You can’t really get much more authentic shopping experience than the chaotic Colaba Causeway in Mumbai, which is known as being like “London on acid”!
Otherwise known as Shahid Baghat Singh Road, the Colaba Causeway is the premier shopping and commercial area in Mumbai, and is conveniently located near to other tourist attractions such as the Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel. Colaba has a real energetic vibe and is comparable to Connaught Place in Delhi in that it acts as a beating heart within the city. I had known the Colaba Causeway was going to be chaotic, but even so, I struggled to get used to this frenetic pace of life. I had little time to stop and enjoy the sights and sounds. That said, it was a fascinating experience.
Despite its reputation for chaotic scenes, not every corner of Colaba Causeway is jam-packed. There were little nooks and crannies where I was able to breathe and get my bearings. Some parts of the area looked like a typical street or boulevard of any city in Asia, and if it wasn’t for the loud tuktuk horns on the road, you’d never have guessed this particular corner was amidst downtown Mumbai! There was a lovely kulfi ice cream shop that I took the time to check out, and it was money well spent! It was a godsend to have a 10 minute break away from [most of] the crowds and enjoy some cold kulfi!
There is a daily market at Colaba Causeway which I was very interested to see. There were many beggars around the place, which ruined my enjoyment somewhat, but when I was left alone to browse in peace I found many interesting things to look at, although the situation here at Colaba Causeway was certainly something of a palaver! The honking of horns on the road, and the persistent begging from some of the locals, meant that I had to keep my wits about me, and not stop anywhere for too long. I enjoyed looking at the antiques and handicrafts, though.
The food around Colaba was amazing, and it’s no wonder this part of the city is considered the hotbed for street food in India. Despite some fears, I kept stopping amidst the palaver to sample some of the street food on offer. Bhelpuri is a local favourite that all Mumbaikars eat, and a similar kind of meal known as Sev Puri was also widely available. I tried the Bhelpuri at Chowpatty Beach so here I wanted to try a couple of different things. Thus, I enjoyed my first ever experience of the famous Vada Pav, which is a kind of burger bap with potato filling. This was created in Mumbai, and it seems everyone here loves this potato fritter-in-a-bun! Sugar Cane Juice is also popular in Mumbai, and the night got closer, I noticed a few of these vendors popping up all over the place.