Rhode’s Purna Khatau Shares Her Travel Guide to Mumbai

Rhode, the ready-to-wear brand known for creating vacation-ready pieces (not to be confused with Hailey Bieber’s skincare line), has quickly become an industry favorite for its bold, bright colors and statement-making prints. It makes sense, then, that co-founder Purna Khatau frequently draws inspiration from her hometown of Mumbai, a city that prides itself on its architecture, Indian craft, and coastal views of the Arabian Sea. Her design ethos centers on faraway travels and finding beauty in everyday minutiae. With that in mind, we asked her how to see the city like a well-dressed local.


mumbai travel guide

o Rickshaw — There are so many options for getting around Mumbai. For the adventurous, a rickshaw ride is a fun way to see the city.

o Drive — Black and yellow cabs are very easy to hail. Alternatively, you can arrange for a driver to take you around, which makes seeing a lot in one day more achievable.

o Walk — Certain parts of Mumbai are also great to walk through. The Colaba district and Fort area are lovely to stroll; buy a pair of classic kolhapuri sandals from street vendors that sell them in every color under the sun. While there, have lunch at The Nut Cracker and then browse Anokhi, a store that features very classic block-printed clothing and home goods. This is the place to get your gifts for friends and family at home.


mumbai travel guide

o The Taj Mahal Palace — Built in 1903, The Taj Mahal Palace is a Mumbai landmark, with beautiful views of the Gateway of India. Insider tip: ask to stay in the old wing. The pool is absolutely incredible and one of my favorite places to relax, unplug, and listen to the sounds of the birds and the buzzing city around you.

o The Oberoi — The Oberoi has stunning views of the ocean and Queen’s Necklace, a.k.a. the beautiful lights along the Marine Drive shoreline. This is the perfect stay for someone who is looking for calm and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

o Abode — Abode is an independent hotel located in the heart of Colaba. It’s beautiful and eclectic, with colonial and Art Deco pieces that have been sourced directly from Mumbai’s flea markets. The details at Abode truly capture the heart and soul of Mumbai’s history.


mumbai travel guide

o Swati Snacks — Not to be missed, this is Indian street food at its best. Be sure to try the panki, which is a crepe-like dish that is prepared by being pressed between two banana leaves and then grilled on the stove.

o Kala Ghoda Cafe — This is a great place to grab a coffee or quick bite. The gluten-free chocolate waffles and ginger and carrot cake are delicious. Keep your eyes open, as the walls usually feature art by local artists.

o Trishna — This is the best seafood restaurant in town, and never disappoints. The crab is exceptional and a must-order.


mumbai travel guide

o Obataimu — One of my dear friend’s shops, Obataimu is a Japanese-inspired retailer that sells consciously curated contemporary pieces in innovative textiles. What’s even more amazing is that they make things in-house, so you can see tailors working on garments as you shop.

o Heeramaneck & Son — My favorite place to shop for jewelry and antique home décor. I always feel so inspired when I visit and leave with the most unique pieces.

o Raw Mango — Raw Mango adds a contemporary twist to traditional Indian textiles. The pieces are so special. Stopping by the shop is crucial if you are looking to purchase a beautiful sari or lehenga.


mumbai travel guide

o Chemould Prescott Road — Chemould is the first modern and contemporary art gallery to open in Mumbai. I love spending the afternoon immersing myself in the new exhibits here, and then grabbing a drink at Ekaa down the street.

o Chor Bazaar — Chor Bazaar is my favorite flea market to find one-of-a-kind pieces. The name actually translates to “Thieves Market,” since it’s rumored that pieces from Queen Victoria herself can be found here.

o Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus — Chhatrapati is the largest railway station in Mumbai. Stopping by to see the architecture is well worth it, as it’s one of the few places in the city where you can find an example of Victorian Gothic Revival style, blended with traditional Indian architecture.

Headshot of Claire Stern

Deputy Editor

Claire Stern is the Deputy Editor of ELLE.com. Previously, she served as Editor at Bergdorf Goodman. Her interests include fashion, food, travel, music, Peloton, and The Hills—not necessarily in that order. She used to have a Harriet the Spy notebook and isn’t ashamed to admit it. 


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