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Musical Nostalgia: This Street Sells Old Sitars, Shehnai & Harmoniums

7408 Interested |


With musical notes stuck in the past, we walked down Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road in South Mumbai to learn their stories. We visited a few music stores in this area and discovered, in this sleepy area of SoBo, the sitar sometimes still strums.

What Makes It Awesome

R.S Mayekar was the first shop we hit up. With its wooden doors wide open, the first thing you’ll notice are the beautiful sitars hung from the ceilings – some broken, some needed a new string. All had come to R.S Mayekar for diagnosis. The shop has been here since the 30s. Started off by Mayekar’s father, Raghunath Mayekar, the shop was known among the classical musicians and directors who flocked here to pick up new instruments or get them made. However, decades have passed and now one of the son’s, Laxmikant Mayekar has taken over, and possibly the last one to run it. His children do not share the same interest to run this place. Some of the famous classical singers like Late Jagjit Singh and late Purshottam Das Jalota were regulars here. Laxmikant runs the shop – as a repair shop for all sorts of classical instruments. You’ll find sitars, Saraswati Veena, Dilruba {similar to a western violin}, Sarangi, and others. This is something he learnt on the job while sitting at the shop while his father, Raghunath ran it. Mayekar tells us, “if I know how to repair it, I will. If not, I’ll redirect you to the places I know of”.

The Ones Sustaining Themselves

If you walk down the lane, you’ll spot more music stores. These stores have also been around for decades, however, unlike Mayekar’s store, these have expanded into the western music as well. There’s Laxmitone Magic world who sell Sitars, Dilruba’s and harmonium. However, their most popular sellers are still the guitars. They also run guitar lessons in the same shop {open to anyone above the age of 13 years of age}. As you walk ahead, you’ll also find a huge store called Singh. They sell their classical instruments at a wholesale price. Which means the instruments here cost cheaper. Here one piece of Shehnai {Indian flute especially popular during weddings} will cost INR 350, and a Sitar will cost INR 12,000. Lastly, we visited Haribhau Vishwanath Music Industries. This is the only other store in that area that also repairs Sitars and other Indian classical instruments. It has two floors, the ground floors stocks classical stuff and the first floor with your western pieces.

What We Love

After visiting Mayekar’s we found that though the population and the people listening or honing classical music is small, they still exist. And that’s one of the main reason, Mayekar still gets regular business. With Mumbai’s burgeoning music scene, especially with the upcoming independent bands and artists, who we see adopting more Western influences and sub-cultures, this lane in SoBo is holding on to the musical roots that our parents hold dear. The only artist currently who may have transcended the classical barrier around the world is perhaps Anoushka Shankar, late Ravi Shankar’s daughter, who travels around the world for her concerts playing her Sitar. One can come to these stores for getting these specific classical instruments repaired. If you get inspired to pick one of them up, they sell them here as well. Mayekar, however, only repairs them.


With the umpteen Furtados and new-age music stores cropping around the city, these stores remind us of the flourishing classical music industry. It’s still a self-sustaining industry but over time the music influence has changed. More Western instruments, like your ukulele, guitar and drums take the front stage. But if you’re intrigued by this musical past, of tablas and harmoniums and Sitars, you know where to go.