5 Fun Things To Do In Mumbai
We were feeling very excited and why not? After all, we were about to board the flight that would take us to the throbbing and pulsating city of Mumbai, the financial capital of India. We had a few days at our disposal and after a lot of discussions we zeroed in on a plan to revisit Mumbai. We were not strangers to Mumbai. Infact, we had lived in the city for brief periods but it always felt good to get back to the city again. This time the reason for us to head to Mumbai was to accompany a friend who wanted to have a dekko at Mumbai. We boarded the flight and I sat back pleased for having got a good deal on the flight tickets, having made use of MakemyTrip coupons.
It was a short flight and soon we landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. As soon as I set foot on Mumbai soil, I could feel a familiar excitement in the pit of my stomach and the adrenaline flowed freely as we made our way towards the airport exit. This is the effect that Mumbai always had on me.
The few days we spent in Mumbai whizzed past like a dream and soon it was time for the spell to be broken and to head back home with wonderful memories that would last a lifetime. I share here 5 fun things that you must experience while in Mumbai. Some of these are definitely touristy and some of them are definitely not. So go on take your pick and experience Mumbai. Whatever your choice, pleasure unlimited is guaranteed.
A leisurely walk on the Promenade at The Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is an iconic landmark of Mumbai and was erected in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Since then the Gateway stands in awesome majesty overlooking the Arabian Sea and being a source of attraction to millions of visitors. There is a promenade which is perpendicular to the side of the Gateway of India. It is a great place to take a leisurely stroll while watching the majesty of the Arabian sea and the little boats anchored near the Gateway of India. In the past you would have been able to see or ride on the vintage horse carriages, gaily decorated and brightly lit, known as “Victoria’. However, the Victorias are off the road from this year and remain alive only through pictures and memories. Victorias have been banned to protect the interests of the Horses who had to bear the burden of the carriages and the tourists astride it.
Opposite The Gateway of India you can see another Mumbai icon, The Taj Mahal Hotel, which had borne the brunt of an attack by gunmen who had sneaked in by boat and slipped through The Gateway of India in the wee hours of the morning. If you like feeding pigeons, you can do it near the Gateway of India as hundreds of them swoop down to partake off your offering. If you want to avoid crowds and would like to take a peaceful stroll, then an early morning or late night stroll along the promenade is advisable.
Get inside an Old Woman’s Shoe at Kamala Nehru Park
In Mumbai’s Malabar Hill area, there is a 370 square meters park called Kamala Nehru Park, named after the wife of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. There is nothing remarkable about this park excepting for some nice views of Marine Drive and the Chowpatty Beach. However, the park is a favorite for school children because of the presence of a tower like structure shaped like a shoe. The structure is said to have been inspired by the nursery rhyme, “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe”. One can climb up inside the ‘Shoe” and peep out of a little window to pose for a photograph. I have special memories associated with “The Old Woman’s Shoe”. I remember being taken there as a kid and being awed by the “sheer size” of the structure. When I look at the structure today, I can see it is not all that big at all!
Meet the Lingo Kid at the Hanging Gardens
After you have experienced “The Old Woman’s Shoe”, you can head to the Hanging Gardens which is exactly opposite the Kamala Nehru Park for a rendezvous with the Lingo Kid. The Hanging Gardens have numerous hedges which are carved into shapes of different animals and birds, something that surely will appeal to kids. Apart from this one can witness some amazing sunset over the Arabian Sea from here. When at the Hanging Gardens, you are likely to be accosted by a young boy selling hand held fans made of peacock feathers. At first glance, you are sure to shoo him off as yet another Mumbai hawker trying to sell his wares. But if you pause and talk to him, you will realize that he is the same kid who went viral on the internet as the “Lingo Kid”. He can talk to you in over 10 international languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, and others. He has also appeared on TEDx as a speaker to talk about his remarkable story. You can watch the TEDx below.
This Lingo kid 9 years ago:
Travel on a Mumbai Local Train
One of the best ways to have an immersive experience of the local people and culture and to get a peek into their daily lives is to use the public transport of the place. The local trains of Mumbai are literally the lifeline of the city connecting the sprawling city through its crisscrossing network and enabling millions to commute to and from work. The trains run across three major routes which are known as Western Railway, Central Railway, and Harbour Line. Each route has its unique characteristics. However, I would recommend a ride on the Local train from Churchgate to Borivali.
Mornings will find the trains packed with office goers heading towards Churchgate, a short walk away from Nariman Point where many of the offices of major companies are located. You will observe executives lost in the depths of the morning newspaper or poring over their laptops giving finishing touches to a presentation they need to get to their boss. Afternoons, when the trains are less crowded you may also be able to spot the famous Dabbawalas of Mumbai who pick up and deliver hot lunches to millions of office goers in Mumbai. In 2010, Harvard Business School added the case study – The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery, Every Time to their compendium for its high level of service with a low-cost and simple operating system.
Admire the Queen’s necklace in the cover of Darkness
South Mumbai is embellished by a 3.5 kilometer boulevard that caresses the sea as it winds into a C-shaped curve. This stretches from Nariman Point to Babulnath and Malabar Hills and the road alongside the sea is known as Marine Drive.
It is a pleasant experience to drive along Marine Drive at any time of the day or night. One can also take a walk along the Palm tree lined promenade looking at the waves of the Arabian Sea crashing against black rocks glistening in the moonlight. At night Marine Drive erupts into a glittering spectacle which when viewed from a distance or maybe from the Hanging Gardens or Kamala Nehru Park resembles a necklace stringed with sparking and glowing diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
These are only a few experiences that will get you close to Mumbai’s heart and soul and you too shall experience the same kind of excitement that fills our being whenever we revisit Mumbai. There are many more immersive experiences in Mumbai that we would like to present to you and this we shall do in a later post, till then stay tuned.
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