With Taj Mahal Palace on its extreme back, Gateway of India just across, and the famous Leopold Cafe in the middle of where it functions, Colaba Causeway is a paradise for street shopping in Mumbai. A few thousand kilometres up to the north, in the Capital City-Delhi, Sarojini Nagar Market is an equally bustling street-shopping spot. But, the major street markets of the two major cities of India are different at sight, smell and shopping. Here’s how…
Capturing the street and shopping spirit
Colaba Causeway, a famous commercial street and a major causeway in Mumbai, is close to the famous ‘Fort’ area and ‘Cuff Parade’- an uber class neighbourhood in the historic South Mumbai. It is one of Mumbai’s best places to street–shop from and falls under the ‘Culture Square’ of the city.
With your first step on this elevated shopping street, you enter into a row of bright, colourful jewellery pieces hanging from ribbons and strings, outside multiple shops. The collection is a replica of what one may find at a fancy store in an air-conditioned shopping mall. Other than trinkets and tiaras, goods with artistic value and dodgy antiques can be found here. Retail showrooms line the road opposite to the shopping street along with some cafes and bakeries.
Iconic cafes like Leopold and Mondegar are steps away from each other on the causeway and see a rush of shoppers who decide to cool off here. They also host tourists including foreigners and the crowd makes a buoyant setting. These jovial vibes from the cafes, breeze through the causeway, adding to its spirit.
There is a plethora of these and bumping into people haggling is common. “Quote me a decent price else I will go to another vendor,” one can hear shoppers bargain.
And if you are not someone who would wrangle over prices, some steps away from the market are fashion outlets by designers like Anita Dogre and Rohit Bal, amongst others, who are famous names in fashion sphere.
Simply walking the length of this vivid street and treating your eyes with colours and designs can make a scintillating experience, so visiting the market is recommended even if one doesn’t plan on shopping.
Colaba Causeway is a material treat but is an expensive street-shopping destination unlike Sarojini Nagar (SN) Market which is cheaper and a better option to shop apparels.
SN market nestles in the neighbourhood of South Delhi. It is about five times bigger than the street market in Colaba and the better place to shop apparel and shoes. While Colaba is a single street market, SN market has multiple thoroughfares in its huge compound. There are so many lanes that it gets confusing at times. Lines of vendors occupy the space with piles of clothes for you to scrounge your takeaway from. The clothes are of export quality and can be bought at throwaway prices. Unlike Colaba Causeway, it is only a shopping arena and not suitable for pleasing strolls. It is also low on the hippy vibe that the Causeway offers and has no iconic cafes either. But, what it does have is flavoursome Delhi-street-food, which has no match and it has been rated as the better place to shop by many.
“Srojini for the win,” shouted Seerat Chabba and Sanya Jain, on being asked what they prefer. Chabba and Jain are fresh graduates who have shopped from both these markets which are highly popular among college students.
“Colaba, Elco, Linking Road combined can’t beat Sarojini,” Sonali Pawar, another shopper, said. Elco and Linking Road are other street-shopping spots in Mumbai.
How to reach here and what’s around
Travelling is not much of a hassle in South Mumbai. Black and yellow coloured taxis or ‘Kaali-Peeli’ as they are locally called, are at your service. But what is recommended is walking around ‘Town’ alias South Mumbai and appreciating the architecture of the ancient buildings that stand at every step, as you proceed for the market. Styles such as Gothic, Victorian, Indo-Saracenic and contemporary can be seen wherever the eyes go. And then there is The National gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Regal Cinema, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum which complete the ‘Culture Square’. Roaming in the midst of history and art is euphoric and charges you for the bargaining that lies ahead. Any route to Causeway is a delight in itself. The famous ‘Marine Drive’ is only a few kilometres away.
SN market is accessible to locals and tourists by means of road and rail. The closest metro station is INA which falls on the yellow line of the Delhi Metro, which is a quick and preferred mode of transportation against the traffic loaded roads in the surrounding area. That’s about reaching to this destination in the metropolis. No fancy art and architecture around here but some up-end markets and arenas which can satisfy your luxury needs.
The famous Hyatt Hotel lies in the vicinity and a lot of tourists decide to stay here because of the posh area that surrounds it. The South extension market is close by and is a famous square for shopping. It houses mass-fashion and classic retail outlets. The Green-Park market nearby queues bakeries and street food stalls and is a favourite amongst Delhiites. ‘Delhi Haat’- a roof-free food plaza and craft bazaar, falls in the INA area. Hauz-Khas-Village, a complex of multi-cuisine restaurants and traveller’s cafes along with Haute Couture Boutiques, is not too far from INA.
Both the markets have a lot to offer and if that doesn’t satisfy your “traveller-quest”, the options around are aplenty.