Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: Shopping in Bombay

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Shopping in Bombay

Shopping in Bombay

Emily:  The next day, I woke up and found that 3 of our missing bags at arrived!  None of our bags had arrived when we landed, so I was looking forward to them arriving.

We then went for lunch and shopping afterwards.  Daraius went for a shave and a head massage and left us girls to do what we do best. 😉  First we went to Asiatic, a department store across from Churchgate railway station for a hair dryer, hair brush, and some other items.

Shopping in Bombay

Asiatic Department Store

Trip Report Index

My mom and Judi loved browsing through the different sections in the store.

Shopping in Bombay

Shopping in Bombay

My mom found a beautiful necklace set and my Aunt Judi got a little purse for her granddaughter.

Shopping in Bombay


I spent time at the “new arrivals” section!

Shopping in Bombay

Emily in Asiatic Department Store

I’m always amazed at the different types of Indian jewelery!

Shopping in Bombay

Indian Jewelery

We also browsed the clothes section upstairs.

Shopping in Bombay

Emily in a Salwar Kameez

The prices at Asiatic are “fixed prices” so you can’t bargain, but they are reasonable.  My mom picked out a couple of tunics, and I got a Salwar Kameez.

Shopping in Bombay

Shopping in Bombay

Another day we went to the Raymond store to get new shirts tailored for Daraius.

Shopping in Bombay

He Goes Shopping Only Once Every Few Years!

In India, you can get clothes made for your exact size very cheap.  Daraius likes Raymonds because he can get high-quality, tailored, button down shirts for only $30 each.  It was fun picking out the fabric. There were hundreds of colors and prints from which to choose.

Shopping in Bombay

At Raymonds

After that, we went to Colaba Causeway, which is a main shopping street and touristy part of town.  You can get anything from sarees to compasses, to wooden elephants, leather purses, and Indian sandals.

Shopping in Bombay

Judi at a Stall in Colaba Causeway

The prices can be good too, as long as you bargain aggressively.  We were quoted 1,200 ($22) rupees for a shawl but eventually paid 400 rupees ($7).  The shopkeepers can also be somewhat aggressive, compared to American standards. For example, they will put their goods in front of you and sometimes walk along side you imploring you to buy them!

They are good salespersons and eagerly unwrap items and make you feel and smell them to get you to buy them!

Shopping in Bombay

Eager To Show You Items

It can be sensory overload if you’re not used to it like my mother!

Shopping in Bombay

Connie is Through With Shopping

One man selling drums whacked on his drums next to us, perhaps with the hope that if we heard the sound often enough, we would want to buy his drums.  The best thing to do to these somewhat aggressive shopkeepers is to say “Nahi, nahi” or “nahi mangta” which means “no, no” and “no, I don’t want it”.

My aunt Judi got two shawls for 800 rupees ($15), and a sandstone coaster set and a wooden elephant for 350 rupees ($7).

Shopping in Bombay

“100% Silk, Only 2,000 Rupees.  I Give You Good Price etc.”


Shopping in Bombay

Judi Inspecting Her Shawl

My mom got a few leather wallets and looked at some tunics for 1,500 rupees ($28) but did not buy them.

After lunch, we went to Abdul Rehman Street which is the wholesale market in Bombay.  It is in a crowded street just across from the more popular Crawford Market.  The stores often have much cheaper prices, but many do not accept credit cards or will charge a slightly higher price for using a credit card.

Shopping in Bombay

Emily Outside Crawford Market

The prices are very cheap but the market is busy & crowded.  But I loved the color and sounds!  It is an authentic Indian experience that is not frequented by many tourists.

Shopping in Bombay

Somewhere in Abdul Rehman Street

Luckily, Daraius knew where he was going and we weaved in and out of the streets and lanes to visit the shops.  However, even if we didn’t know where to go, it would be okay because everything is generally in the same area.

We saw vendors that sold jewelry, handbags, clothing, fabric, and lots more.  We walked through Mangaldas market, the cloth wholesale market, and saw lots of colorful fabric.

Shopping in Bombay

Cloth in Mangaldas Market

I could have spend hours admiring the pretty fabric, but Daraius was with us!

Shopping in Bombay

Emily in Mangaldas Market

Soon we made it to my favorite gift bag shop and next door was a shop selling purses.

Shopping in Bombay

Connie & Emily Choosing Purses

We bought the purses for $2 which cost $30 on Colaba Causeway, the more touristy shopping area!  I got lots of gift bags at the stationary store.

Shopping in Bombay

Emily’s Favorite Stationary Store

Each street had lots of tiny shops in them.

Shopping in Bombay

Lots of Color

Abdul Rehman Street is a wholesale market, which means you are supposed to buy in bulk.  In my experience, some places will sell ~5 of one item.  The prices are so cheap that you actually save money by possibly buying more than you need (compared to buying fewer at the regular retail price).

Shopping in Bombay

Window Shopping

Just a few streets away was Zaveri bazaar which is the jewelery market.

Shopping in Bombay

Zaveri Bazaar

There’s even a mosque in the middle of the market!

Shopping in Bombay


Afterwards, we went to Crawford market (the fruit market), which is across the street to get some dried fruits.

Shopping in Bombay

Crawford Market

There were vendors selling druit fruits and nuts…

Shopping in Bombay

Emily Searching for Dried Fruit & Nuts

…as well as fruit stalls.

Shopping in Bombay


On the way out we bumped into a Million Mile Secrets reader, which was an unexpected suprise!

Next stop was at Fab India...

Shopping in Bombay

Connie in Fab India

…and Westside.  Westside has Indian and “Western” clothes, and is like a JCPenny department store.  The clothes are hung up, rather than folded.  FabIndia’s clothes are mostly folded and simpler. We both preferred shopping at Westside!

Shopping in Bombay

Connie at Westside

My aunt Judi got an Indian outfit at Westside—a kurta top and leggings. It looked very pretty on her!

Daraius:  One of my favorite things to do in India is to go for a shave and head massage!

Air Cool is a barber’s shop just to the side of the Churchgate Railway Station.  The barbers in white coats sit outside waiting for you.

Shopping in Bombay

Who’s Next?

You sit in a line of chairs facing a mirror.

Shopping in Bombay

Line Up

And tell the barber that you’d like a shave, massage, haircut, etc.  Soon you’re lathered up…

Shopping in Bombay

Lathered Up

and shaved while the barber (like those everywhere) tells you the solution to the failing cricket team and political woes of the day!

Shopping in Bombay

And Shaved

A shave & head massage at Air Cool (a more expensive salon) cost ~80 rupees  ($1.50) each!

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28 responses to “Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: Shopping in Bombay

  1. Shopping in India is the best! Looks like Emily had a great time and bought some lovely outfits. Did she go to the saree shops too? I mean the fancy designer saree shops where they have platforms and people (not always women!) walking around modelling them? I thought that was so cool! I’ve been married for almost 14 years so my husband is already trained to deal with my shopping habits, LOL!

  2. How long does it take to make a shirt? We’ll be there for a long day (9am – Midnight) on a cruise ship, and some shirts would be wonderful, but I’m guessing that’s not enough time, even for them.

  3. Great write-up! I loved the custom shirts and shave experiences!

  4. I was in Bombay 3 weeks ago. Let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll tell you where you can find it for the best price..!!

    You’re overpaying for most stuff. 🙁

  5. @ Miles to the Wild- We did have a great time, and I took them saree shopping, but we didn’t go anywhere as fancy as you described! That sounds like a lot of fun.

    @Tom- Daraius is right, it does take about a week which includes the fitting and the final adjustments.

    @InACents- Glad you enjoyed them!

  6. Loved your writeup!. I have been to south India but never been to Bombay/Mumbai

  7. Hi Daraius,

    Have been loving this thread . Looks like emily and her family had a good shopping fun browsing through small streets. Hope you thought them bargaining on Colaba causeway and crawford markets. Will look forward to more blogs from the trip. Refreshed my memories of Mumbai.

  8. Daraius and Emily,

    It was great bumping into you guys in Bombay and thanks for the tip on the $2 purses!


  9. This brought back good old memory of my childhood in Mumbai. I can still feel and small the aroma of streets of Mumbai. Thanks Emily and parsi bawa Daraius for sharing your experience. Keep on writing…

  10. I am not much of a shopper myself, but my girlfriend loves it. It was nevertheless very interesting to hear about your shopping experiences in Bombay. I imagined it would be busy, chaotic, and a complete overload of your senses. The pictures are very good indeed.

    It is really a small world when you bump into a MMS reader in the streets of Bombay.

    This is by far the most enjoyable trip report I have read from you guys. Keep up the great work. I look forward to reading the rest.

  11. Are pickpockets, or other crime, a concern when shopping? I have two beautiful grandchildren who were adopted from India! Mira is 14 and Daniel is 10. My daughter and son-in-law would like to take them to India some day so I am excited to share your trip reports with them. Thank you for posting them!

  12. I checked your website after a few months and imagine my surprise on finding you in Mumbai. I’m in mumbai for this week as well. Enjoy your time!

  13. @suns- Thank you! We went to Kerala and Munnar a few years ago. The backwaters and tea plantations were beautiful!

    @Swap- Daraius did teach me how to bargain by looking astonished at the quoted prices, walking away, and having the bills out that you want to pay. Though I’m sure we still overpaid for several items. 🙂

  14. Great colors. India is colorful sometimes.
    You and amazing race are helping me see the world!

    • @Kevin – It was great bumping into you too! Apologies if I was a bit shocked, because I wasn’t expecting to bump into anyone who read the blog in the middle of the market! Do let us know if you’ll be back later this year and we can plan to meet!

      @Carol – No, levels of crime are much lower than in the US. But you should always be alert for pickpockets, touts and scams targeting tourists, just as in any other country, and especially in crowded places.

  15. Great trip report Daraius and Emily.
    Thanks for sharing

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  19. Nusreen moideen

    Hi….I will b visiting mumbai in a week. I wanted to knw frm where I can get good indian salwars n anarkalis in mumbai..??? Since I’m gng there first Tom…I hav no idea about this place. Kindly help me. Thnx

  20. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice post.

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