And at the moment of contact, they do not know if the hand that is reaching for theirs belongs to a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Brahmin or untouchable or whether you were born in this city or arrived only this morning or whether you live in Malabar Hill or New York or Jogeshwari; whether you’re from Bombay or Mumbai or New York. All they know is that you’re trying to get to the city of gold, and that’s enough. Come on board, they say. We’ll adjust. ― Suketu Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
Mumbai is pandemonium, a constant tittle-tattle. While Mumbai is a city name. Bombay is an emotion. It’s an amalgamation of the most varied flavors not necessarily appetizing; a mystery often sighed upon or at times spoken off in respect boisterous yet spiritual, flamboyant yet meek, Mumbai manages to cram so many emotions into one city that it’s no wonder it leaves most visitors invigorated, and bewitched.
Large buildings spring up in the every nook and corner of the city; Yet in this metropolitan city, some things never seems to change a bit, such as the rich nightlife, Victorian architecture, bustling roads, business centers and local trains. Whatever your impression of this mega city is, a fact that cannot be denied is that Mumbai is definitely the city of dreams!
Gateway of India
Mumbai’s most famous landmark, this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. The Gateway of India is the pivotal landmark of Mumbai built in 1911 to acknowledge the visit of the then ruler of India – King George V and Queen Mary. You will still find flocks of visitors coming down to see this monument from near and far. Be aware of the photographers who will try to take your pictures for a fee; Go for the Polaroid ones so that you get an instant picture if at all you want one. Behind the arch, there are steps leading down to the water. Here, you can get onto one of the little ferry, for a short cruise through Mumbai’s splendid natural harbor.
The ferry rides to Elephanta Caves leave from here. The half an hour joy rides in motor launches that give you a nice view of the harbor from the sea and a view of some of the big ships anchored nearby also leave from here.
The most magnificent of all Gothic buildings in Bombay, the Victoria Terminus is also Asia’s busiest railway station. With its towering Gothic vaulted ceilings and stained glass, the ticketing area within Victoria Terminus is rather Cathedral-like. However, it lacks the calm and poise of the interior of a cathedral, for the place buzzes with people, in fact, more than two million passengers on a daily basis! The stunning building has been a symbol of Bombay, and in 2004 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in recognition of its architectural value. Previously in 1994, its official name had changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or in short, CST, as part of the same local nationalist movement that also modified the city’s name. However, locals still refer to the railway station as Victoria Terminus, much as they still call their city Bombay.
Marine Drive is possibly Mumbai’s best known road. This 3 kilometer stretch of boulevard, with Girgaum Chowpatty beach at the northern end, curves around the coast. Its feature is a seaside seafront where people flock to catch the evening breeze. Marine Drive is also referred to as the Queen’s Necklace because of its string of sparkling lights, reflective of a row of jewels
Girgaum Chowpatty (often referred to as just ‘Chowpatty’) remains a favorite evening spot for courting couples, families, political rallies and anyone out to enjoy what passes for fresh air. People meet there in the evenings to watch the sunset over the Malabar Hill skyline, and munch on their favorite bhel puri, Pani Puri, and pav bhaji.
The beach really comes alive during the annual Ganesh Festival, when some of Mumbai’s biggest idols are immersed in the water there.
Haji Ali Dargah
The Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and tomb located on an islet off the coast of Worli in South Mumbai. It is one of the most popular and recognizable landmarks of Mumbai. It contains the tomb of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a wealthy Muslim merchant, who gave up all his riches before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Main attraction is its location in the sea and one has to walk through a narrow causeway to reach the Dargah. This causeway gets submerged during high tide in the sea thereby isolating the Dargah from main land. This Dargah can be seen in many Bollywood movies.
This promenade on the sea shore is the sister of Marine Drive, but it straight and not curved like the other one. New and modern buildings are strewn alongside it and the atmosphere is of a modern city compared to the Marine Drive where the British Raj feel is omnipresent. Nothing much to do here except walk, stroll, jog or sit on a bench and admire the waves and the sunset.
Bandra Bandstand popularly known as ‘Lover’s Point’ by many in Bandra Suburb area is an interesting and beautiful place to enjoy and relax with your loved ones or friends after a hectic day. It’s built in a form of amphitheater on a hill facing the ocean where couples usually meet in solace and have a good time. It’s frequented by loads of tourists and people of all ages to sit or take a walk at an extremely captivating sea-facing location.
Prince Of Wales Museum
This is a well maintained museum with an excellent, functional, and easy to use audio guide. The museum is an impressive domed building in a park setting, and after finishing the exhibits, one can sit on a bench and enjoy watching the gorgeous outfits of the passing visitors. There is an excellent gift shop offering quality fair trade merchandise.
This probably has to be one of its kinds not only in India but all over the world. Nowhere in the world would one see rows and rows of drying clothes as you would see here. This is the fascinating place where Mumbai’s laundry is done. Clothes are washed by hundreds of Dhobis by hand, on concrete sinks and dried in the sun, as it has been done for generations.