The Indian aesthetic tradition is refined and grand. For me, shopping in Bombay is a richer experience than most places in the world. When perusing through their best offerings, you are exposed to a sense of culture, history and individuality, not mass-produced generic thoughtlessness. One of the best places to taste an authentic feel of the shopping and cultural heartbeat of the city is Kala Ghoda. It’s usually one of the first places I go to within 24 hours of arriving in Bombay. Here are 3 popular pit stops shopaholics typically make a beeline for:
Nicobar is a sister company to Goodearth. They aim to tell a younger, more minimalist story. Homewares and clothes are still their primary offerings, but it is at a smaller scale, with a taste for clean lines and monochrome. The main store is in Kala Ghoda, above their cafe. I love how one has to climb up the stairs and open the formidable door before entering the Nicobar room.
Fab India is an Indian staple which aims for more functionality, less extravaganza. The flagship store in Bombay is where else but Kala Ghoda. Here is again, three floors worth of treasure. Homewares in the ground floor, fabric-based products on the upper floors and don’t forget the outstanding Fab Cafe on the first floor.
Westside is a department store aiming to have all possibilities under one roof. Starbucks, clothes and beauty products on the ground floor, and traditional attire for men and women on the first and second floor. The top-level is the homewares section. I usually head to the traditional clothes for women on the first floor where you are likely to pick up a colourful, practical kurta at reasonable prices. It’s usually where I start my Kala Ghoda journey.
Kala Ghoda is one of the many areas in Bombay that is worth a traveller’s attention. In addition to the many shopping options, there are also lovely cafes and restaurants, art galleries (Jehangir Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Modern Art), and street sweet treats. Every February, the famous multicultural arts festival takes place here. When treading through this crescent-shaped district, it’s tempting to whip out your camera and document everything you see from the colonial architecture, Jewish temple, and cool artistic back streets with tea shops and boutiques. In short, a Bombay must-go.