Welcome to Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, the largest city in India, and also the commercial, financial and entertainment hub of the country. Mumbai is a city of contrasts. There is so much progress here, but at the same time, one gets to witness so much poverty too, in the slums. This thrilling megacity is mostly known for the Bollywood industry, a large and natural harbor, fascinating street food, and its tremendously rich history. Mumbai is one of those places where one visit is not enough. However, there are tons of souvenirs you can buy to remind you of the city until you come back again. So, check out what to buy in Mumbai, India, and start planning your trip already.
1. Decor items from The Bombay Store
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Perhaps one of the greatest souvenir shops in Mumbai, The Bombay Store features a wide range of products exhibiting the rich culture of India. Here, you will find amazing gift ideas for every budget, while the unique items might come from different places across India, like the lovely pashmina shawls from Kashmir. Don’t worry about spotting the location, as there are over 20 Bombay Stores spread throughout the city, so it’s hard to miss it no matter where you are!
2. Jewelry from Colaba Causeway
Located in the Southern Mumbai area, steps far from the sea and the stunning Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway is a famous street market where one can find anything. Thanks to its vast array of items, tourists and locals are both attracted by this buzzing market. From bangles, accessories to artificial jewelry to delightful antiques, this bazaar has it all, but remember, although there might be fixed prices, you still need to use your bargaining skills to lower the prices. For cheap Indian artifacts, this is the place to go!
3. Retro Bollywood posters
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word Mumbai is certainly Bollywood, and it does make sense. If you are a cinephile or you know of a friend who is, then you must absolutely go for a retro Bollywood poster and you won’t regret it. There are plenty of shops to buy these vintage posters, while prices can start at about 4 USD and climb up to more than 1,000 USD. Hand-painted posters were once the only way to advertise a movie, so these Bollywood memorabilia are preserved and restored so people can have access and purchase them.
4. Gateway of India photographs and postcards
One of the city’s most emblematic landmarks, the Gateway of India is a great spot to take a photo, and it seems many photographers and vendors had the same idea, so they work around the attraction to earn a living. You will definitely spot a photographer that can take your photo for a small charge, and there are several vendors selling postcards of this beautiful historic structure. Or else, you can simply take a selfie and keep this memory when you go back home.
India is said to be the ‘Land of Spices’, as there is no other country in the world that produces as many varieties of spices as India. So, quite understandably, no trip would be complete without visiting a colorful spice market in Mumbai, hopefully for buying, but it could be just for the pleasure of your eyes and nose. Fresh chilies, dried chili, or any spice powder you may think of, you will find it in Mumbai’s markets. If you love Indian cuisine, then this is a must-buy item so you try cooking once back home.
Apparently, in Mumbai, there are experts in manufacturing lampshades of any type, and it can be a lovely gift or a souvenir which won’t take much space in your suitcase. Lampshades of any shape, like rectangles, round or squares, and of any type, such as paper ones, glass, silk, cloth, cotton, crystal, or even hand painted, can be found in several shops throughout the city. They are fairly impressive, and they will make your home and your life much brighter and more inspiring.
7. Kolhapuri chappals
If you are up for trying on something new to impress friends and family, then go for a pair of the traditional Kolhapuri chappals. Although such shops are getting fewer and fewer, there are still places where you can buy these shoes that come in different colors. These hand-crafted leather slippers are made of vegetable dyes and have originally a T-strap shape. The making process might take up to six weeks. If you would like to support the local craftsmen, don’t hesitate to take back home a pair of this world-famous footwear.
8. Traditional block-printed fabrics
Hand-block printing is one of the finest methods of textile printing, and although a rather slow one, it does bring brilliant results not otherwise attained. Natural colors, mostly from vegetable origins, are used for dying the fabrics, making them environmentally friendly too. The fabrics can be pretty colorful and feature many different patterns as well. This centuries-old art form is pretty popular around India and makes for an excellent gift that clearly shows the rich Indian tradition.
9. Wine from the Sula vineyards
Situated in the Western Ghats, growing on a volcanic-originated soil, Sula’s vineyards host some of India’s finest grapes, and a taste will convince you. Sustainable winemaking practices and different micro-climates with warm days ensure high-quality wines. There are many varieties, so you just need to try to see which appeals to you the most. The company also makes sure local farmers and workers are supported by providing fair livelihoods to disadvantaged communities.
10. Leather goods with traditional motifs
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
India’s history in leather tanning is rather huge, making Indians experts in developing techniques of working with leather. Except for the famous Kholapuri chappals, other leather products, such as bags, wallets, and purses are widely available in Mumbai’s markets. But what makes them really special are the silk or gold threads and the metal embroidery added to them so they have a traditional and distinct look. These are pretty adorable souvenirs or gifts that also have a utility value.
A city to return to
Remember that Mumbai is a considerably populated city, thus traffic on the streets can be unbearable sometimes. However, sit back and be patient, while looking around you to see locals in action. It’s a necessary and unforgettable experience. If you liked what you read, take that list with you when you visit cosmopolitan Mumbai.
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