A quote by an anonymous writer says, ‘Once you have lived in Mumbai, no city is good enough.’ This is supremely true. Mumbai has its own distinct scent that lures thousands of people every year with sky-high hopes of making it big in the famed city. The city holds its own as it is often compared to its western counterpart New York in terms of being one of the wealthiest and largest cities in the world. If Mumbai was a person, it would probably be someone bohemian in their late 20s with a thirst for knowledge, hard work, happy life and a die-hard indomitable spirit, no matter what the storm brings in. Spending just one day in Mumbai will get you addicted to this amazing city in India. The city manages to connect with every visitor and makes you fall in love with it gradually at first and then all of a sudden.
GUEST POST BY ESHA SINHA
What’s the best time to visit Mumbai?
The Ganpati Festival
Mumbai is a city that just opens its arms to every traveller who feels like visiting it at whichever season. The rains are the best time to visit the city only if you are a pluviophile, a lover of rain, who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.
The best time to visit would be from August to December, especially when the 10-day Ganesh Festival is at its peak of celebration. The air has a different beat in the days that follow and devotees of Ganpati (the Elephant God) play the dhol tasha with a musical vibe that has the powers to bring together all castes and religions in a glorious celebration.
A few interesting facts about Mumbai
– Mumbai is home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites
– India’s first-ever train ran from Mumbai
– Mumbai was the first to start a bus service in India
– Antilia – world’s most expensive house – is in Mumbai
– Rudyard Kipling and Salman Rushdie were born in Mumbai
– Mumbai houses Asia’s largest slum – Dharavi
– Mumbai is home to Secret Tunnels and Escape Routes
One day in Mumbai itinerary
Follow this guide to see the best sights in Mumbai even if you have just a day to spend in Mumbai.
Start your day with breakfast at Madras Cafe or The Nutcracker
You can begin your mornings with a South Indian breakfast at Madras Cafe, Matunga or go to The Nutcracker for the best French Toasts around.
Sail through the Mumbai Harbour
Formerly called Bombay, Mumbai is a densely populated city on India’s west coast and home to an ever-volatile financial center, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), where fates are decided at every second. On the Mumbai Harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch, built by the British Raj in 1924.
Pleasurable rides on small family ferries with the sea breeze in your hair give you the feeling of ruling the deep seas and experiencing an unusual calm even in the harsh morning sun which really does not seem so hot after all. The nearby Elephanta Island holds ancient cave temples dedicated to the highly revered Hindu God Shiva.
Visit tourist attack sites to understand the pulse of the City
This waterfront also makes you think about how Kasab and his 10-member team of terrorists landed in Mumbai via the sea route and managed to rage havoc with their planned attacks on the iconic Taj Palace on 26th November 2008 amongst other locations such as the CST – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus formerly known as Victoria Terminus, Mumbai Chabad House, the Oberoi Trident, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Nariman House, Metro Cinema and a lane behind the TOI Building and St. Xavier’s College.
The terror still reigns strong in the heart of every Mumbaikar. Mumbaikars have been applauded a thousand times and often been referred to as the ones who rose like a phoenix from the ashes in spite of the relentless fear caused by the attacks.
Visit the Haji Ali Dargah and experience spiritual calm
A special mention should be made about Haji Ali, a dargah which contains the tomb of Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, located on an islet off the coast of Worli in the southern part of Mumbai. The dargah is a must visit and looks ethereal during the rains. With its humid climate, the pearls of sweat shed actually don’t make you mind the heat and a stranger would find you looking fresh even at the end of a hard, tiring day at work.
Visit the Hanging Gardens, go to Chowpatty & spend romantic evenings on Marine Drive
If you have just a day to spend in Mumbai, you would not want to miss visiting a few sights like the Hanging Gardens, Chowpatty, Marine Drive, Mannat (Shah Rukh Khan’s abode – The King of Romance in Bollywood) or even the world’s most expensive house – Antilia – which belongs to the entrepreneur Mukesh Ambani, founder of the Reliance Group. The city’s also famous as the heart of the Bollywood film industry where a new release every Friday decides the fate of a wannabe star.
Go shopping in Mumbai and be a gypsy for a day
If you are a shopping buff, you must go to Linking Road, Fashion Street and Crawford Market, where you can feast your eyes on varied items and also get a good bargain in exchange.
Try your hand at photography and click the Bandra Worli Sealink
The Bandra Worli Sealink is a joy for most photographers and it looks as if it holds the mighty sea in its strong throes. The Mumbai Dabbawalas also famous as the new-age Management Gurus are a common sight in the local trains of Mumbai. You have failed to capture the essence of the city if you have not travelled in Mumbai’s local trains with its dry-fish induced strong odor that fazes many a new face in the city, but only until you get used to it.
Say a prayer at the Mount Mary Church in Mumbai
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra, Mumbai. The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated here on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. The feast is followed by a week-long celebration known locally as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people. Id, Diwali, Durga Pooja and Christmas are times when the whole city is decorated in its finest splendor and this joy reflects in the glow seen on every Mumbaikar.
Even if there is an expected trickle of unpredictable rain which actually wants to show who’s in charge of the weather, the celebrations still go on without a hitch and that’s the beauty of the city in its unfiltered best. Food and stay prices do tend to hike during these months as the city witnesses a lot of tourists at this time of the year.
Enjoy mouth-watering Kebabs at Bademiya
The nightlife in Mumbai shows you a part of the city that might surprise and entice you at the same time. If you are a hard-core nocturnal non-vegetarian foodie, Bademiya located right behind Hotel Taj in Colaba, South Mumbai is the place to be to relish lip-smacking tandoori tikkas and kebabs with your 2 AM confidante to lend you company. If you frequent the nightspots you might even happen to make a friend or two of the four-legged kind, the stray cats and dogs who guard their territorial space as if they get their orders from the top brass.
Dance to the beat at Poison
Poison at Waterfield Road, considered one of the best dance clubs in Mumbai attracts a lot of famous stars and celebrities along with world-class DJs who play the latest tracks of all kinds of genres from hip hop to Bollywood. Grooving to the feet-tapping music and soaking in the trance-like vibe with disco lights staring back at you, makes this one of the most happening spots and also one of the top clubs in Mumbai. It is best to go for a Car on Hire and travel from one spot to another, though the traffic might be a setback. Best to travel with a known guide who knows the cool spots like the back of his hand.
Where to stay in Mumbai?
If you are travelling with your pet in Mumbai, the cab drivers might charge a tad extra to ferry your pet from one Mumbai hotspot to another. You can also opt to stay at one of the pet-friendly hotels that might probably take much better care of your pet than you. In case your pet does not like the sea air and has trouble adjusting to it, you could probably get him checked by a Vet on Call service that will check your pet and give it the go-ahead certificate.
Day Trips from Mumbai to Exotic Locales
A 3-4 hour drive, Pune offers a lot of historic sites to visit and authentic Maharashtrian Food.
Pawna lake is 117 km away from Mumbai. It is a place known for nature, green hills and a great day trip from Mumbai to connect with nature.
Hardly a couple of hours’ drive from Mumbai with decent roads, one can unwind their troubled minds by the sea and maybe write a few pages of a book that they happen to be working on.
Try the ferry ride from Mumbai, boarding at Gateway of India early morning and reach Mandwa and then take a bus service to Alibagh – beach destination and great to hog on seafood.
Extra Tips Before Visiting Mumbai
The city dwellers are compassionate but at the same time are always game to set out on a new adventure at any point of the day. The city is a lover of pets and owing to the dwindling pet population, the youth of the city always try to create awareness about taking extra care of its pet dogs, cats, hamsters and other pets through its events that are pet focussed and dole out unconditional love to these four-legged angels.
- Traffic Rules are strict. Don’t argue with the cops.
- Always carry loose change with you to give to the beggars or they will pester you till the signal turns green.
- As per the new decree by the government, the malls and restaurants in Mumbai will now be open 24 hours.
- Be careful with your belongings like laptops, cameras and cell phones.
- Learn how to bargain like a pro.
- Keep your pet on a leash.
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What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
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Esha Sinha is a seasoned writer who has over the years contributed quality content
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