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Travel to Mumbai (Bombay)

 
 

Colaba, Mumbai

26 September 2016

Words: Kaye Martindale / Images: Geoff Brokate

Located amongst India’s most expensive real estate in South Mumbai, Colaba is one of seven islands that make up modern Mumbai, given by the Portuguese to King Charles II in 1662 as part of a dowry. Known locally as SoBo (many Mumbaikars hold on nostalgically to the colonial name, Bombay), the British left an indelible mark on the city, and almost every building here is in the Victorian style, offering an unusual tropical version of 1800s England.

While many of its wide tree-lined avenues evoke old money, now hipster coffee houses sit alongside 100-year-old Parsi cafes, colourful retro boutiques cram in next to grand colonial style bookstores, and late night art gallery walks contrast with chaiwallahs plying for trade along the promenade. It’s an exhilarating mix. Here’s how to plan your visit.

TAJ MAHAL PALACE

It’s impossible to speak of Mumbai without mentioning the Taj. It’s a part of the city’s heritage and is seen by many Mumbaikars as a symbol of the city. The architecture reflects India’s divergent influences and is a beautiful merging of British, Mughal and Rajasthani styles. The hotel has eight dining areas open to non-residents so you can soak up the rich history and opulence even if you aren’t a staying guest. If you’d like the full British colonial experience head to the Sea Lounge for high tea.

Apollo Blunder

Tel: +91 22 6665 3366

tajhotels.com



Also in the area...

Bombay Electric

Probably the coolest store in the city, Bombay Electric offers modern twists on traditional Indian styles and accessories.

1 Reay House, Best Marg
Tel: +91 22 2287 6276

bombayelectric.in

PAYAL KHANDWALA

As you walk along Arthur Bunder Road, with its hawkers and street vendors, it doesn’t look like a hotbed of creativity. Yet if you look up at the second and third storeys you’ll find some of Colaba’s most exciting art galleries, design studios and boutiques. Most sensational of all is fashion designer Payal Khandwala’s eponymous store and workshop. Always popular on Bollywood’s red carpet, Payal’s designs are stunning, contemporary takes on elegant Indian designs that appeal to a global market.

17 Arthur Bunder Road, 7/24

First Floor Grants Buildin

Tel: +91 22 2283 6707

ayalkhandwala.in



Also in the area...

The Table

India’s first and finest destination restaurant. Incredibly stylish with globally inspired food cooked by their much lauded San Franciscan chef, Alex Sanchez.

Kalapesi Trust Building
Apollo Bunder Marg
Tel: +91 22 2282 5000
adamlookout.com

DESIGN TEMPLE

Part design studio, part concept store, it represents everything that’s exciting about India today. Lovingly tended, it combines the slickness of contemporary design whilst drawing on India’s rich cultural heritage. Concepts are conceived in-house and then artists or designers are commissioned to realise the vision, ensuring that you won’t find Design Temple’s creations anywhere else. From rugs to tableware to patterned toilet paper, Design Temple sells objects that will make design and home decor enthusiasts go weak at the knees.

2 Churchill Chambers

JA Allana Marg

32 Mereweather Road

Tel: +91 22 2282 1001

designtemple.com



Also in the area...

The Pastry

A sweet cafe that wears its French influence on its sleeve, with muted pastel tones, shabby chic furniture and delicious pastries.

B Bharucha Road

Kala Ghoda

Tel: +91 22 2267 8901

KITAB KHANA

Amrita and Samir Somaiya own Kitab Khana bookstore and are dedicated to keeping the magic of reading real books alive in the digital age. The store is housed in an authentically restored 150-year-old building, and offers a real haven from the sensory overload of Mumbai’s streets. Literally translating as ‘Book House’, Kitab Khana’s leather armchairs, oriental rugs and cosy nooks provide the reverence and charm associated with great libraries of the world, offering a clear message to come in, sit down, and relax with a book.

375 Veer Nairman Road

Kala Ghoda Fort

Tel: +91 22 6170 2276

kitabkhana.in



Also in the area...

Jahangir Art Gallery

The biggest public gallery in India, the gallery is central to Mumbai’s art scene and led the way to Colaba becoming the city’s art district.

161 Kala Ghoda

Mahatma Gandhi Road

Tel: +91 22 2284 3989

jehangirartgallery.com

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