Geared toward tourists, Colaba Causeway is both over-the-top and still inviting. Tight stalls and crowds of people from all over the world make this market a truly international scene. You can buy almost anything you can think of: balloons, maps, books, jewellery, clothing, incense, electronics and more. There’s an Indian saying: “sab kuch milega,” which means “you’ll get everything.” Open every day from morning until nightfall, that phrase certainly applies to Colaba Causeway.
Located right in the centre of Muslim Mumbai, Chor Bazaar has a history reaching back more than 150 years. Its name translates to “thieves market,” but its beginnings weren’t salacious as much as misunderstood. It turns out the British mispronounced the original name of Shor Bazaar, which means “noisy market,” and the incorrect name stuck. Packed with people and all sorts of oddities, you can find antiques, jewellery, bronze furnishings, clothing, art, period furniture and more. Located on Mutton Street, this market is open 11am to 7pm every day except Friday.
Open every day from 10am to 10pm, Linking Road is a market in one of Mumbai’s most chic suburbs. Street stalls are placed next to brand name stores selling the newest fashions out of Paris, and Western fast food chains adjoin street vendors selling curry. It’s a wondrous hodgepodge, and you can find just about anything here, especially traditional Indian clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, bags, accessories and house wares.
Bhuleshwar Wholesale Flower Market
Flowers, colour, scent — these things are integral to Indian culture and experience, and nowhere is this more evident than in Bhuleshwar Wholesale Flower Market. Located in Tank Circle and open from dawn to noon, the flower market looks and smells as beautiful as it sounds. Lilies, orchids, lady’s slipper, marigolds, lotus, jasmine — the selection is dizzying, and the prices are low. Bear in mind according to Hindu belief, touching or smelling the flowers will ruin them, so don’t give in to the ever-present temptation. But if you can keep your hands and nose to yourself, wandering around Bhuleshwar’s flowers is heavenly, and whatever you choose to buy will be a good bargain to boot.
Arguably the best place to get fresh produce, Crawford Market supplies goods to mainly local customers. Located in an historical colonial building, Crawford Market is a more traditional market. Because it doesn’t try to cater to tourists, the feel and pace of the place is natural and easy without being overly sedate. Open daily from morning to night, stock up on fruits and vegetables here. They also have a large pet section, which satisfies pet needs ranging from fish and reptiles to German shepherds and birds.
Located on MG Road, Fashion Street is exactly what it sounds like: a market exclusively devoted to fashion running along a street. Teenagers and college students abound, as do plenty of knock-off designer pieces. Open every day from morning to night, if you want to do some clothing shopping, Fashion Street is the place.
It almost doesn’t matter what you’re into, Mumbai has a market for you. Head to Mumbai, and spend some time among the city’s open-air markets. From their flowers to their produce, you will find something that enchants you — even if it is simply the spirit of Mumbai.
(Photo by tamald via Flickr)