Mumbai, the dream city of the Masses, a magical city that has elevated people from poverty to prosperity. The glamour world of Bollywood, home to business tycoons and one of the world's most expensive house and alongside comes the darker and grimmer world of underworld dons trying to run the city and the common man shrugging off the ghastly attack by coward terrorists. A few spots in the city still wearing the signs of destruction left behind. This city teaches the world on how to be brave and survive even in the most horrifying circumstances, be it the terror attacks or natural calamities. This city has a never say die attitude and comes together to come back to normalcy.
Mumbai was meant to be a pit stop for our Magical Monsoon Matheran trip. But coming to Mumbai and not getting engulfed by it's charm is highly impossible. This is the perfect city to see the ultra rich and ultra poor co-exist. The financial capital of India takes you aback with breathtaking high rises, bridges built over sea, the over hyped real estate prices and the sea facing homes.
Taj Mahal hotel was built in 1903 and believe it or not it was built 21 years before the Gateway of India. This beautiful piece of history is a true example of what Mumbai stand for- It's surviving spirit and fearless attitude. This hotel was opened in record time after the ghastly terror attacks.
The beautiful monument, Gateway of India, was completed in 1924 and it was built to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary but the first major event to happen was the ceremony that was conducted on 28 February 1948 when the last set of British troops and divisions left India post-Independence.
The beach providing a view of Gateway of India and Taj Mahal hotel is a picture perfect moment but as much as we would love to see the beautiful building, the clutter floating in the water reflecting a darker side of commercialization and tourism melted our hearts. This significant and beautiful place is surrounded with so much garbage around, if only Mankind would respect Nature, this world would definitely be a much better place.
Commuting like the Mumbaikars in the local train is an experience in itself. You need to master the art of boarding and alienating the train without getting a scratch. That being said, this is the lifeline of Mumbai and the entire city relies on it and its pretty much a part of every single person's routine.
With the monorail being introduced, we hopped in for a joy ride and were pretty impressed with it. The smart Mono rail criss-crosses the city, ferrying people from one end to another.
This dream city is also home to several slums which houses the most hard working class that are grossly underpaid. It is such a contrast to see one of the world's largest slum among such urbanization. This made us wonder how is it not possible to eradicate poverty and rehabilitate these folks. Living conditions in these slums are beyond imagination, millions still don't have access to clean drinking water, healthy living environment, drainage system etc.
The high and the mighty bow their heads down at SiddhiVinayaka temple and even at times ditch their luxury cars and choose to walk it up from their sprawling bungalows to the temple. This Ganesh temple built in 1801 is one of the richest temples in Mumbai.
The Mount Mary church at Bandra, 80 mts above sea level, is a beautiful stone structure and the interiors have beautifully painted murals depicting the life events of Mary. This church is also famous for the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary held in September followed by a week long celebration known as Bandra Fair.
Bandra-Worli sea link, reduces the travel time from Bandra to Worli from 90 minutes to 20-30 minutes. This INR 16 Billion bridge is perfect for late night drives and of course makes for some beautiful photographs.
Marine Drive, is the ideal place for an evening stroll or to just sit there with the high rise building behind and the sea in front inviting us to dream big and encouraging us to fulfill those dreams. Ah! The city of Dreams.
The Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, popularly known as Victoria Terminus "VT" Station, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is blend of Victoria Gothic, Mughal and traditional Indian style of architecture. The wood carvings, tiles, iron and brass railings, and the grand staircase left us in awe at the brilliance of the designs.
Mumbai is a fantastic destination for food lovers and apart from the most famous Juhu Chowpati, there are a lot of other eateries that make you lick your fingers. We treated our taste buds to the best of street food, desserts and a wee bit of fancy continental food.
If you are in mood for some Nachos, frenchfries, nooodles, visit Abstrakt Bistro & Lounge. The food was excellent and the ambience great.
Milkshake at Shiv Sagar- This place is not just famous for its Idly, Vada, Dosa, tea and coffee but also serves some really good milkshakes. We tried the Sitaphal Milkshake and it was as heavy as a whole breakfast meal.
Sadguru Pav Bhajji- This place is famous for the variety of Pav Bhajji that they offer with lots of butter floating on the bhajji and the only thing you can be heard saying after finishing it is - Yeh Dil Maange More!!
People who love chaat will definitely vouch for this- "as long as you have not had Pani Puri you have not had Chaat". For Pani Puri, we would highly recommend Sind Pani Puri house, they have the perfect blend of spice and masala providing a perfect end to your chaat experience.
To satisfy the sweet tooth craving, head to Rassilly, a small falooda joint and try from a list of their faloodas. The Rabdi falooda was heavenly filled with dry fruits and believe us when we say it would not be possible for a person to finish the whole glass.
For those who love ice creams, Ice Cream sandwich at Rustoms at Churchgate is a must visit. This place serves Ice cream Sandwich with some variety of flavors ranging from Muskmelon to Pappay and the ice cream is sandwiched in between two wafer slabs, definitely unique.
Of course, the trademark snack Vada pav at any of the eat outs, Maharashtra's very own favorite snack is a must try.
Mumbai gave us a taste of the rapid fast Mumbaikars' life. We enjoyed the iconic places, the food and in true Mumbai style we were welcomed by our friend and her family who made the stay in Mumbai filled with happy and joyous memories.