It’s noisy, with vendors on the street, people shuffling about, cars and trucks honking incessantly, and inevitably a few people talking/arguing loudly over blaring music. Even the engines are louder here. Colour, rush and a mystic flush, the city hustles with courage despite the number of times it’s been broken down. The trains are its lifeline and you can feel that wee bit of innocence as you see a rang biranga auto drive down empty with music playing. Such little things personify Mumbai, the NY of India.
Here are ten things to do in Mumbai that will either bring back memories for a Mumbai-ite or urge you to go to the city that never stops:
The Asiatic Society
A building that’s over 200 years old with books that date back to the 12th century, the library is known to house some of the oldest literary treasures. With over 100,000 books from various languages and some of the oldest manuscripts, the society has managed to survive despite challenges. Amidst statues of inspirational leaders and the old-dusty book aroma, the library is a haven for the curious explorer.
The Gateway of India
A Sunday spot where families gather to spend times with their loved ones, the gateway is another historic site in the city of life. Built between 1911 and 1924, the Indo- Saracenic styled structure was used as an entrance for the British royals who came to Mumbai. Today, it stands opposite one of the most iconic hotels in Mumbai, The Taj Hotel and has survived many threats.
Built in 1718, the structure is 278 years old and is the oldest British structure in the city. Located at the Horniman Circle in Fort, the tall structure stands amidst many buildings that date back to the time of British rule in India. The Horniman garden located at the circle gives the eye a break from the hustle bustle of the city. Amidst the cosmopolitan lifestyle and noisy roads, the circle provides a peaceful reconnection with the past.
The Taj Hotel & Arabian Sea
As you stand across the railing in the middle of a heritage spot, you find the gateway and the Taj on both your sides with the sea in front of you. It’s a beautiful sight and is an absolute stunner at sun down. Pigeons flock up near the police bars and flutter away at the sound of streaming cars. The Taj has been an important site ever since it was built, but post its comeback after the attacks of 26/11, it’s a must visit.
The Four Bunglows Fish Market
The sea is a source of pride for Mumbai. Every morning and evening, the ladies of the Koli community put up their stalls at the main road in the Andheri West locality of Mumbai. Been in the trade for many years now, fresh fish is their speciality.
A speciality in the city made out of betel leaves and a special mix, this is one of the most favored street bites. Colorful and decorated, stall owners stack them up in order for a quick bite after a wholesome meal. It’s an after-dessert mouth freshener of sorts [and not to mention, addictive].
No matter how much guides warn you against street food, it has a taste of its own and is incomparable. Evening snacks are bountiful in Mumbai, with Vada Pavs topping the menu. We suggest going to Elco for Pani Puri [made with very hygienic water] and Sandwizza for the best grilled sandwich in Mumbai.
Tid Bits On The Train
In Mumbai, everything is on the go – the food, the shopping and the living. The local trains have small sellers hop on and hop off the train at any time. The joy of having train rides with a fruit seller on board or a basket of accessories to choose from can turn out to be a great for an impulse purchase or a quick bite. Sometimes you might get lucky and even find a chaiwalla.
Shopping At Street Stalls
Almost every Mumbaiite knows how to strike a bargain, thanks to the extensive options to choose from on the streets. You can find some of the most amazing trinkets, t-shirts, books, toys etc. across these streets and shop in open air.
The best bit is that your wallet doesn’t get a whacking and you have a bulk of items that will last you months. The luscious green Azad Maidan leads to the Fashion Street on the town side and the Crawford market is another place for shopaholics. Linking Road is known for the way it plays between roadside trinkets and branded blues. Lokhandwala market gives you the best on a single street and Alfa market is where you may find everything – from fruits to shoes.
Built in vintage victorian gothic style of architecture, this structure named after the reigning queen took almost ten years to complete. Today, it functions as one of the busiest stations in Mumbai and has been renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Originally, the station was used for import and export purposes. Completed in 1888, the structure is 127 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.