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Mumbai Guide

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Mumbai Attractions

Mumbai has been associated with money, growth and progress. It attracts a lot of talented youth to explore various avenues to earn big money. The metropolis has also had varied and rich history contributing in its own way in the development of the city. Be it the Film City, or the famous Crawford Market, or the Victoria Terminus or the Gateway of India or the famous Marine Drive; the places are many and all have a story to tell.

The Indian travelers both from the rural as well as the urban areas have a special charm of the city of Mumbai and most of the foreign tourists land here for their Indian journey. It is the major point of entry via sea and air. The Mumbai of ten years back and today has a total metamorphosis of a quaint mixture of modern and traditional. Just traveling through the city would bring you to the modern plush buildings next to the old placid Gothic architecture of yesteryears. The town as it is called by the Mumbaites is the area of South Mumbai with Kolaba, Churchgate, Marine Lines, Mumbai Central, Bandra being the main attractions.

The city of Mumbai offers a gamut of sight seeing with quaint old fishing villages and the ultra modern living areas. The concrete jungle, the decrepit slums, the overcrowded beaches and temples all form part of a big diversity. Some of the places worth a visit are the Bhuleshwar Temple, Chor Bazaar, Elephanta Caves, Crawford Market, Hanging Gardens, Essel World, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Chowpatty, Kanheri Caves, Film City, Powai and Vihar Lakes, Marine Drive, Juhu and Kashid Beaches, Nehru Planetarium, Prince of Wales Museum and the Victoria Terminus. Some other famous areas are the New Bombay or Navi Mumbai with wide roads and huge bridges over creeks, the Malad and Mud Island beaches, the Bombay High Court, Jijamata Udyaan and the Navy Club.

Chor Bazaar. This is the famous Mumbai second hand and smuggled goods market in the South Mumbai. The import restrictions of 70s and 80s were instrumental in development of this market. Electronic and other attractive goods smuggled from Japan, China, US and Europe found their way to this market and could be bought at half the prices. The goods sold here are generally sold without any cash memos or bills. So be careful as these do not carry any warranty. The crafty dealers are known for conning unsuspected buyers, so make sure you take away your purchases in unpacked condition only. The packed goods are deftly replaced with identical empty packages, tread these streets with absolute caution.

Elephanta Caves. These are the tenth century caves located on the Elephanta Island just miles from the Mumbai coast. It is a one of the most visited places around Mumbai. The caves have been cut out of rock and many beautiful sculptures from Hindu mythology can be seen here. The initial capture of Mumbai by the Portuguese brought some defacement of these ancient monuments; however the supreme craftsmanship of the stone cutters can still be appreciated in the Shiva Statue and other figurines here.

Crawford Market. The imposing Gothic and Norman architecture of the Crawford Market can not missed just a stone’s throw away from the Victoria Terminus, in the South Mumbai. The market was the primary wholesale fruit, vegetable and poultry market of Mumbai before its relocation to Navi Mumbai. Today it houses all foreign fruits and delicacies especially the canned and tinned variety. So if you miss your brand of baked beans, or Brussel Sprouts while in Mumbai, just try your luck at the Crawford Market.

Bombay High Court. The city of Bombay became Mumbai but the court has not shed its titular legacy, it is still the Bombay High Court. The expansion in its jurisdiction makes it the busiest court of India handling about half a million cases a year. The judge to population ratio is nowhere that of International standards with an average of 1.5 million falling under just one judge. The structure of the court is older than the age of Independent India. The Anglo-Gothic architecture building of the court was completed in 1878. The locals say that one should not get entangled in these heartless walls, as you may be dead before you get justice. An apt comment on the poor justice dispensation in India.

Essel World. This was the first water park established in India and is also the most visited place in Mumbai especially by kids and youth. Just a ferry ride away from the Marve Beach, it is located on the Gorai Island. The place is a must visit if you are fit or are parents of school going kids. The Western tourist missing the adventures of Ice Skating Rink can also drop by to enjoy it in warm tropical weather. The older generation not interested in the fancy water rides can amble in the huge landscaped gardens.

Juhu Beach. The sprawling Juhu beach is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea. The beach has entries from Andheri, Ville Parle and Santa Cruz areas. The mornings are the best times to saunter along and enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the vast Arabian Sea. The evenings are generally crowded and the hawkers can be seen selling the famous pau-bhaji, the Mumbaiay Bhel and other street foods. Some enterprising ones advertise use of mineral water and olive oil in their preparations; worth a bite when the preparation is piping hot. The Juhu beach area is famous for its long time association with the Hindi film stars too. Many of the plush bungalows are owned by the glitterati of the tinsel world.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The concrete jungle of Mumbai keeps its tryst with mother nature in its sublime unadulterated form. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the Northern Mumbai, a little distance from Borivli is a vast untamed expanse spread over more than 20,000 acres of mild undulating hilly region. The vast green cover is the life line of this concrete jungle. And truly the highly populated areas of Malad, Borivli, Dahisar, Kandivali, Goregaon lie to its west and Mulund, Bhandup, the recent reality boomtowns are in its east. The park has many species of flora and fauna even the shady leopards have been spotted here.

Kanheri Caves. These are located in the North Mumbai, a little distance from Borivli within the precincts of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The caves were made by the Buddhists as resting places for traveling monks and also for meditation and schooling. In the later years Kanheri had attained the status of University on the lines of Ujjain and Takshila. The prayer halls at the caves are huge for group meditation and preaching by the Buddhist monks. The caves with its simplistic and rustic beauty are the unadorned cousins of the Elephanta Caves. The simple design without any trace of luxury signifies the austerity practiced by the Buddhist Monks during their formative years. It sure is sad that this religion could not flourish in India as in China and other East Asian countries.

Flora Fountain. The fountain was built in the mid 19th Century as a mark of respect to the Roman Goddess in the heart of the then business district of Bombay. Today it is located in the South Mumbai and been given the status of heritage structure.

Marine Drive. The Marine Drive is the Bay Area of Mumbai; posh and expensive. The real Marine Drive is the two mile long six lane road along the coast to link the business district of Nariman Point to Malabar Hill. The Marine Drive is associated with rich and famous and somewhat in a negative sense. A walk along the Marine Drive has got many into a favorable liaison with the men who matter. The Drive with its splendid lights can be seen from many view points and resembles a string of pearls and sometimes appropriately called “Queen’s Necklace”. The Drive has many grand hotels located here. Some residential areas are also located here and are the costliest in India. An address on Marine Drive is an accomplishment and one needs no further references.

Powai and Mumbai lakes. There are three prominent lakes in Mumbai; the Tulsi lake, Powai lake and Vihar lake. Located in the North and Central Mumbai, these lakes are the source of water for the city. The Vihar being the largest of the three and is the major source of fresh water for the city of Mumbai. It is sad that quiet a few of the suburban districts in the North Mumbai do not get municipal water. The water is supplied in water tankers to individual housing societies or the apartment blocks. The Powai Lake is an artificial lake created in the mid 19th century as part of fresh water storage to augment the water availability in Mumbai. Later the lake was converted into a picnic spot, however with the ever exploding population of Mumbai, it has again been de-silted and cleaned for fresh water. This endeavor has resulted in the restoration of marine life too and also attracts angling enthusiasts for a variety of fishes in the lake. Water is a major problem in Mumbai with many of the localities living on tanker water. The British realized it in the mid 19th century and created artificial lakes but will the authorities in independent India in the 21st Century wake up?

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The famous Victoria Terminus has been renamed as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. All the trains from South India come to the Victoria Terminus, and if you need to go to North India then you must go over to Mumbai Central to catch the North bound trains. This is one of the major problems faced by all coming through Mumbai from Chennai. Taxis at nominal charges of Rs 80/- or just about $2 would ferry you from VT to Mumbai Central all through the day. The CST is housed in a great Gothic structure of British Raj.

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