Image Courtesy: Nisthar P.
Mumbai is the entertainment as well as the commercial hub of India. Formerly known as Bombay and presently referred to as the “Alpha World City”, this exhilarating city is among the most populated cities in the world. Lying on the western coast of India, this glamorous city has a natural harbour.
Mumbai, the soul of all human activities, is the place which creates millionaires and paupers overnight. To most of us, the very name of the city means the glamour of the Bollywood industry, cricket matches in the weekends, Double-Decker buses, enjoying bhelpuri on the golden beaches, rollicking nightlife, best of food etc. Here’s a list of the 10 best souvenirs you can buy when visiting this cosmopolitan giant:
Available throughout Indian cities and villages, local spices are fantastic and handy souvenirs for any traveller. Whether you are planning to try your hand at Indian cooking, or just looking to put them on display in your kitchen, fresh and hand ground spices are always a good idea. Mumbai has many vibrant spice markets from where you can purchase pretty much any Indian spice you are looking for. Mirchi Gali in Kalbadevi has an overwhelming range of dried chilli powders as well as fresh chillies from around the country, in addition to other local spices.
- Lalbaug Spice Market near the Lower Parel Railway Station carries fresh spices sourced from around the country, which vendors will happily grind to your liking.
2. Decor Items From The Bombay Store:
This place is the ultimate souvenir store for all things Mumbai. Founded in 1906 to promote Indian made goods during the anti-colonial Swadeshi movement, The Bombay Store is today a huge chain with all sorts of items from Pashmina shawls and brass statues to local fragrances.
- You can visit the chain’s flagship store in Fort or one of its many other outlets spread across the city
3. Jewellery from Colaba Causeway:
Colaba Causeway’s busy street side stalls have something to offer everyone. From miniature models of historic monuments in the city to vintage movie posters, there’s a lot to browse through here. However, if jewellery and accessories suit your fancy then the Causeway’s many artificial jewellery vendors are who you should be paying a visit to.
- From traditional jhumkas in every color and style to the most up-to-date statement jewelry pieces – you will find them all here
4. Gateway of India Photographs and Postcards:
The Gateway of India is one of this city’s most recognized landmarks. You will find plenty of photographers in the area offering to photograph you before the historic structure for a small charge. Ditch the selfie and get an old-school photo taken for a truly special souvenir from your trip.
- You will also find vendors selling postcards and other mementos around the Gateway of India area!
5. Saris or Clothing:
As the country’s official fashion capital, Mumbai has much to offer fashion lovers. Pick up a unique piece of clothing from one of the city’s many clothing boutiques or get yourself a traditional sari from one of its many historic sari stores and markets.
- If you would like something really unique, get an outfit made for yourself from scratch by one of the city’s many talented designers and tailors.
With numerous artists from around the country flocking to the city every year in search of better a platform to exhibit their work, Mumbai has much to offer if you’re looking to purchase artwork – regardless of your budget.
- Skip the high end galleries and head to the city’s markets for affordable handicraft items or to Kala Ghoda, the city’s art district, for affordable yet impressive miniature paintings by street artists.
7. Retro Bollywood Posters:
Bollywood is synonymous with Mumbai for most South Asians. There’s no better souvenir than a vintage Bollywood movie poster if you are a cinephile.
- There are many places in the city where you can get them, but Chor Bazaar will give you plenty of options and a unique Mumbai adventure that can supplement your memento with a back story.
8. Musical Instruments:
If you’ve got more space in your suitcase or you don’t mind shipping things back to your home, another traditional Indian gift you can buy is a musical instrument. Mumbai is a good place to pick up a sitar (string instrument), tabla set (drums) or a harmonium.
- You can view a variety of locally made instruments at LM Furtado & Company. The store also stocks imported instruments and equipment.
9. Incense and Perfumed Oils:
In any tourist market, you should be able to find an array of incense and perfumed oils. Incense sticks, called “agar batti” in Hindi, are used in temples. Traditional scents include sandalwood, jasmine and lemongrass.
- For anyone on your gift list who enjoys scented things, a pack of incense or a small set of different oils doesn’t weigh much and can easily fit in your suitcase.
10. Wood Carvings and Antiques:
Traditionally carved wood furniture, picture frames or boxes can also make nice gifts from Mumbai. You can find export-quality work in tourist emporiums or local furniture markets, but you can also check antique showrooms like Phillips Antiques.
- Phillips, first established in 1860, has carved tribal masks, carved wooden statues, primitive art and antique wooden furniture from both Asian and European traditions.
Many people like to take a little something home with them as a reminder of their travels, something to show for where they have been, something they can use to look back and reminisce about the fantastic experience they had during their holiday. Not to mention, displaying such a memento around your home can be a great conversation starter when you have guests. After all, buying souvenirs is part and parcel of the fun holiday experience. Tourists also tend to take lots of gifts and novelties back home for friends, relatives and work colleagues. It’s a nice way to show you have been thinking of them while you have been away on your vacation.
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