India is the land of festivals but Diwali is certainly one of the most anticipated festivals of India. Like many others, I am always excited to celebrate this festival with my friends, family and colleagues. One of the best things about Diwali is that people from all walks of life and different religions, regions and state celebrate it with the same joy and excitement. It is the festival of lights that inspires all of us to spread the love and happiness and to drive away the darkness, sorrow and negativity within and around us. Being a shopaholic, shopping is what excites me during the festive season and being a Mumbaikar I am always looking for places for Diwali shopping in Mumbai.
Apart from being passionate about travel, I love shopping. Not many of my friends think of me as a shopaholic, but believe me, if I was a billionaire, I would have had a shopping mall of my own. I love shopping anywhere, in the mall and on the streets. Mumbai’s Colaba area is one of the places where I used to hang out with my friends and now with Sarah.
So, here I am writing about things to do and places to visit when you are in Mumbai on a short business trip or if you are just here for few days or just a day at a stretch. Honestly, this sounds like an easy essay topic, but trust me it is not. I mean, look at the map of Mumbai, the city is expanding faster than you can imagine. All the places that once used to be the far north of the city have now become the central locations. On Zomato, there are more than 10,313 restaurants registered across the city, on TripAdvisor there are 207 attractions to visit, and 158 places to shop around, so where do you start?
Well, it’s the start of the year and I am always excited about the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival that happens in February for around 9 days and I think it is the best arts festival that you can catch up if you are in South Mumbai. I have always been fascinated by artworks and creativity from my early childhood days, but back then I was just a regular school boy who had no interest in academics or sports or anything in school curriculum (I have no interest in all that even now). I had no interest in poetries or literature until 1999 when I joined Elphinstone College in South Mumbai. It was in the same year that Kala Ghoda Arts Festival was initiated by the Kala Ghoda Association. Down here is my personal picture 15 years ago when I was just a college boy attending KGAF.
As a kid, I was always so excited about festivals especially Christmas because you see all these shops putting up Santa Claus and reindeer pictures and decorations to attract customers. Some expensive shops put up Christmas trees to bring more business. I remember Akbarally’s shop at Flora Fountain used to have someone dressed up like Santa Claus and I would have to please my mother to take me to the shop to meet the Santa Claus at the door and handshake with him and enjoy my Christmas even though my family never had the budget to afford gifts being sold inside. On the other hand, I would passionately stare at the huge Christmas tree outside the shop loaded with decorations and gift boxes right at the base of it. My passion for Christmas has never died, in fact, now I enjoy the midnight mass as well with Sarah at a church close to my home.
Hailed as the Garden City of India, Bangalore recently named Bengaluru is not just a shopper’s paradise but also the state capital of Karnataka. In terms of size and population, Bangalore is not too far behind and takes the fifth position. However, in terms of overall urban landscapes Bangalore certainly races a little ahead mainly because of the beautiful parks, heritage buildings and architecture and shopping centers and malls that are here for the people. While I usually find people talking about the beautiful gardens and the pub culture and the technology and IT parks that have impacted the life of the common people in the city, I would like to talk about shoppers can make the best use of their shopping skills and enjoy the best time shopping for Diwali in Bangalore because that is what I do best.
In the last three decades, I have seen Mumbai developing quickly especially with so many people migrating to the city to change their destiny and lifestyle. Mumbai has been the City of Opportunities for many people across the country and even across the world and that has worked in the favor and also against the city in many ways. For all my childhood days, I have seen Mumbaikars shopping in the small lanes and shops but with the level of lifestyle going up new trends came in that swept shopaholics off their feet. I remember when the first mall in Mumbai opened up in September 1999 near Haji Ali known as Crossroads at that time and now known as SoBo Central it attracted millions of people to it. Crossroads was jam packed for weeks with shopaholics, casual window shoppers, college students and even curious middle class people who wanted to analyze to concept of malls. Well, a lot of time has already passed by and malls today have become a part and parcel of our life. Today, malls are packed with all sorts of people, you will find families shopping around, college students wandering and dating around while many limited budget consumers feast their eyes with all the glitter and glamour that they get to see around. In my previous blog post I already covered the street shopping destinations in Mumbai so this time let’s take a quick look at the top 3 shopping malls in Mumbai that have managed to offer consumers with the right kind of shopping experience that offers them value for money and great brands and products that enrich their lifestyle.
I often end up debating with my friends on why they tell me that the word “Low Budget Shoppers” is not good to put up in the title or the content that I write. They believe that when I write that I am actually indicating that my readers do not have the financial power to buy from top malls in the city or country, but I do not agree with it. For me low budget shopping is more about finding the best deals and has less to do with the financial status. Being a Mumbai boy, I have seen many upper middle class people shopping on the streets of Mumbai and that is not because they don’t have the money, but because they want to save money and want to buy more stuff in the same amount of cash that they have. Women on the other hand, prefer to street shop because they prefer buying more items in the same budget that they can mix and match and wear it on different occasions. While there are many malls here in Mumbai a big chunk of population still prefers to do street shopping that offers them the right satisfaction that malls fail to offer. Here I would like to explore some of the top street shopping destinations in Mumbai for smart shoppers who would like to save more money while they pick up the best deals that they can find.
Kala Ghoda literally means Black Horse and although the name sounds a bit odd for a location it offers a great experience especially when you are somewhere in South Mumbai. I have been a resident of South Mumbai since my birth and no other place holds a special place in my heart than Kala Ghoda. It is not only connected to my childhood days, but also during my college days. Oh, you must be thinking I am getting emotional and exaggerating about the place because I am emotionally attached to it, but that is not the case. When I write I detach myself from the topic to give a whole new perspective to my readers and audience but certainly Kala Ghoda is among the best tourist destinations in Mumbai.