is that time of the year when every household is lit up with lamps and
laughter and everyone seems to be in high spirits. The festival of
‘Diwali’ binds the entire nation in resplendent celebrations. The city
of Mumbai is no different. It turns into a land of vibrant colors,
shopping, fireworks and a variety of gastronomical delights. With over a
fortnight of celebrations, the excitement is irresistible. Diets and
food restrictions tossed out of the window, one cannot escape the sweets
beckoning and it’s not before long you realise you are recovering from a
sweet tooth hangover!
This Diwali, we cruised around the city
and managed to explore interesting sweet shops, restaurants serving
special Diwali menus, shops selling an array of colourful diyas (earthen
lamps) and decorations. And Diwali cannot be Diwali without the
spectacular display of fireworks in the evening which was visual treat.
Shopping experiences during Diwali are unique and mine were no
different. Mumbai streets have something to offer everyone and I
returned with some great buys.
Delightful diyas and decorations:
It was worth cruising through the crowded, noisy lanes of Crawford
market to see a delightful exhibition of diyas. Available in packs of
four or six costing around Rs50 – Rs60 per pack, these were a sure buy.
There were larger ones as well, studded with colourful stones which were
individually packed. The vibrant Indian decorations to adorn the
entrance door frames, popularly called Torans were available with pretty
motifs and designs. Tiny mirrors and appliqué work made these items of
décor hard to choose from. These are priced at around Rs1000 – Rs1500
No festival is complete without the sweet flavour that graces the
occasion. In a land where almost everyone has a sweet tooth, one tends
to think he has consumed a few hundred calories just passing by these
shops! Suleman Mithaiwala, on Mohammed Ali road is one such sweet shop
who did immense justice to the festivities with their good eye for
variety and creativity. The richness was unmistakable as we tasted
sampled several sweets.
Some of the specialties which won are
hearts here were aflatoon, kaju burfi, mango burfi, dry fruit halwa
amongst others. Attractive packing added that extra edge to these
already exotic preparations. The prices ranged from Rs300 – Rs700 per
kilo. With all the delicacies in this dessert haven almost melting on
your palate, the assorted boxes also made a sensible choice. I say
delicious things come in small packages, because these boxes of assorted
sweets had a great mix of all the choicest traditional Indian sweets
and made great gifting options. These are reasonably priced between
Rs320 – Rs380 per box.
Dry fruit hampers which are in great demand and packaged in fancy boxes
also made a useful gifting idea. Approximately Rs1600 per box with a
mix of cashews, pistachios, walnuts, raisins and almonds in baskets,
hand painted boxes or carved jewelry boxes were a sure hit. We found two
places that were popular for the same, namely Chedda Dry fruit shop at
Walkeshwar and Manish Dry fruits in Colaba.
A feast to remember:
Few restaurants offered a special Diwali menu, catering to the taste
buds of food lovers in the City. Kebab Korner at the Intercontinental on
Marine Drive was offering a sumptuous Diwali spread, with a different
menu each day all through Diwali. Here a meal could cost around Rs2500
Another restaurant called The Village is worth
mentioning for their unique variations like chocolate samosas, pizzas on
chilla and exotic dessert varieties. Tucked away in the World Trade
centre, in Cuffe Parade, this Indian theme based restaurant indulges in
exclusive decor to accompany their delicious menu. Neel on the Turf in
Mahalaxmi and Aafrein at the Sahara Star, near the airport serve special
festive menus during Diwali. These restaurants are packed all through
the Diwali week with people not wanting to miss out on this opportunity.
The price depending on your choice would range between Rs500 – Rs800
per person. Make sure you have reservations in advance itself to avoid
Fireworks and a fairy tale ending:
Shops selling all the latest varieties in crackers, are found in plenty
in the by lanes of Crawford market, Essabhai being the most popular
one. The fireworks display denoted a fairy tale ending to the lovely
day. Marine Drive and Carter road are two such places that exhibit the
grandeur of these colourful lights in all their splendour. Streaks of
blue, green, red and orange adorned the skies for hours together making
it a night to remember. With so many gathering to watch this grand show
in awe and delight, the day seemed just perfect!
Getting there: Crawford
market: Located in South Mumbai, one can take a local train to VT
(Victoria Terminus) station followed by ten minute cab ride
Suleman Mithaiwala: Situated right next to Minara Masjid in Mohammed Ali Road. From VT station, a cab drive will take about ten to fifteen minutes.
Chheda dry fruits: One can take a local train to Marine lines and then a 15 minute drive via cab to Walkeshwar.
Manish Dry fruits: Situated in Colaba, next to Strand cinema, one can take a train to Church gate and then a cab which is a 15-20 minute drive.
Kebab Korner, Intercontinental: This is on Marine drive. One can get down at Marine lines and take a 5 minute drive via a cab.
Situated in the World trade centre in Cuffe Parade, this is easily
accessible to South Mumbai residents. For others a cab drive from
Church gate or VT station would take around 20 minutes.
Neel on the turf: Located in Mahalaxmi area, it is about a 5 minute walk from Mahalaxmi station.
Aafrein, Sahara Star:
This is situated right next to the domestic airport. Hence it’s just a
ten minute walk away for those arriving by air. The nearest station
would be the Santa Cruz station and a cab drive of about 15 minutes.
would just like add a quick observation about Crawford market and
Mohammed Ali road, which are considered relatively conservative areas,
get quite crowded around the festive season and so, one is advised to
dress appropriately. Also make sure to be safe while bursting or
watching fireworks to avoid any injuries.
While every city
enhances its own charm in celebrating Diwali, the much talked about
spirit of Mumbai proudly exhibits itself on this day. Irrespective of
caste, creed or community, the cosmopolitan city lives up to its name,
by gathering under one roof and embracing the festive fervour with great