BOMBAY CITY GUIDE
from the moment you step into Mumbai, India’s largest city and the capital of
the state, you will realise one thing for sure…that Mumbai is a delightful
dilemma for the tourist. Everything in Mumbai attracts everyone. It’s
impossible to take in fully the essence of a cultural cauldron like Mumbai in a
single visit and this will make you come back for more. To see the thousand year
old Elephanta caves… to chill out at the beaches, to take in the scenic
splendour of Khandala…or chase a dream to make it big on the big screen like a
Bachan or a Shah Rukh Khan in Bollywood.
Whatever it may be, Mumbai is a kaleidoscope, with each museum, temple and eatery offering you something exotic. Promising everything for a tourist..., historic sites, divine retreats, heritage, tourism, theme parks, museums, gardens, art galleries, caves, palace hotels, film festivals, great shopping and more…
To feel the spirit and essence of Mumbai, you have to be there first. Go on long walks on the Chowpatty Beach, stop for a spicy Bhelpuri, bargain for a pair of slippers from Rs.250.00 to Rs.50.00 …lose yourself childlike at Essel World - an exciting theme park, travel by the local electric train humming a popular film tune. Bite into a Banarasi paan in typical Amitabh style, wait in a long queue to see the Deity at the Mahalakshmi Temple..
So, welcome to Mumbai. It’s waiting to be discovered by you. Brimming with vitality. Bursting with excitement. To promise you the holiday of your lifetime.
Mahal Hotel : One of the city's best known landmarks and one of the best
hotels in India. Constructed by J.N. Tata in 1903, the hotel has a old and a
new wing. The old wing is the more expensive and grander than the new wing.
The best thing to see in the old wing is the grand central stairway.
Gateway of India : This structure was constructed to mark the visit of King George V in 1911. This arch of triumph is made of yellow basalt and is on the shore of Mumbai Harbour, at the tip of Apollo Bunder in Colaba. It is now a popular landmark of the city and a gathering spot for the locals. Close to this, is the statue of Maratha leader Shivaji astride his horse and statue of Vivekananda. From here there are boats to Elephants island.
Flora Fountain : This fountain named after the Roman god of abundance, was erected in 1869 in the honour of Sir Bartle Frere, who was responsible for shaping much of today's Mumbai. Now it shares the area with a monument honouring those who died fighting to carve the state of Maharashtra.
Bombay University & High Court : It was during the building boom of the 1860's and 70's that most of the Victorian buildings were constructed, specially the ones on the edge of Oval maidan. The maidans were close to sea those days and structures like Bombay University, Western Railway building and High Court directly faced the Arabian Sea. The most impressive among them is the Bombay University. It was designed by Gilbert Scott and looks like a 15th century Italian building. The structure is lovely, with a gorgeous Library, Convocation hall and 80 m high Rajabai Tower.
Horniman Circle : This is a stately arcaded circle of buildings constructed in 1860's in the fort area. Close to this is the classic Town Hall (pride of Mumbai).
Marine Drive : Constructed in 1920, Marine drive runs along the shore of the Arabian Sea, society Library and Mumbai's State Central Library from Nariman Point past Chowpatty to Malabar Hill. Marine drive has a dramatic curve of streetlights at night, giving it the name of queen's necklace. It looks best in the night when seen from upper floors of tall buildings alongside.
Malabar Hill : It is one of posh residential areas of Mumbai. In Malabar Hill are the Hanging gardens, which is a good place for an evening stroll. The specialty of this garden is that the edges have been cut into animal shapes. Also there is a flower clock. From here you also get a good view of the city.
Chowpatty Beach : It an integral part of Mumbai life. Chowpatty beach is where most of the local drama takes place. Political rallies, shooting galleries, bee bee-gun, snake charmers and roundabouts.
Chowpatty is most famous for the special Bhel-Puri and Chat. The highlight of the year at Chowpatty beach is the Ganesh Chaturthi, where statues of Ganesh are immersed in the seawater.
Victoria Terminus : This exotic Gothic building looks more like a Palace than a railway station. Designed by Frederick Stevens and completed in 1887, it has carvings of monkeys, peacocks and lions mixed with domes, spires and stained glass windows. There is also the life size statue of Queen Victoria placed in the central façade.
Mani Bhavan : This is where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai. His rooms have been kept intact and there is a photo exhibition of his life. It is opened daily between 9.30 am to 6.00 pm and the entry is free.
Juhu : It is a 5 km long beach which is fringed with coconut and palm trees. It is also a popular picnic spot, with snack stands, toy sellers, fruit vendors, roundabout rides and fortunetellers. The beach has crowds of foreign tourists and locals enjoying fresh air or playing cricket.
Crawford Market : This market is the wholesale market for flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. This Norman-Gothic structure has bas reliefs by Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling. South of the market is the JJ school of Arts. This is where Rudyard Kipling was born and now his birthplace is the residence of the dean.
Haji Ali's Mosque : This early 18th century shrine contains the tomb of HAZRATH HAJI ALI, a Muslim Sufi saint. There are two local legends which claim to trace the hazrath’s antecedents. One story has it that Haji Ali was a rich , local businessman who gave up materialism after a visit to Mecca and then took up meditation. Another legend says that he was an Afghan mystic who lived and meditated here. He specifically ordered that after his death , his casket should be cast off into the sea off the shore of what is today Pakistan. However , the casket surfaced intact at the spot where the shrine is today.
The Haji Ali shrine is located on a small island on the Arabian Sea. There is a walkway which connects the shore to the shrine. This walkway is the only way to enter the shrine and it can be used only during low tides. High tides and monsoon rains completely cover the walkway. Inside the shrine there is a courtyard which normally sports a festive, talkative atmosphere. The structure has typical white, Mughal domes and minarets. Although it is a famous Muslim pilgrimage site, non-Muslim visitors are welcomed. The shrine looks its best when seen from the shore silhouetted against the setting sun.
Dhobi Ghats : This is where the whole of Mumbai's laundry is washed. This municipal laundry at Mahalaxmi is where nearly 5,000 men beat the dirt out of clothes brought from all over the city. There are open-air troughs, which is used for the washing. You can have a good view from the bridge across the railway tracks of Mahalaxmi Railway station.