Mumbai established itself as Urbs Prima in lndis on the back of the cotton trade and it's still the country's major textile market. Apart from humble cotton, it now produces fine wools, silks and synthetic fibres. Look out for locally produced muslin, silk saris from the central Maharashtrian town of Paithan, cotton brocade shawls from Aurangabad and textiles decorated with distinctive Warli tribal designs.
If you're buying a silk sari, it helps to know a bit about both the silk and the sari. Saris are generally 5.5m long, unless they include the material to make a blouse (choli), in which case they're 6m. Sari silk is graded and sold by weight -in grams per metre.
To get a taste of everything under one roof, the best place to look for any kind of textile is Mangaldas Market in Kalbadevi or nearby Mulji Jetha Market (also known as MI Market). If you're not quite up for a full-on bazaar experience, try trawling the silk and sari shops lining Maharshi Karve Rd between Churchgate and Marine Lines train stations. They include major stores like Kala Niketan and Roop Milan. Shamsheth Lane, two streets north of the Jama Masjid in Kalbadevi, specialises in lace.