Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala – 18th Century Sweet Shop

Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala is listed on Google Maps – I decided to visit.

Reason to visit: It is Mumbai‘s legendary sweet shop that invented the world-famous Mahim/Bombay Halwa.

Once I enter Veer Savarkar Marg (Old Cadell Road), approx. half a kilometer drive and a left turn inside the narrow lane known as Kapad Bazar, on the right-hand side, is Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala.

Very old establishment. The nameplate is the proof.

Joshi’s family is the owner of this business.

I met Ramchandra Joshi (7th generation, 79 years old) – A soft-spoken, thorough, friendly gentleman.

Below is what he shared about the history of Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala.

Mavji Bhai – forefather, a resident of Pushkar in Rajasthan migrated to Khambaliya near Jamnagar in Gujarat. But as the earning opportunities were less, he decided to shift to Mumbai – The seven islands.

It took him one and a half months to reach Mumbai on foot. He stepped into Mumbai in 1787.

In Mumbai, Bhatias and Lohanas (Gujarati community) helped and guided him; thus, he started door-to-door hawking in the Mahim area by selling homemade farsan (Gujarati snacks).

50 years passed, and his son Girdhar also joined him.

Girdhar was enterprising. He wanted to create something different. One day accidentally he invented Halwa made from the wheat extract and added sugar, pure ghee, and dry fruits (later separated by butter paper).

for your information: Bombay Halwa is also made from Maida (refined flour) or arrowroot, but we prepared it from the wheat extract.

At first, he sells it to Mahim’s Koli community (who named him Budhakaka – an old man).

The Koli community appreciated the Halwa very much and complimented that it is even better than Halwa Machi (fish).

Finally, in the 18th century, he opened a shop in Mahim (a little far from the current shop) and named it – Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala.

The current shop was established in 1951 (70 years old).

Mahim Halwa is also known as Bombay Halwa or Icing Halwa.

It takes 3 days to prepare Mahim/Bombay Halwa but if required early, then icing sugar is used. Thus, it was also known as Icing Halwa.

It lasts for 20-25 days.

They have two more outlets in Mumbai. One at T. T. Circle, Dadar, and one at Tardeo.

Mahim/Bombay/Icing Halwa is 800 rupees a kilo. They also sell Karachi Halwa – 800 rupees per kilo.

They prepare 35-40 types of sweets nowadays at a factory nearby the Mahim shop.

Mahim Halwa is also exported to the Middle East, East Africa, United Kingdom, and Japan.

Timings: Mahim shop is open from 7 am till 8:30 pm (Monday closed).

Dadar (Friday closed) and Tardeo shop (Monday closed) open from 8 am till 8:30 pm.

Late Dhirubhai Ambani – an Indian industrialist, and Late Jawaharlal Nehru – India’s first Prime Minister were one of the regular customers.

Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala is one stop to buy genuine traditional sweets. They still sell mouth-watering Farsan.

I request: If you are in-around Mahim or Dadar, please visit Joshi Budhakaka Mahim Halwawala – a heritage shop if not a regular sweet shop to have a few pure traditional sweets for home.

And not to forget, Ramchandra Joshi – a modest person, presented me a plate full of strawberry/pineapple Mahim and Karachi Halwa to eat and also a sweet box full of Mahim and Karachi Halwa.

I wanted to pay, but he requested to keep it as a gift.

True hospitality – will remember always.

What I find interesting is that their trademark is registered approx. 100 years ago but what is not interesting: Mahim Halwa has yet to have a Geographical Indication (GI) registration/tag.

I believe such shops specially established before the partition are heritage. Must be taken care by the State/Central Government.

Recently, in Kolkata 14 iconic sweet shops & restaurants were given the heritage tag. I hope this will too.

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