Also known as Mahatma Jyobita Phule, Crawford Market, the largest market in Mumbai, is an incredible place to shop for food and household goods, take photos, or simply wander around people watching. It's also not a bad place to try local snacks, as there are myriad street-food stalls serving up all sorts of treats.
Crawford Market occupies a huge old building dating back to 1869 that features a blend of Norman and Flemish architecture; in 1882, this was the first building in India to get electric lighting. A frieze on the exterior was designed by Rudyard Kipling's father, and the interiors are full of stalls and shops selling all sorts of everyday goods. Although it’s fun to lose yourself in the many lanes and stalls here, bringing a guide or going with a tour is never a bad idea, particularly if you want to ask questions about what you’re seeing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to walk.
- Bargaining for housewares and decor is acceptable, but you may not want to bother if you’re just buying fruits and vegetables.
- Always ask before taking photos.
- The meat section of the market is gory, and sensitive travelers or those with kids may want to avoid it.
How to Get There
Crawford Market is located in the heart of central Mumbai, a 10-minute walk north of Fashion Street and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the main railway station. Most major South Mumbai attractions are within a 15-minute drive or auto-rickshaw ride of the market. Once you arrive, be prepared to do a lot of walking.
When to Get There
The market is open every day from around 9 or 10 am to 8 pm, except on Sundays, when it's usually closed. It's best to arrive first thing in the day if you want to score good deals; in fact, being the first customer is considered auspicious. It's at its most crowded in the evening, when locals visit after work.
If you happen to be visiting the market during mango season, which starts in April and goes on until June, you’ll have a blast at Crawford Market. Here you'll find all sorts of varieties of India's national fruit. It's definitely worth splurging for some expensive, but incredibly delicious, Alphonso mangoes, which are considered the king of all mangoes.