Shopping in India: Malls

I love shopping.  I wish I didn’t, I would be able to travel more.  I inherited a deep need for retail therapy at a young age and can’t seem to shake it.  After 6 trips to India I’ve experienced a number of different shopping venues along the way and I thought I’d do four part series on my second favorite pastime.  In this article, I’m concentrating on malls.

The rise of malls in India has been fast and impressive.  When I first visited Noida (a fairly large New Delhi suburb to the East) in 2004,  their was one big mall in the area.  On my last visit to Noida in 2009 those were 3.  By 2013 my family had relocated to Mumbai and we must have visited 5 different malls in Mumbai alone.

One of the large popular malls in Noida

One of the popular malls in Noida

Malls in India are expansive and can be far superior than what you might experience in the US (except maybe the Mall of America, but that’s another story).  Malls have grown to fulfill the growing wealth of the middle class and have become an attraction for the whole family.

 The malls are similar to the US in that they have a few anchor stores (big retailers with large locations) and several other retailers and kiosks inside.  And you can actually find quite a few Western brands in the mall.  I saw Nike, Zara, Mango, Nine West, just to name a few.  But most stores are Indian brands that shine an interesting light on the Indian society today.  Lifestyle, an Indian department store, sells a diverse mix of western and Indian clothing, as well as accessories, baby gear, kitchen utensils, and has a large pooja section.  Fab India sells “Made in India” products that are high quality and have a slightly more Western taste.  You also find extravagant sari shops, amazing jewelry (usually 22-24 karat gold) and lovely leather.  I purchased a beautiful handbag from Hidesign, a high end Indian leather designer.
The inside looks very much like a Western mall

The inside looks very much like a Western mall

No mall is complete without food.  You can usually find an extensive food court along with several restaurants inside.  Again here you see Western brands, but the menus are uniquely Indian.  A favorite of mine is the McVeggie at McDonalds while my husband loves the Paneer pizza from Pizza Hut.  And we might sneak in to Mad over Donuts or Cafe Coffee Day (India’s version of the ubiquitous coffee shop ala Starbucks, including the free WiFi).

Food Court Staples

Food Court Staples

But what really makes the malls an experience is the attractions and amenities.  One that pleasantly surprised me was the multiple (yes I said multiple) mother’s room locations.  Rooms dedicated for a mom to change their babies and feed in private.  Or simply for a pregnant woman to have a comfortable place to sit for a while.  In the Mom and Me store, a new chain in India catering to mom and babies, they had a nursing room with My Breast Friend and Boppy Pillows for use, and a chart in the wall with instructions in different nursing holds and how to get the baby to latch properly.  The mall mother’s  rooms had private  attendants who cleaned the changing table right after you used it.  Anyone who has had to change their baby on a sketchy public changing table in a mall in the US would agree that this is an amazing feature.

Playing together in one of the mother's rooms

Playing together in one of the mother’s rooms

Most malls have a play area (which is not always free).  At the InOrbit Mall in Vashi (in the Mumbai suburb of Navi Mumbai) we went into one that had several Cozy Coupes, a small play structure with trampoline and a small slide.  For the cost of $1, my son laughed and ran around for 1/2 an hour.  Oberoi Mall in Goregoan East, Mumbai had a giant trampoline with a harness for flips.  It also had a train that went around the top floor.  (Though the train ride was strange, pumping in child friendly techno music).  Several also have rides, video arcades, and plenty of toy and book stores.  (Warning Western toys are very expensive.  We had a giant meltdown when I walked away from buying a $30 plastic Thomas).

He was so excited to find the Cozy Coupes

He was so excited to find the Cozy Coupes

A train in the mall, my son was in heaven

A train in the mall, my son was in heaven

The mall is also great for people watching, especially in Mumbai.  You really see the rapid rise of the middle class and westernization.  My husband and I had a fun time spotting those who were on dates, seeing the teenagers shopping in groups , and the young families.

So, while the mall is the priciest place to shop, for high quality goods, entertainment for the whole family, and an amazing bird’s eye view at a society-at-large in transition, the mall is the way to go.

(To read the entire series check out the tag, Shopping In India)

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Posted as part of Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walkingon Travels Travel Tips Tuesday Series

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6 thoughts on “Shopping in India: Malls

  1. Excellent, interesting, factual,narration by an American visiting Her description of mom’s rest room for feeding children , dressing them up will make the foreigners to have a n un biassed view of this Great country that is India. Some years back we had a fancy for foreign goods,but now the craze is slowly disappearing. Let me take some simple examples, cosmetics, THEY ARE DEFINITELY ON A PAR WITH PRODUCTS OF OTHER COUNTRIES . One of my wife’s cousins used to take a bog box of sandal soaps to be presented to his bosses and close friends who are mad after.them Another item is T shirts which are a proud product of Tiruppur which re very cheap in terms of dollars…Everybody takes at least half a dozen. .I can go on adding . Please tell your friends about the real face of India.

  2. Pingback: The Cat Herder and the Organised Holiday | Journeys of the Fabulist

  3. It always makes me happy to see the “typical” areas of a country that seems so foreign to me. It makes it seem less daunting to travel there somehow.

    • Thank you! India has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Malls make it easy for Westerners and for families, which is nice for 1st timers. Make sure to stay tuned for the rest of the series where I talk about shopping at independent stores, markets, and of course show off some of my purchases.

  4. The multiple mother’s rooms is a really cool feature. I’ve only ever seen them in baby stores here in the US. After having someone race ahead to steal a bench from me when I was pregnant, I can say for sure that would be an awesome idea.

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