you're after an even more glamorous, exclusive experience, visit Tarun Tahiliani Boutique (Villar Ville, Ramchandani Marg, Apollo Bunder; tel. 022/2287-0895; www.taruntahiliani.com), where you can choose from some of the finest saris, suits and bridal garments you can imagine.
Bridging the gap between outrageously exclusive and boho cheap, is Bombay Electric (1 Reay House, BEST Marg, Colaba; tel. 022/2287-6276; www.bombayelectric.com), which carries simple, pretty accessories, as well as a stellar designer collection by Indian and international designers. Depak and Priya Kishore, who started the store, also have their own range of delectable, stylish clothing lines under the label, Ghee Butter. And there are less elaborate, more affordable T-shirts and collectibles that make great gifts, too.
At the far end of Colaba (away from the Taj) is the Courtyard (Minoo Desai Marg, Apollo Bunder), where chic boutiques are filled with goods from a range of Indian designers (such as Manish Arora) -- recommended stores include the very chic Hot Pink (tel. 022/6638-5482); Abraham and Thakore (tel. 022/6638-5486), where you'll find fantastic shirts for men; Rabani & Rakha (tel. 022/6638-5476) for saris; and Manish Arora (tel. 022/6638-5464; www.manisharora.ws) for modish women's wear and accessories. If you want to pick your way through some of the best in Indian designs, but don't fancy moving from shop to shop, head for Kimaya (2 Asha Colony, Juhu Tara Rd.; tel. 022/2660-6154) in Juhu (it's opposite the Sea Princess Hotel), where owners Pradeep and Neha Hirani seem to have gathered all the finest Indian brand ladies fashion under one roof. They also have a store for men -- Ayamik (Shop no. 1, Sea Palace, Juhu Tara Rd.), as well as an alternative branch in Kemps Corner (tel. 022/2386-2432).
For cheap, casual, well-cut cottons, Cotton World, near Indigo restaurant, is the perfect stop. At Indian Textiles (Taj Mahal Palace; tel. 022/2202-8783 or 022/2204-9278), you'll find some of the best Benarasi woven silks and brocades in the country, sold by the yard, as well as authentic Pashmina shawls. Also look for hand-dyed silk stoles by Jamnadas Khatri (tel. 022/2242-5711 or -2277). Hand-loomed products are found in abundance at fabulous Fab India (Jeroo Bldg., 137 M.G. Rd., Kala Ghoda; tel. 022/2262-6539; other outlets in Bandra). Amara (Hughes Rd.; tel. 022/2387-9687 or -2530) in Kemp's Corner is a good place to check out the work of different designers -- all top end -- with the option to pause between fittings for a bite to eat or a quick spa treatment. To view (and hopefully take home) the work of less-established designers, head for Aza (21 Siffy Apartments, Altamount Rd.; tel. 022/2351-7616), just off Pedder Road. After checking out the work of tomorrow's fashion gods, you can explore the decidedly fashionable neighborhood -- a preserve of the ultrawealthy.
If you've loved the furnishings at many of the Taj hotels around the country, make your way to Zeba in Colaba or Worli (Bhaveshwar, 148-B, Dr. Annie Besant Rd., Worli Naka, tel. 022/2495-3711; also at Royal Terrace, 58 Wodehouse Rd., Colaba, tel. 022/2218-8797) for extensive collections of highly desirable home textiles, accessories, carpets, and dhurries in great original styles. Zeba is owned by the flamboyant Krsna Mehta, whose outfit creates in-house designs for its textiles in cotton, silk, jute, and a range of graceful fabrics, using both earthy and vibrant colors. Zeba will custom-design any living space. Yamini (President House, Wodehouse Rd., Colaba; tel. 022/2218-4143 or -4145; also in Bandra, tel. 022/2646-3645) stocks designer linen, tablecloths, bolsters, curtains, bed covers, napkins, and even lampshades. Also at Colaba (near Indigo restaurant) is Maspar (Sunny Bldg., Mandlik Rd.; tel. 022/2287-5619) a new store with quality home furnishings in contemporary designs and beautiful colors.
If you're fascinated by saris but don't know where to begin, make your way to Kala Niketan (tel. 022/2200-5001 or -4952) at Marine Lines, where you will be bowled over by the stunning variety, colors, and over-the-top service. Salesmen not only assist you with your purchase, but can help you get a blouse stitched and offer serious tips on how to drape that gorgeous fabric.
Famous Indian designer Ritu Kumar has several outlets specializing in silk and cotton designer-ethnic wear, much of it a blend of Western and Indian influences -- all showstoppingly elegant. Head for her boutique at Phoenix Mills Annexe (462 Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel; tel. 022/6666-9901), or either of the branches on Warden Road (tel. 022/2367-8593 or -2947) or at Trident Nariman Point.
Another boutique that is a must-see for fashionistas is Mélange (Raj Mahal Bldg., 33 Altamount Rd., Kemps Corner; tel. 022/2353-4492 or -9628; www.melangeworld.com), known for its ultrafeminine designer dresses made from delicate chiffon. If you don't plan to visit Jaipur, stop at the Mumbai branch of Anokhi (Rasik Nivas, Metro Motors Lane, off Hughes Rd.; tel. 022/2368-5761), for its East-meets-West garments, accessories, and housewares. Nearby is the turquoise-walled Neemrana store (Opera House; tel. 022/2361-4436), with its gorgeous ethnic designs.
India's most famous dhurrie designer is Shyam Ahuja (78 India House, Kemps Corner; tel. 022/2386-7372), known for outstanding and expensive hand-woven products. Besides gorgeous home furnishings, table linen, bathrobes, and towels, you can purchase authentic Pashmina shawls here.
Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (241/43 Zaveri Bazaar; tel. 022/2342-5001 or -5002), stretching over five separate floors, has a reputation for exceptional gold and diamond jewelry that dates back to 1865. It's very popular with Mumbai's wealthier crowd, so don't expect exceptionally good prices. Considered one of the country's finest places for designer contemporary jewelry, D. Popli & Sons is a family owned operation going strong since 1928; it's conveniently located, too, behind the Regal Cinema in Colaba (Ready Money Building, Battery St., tel. 022/2202-1694 or 022/2204-2055). Gazdar (Taj Mahal Palace & Tower shopping arcade; tel. 022/2202-3666) has been selling Indian, Western, antique, and contemporary jewelry since 1933; again, the prices go with the territory. Serious buyers looking for one-of-a-kind pieces should consider contacting Paulomi Sanghavi (Hughes Rd.; tel. 022/2367-6114 or 022/6634-7475; personal meetings by appointment only) or you can browse her unique ready-made designs in the store. Alternatively, walk into any one of the numerous jewelry stores along Hughes Road, such as U. T. Zaveri (Dharam Palace; tel. 022/2367-9575), where the designs are unusual and the salespeople extremely helpful.
Art, Antiques & Furniture
For a startling array of antique finds and colonial furniture, there's no place like Mutton Street in the Chor Bazaar (closed Fri), which is a wonderful place at which to browse and discover hidden treasures. You'll spot plenty of imitation antiques and faux products here, but these are usually pretty easy to identify. Store owners will often (but not always) tell you which are genuine items and which are reproductions. If, however, walking through dirty streets and sifting through dusty shops is not your cup of tea, head straight for the more established antiques stores in the city, some of the best of which are downtown in the Colaba-Fort area. Natesan's Antiqarts (tel. 022/2285-2700), conveniently located at Jehangir Art Gallery, deals principally in stone, wood, and bronze items. Whether you pick up an ornate teak and sandalwood carving, a bronze piece created using the 4,500-year-old lost-wax process, or a refurbished antique, Natesan's will arrange shipment. Nearby Phillips Antiques (opposite the Regal Cinema in Colaba's museum quarter; tel. 022/2202-0564; www.phillipsantiques.com) offers a similar service; besides four-poster beds, armchairs, writing tables, and hat stands, you'll find gorgeous porcelain and pottery, brass and silverware, and a range of marble items for the home, not to mention ornamental pieces, antiquarian maps, lithographs, engravings, old photographs, and lovely lamps. Filled with beautiful objects, Heeramaneck (below Hotel Suba Palace, Battery St., Colaba; tel. 022/2202-1778 or 022/2285-6340) is another essential pit stop for antiques lovers. It has an especially good collection of Victorian and Indian silverware, including tea sets, candle stands, and sometimes cutlery as well. Two more places where you can track down exciting antiques, include Artquest (1, Dsaulat Bldg., Colaba; tel. 022/2215-0220; email@example.com), and Tribal Route (18/19 Aram Nagar 2, J.P. Rd., Machlimaar, Versova; tel. 99-6705-8847; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Finally, if you're keen to furnish your home with superb Indian furniture, then the best place in the city has got to be Pinakin (second floor, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel; tel. 022/6600-2400; www.pinakin.in), the sophisticated showroom of interior designer and architect Pinakin Patel. Even just visiting here will be a talking point back home.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.