I’ve had the enormous privilege to stay with friends. Consequently, I had a great advantage in that I got to experience Mumbai living in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
I dedicate this article to our host and dear friend Dilip Jani, and his amazing family. They’ve put together a brilliant itinerary, which I get to share with you today. For instance, discover Mumbai’s bustling street markets, explore Mumbai’s rich heritage, appreciate their faith, taste some super delish Indian cuisine, and meet amazing people. To name a few…
They use banana leaves to wrap bunches of produce. I was impressed by how clean, fresh and beautifully displayed everything was. Have a look at the tomatoes… neatly packed as if it was done for a photoshoot, right!? What a pleasure to buy your daily produce from such friendly vendors!
One thing is for sure, what you see on the outside of a building is not necessarily a reflection of what’s inside. On the contrary. It is no surprise to enter a building that looks in need of maintenance, but once inside you’re in the lap of luxury!
Another observation was the traffic. Specifically scooters. We’ve witnessed people dressed up with the most beautiful outfits flying by on a scooter… assumedly on their way to a nearby festival. Don’t faint when you see another scooter flying by with mommy, daddy, two young children, AND a little baby one the very same scooter. You’ll soon see more.
If you’re not used to driving in Mumbai, it can be quite an experience. Yes, they say you should obey the traffic rules. However, I think they chucked that book out long ago! I soon understood why our host preferred to make use of chauffeur-driven transport, despite owning a vehicle. According to the 2019 Driving Cities Index, Mumbai tops the list for unruly traffic and worst drivers. So if you can, use public transport! Close your eyes, or do as we did… sit back and enjoy the experience. After all, you’re in Mumbai!
The Global Vipassana Pagoda is “One of Seven Wonders of Maharashtra” You simply must visit because you’ll leave with some food for thought. Irrespective of your faith, or religion. For instance, Buddha held that the two qualities of gratitude and initiative, to help others without expecting anything in return, are the true measure of one’s progress. I’m not in the same faith, but those were the principles in our home when I was a child! As I said, food for thought.
This beautiful and well-kept park is part of the Hanging Gardens complex in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
One of Mumbai’s premier gardens, many people walk or run the approximate 16,000 square meters as part of their exercise routine. Or just go there to chill and hang out.
Do you still remember the nursery rhyme about the Old Woman’s Shoe? Young and old alike love going inside her shoe, day or night!
You’ll also enjoy some beautiful views from here of the Marine drive below – also known as Queen’s necklace.
Gandhi lived in his friend’s (Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri) mansion from 1917 to 1934. From here Gandhi initiated the Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat Movements. Gandhi’s association with the charkha and his involvement in the Home Rule Movement are connected to his stay in Mani Bhavan. While living here, Gandhi decided to abstain from drinking cow’s milk in protest to the common practice at the time of phookan meted out to milch cattle.
The house is now a fascinating museum, waiting for you to explore.
Whatever you do, taste the food from Panchavati Gaurav, Barrack Rd, Dhobi Talao, New Marine Lines, Marine Lines, Mumbai, in Maharashtra. I’ve had my best Mumbai meal at this amazing restaurant. The staff was incredibly efficient in filling up your plate. So, be sure to indicate very clearly when you’ve had sufficient. Every bite was absolutely delicious. Up to today I still don’t remember the name of our menu selection, but I sure do remember my tastebuds were very happy. So, when you go there, show them the photos above and ask for the very same!
At this point, I want to make it quite clear that #TravelAndHome does not benefit from sending you there. So, go and enjoy an authentic reference to authentic traditional Indian cuisine.
This was also the place where I tasted Lassi for the very first time. To my embarrassment, I could not stop drinking it and ended up having more than just one! I had the plain Lassi, unflavored. Try it!
This arch-monument was constructed in the early twentieth-century to commemorate the landing of King-Emperor George V and Queen-Empress Mary. At the time (December 1911) it was the first British monarch to visit India at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai.
Only a few meters away from the Gateway of India, is the Middle Ground Coastal Battery, a heritage site of an antique coastal gun battery. It’s managed by the Indian Navy.
We took the hour-long ferry-cruise to Elephanta Island (also called Gharapuri, literally meaning “the city of caves”; or Pory Island) which was great fun. The sun was out in full force and we had a good few of the Middle Ground Coastal Battery (as per the photo above this section).
From the ferry, there is a bit of walking to do, or you can opt to hop on the toy train at an extra cost. Wisely, we hopped on the toy train! I recommend you do the same.
There are several kiosks to buy souvenirs from and then you have quite a bit of climbing to do. Quite a bit. Like in 120 steep steps. My only advice is, take a lot of water along to stay hydrated! All that said and done, the climb to the top was very entertaining. There are more small kiosks on the way to the top.
The monsoon season is from mid-June until mid-September. During this period all tours are subject to weather conditions.
It’s best to get a guide if you don’t have a knowledgeable friend (like we had).
Without a doubt, from the moment you leave your hotel to your return, set aside a half-day. Elephanta Caves is worth visiting, and you’ll be sorry if you squeeze it into 3 or 4 hours. Rather allow between 4 and 5 hours.
This attraction is not suitable for wheelchairs. You can opt to be carried to the top. However, the terrain at the top is rather uneven and also unpaved.
At an extra cost, you can opt to ride Maharajah style to the top. Meaning, four people will carry you up in a chair.
The luxurious 5-star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel’s architecture is in the Saracenic Revival style.
This magnificent timeless Indian heritage sits next to the Gateway of India, in the Colaba region.
The “Taj Mahal Hotel” or simply “the Taj” is a must on your Mumbai list of things to do. If you don’t stay there, at least have some refreshments at this exquisite venue.