The best way to experience the local culture of any destination is to walk through its open markets; witnessing hurried shoppers scrambling by, experiencing the natural wealth of the place and interacting with shopkeepers and locals alike.
Colaba Causeway, Mumbai
Mumbai is the fashion capital of India. Home of Bollywood, the city always stays ahead in fashion. From high-end boutiques to street markets, the city offers all. Mumbai has many street markets. One of them is the Colaba Causeway.
Located near the Fort area of south Mumbai, Colaba Causeway has a string of stalls and shops that adorn the pavements of SB Marg. It’s a treasure trove of goods that attract tourists and locals alike.
What’s most incredible about this line of shops is the endless variety of items they sell. You name the article and it’s most likely that it’s sold on Causeway. Here you can purchase souvenirs, hair clips, jewellery, shoes and all kinds of clothes. If you know how to bargain well, this is the ideal place to get your money’s worth. Colaba Causeway is particularly famous for its colourful junk jewellery and its intricately made handicrafts and souvenirs. Also, there are several restaurants where you can stop and refresh yourself by having a snack and a drink; Leopold, Delhi Darbar and Mondegar’s being the most noteworthy. For affordable outfits, Fashion Street at Metro is another lane frequented by college students that’s worth a visit.
Linking Road and Hill Road are places located in Bandra that are ideal for street shopping. They’re brightly coloured and always bustling with shoppers because of the excellent products available at various range of prices. Linking Road is particularly popular for shoes, handbags and other accessories that are sold here. For those who have a taste for seafood, a visit to Jai Jawan is must. So come, explore the city, engage your senses and bargain for all
Pondy Bazaar, Chennai
Pondy Bazaar is one street market in Chennai that sells everything. Packed with street-side stalls to high street fashion brands, it caters to those who are not just street shoppers, but those who are also brand conscious. Book lovers can also pick up their favourite paperbacks. Even if you’re not in a mood to shop, a stroll down this street, window-shopping, is quite entertaining. Also known as Soundarapandian Angadi, this area is a shopping hub, surrounded by high traffic that one may have to deftly manoeuvre.
For a little pick-me-up post a shopping session, opt for filter coffee and dosa or vada at the many cafes and restaurants that dot the street.
Jew Town, Fort Kochi
Located in Mattancherry in Fort Kochi, Jew Town is a street market known for its famed antiques. The narrow stretch of shops located between the Mattancherry Palace and the Paradesi Synagogue is sure to catch your eyes as you walk through the busy streets of Kochi. The shops allure visitors with their wide display of rare souvenirs including colourful masks, carved wooden boxes, aromatic spices and wooden kitchen utensils.
The street market has an old-world charm with dilapidated buildings, aroma of spices and Jewish names on the shops. In the Jew Town, visitors can find many shops dealing with handcrafted shawls, chic silver jewellery and paper mache products. If curating antiques is your hobby, do not forget to pick some handicrafts, Kolhapuris and paintings from the Jew Town. After picking some of the best and rare pieces from the market, one can spend some time at various cafe and snack outlets of the area.
Anjuna Flea Market, Goa
Every Wednesday, Anjuna beach is brightened by the beautiful and intriguing shops of the flea market. This culture exists in Goa for more than three decades now and is considered a hub of hippies who are seen selling pairs of jeans and beautiful handmade jewellery to find their stay in Goa or may be rest of India.
The hippie culture has taken a slight turn in the last decade and today, Anjuna flea market has become more mainstream and the products here come from all over India. Visitors can pick sculptures and jewellery from both Tibetan and Kashmiri traders, some beautiful Kutch T-shirts from Gujarati tribal women, colourful merchandise of Rajasthan, aromatic spices of Kerala, tribal baubles of Karnataka and a lot more to fill their shopping bags. Though the prices here are very high, a good bargain is definitely possible. On the beach, there are also stalls of tea, some restaurants and good live music to refresh you after a hectic shopping session. The best time to visit is early (from 8am) or late afternoon (around 4pm).