By Christina Valhouli
Mumbai is one of the most dynamic and chaotic cities in the world. It is the center of the Bollywood film industry as well as the Indian Stock Exchange, but most visitors come here for one reason: to shop. Some of the best items to shop for include textiles (hand-blocked cottons as well as silks); shawls (from pure pashmina to wool and silk blends); and stylish housewares, all at a fraction of the price that they would cost in the West. To keep your sanity in check, hire a taxi for the day and take a targeted approach to shopping. Our Top Shops Mumbai guide highlights some of the best stores in the city, from silver at Ravissant to stylish hand -blocked prints at Anokhi. Our favorite shopping areas are Colaba, in the south of the city near India Gate, as well as the trendy suburb of Bandra, which is about an hour north of Colaba but well worth the drive because of its high concentration of boutiques and cafes.
Think of Ravissant as the Tiffany of India. This shop specializes in exquisite silver, selling gorgeous silver tea sets, delicate filigree bowls and accessories like napkin rings and solid silver photo frames. Some of the tea sets have an Art Deco design element, and the shop also sells a well-edited collection of embroidered shawls (20-35,000 rupees) and cushions. There are two locations in Mumbai: one inside the Taj Mahal Hotel and a larger one just up the road from Soma.
Taj Mahal Hotel Shopping Arcade
This sleek store, just around the corner from the Taj hotel, sells a wide range of textiles in a calm, spacious setting. Everything from plain to embroidered silks as well as linen are available for both curtains and upholstery. Expect to pay 1,500 rupees a meter for an embroidered silk. If you’re planning to buy fabric, do it quick. Ordering can take three days to arrive from their warehouse in Bangalore and it’s about a week to make up curtains.
7 Best Marg
Soma is one of the best places to stock up on hand-blocked textiles in India. The Mumbai location is just a few doors down from Ravissant, located on the second floor of a non-descript building. Everything from quilted tote bags to tablecloths and wash bags and quilts are available at reasonable prices, and there is a separate section for women’s and children’s clothes.
A-2 Amar Chand Mansion
16, Madam Cama Road
Phone: 91-22 2282-6050
FabIndia has several locations around the country, including Jaipur, Chennai and Delhi, but one of the largest is in Mumbai. This two-story shop sells a wide variety of cotton fabrics for both upholstery and curtains, as well as a line of clothing for men, women and children. There is also a wide range of hand-printed block print tablecloths, bedspreads and napkins, as well as a small selection of furniture. There are several locations in Mumbai.
137, M.G. Road
Phillips Antique Store
This huge store, just opposite the Regal Cinema, has been in business since 1860 and sells a wide variety of European and Oriental art and antiques. There are both antiques and contemporary items, and some of the standout pieces include antique Burmese boxes and an entire wall of old prints — perfect for framing. They also have a large off-site furniture warehouse where you can browse for colonial era antiques.
Opposite Regal Cinema
Located near the Belgian Consulate, Bungalow 8 is a long, L-shaped store with glossy painted floors and open shelves. The store specializes in stylish housewares. Some of the standout items included a hammered copper leaf that can be used as a coaster, lacquer ware and mother-of-pearl tissue boxes. The prices are on the higher side but it’s well worth it.
8 Carmichael Road
Contemporary Arts and Crafts
If you like Bungalow 8 but want to save some rupees, head to the nearby Contemporary Arts and Crafts center. There’s a wide selection of ceramics, glasses and carved wooden items. A square white ceramic plate will set you back 160 rupees, while a stylish horn soap dish is 300 rupees.
19 Nepean Sea Road
Neelam is owned by Neelam Kothaari, a former actress who decided to do a career switch. Located in the suburb of Bandra, this store sells diamond, semi-precious and precious stone jewelry. There’s also a branch in New York City, and some of their pieces have been sold in Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Everything from tiny diamond flower stud earrings to elaborate wedding jewelry is available. The store is located on Linking Road, across from Pizza Hut.
101, Sushmore, 323 Linking Road
Oberoi Shopping Centre
For a pleasant one-stop shopping experience in the heart of Colaba, head to the Oberoi Shopping Centre. Located just behind the Oberoi hotel, the two-story shopping center has polished marble floors and a handful of jewelry and textile shops. Near the entrance to the mall is the Gourmet Shoppe and a few tables — a perfect place for a quick sandwich and a fresh lime soda. Some of the standout shops inside the mall are Shahenaz for fabrics (there are two locations inside the mall); Fantasia, which sells organza curtains and hand-woven placemats; and Jilani Furnishing, which can whip up custom-made curtains in just a few days. Most silks start at 600 rupees a meter.
3 Oberoi Shopping Centre
A potted palm-lined marble entrance — and the occasional BMW idling outside — mark this small boutique in Bandra. Ananya’s signature pieces are embellished tunics. There are gauzy white linen tunics embroidered with gold sequins, as well as turquoise blue or lime green with a sequined collar. There’s also a location in London’s Notting Hill. If you need a shopping break, a few doors down is Birdy’s, a small cafe selling gooey brownies, pineapple tortes and chocolate eclairs.
Shop No. 3 Pluto Building
The ground floor of this shop sells saris and tunics, but head upstairs for a small selection of perfectly decadent cushions. There are crushed velvet cushions with gold tassels, as well as embroidered cushions in hot pink and saffron yellow.
99 Abde Villa
The Bandra location of Yamini has only been open for six months, and is a contemporary store selling all kinds of housewares, including cushion covers, towels, napkins and curtains (ready-made and made-to-measure). Most of the fabrics used are cottons from Kerala.
380 Shanti Niwas
This Jaipur-based textile company specializes in hand-blocked prints, and its designs tend to be a bit more sophisticated than Soma’s. The Mumbai location sells clothing, quilts and tote bags as well as cushion covers and bedspreads. Keep walking down Waterfield Road and you’ll also pass the Seijo and Soul Dish, a great restaurant/club, as well as Zeba for home furnishings.
This story originally appeared on itravelishop.com