The capital city of Maharashtra — Mumbai, is often referred to as The City That Never Sleeps. A weekend in Mumbai was good enough for me to compliment the city, living up to its name. I managed to cover a few offbeat places during my short trip to the metropolis. Here are a few must sees dos in Mumbai.
Early morning halt, Gateway of India. One of the most talked about monuments in India, I happened to come across all sorts of people walking around. Be it foreign tourists, photographers, flute and balloon sellers, touts, localites — bustling with crowd. Nonetheless, the basalt archway stands tall and is worth a visit if you want to check out subtle Indian architecture.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel stood tall, bang opposite to the Gateway. Like any other, it obviously reminded me of 26/11 bloodbath.
Moving on, the hired Indica took me to Sanjay Gandhi National Park next. A few kilometers off Mumbai, the sanctuary housed white tigers, lions, dotted deer, wild bear among other animals. Watchable wingies were kingfisher, doves, woodpeckers, sparrows. A luge lake with boating facilities already saw a huge queue. Predictable, given it was a Saturday. Without giving boating a shot, I headed out for my next halt.
Up next was Film City, the hub of bollywood film industry, next to Churchgate railway station. I opted for a few studios in Film City. Gosh! What a ride — decked with fake waterfalls, mountains, lakes, picnic spots,villages, markets. These spots look so real on screen! Crowded with sets of Hindi soaps, this place was truly a wonder. My guide told me about those films shot here. Ready and Bodyguard being the leading ones.
It was Church gate terminus, where I got to spot over 500 people clad in white kurtas with bicycles. The latter carried tiffin carriers. Yes, the dabbawalas. The ones who carry over 200000 home cooked food to the city’s office workers every day.
The Chor Bazaar was my next stop! Thief’s market next to Bhendi Bazaar. Crowded as expected. Haven of antiques, items of household decor, curios. I bargained hard to stuff my bag with small tokens, half of which I knew were over priced.
What I saw next was one-of-its-kind! The famous Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, open air laundry. Endless rows of concrete troughs being bashed with clothes, literally. Hundreds of washermen were probably on their routine duty of washing clothes after collecting them all over Mumbai.
While crossing Bandra I spotted a massive gathering outside a giant sized building, only to find out, it was Mannat! King Khan’s palace.
Juhu beach at sunset is amazing! Saffron clad horizon over grey waves is a spectacle. Apart from landscape, Juhu is all about people. After walking barefoot for a mile across the beach (to keep up to my fitness regime), with shoes in hand and wet toes, I managed to make my way to Food stalls. Hawkers with skull caps and masks to match up hygiene levels seemed ever-engaged. Pani puris, vada paos, iced golas — heavenly!
I happened to see Jalsa and Prateeksha (Amitabh Bachchan’s bunglows), while the car drove me back to my hotel which was far away from the crowded city at Powai.
A happening day, at another metropolis! Might sound boring to those from mainstream cities. I too am from Delhi. But you have to be there and to feel the change in lifestyle. India it is again! Never fails to surprise people with diversities! Incredible.