It is said that ‘Mumbai is a city, but Bombay is an emotion.’ Mumbaikars who have lived the better part of their lives in Mumbai, can easily relate to it. The city has grown immensely over the past decades, and in the race to become the next Shanghai, it has lost several aspects that made it Bombay. While the city has changed from Bombay to Mumbai, you can still experience the old-world charm in certain parts of Mumbai. While cabs in Mumbai can be one way to explore the old city of Mumbai, the best way is still to explore it on your own.
One of the best ways to start your day in Mumbai is to head to one of the Irani cafes for some chai (tea) and brun maska. The Irani cafes are a dying breed in Mumbai with only a handful of them still operational. The interior décor of Irani Cafes will instantly take you back to another time in history. Even though the café culture has evolved over the years, the Irani Cafes have managed to maintain the legacy and rich heritage. Yazdani Bakery in Fort is famous for its brun maska with a huge amount of butter, the chai, Mawa Cakes, and Khari biscuits. Similarly, the B Merwan outside Grant Road railway station, Britannia & Company in Ballard Estate, Café Military in Fort, and Café Leopold in Colaba are a few Irani cafes that connect Mumbai to Bombay.
The Fort and Colaba area of Mumbai are a testimony to the British era with the Gothic architecture buildings of the colonial era. A simple walk down these lanes will give you a glimpse of the Bombay built by the British. The structures of the Bombay High Court, CST Station, the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation etc. are a sight to behold. The Gateway of India is probably the most famous place in Mumbai and a visit there would make you realise the reason for it. The historic site has many stories to tell, from the heights of colonial raj to the end of it. Take a boat ride in the Arabian Sea to enjoy the cool breeze and gaze upon Mumbai far away from the coast. You can even head to Elephanta caves and explore the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mumbai is a place that can show you different sides of life in a span of few minutes. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, head to the Chor Bazaar (Thieves’ market) near the Mohammed Ali Road. The place is a paradise for antique enthusiasts and collectors. You can get your hands on gramophones, old Bollywood posters, lamps, clocks, vintage cameras, and old photos. Besides, if you are looking for auto spare parts for your vintage car or bike, Chor Bazaar will not disappoint you. From there, head to Malabar Hills, the place with one of the most expensive real estate in the world. This place will make you realise why people want to make it big in Mumbai and why it is worth it. The view of Chowpatty and Marine Drive from Malabar Hill is breath-taking. Also, check out a beautiful Jain Temple and the Hanging Garden in the Malabar Hill.
No one can claim they visited Mumbai unless he or she takes a trip in the local train. So take a local train and head to the suburban region. While the suburban region has undergone a massive change in the past few decades, there are still a few places that continue to delight the Mumbaikars. You can visit the iconic Prithvi Theatres in Juhu that has served as a launch pad for several Bollywood stars. Catch a play and savour some delicious food at the famous Prithvi Theatre canteen. The Juhu Beach is close-by and should be visited in the evening. Try the famous chaat dishes or Pav Bhaji at one of the food stalls on the beach. Head further North to Sanjay Gandhi National Park located near Borivali. This is the only national park in the world located within the city limits. The history of the park dates back to the 4th century BC and the rock-cut Kanheri caves are a testimony to the prominence of the place at one point in time.
You can easily hire chauffeur driven cars in Mumbai to head back to South Mumbai region. While on the return journey, do not forget to explore the by-lanes of Bandra and take a ride on the Mumbai-Worli Sealink. As I said earlier, “Mumbai is a city, but Bombay is an emotion,” and post your trip you are also likely to feel the same. Happy Exploring!
P.S.: This is a sponsored post.