If you are living in or visiting Mumbai then you can visit many of the markets in South Mumbai. There are plenty to choose from and you can pick up countless bargains!
The Name Colaba, comes from Kolabhat, this word has been taken from the language of the Kolis, the original inhabitants of the Island. The area that is now Colaba was originally a region consisting of two Islands, the Island of Colaba & Little Colaba ( or Old Woman’s Island ). The Island of Colaba is one of the seven Islands that make up Mumbai today. These Islands were ruled by the Portuguese, which they had acquired from the Sultanate of Cambay and later these groups of islands were gifted by Portugal to Charles II of England as a dowry when he married Catherine of Braganza.
Colaba today, is the ‘Culture Square’ of Mumbai. The architecture of the area is reminiscent of old Bombay, a fact highlighted by buildings & structures like the Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Regal Cinema & Cusrow Baug, a Parsi residential colony, built-in 1934, covering an area of 84,000 square yards, which is home to over 500 families. Colaba is also a hub for various Art Galleries, which makes this area a natural destination for the artist community.
Colaba Causeway Market Mumbai is a shopping experience like no other in Mumbai. Its a street shopping experience where you see how modern stores and shops co-exist with street vendors selling Trinkets, Fashion Accessories, Colorful Stones in varieties and styles. You can explore and get yourself bags made of Jute, Cane & Leather or try out an excellent variety of footwear that is sold from branded stores and shops.
For those seeking a bargain and on a budget, footwear shopping in Colaba is certainly some experience, you also have a variety of street vendors selling traditional Indian slippers and sandals ( Mojris & Chappels ).
People enjoy shopping in Colaba not only for modern accessories but also for Traditional Indian Art, Craft, Antiques and Handicrafts. Its a delight for people from different nationalities to visit various shops and stores to pick up souvenirs. Sucha as woodwork inlaid with Ivory, Miniature Taj Mahal, South Indian Temple Paintings, Woodwork With Indian Gods & Godesses, Kashmiri Shawls and Carpets. These places are filled with a variety of traditional Indian goods that you would want to own.
Colaba Causeway excites tourists, not only for shopping but also for its restaurants, cafes and roadside eateries. Tourists can experience Traditional Indian, Mughlai, Chinese & European Cuisine. For the adventurous tourist wanting to experience spicy Indian Mughlai Cuisine, you have a variety of eateries selling Tandori Chicken and Kababs served hot. Coming straight from the Tandoors or Indian Clay Ovens. Some famous restaurants and cafes are Piccadilly Restaurant, Mings Palace, Kailash Parbat, Delhi Darbar, Cafe Churchill, Cafe Mondegar, Cafe Leopold and Cafe Basilico. This is definitely one of the best markets in South Mumbai!
You can find out more here: The Must Have Guide to Colaba Causeway, Mumbai!
Crawford Market – Markets in South Mumbai
Crawford Market now is officially known as “Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market ” It is one of South Mumbai’s most famous markets. It was named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of the city. The market is situated opposite the Mumbai Police headquarters, just north of Victoria Terminus railway station and west of the J.J.flyover at a busy intersection. The market houses a wholesale fruit, vegetable, and poultry market. One end of the market is a pet store. Most of the sellers inside the market nowadays sell imported items such as foods, cosmetics, household, and gift items. It was the main wholesale market for fruits in Mumbai until March 1996, when the wholesale traders were relocated to Navi Mumbai (New Bombay).
The building, completed in 1869, was donated to the city by Cowasji Jehangir. After India’s independence, the market was renamed after Maharashtrian social reformer, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. In 1882, the building was the first in India to be lit up by electricity.
The edifice is a blend of Norman and Gothic 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 22,471 sq m (24,000 sq ft) which 5,515 sq m (6,000 sq ft) is occupied by the building itself. The structure was built using coarse buff-colored Kurla stone, with Redstone from Bassein. It has a 15 m high skylight awning designed to allow the sunlight to light up the marketplace.
A short walk through the crowded lanes across the road from Crawford Market is the pristine white Jama Masjid on Sheikh Memon Street. It’s an unusual Mosque, built on a pond of tranquil, green water which has been incorporated into the design. Don’t miss the intricate mosaic work on the exquisite marble staircase. North on Sheikh Memon Street, take a detour into the narrow passages of the Moolji Jetha Cloth Market, the oldest wholesale cotton market in Asia, built-in 1881. Behind its stone walls is a maze of 800 cotton shops, where shopkeepers and buyers lounge on white mattresses and pillows, negotiating the price of rolls of fabric steaming glasses of tea “ chai”.
Fashion Street Mumbai
Fashion Street is the name that you can hear from most of the college students in Mumbai as soon as the last bell rings. Indeed, Fashion Street in Mumbai has become the stomping ground of the students and teenagers, who make the style statement in their classrooms and the realm of fashion.
Located adjoining the Cross Maidan and opposite Azad Maidan in South Mumbai, Fashion Street is actually a market flooded with export surplus clothing. It is a group of more than 100 shops, where you can get chic clothes and fashion accessories at very cheap rates.
Most of the clothes land here because they get rejected by the quality conscious importers. It is possible that you may get a button missing or crooked collar, but on the whole, these clothes are stylish, cheap and of good quality. Mumbai, the Business Capital of India, is the prime exporter of readymade clothes abroad. The clothes, which make the craze stuff in the leading stores of the US and Europe, can be obtained at Fashion Street, besides for a fraction of their price overseas.
Apart from clothing, here you can find shops selling shoes and costume jewelry too. Haggling is ‘mantra’ of shopping at Fashion Street, where shopkeepers generally quote higher prices. You can really enjoy buying cool stuff, while bargaining and cracking pretty good deals. Essentially ask half of the price, what has been asked by the proprietor, haggle a bit or move forward and eventually, you will get the selected things at the price quoted by you. On your visit to Mumbai (Bombay), definitely pay a visit to Fashion Street to get some really nice stuff.
If you want to know more about Fashion Street then check out Fashion Street Mumbai, The Complete Guide!
Zaveri Bazaar – Markets in South Mumbai
Zaveri Bazaar is Mumbai’s Jewellery Bazaar. This Bazaar was established to bring all Jewellery Trading under one roof. Located in Bhuleshwar, South Mumbai Zaveri Bazaar is a street that has narrow lanes, dotted with hundreds of Jewellery shops that sell gems and jewels offering a range of jewelry in Diamond, Gold & Silver.
The Mumbai’s bullion exchange and diamond market used to be, though it is now primarily a retail center. Travelers should explore this market, and see how the day to day business of selling Gems & Jewels takes place. This market isn’t fancy and retains its old charm, you will get a glimpse of how street vendors and well-done Jewellery showrooms co-exist in the Zaveri Bazaar.
Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar, which literally means “thieves market”, has a fascinating history that spans more than 150 years. Apparently, it was originally called Shor Bazaar, meaning “noisy market”, but “shor” became “chor” because of how the British mispronounced the word. Eventually, stolen goods started finding their way into the market, resulting in it living up to its new name! These days it’s famous for antique and vintage items.
To find Chor Bazaar Mumbai, you’ll need to venture right into the thick of Muslim Mumbai. It’s located on Mutton Street, in the busy market area between S V Patel and Moulana Shaukat Ali Roads, near Mohammad Ali Road in south Mumbai. The closest local railway station is Grant Road.
The area is full of crowded streets and crumbling buildings and can be a little overwhelming. Don’t be daunted though, it’s quite safe but do be careful of pickpockets.
The shops in Chor Bazaar are open from 11 a.m. until 7.30 p.m., every day except Friday (which is Muslim prayer day). However, the area is still worth a visit on Friday when it comes alive with the Juma Market. This is the real thieves market. From sunrise on Friday morning, vendors cram the lanes selling all kinds of goods, many of them stolen. You’ll have to get there early to get the best stuff though.
Prices at Chor Bazaar are very fluid and will depend on how good your bargaining skills are (or aren’t!). The usual tips for bargaining at India’s markets apply, and you should only aim to pay around half the price initially quoted for the goods. Shop keepers are very savvy and will quote ridiculously high prices to unsuspecting tourists.
One other thing to keep in mind is that the area is a conservative Muslim area, so do dress in loose clothing that covers your legs and shoulders.
Chor Bazaar is one of the largest flea markets in India. Chor Bazaar is where bargain-hungry tourists rummage for Ming vases and Muranos at throwaway prices. The main avenue is Mutton Street, flanked by rows of little antique shops that look like musty attics and sell just about anything at bargain prices from old ship parts, grandfather clocks, gramophones, to crystal chandeliers and old English tea sets antiques at throwaway prices, including colonial-era lamps, Art Deco clocks, and trinkets of every kind. A store called Mini Market also offers old Bollywood posters for sale. Others offer authentic Victorian furniture, wonderful for browsers, antiquarians, and restorers. Although bargains are sometimes staggering, most of the shop owners are pretty street smart and haggling is considered mandatory.
There is a saying in Mumbai- “If you lose anything in Mumbai, you can buy it back at the Thieves Bazaar”. This is not re-assuring for any tourists, but it is said in good humor. Let us know what you think are the best markets in South Market.