Mumbai the entertainment and one of the main financial hubs within the whole of India. Infact its most famous aspects is the huge Bollywood, meaning films, music, videos, songs, actors and actresses, dance and just full on entertainment. This is the reason for the most amount of billionaires living in India are here.
With the richest becomes the poorist, with the largest slums in India There is a real sense of segregation between these classes. tA the same time there is a real modern feel to this city too, with clubs, bars and restaurants been more westernised vibe to this manic city.
Here’s how i spent my first and last 24 hours in this chaotic city…
6am – Arrive on the overnight train from Ahmedabad.
7am – Drop everything off at the hotel, I stayed in the Bora Bazaar area close to the ocean front and promenade and also the main train station terminal.
8am – Always time for Breakfast
Freshened up and ready for breakfast, I headed to the Promenade front restaurant Corleone The best breakfast, its westernised with an Indian flavour and it works brilliantly. I ordered the Bombay French Toast with the Akira flavours and seasoning which gives it the kick (best scrambled eggs ever! ). Infact we were all so excited we ended up having breakfast dessert too! The real French Toast with chocolate sauce. The service was amazing and right on the promenade for a walk along it afterwards
For 3000 rupees (£30) there was 3 of us in the taxi and this meant we had the full tour of the city within 7 hours, traffic can be pretty crazy so this allows for that time as well. Try to barter but this seems compared to other tours cost effective.
9.30am – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
One of the most beautiful gothic architecture masterpieces, built in 1887 and has Victorian influences from the Colonal presence in Mumbai at that time. Its like something out of London, huge in side, with a statue of Queen Victoria outside, and other buildings across the chaotic road including the Post office which is just as beautiful.
10am – The Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple
A very welcoming community, when we arrived we were taken past a whole room full of people arranging and decorating the flowers for hanging and also offering to the gods. The temple is for Hare Krishna followers, and it was a wonderful experience to see the daily rituals take place.
11am – Promenade and Beach
The promenade runs over 4 miles from the Marina Drive all the way around the Mahim Bay and can become very busy due to traffic.
Chowpatty Beach is the central city beach along the promenade, with beautiful views of Mumbai, water sports and low waves for a swim when its good weather. Complete comparison to a lot of the Indian cities with no relaxing open spaces to relax.
1pm – Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum
Mani Bhavan is a museum and historical building dedicated to Gandhi, situated at Laburnum Road in the Gamdevi precinct of Mumbai, its full of different parts of Gandhis life. With scenes throughout his life, books, portraits, extracts from letters and newspapers. It really put a sense of the distance Gandhis messages and followers expanded across India. The house itself is also a beautiful and worth a look to see a beautiful Colonial House with British influences.
2pm – Go see how the other half live
We visited the ‘Bollywood Hills’, where the elite, the rich and the famous are all known to have properties here. This includes Bollywood actors, the most expensive house in the world ever built The Antilia which is controversially the most overrated house, in my opinion its not even pretty, its a 20 storey apartment block with I am sure the highest security and technology money can buy in side, but wouldn’t say was attractive. In numbers it has 168 car parking spots, 173 metres tall, a ballroom, a 80 person cinema and has an area 400,000 sq/ft – Crazy right!
We stopped at the Kamala Nehru Park, also known as the hanging gardens of Mumbai (dont think they are like Singapores gardens you will be disappointed), but they are a lovely quiet area of Mumbai. Opposite is Malabar Hill with amazing views of Mumbai’s iconic skyline, of huge sky scrapers, the Mumbai beaches and sprawl of endless buildings going off into the horizon.
Banganga a huge communal water tank, with ghats all the way round is very close to the Marina Drive too
3pm – Slumdog, Dharavi
From the very rich to the extremely poor and poverty ridden area of Mumbai , the Slums, world famous due to the little film called Slumdog Millionaire. When we walked through the Dharavi slum which is the biggest in India and one of the largest in the world we were with a local guide who walked us through the industrial area with fewer residential houses. We saw plastics being recycled and a full on production line of sorting them all out into colours, then they take these to plants to be recycled. It was a strange feeling taking steps into a community which has grown to in this Slum to over 277,384 sq/km, with over half the population of Mumbai living in these slums thats over 6.5 million people. I personality wanted to see how the conditions were in these well known Slums, but also felt like I was prying into their lives. The people were nothing but kind, friendly and waving to us while they ran ahead to whisper or tell others.
4pm – Dhobi Ghat, Laundromat
Another area with immense poverty, which have tried to improve there situation with help from the government, creating one of the biggest Laundromats in India. The washers are known as Dhobis and work with huge businesses and hotels around Mumbai who work to keep this project going. It was a hive of activity in every direction.
5pm – Arrived back at the hotel for some free time back at the Hotel to freshen up, sleep, post some non essential clothing items I had bought the last few days home to save space in my rucksack (naughty Danielle), but cant wait to open it up when I return home to those beaut items. Finally getting ready for tonight!
6pm – The Gateway of India
The symbol of welcoming ships to India is situated on the main square where the famous Taj Mahal Palace 5 star Hotel is located, open since 1903. The hotel which made global news after the horrific terrorist attack in November 2008, where hundreds of people were killed in a terrorist attack. We took in the night time vibes of Mumbai with colourful lights on the Gateway to India and then walked to the bars, and social district nearby.
7pm – SOCIAL, our location for the evening
By 10pm the music was in full swing, and my word, the Mumbai locals can seriously dance! There was Bhangra, other Indian fuses, pop, R&B and so many more, there was scream singing and group dancing. Chats and giggles from the whoel group plus new friends, it really was the night to let loose!
Mumbai was short but sweet, and this was the first evening I had really thought I felt like a local, drinks, food, and a bar.. But the kindness, hospitality and friendliness of the Indian locals we met that night I will never forget. I also learnt that wherever you are in the world the Macarana dance is global!