Slumdog Millionaire film fame, the house of Bollywood, what else do you know about Mumbai or Bombay? It ranks the second most populous city in India, seventh in the world. Mumbai is the city of financial, commercial and entertainment in India. No wonder the roads are so dense with traffic, the city is always in hectic.
However, don’t let these make you skip to explore the beauty of Mumbai. The unique of the city will make your trip to be the magical and challenging one. Prepare yourself to begin a wild experience. Here are some great places to start your trip:
1. Gateway of India Arch
Stands in the banks of Arabian Sea at the Apollo Bunder waterfront area, Gateway of India Arc is indeed the famous and must-visit landmark. Tourist and locals are likely to gather and have some seeing here. Watch yachts and ferries head to sea is quite interesting experience. You may also see some locals try to get selfie with foreigners or photographer solicit their services. What a view! Don’t forget to feed yourself from the street food like famous bhelpuri, snack from puffed rice mixed well with tamarind sauce.
Back then, the 26-meter basalt archway was built to welcome King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Its design combines the Roman triumphal arch style with Hindu and Muslim traditional influence. However, the arc wasn’t completed until 1924
2. Elephanta Caves
It needs an hour to reach Elephanta Island by ferry from the Gateway of India. Don’t worry, the ferries mostly depart every 30 minutes so you just wait patiently. First, you have to buy the tickets at the Gateway of India then wait the ferry to come. Note this, the ferries are available from 9 am to 2 pm. Also, don’t ever think to stay overnight here because it is prohibited for tourists. The ferry from Elephanta Island will be available only from 12:30 pm to 6:30 pm only.
Elephanta Caves are not really a cave, it is a huge carving rocks to honour the Hindu God, Shiva. The caves are located in Elephanta island, which back then the name was given because the explorers saw a sculpture of elephant in the island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site have some impressive spots like the main temple with a 6-meter-tall statue of Sadhashiva. It depicts a three-faced Shiva.
You can use tour guide services here but the rate is quite pricey. From the ferries dock to the stairway near the caves, you can walk around 1,2km, take miniature train or doli-carriers for the aged or disabled.
Colaba is quite dynamic city in Mumbai, it is filled with markets, art galleries and historical monuments. Come to Colaba Causeway to feel the buzz of people bargain for what they want to buy. This area has a lot of stalls which sells bags, shawls, household items, accessories, anything you name they may have. Walk along this market patiently to find treasure you may not expect. Feel the sensation when you bargain to the seller. This what makes the city is also named as Mumbai’s most colourful shopping district.
For those who love to sightseeing here are some cool places in Colaba. Kala Ghoda, art district where you can find art galleries, museum and cinemas. This neighbourhood is heaven for art lovers. Then, Mani Bhavan where you can find the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi from early years until his death. It is actually Gandhi’s friend house where he usually stayed during Mumbai visit. Looking for romantic walk? Back Bay may be the option. Locals like to walk or cycle along the walkways here. The breezy air will be your company. Lastly, Rajabhai Clock Tower you cannot miss. It was designed by the same architect who created the Big Ben London.
4. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
You will see how extravagant this building just from the outside. This monumental train station is indeed influenced by the British architecture. Before British rule ended in 1947, the station is named Victoria Terminal station, now it is Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. This station also become the location of the Jai Ho song in Slumdog Millionaire and Ra One, film starred by Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is completely built in 1888 and now is one of the busiest railway stations in India with 1000 trains pass through every day and commute around 3 million people.
5. Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat
Who knows that an open-air laundromat can be a popular attraction for tourist? This is Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat or known as Dhobi Ghat, where you can find bunch of washer or ‘dhobi’ do the laundry work. This was early constructed in 1890, the washers work in outdoor cleaning clothes or linen from hotels and hospitals. Now, around 7000 people are doing it each day. Such a massive number! Even in 2011, Dhobi Ghat got Guinness Book of World Record for ‘most people hand-washing clothes at a single location’.
If you want to capture this interesting view, try to come in the early morning where the washer start the work of washing or in the early afternoon to see the clothes dry.
Dabbawala is not a place or city, it is a view you may see familiarly in Mumbai. It is basically a food delivery service. What makes them different and unique? The Dabbawala or people who carries a box is usually dressed in white robes and white hats. They usually seen around lunch time with massive of home-cooked meal in lunch boxes.
This unique yet efficient service was once started in 1890 till nowadays. Even in 2013, there is Bollywood film titled The Lunchbox released the story of this Dabbawala service.
7. Marine Drive
Marine Drive is one of the most popular places to enjoy sunset. This is actually a road named Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, lined with palm trees and is 3,6 km long. Here you will see locals and tourists spend their evening watching sunset while talking and or enjoying bhelpuri. Here is the perfect place to end the day or enjoy the evening, give it a try!