Explore Mumbai - The Skyscrapers of India
Mumbai, the city of skyscrapers, is one of the busiest cities of India. It is the home for film stars, top businessmen and the creamy layer class of the society. The famous Bollywood is one of the parts of this city. The very first sight of this city might not impress a visitor with the congesting, narrow lanes; old deformed building and filthy environment all over but the treasures of Mumbai is immense. The filthy, unorganized part of the city draws a picture of old Mumbai which still looks the same today. However, the evolvement of Navi Mumbai area has tried to change the image with broader roads and highways, tall and majestic buildings and an attempt to create a clean and green city. Mumbai, extend itself in length. This city is basically divided as east and west in terms of locality and area, something like Santacruz East and Santacruz West. The West locality is the sea facing side of the city and is quite expensive when compared to the East locality. The East localities are generally more crowded and filthy in their appearance.
Mumbai being one of the metropolitan cities is a hilly area with beaches. The climate is always pleasant all throughout the year. Exploring this city might be a bit tiresome experience considering the traffic lights at every small interval, but the city has some of the most beautiful heritages of its time.
Places of interest:
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park
It is located in Borivalli East locality of Mumbai on the Western Express Highway. As you step you into the park, it would transport you to an environment with thick, green forests, ponds & lakes and wildlife. This might relief the visitors to a great extent given the crowded and polluted atmosphere of Mumbai. The most crowd of visitors are for the Safari Tigers and Lions which are the most famous one here and you have to queue yourself to get its sight. There is also a toy train which gives you a ride in and around the park. The park remains open till 4 p.m. This park gives you the essence of all that a National Park should have. So, if you are planning to spend a day out with your family, this park is a welcoming option for you.
This is located in the midst of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Considered to be used by the Buddhist Monk sometimes from 1st century BC to 9th Century AD, this place will make you feel the auspiciousness of the almighty. Surrounded by dense tall trees, you would find the Buddhist statues in the ancient caves of Kanheri. You should better hire a guide to know about the history of the caves. But this place has its own charisma and holiness and is a great visit to people who love history.
Gateway of India:
The Gateway of India is located in Kolaba in Mumbai. Mainly famous because, Gandhiji returned to India (from South Africa) through this arc and the British soldiers also left India after Independence through this very arc. This place is considered to have the safest harbor. The Taj which is located just opposite to the Gateway of India is the most expensive hotel in India. The security is tightened more at this place and it is a kind of red alert area now-a -days. However, for the common public, it is the view of the ocean, the massive architecture of Gateway of India and the Taj, all found at one place which is more attractive. The Gateway of India looks much more majestic during evening with all the lightings. You would see photographers roaming around and taking a snap of yourself around this place is not that bad an idea. Spending a quiet evening at this junction is a hangover place for many and you would love doing it.
When you have reached the Gateway of India, you get a ferry/boat to take you to the Elephanta Caves which is located on an isolated island about 11 kms from Mumbai. The journey to the cave takes around 1 hour but it is quite refreshing. To visit the cave, you have to pay 10 INR while the ferry/boat travel can cost you around 150 INR. The Elephanta cave is considered to be religious to the local people as it is the cave dedicated to Lord Shiva. The archeological survey of India says that there are a total of seven caves; however the local people have found only five of them. Visiting these caves gives you a clear picture of the ancient architecture and stone carvings. All the way as you climb for the caves, you would find people selling berries which are very famous time pass eatery of this place. There are lots of monkeys in and around the caves, so you should be aware of them. In a nutshell, if you haven’t visited any caves further the whole journey from the ferry to the cave would prove to be an exciting one.
Bandra - Worli Sea link:
It is also called the Rajiv Gandhi sea link and connects the Western suburbs of Mumbai to the Southern Mumbai. This massive bridge was opened to the public in the year 2009. It is constructed in the midst of the Arabian Sea. Constructed with steel cable, this bridge is a treat to watch whether you are on it or off it. No wonder it has become one of the architectural attraction of Mumbai. The purpose of this bridge is that it reduces you time to a great extent when you want to travel both-ways from Worli to Bandra. Driving through this bridge with the vast ocean surrounding you is a joy in itself.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Formerly known as the Victoria Terminal, the CST is the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the oldest railway stations of India. The railway station started functioning in the year 1853. This station handles both the local railways as well as the Central Railways. There are around 17 platforms in which 7 falls for the suburban train. This is also one of the busiest stations of Mumbai with millions of people crossing this it on a daily basis. This impressive station depicts the Gothic architecture with domed arches and carved out pillars. A look from outside of the station building does not give you any clue of a railway station rather it looks like some old historic architecture. If you want to explore the old architectures, do visit this place to have a look as what made it the World Heritage site.
The Beaches of Mumbai
The Juhu Chowpatty Beach
This is the most crowded beach located in the midst of the city. By evening, you could find a huge crowd gathered to enjoy the waves and cool breeze of the ocean. You also have a food joint called chowpatty where you can relish a variety of snacks like the famous bhelpuri, the sandwiches, the chats and the different types of shikanjis. You would love the view of the sunset here. There are also photographers roaming around to take your snap at this amazing place (of course they charge you for that!). You would seem to enjoy the whole thing until you step into the waters. The condition of the ocean water is pathetic over here with dirt, filth and plastic bags tangling your legs every now and then. You could see the black water that puts more dirt on you rather than wiping off. The very condition of this ocean water shows the extent to which pollution has increased in this city. Some years back the condition of the ocean was not that terrible. Measures should be taken by the authority concerned and something should be to conserve this fantastic place. In a gist, a good way to spend your evening until you does not get in and around the water.
It is located in Malad West of Mumbai. This beach is comparatively calmer, quieter and cleaner as compared to Juhu Beach. You wouldn’t find much crowd gathering here mainly because no basic amenities are provided at this place like food joints, toilets, etc. If you plan to make your own arrangements for food and other things, then you could hire a tent which comes around at 100 INR on the beach and spend the whole day enjoying the calmness of the ocean. It is also not advisable to swim across this beach as many accidents have occurred in the past.
It is a short ferry ride either from Marve beach in Malad West or Gorai creek in Borivali West. You need to have your own vehicle to drive to this place by road and you need to follow the Uttan road. It is located at quite an isolated place and thus is not that happening place for family hangouts. You might find some good restaurants nearby and the local shrimps at the beach. In case, you want to spend some time alone enjoying the waves, you could opt for this place.
Religious Places of Mumbai
Shree Siddhi Vinayak Temple:
This temple is located in the Prabhadevi locality near Dadar in Mumbai. The temple adores the idol of Lord Ganesha. This temple is famous not only in Maharashtra but throughout India. You would find the maximum crowd over here on Tuesdays. The architecture is beautifully carved out as is the Idol of Ganesha which looks a bit different from the other idols of Ganesha. The spirit of the devotees is always immense at this place. This temple maintains all the security and cleanliness that a famous temples should have. Everything is well organized. You have shops selling souvenirs and prasada (known as modak). A darshan of Lord Ganesha gives you immense peace. It is said that visiting this pious temple makes your wishes come true, so do pay your homage here.
This ancient temple which worships the idols of the Trimurtis i.e. the Mahlaxmi, MahaKali and MahaSaraswati is located on the Bhulabhai Desai Road in Mumbai. It is located along the sea shore and you have to climb few rocks to reach the temple. The overall view of the temple is magnificent. You would find the maximum crowd in this temple mainly on Fridays. There is also a custom to stick 1 or 2 rupee coins on the walls on the temple and ask for a wish. The temple is well maintained and scope is given for every devotee to catch a glimpse of the powerful goddess. The architecture is brilliantly carved out and the temple maintains its peace and tranquility. The serenity and divinity of the place is the thing that attracts the devotees to pay a visit to this beautiful temple.
A small temple and powerful temple where the savior of Mumbai, Mumba Devi resides, the Mumba Devi temple is considered to be the oldest temple of Mumbai. The very architecture of the temple reflects this. It is basically located in the Zaver Bazaar of Southern Mumbai which depicts the picture of the old Mumbai (it is very similar to Old Delhi or Old city of Hyderabad). The near around places are pretty much crowded and the place is not at all maintained as unlike any other temples in Mumbai. Nonetheless, you would find a lot of crowd queuing up to get a glimpse of the goddess. You have many good and cheap market places nearby like the Zaver Bazaar and the Chor Bazaar where you could buy stuffs at reasonable prices.
It is located in the off coast of the famous Worli in the Southern Mumbai. Located almost in the heart of the city, this mosque is in memory of the divine saint Haji Ali and stands in the ocean. The serenity of the place is the thing that you would love the most. This mosque adds to its beauty when there are low tides especially during evening. The causeway is little bit filthy and dirty, but inside the dargah it’s all clean and peaceful. You would find immense peace at this place and the spiritual experience is thrilling in itself. This mosque also depicts the secular outlook of India as people from all religion visit this dargah with equal devotion to the saint.
Mount Mary Church:
Originally called Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, this serene and meditative place is one of the most popular churches of Mumbai. This is a Roman Catholic Church located in Bandra in Mumbai. You would find people from different religion coming here and gathering. This place also holds fair every year in the month of September known as the Bandra fair. The ancient church depicts the Portuguese style of architecture and is beautifully carved. Climbing the stairs of the church towards the grotto gives you a view of the vast Arabian Sea which adds to the beauty of the place. If you are fond of visiting old churches then this place is a must visit for you.
Essel World is one of the largest amusement park of India and one of its own kinds located in the island of Gorai. You can reach this place the same way you reach the Gorai Beach i.e, by ferry ride either from Marve beach in Malad West or Gorai creek in Borivali. You could also opt to travel by road. Though a bit expensive, this is one of the sought out destination for the locals as well as the tourists. You could enjoy a wide range of swings and rides here. The large spacious area has different swings and rides both for kids as well as adults. The fun rides are a thrilling experience and you could spend your whole day just enjoying these rides. They charge you around 490 INR for unlimited rides. The Ice skating, the Cyclone, Thunder, Octopus, Rock-n –Roll and the rain dance are a worth mention. Do not try attempting the heavy rides post lunch as you wouldn’t be able to resist the bad effects. You also have New Maze, Haunted House and Rainbow which are good try out without much adrenalin rush. The Peace Pagoda is a nice place to loiter around and the toy train is fun ride around the whole place. You have food joints and food stalls everywhere around the place but the prices are a bit overrated. If you a ride loving person and wants some fun time with you family, do visit this place.
If you are a water lover, you are surely going to love this place. Located just adjacent to Essel world, this park has all the water rides that you could think of. The entry fee is the same as that of Essel World. There are also combo offers where you can visit both the parks at much cheaper cost; however it is not advisable as a single day whether at Essel World or in Water Kingdom is not enough to enjoy all the fun. What-a-Coaster, Untamed Amazonia, 70 & 45 degree slides are the rides worth mentioning here. You would also enjoy the waves of the ocean created artificially on a small pool or you could dance on the latest DJ tracks. You would enjoy this place even more if you coming with family or a group of friends. However, there are extra charges that you have to pay as rent for costumes, lockers, towels, etc in spite of the hefty entry fee that you pay. The food too is quite expensive similar to that of Essel World, nonetheless the quality of the food is not that bad. So, in case you do not want to get into the adrenalin rush of the fun rides, enjoy playing with water in this park.
The food habit of Mumbai is unique in its way. The Vada Pav, Usal and Misal Pav are some of the most popular snacking of Mumbai. With the busy schedule of the people of the city, you could easily find people grabbing the Vada Pav on their way to office. The Usal and Misal might not please everyone’s taste-bud, but you would enjoy the Vada Pav from some of the renowned outlets. The diversification in the city is so much and because of this you could find all kinds of food in Mumbai ranging from Tandoori Roti and Dal Tadka to Idli, Vada and Dosa. Another thing famous in Mumbai is its Bhelpuris and Chaats. Bhelpuri is something you wouldn’t find so frequently in any other city. Go to any corner of the city and you would find one. The Pani Puri and chaats are also very unique in their taste. Enjoy the snacks available at the Chowpatty’s. Do not forget to enjoy your food sitting on the sea shore; you are surely going to enjoy the experience.
The Local Train
The Local Train is the most sought out and the easiest means of commuting for the people of Mumbai. Always overly crowded, the local train is preferred because of its frequency at quick intervals, the fastness and its accessibility at the major localities of Mumbai. If you want to avoid the mad traffic of Mumbai, opt for the Locals. If you can ignore the struggle with which you have to get in the train along with the massive crowd, you could reach anywhere from one corner of Mumbai to the other in a span of 1.5 hours at its maximum. The Mumbai locals cover almost all the prominent localities of the city. There are two types of locals running-the fast local and the slow local. The slow local halts and covers all the local stations while the fast local halts at some of the major stations of the city. The locals are the favorites of the people of Mumbai and it is incomparable with any other local trains of other city. If you ever get a change, just try it and you would love the journey.
These are just the popularly known things about Mumbai, nonetheless this city offers much more than the few mentioned above. Once you start exploring Mumbai, you come across so many good things to fall for the city. No doubt, this city is rightly remarked as the city of skyscrapers.
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