Monday 5 November 2012

Shop: Bombay Paperie v Chimanlals

I've been meaning to write for a while about paper products. The fabulous paper products that you can buy in many shops in Mumbai but which are particularly beautifully showcased at Bombay Paperie and Chimanlals.

For a country where sophisticated presentation seems to be a low priority - I speak mostly of company websites, shop windows and restaurant frontages - conversely anything bound up in paper or card is always so innovative and pretty - takeaway packaging, shopping bags, stationery and the like.  I can't quite explain why this should be the case but I do know that when I go anywhere near either of these shops, I tend to go into one of my adrenalin fuelled frenzies, grabbing everything in sight and then accumulating it in my wardrobe (out of the sight of Mr Jules).  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a hoarder or anything....lots of you lucky friends and relatives will be getting this stuff for Christmas!

So firstly - the low down on Bombay Paperie.  The shop is located in the financial district of Mumbai - south of Horniman Circle and near the Bombay Stock Exchange.  When you enter the shop, you are immediately dazzled by the array of colours.  There are stacks and stacks of wrapping paper - graded by colour into a rainbow of columns, some of it hung beautifully from old colonial style towel racks.  The paper is not paper as we know it.  It is actually made from cotton pulp - a by-product of clothing manufacture.  It is soaked in water for many days, beaten slowly and methodically into a pulp which was then made into sheets of paper by hand.  So the paper has a marvellous texture to it, slightly frayed at the edges, making it excellent for crafting and scrapbooking (if you are into that). In the shop you will find an incredible selection of handmade products, from notelets, notepads, greetings cards, lanterns, gift bags and crafting kits.  I love the colourful folders containing note cards and envelopes for 250 Rs.  Brilliant for gifts even in the age of emailing and even better for getting creative with. 
Bombay Paperies - 'I can see a rainbow'
Demonstrating some paper crafting
Secondly - the fabulous Chimanlals. An entirely different prospect.  The Chimanlals shop is again in South Mumbai but this time in the Fort financial district (I am sure it must be possible to walk or cab it from one shop to the other).  The interior of the store has none of the contemporary feel of Bombay Paperie.  It appears to be very traditional and has two stoic looking cashiers sat near the door.  But this is where about-to-be-married Indian women come to sort out their wedding stationery.  It is the place in Mumbai to buy your wedding stationery, so you will always see girls with their mothers (or even sometimes with their fiancees) hovering around the invite section.  As for the products themselves....everything is such nice quality and again, all handmade.  Jewel coloured gift envelopes stamped with paisley motifs and adorned with colourful tassels, gold-leaf embossed writing papers, a stunning array of notelets and cards with all types of designs, distinctly Indian.  There is a huge range of handmade gift bags, and gift boxes.  I love the specially made bangle boxes for a mere 72 Rs! And I love anything with elephants on them - gift boxed notelets with pink elephant motifs, writing papers with gold and red elephant motifs, the wonderful gift wraps with block printed elephants.   There are cardboard bins, pen holders, photo frames all with block printed designs and everything comes in at least four colour combinations.   And the prices are to die for!  19 Rs for a huge gift envelope with a large painted elephant on it, 30 Rs for 10 gift-tags embossed with gold leaves, 101 Rs for the 10 notelet/envelope in a gift box and gift wraps at 15-52 Rs per sheet. Who can resist?!
Gorgeous block printed note cards, invites and greeting cards

Gift tags with gorgeous Indian motifs such as paisley - 30 Rs for 10

Inside Chimanlals
2013 'Calendar of Noteable Indians'.  175 Rs..  I bought one.
Just some of the beautiful Chimanlal gift wraps

Although very different stores, I love both Bombay Paperie and Chimanlals and I recommend you visit both!
Bombay Paperie
63, Bombay Samachar Marg,
Mumbai 400 001, Tel.: (+91) 22-6635 81 71

Wallace Street,
Fort, Mumbai 400 001.
Landmark: Close to New Excelsior Cinema
Tel (+91 22) 22077717. Tel (+91 22) 22074764


  1. Those shops look amazing, think I would be spending quite a lot of money here!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

    1. Liz, you would love those shops. I did the whole of my Christmas shopping in Chimanlals for £30 and I bought an endless amount of stuff!



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