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TOP 10: Things you MUST DO in Mumbai

Last updated on: July 6, 2012 19:31 IST

TOP 10: Things you MUST DO in Mumbai

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Harnoor Channi-Tiwary

Delhi-based Harnoor Channi-Tiwary visited the city of dreams and drew up this list for you, our readers!

Every city has a personality. People often confuse the city's personality with that of its people. Thus Delhi becomes warm yet aggressive and Mumbai becomes the ever buzzing hub. But to truly know the personality of a city, it is important to see it from various viewpoints.

Most of us have visited Mumbai some time or the other. It being the commercial capital, corporate life demands work trips to Mumbai quite often. It is also the fashion hub and of course home to our much loved film industry. Even if you are not in any of these professions, chances are that you have visited Mumbai to meet relatives or friends at some point or the other.

Mumbai is a busy city. If you're here on work, perhaps your topmost priority is how to reach your destination in time for your meeting. The city may seem no nonsense and business like. Everyone moving along to get somewhere. To the not so frequent leisure traveller though, Mumbai is another experience altogether.

The crashing waves on Bandstand are a musical delight yet travelling within the city a challenge with earmarked areas for autos and taxis and the overflowing trains intimidating the faint hearted. Yet, it is not a city that many pause to appreciate. Which is what we suggest you do. Whether you live here or visit it, on work or otherwise, do take out some time and appreciate what this town has to offer. It has a little something for everyone.

Whatever your purpose for being in the Maximum City, here is a list of 10 Must-Dos to do it justice.

Want to share with us must-dos in your city/town? Send us a list like this on travelpicsga@rediffmail.com and we will publish the best ones right here. Don't also forget to send pictures of the activities you are listing out in your article!


Image: Mumbai
Photographs: Aam422/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Music of the sea

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However chaotic the city might be, watching the sea can calm you and bring you peace. There is certain music to the waves, if you listen carefully. Watch the waves crash on the rocks whether it is at Bandstand, Worli sea face or Marine Drive. Sit on the concrete wall along the coast and take a moment.

To give you company, street food is available aplenty. This is the perfect place to try out Mumbai's street food whether it is vada pao, pao bhaji, sev puri or hot off the coals corn (bhutta). Arguably the best Mumbai Pav Bhaji can be found at Shiv Sagar on Juhu beach or at Chowpati.


Image: A view from Marine Drive
Photographs: Anuraag Vaidya/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Touch of fame

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Hire a metered taxi and tell him to give you the Bollywood tour. Go star gazing to Jalsa, Mannat and all the other star homes.

If you have the time to stop and stare, wait outside for a while, you may catch a glimpse of Aishwarya's car driving in or Shahrukh may come out to give an occasional wave.


Image: Shah Rukh Khan's bungalow Mannat at Bandstand, Bandra
Photographs: Uday Kuckian/Rediff.com

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Seafood mania

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If sea food is on top of your list, there are many contenders for the top slot. Mahesh Lunch Home is an age old name and has grown from a stall into a chain of restaurants. Trishna is a favourite for Butter Garlic Crab or Prawns. Or if it is Goan Sea food you desire, then Highway Gomantak is your dream come true. Gajalee follows close behind in the race as well.

Whichever of these you pick, you are sure not to be disappointed. The crabs and lobsters are fresh, the prawns succulent and the fish just perfectly cooked.


Image: Seafood platter
Photographs: Courtesy: Mahesh Lunch Home

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Visit the Gateway of India

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The Gateway of India has been featured in so many movies that it may seem familiar to you when you visit. The perfect time to visit is in the evenings when the cool sea breeze is blowing. Get some seeds along and feed the pigeons. If it weren't so crowded, it would be almost poetic. With the gorgeous and iconic Taj Hotel standing majestically across the road, this is a great photo spot. Also a great place to go back in time and take a ride on the horse driven carriages called Victorias.

After sunset, walk behind the Taj hotel and have a drink or two at Leopold Cafe. The cafe, very popular with foreign tourists is also a great place to bump into interesting people. If you're lucky, you may even spot the man who wrote so beautifully about the city – Shantaram himself, Gregory David Roberts.

If hunger strikes, grab a plate of tikkas or a roll at Bade Mian who's fame hasn't affected the rates of the delectable food.


Image: Gateway of India
Photographs: Rhaessner/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Haji Ali

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Like the Golden Temple, Haji Ali Durgah is not just a religious site. It is a traveller's must do. The Mosque itself, off the coast of Worli, is beautiful and strategically built as an islet in the sea, connected to land by a narrow passage. The beauty of this passage is that it gets submerged during high tide, making crossing it impossible. Thus, the shrine may only be visited during low tide. Associated with legends about doomed lovers, the dargah contains the tomb of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.

If you visit on a Friday and brave the crowds, you may get to experience a Qawwali performance at the durgah. If not, do make sure you visit Haji Ali Juice Centre, as much of a landmark as the monument itself. Their Mango cream is rumoured to be heavenly.


Image: Haji Ali
Photographs: Humayunn /Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Sea Link

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If your cab or auto driver asks whether you would like to go via the Sea Link or inland, do not get deterred by the toll and go ahead choose the former. India's answer to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Worli Sea Link not only reduces your driving time but greatly increases your driving pleasure. A sight to behold, the tall imposing ropes holding the bridge high are a thing of wonder.


Image: Mumbai Sea Link
Photographs: Jeet221990/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Tags: Sea Link , India

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The Arty Scene

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Prithvi Theatre, named after Prithviraj Kapoor and managed by his descendants till date is a must do, for residents and travellers alike. Catch a play here if you have the time or just chill in the cafe. It the place to be seen at, for sure.

If art is your thing, Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda demands a visit. Whether it is the art exhibitions that catch your fantasy or the antiques Natesans, many languid hours can be spent strolling within its premises. Entry is free.

The latest thing is Comedy shows. They are fun to watch and a great place to hang out with friends. The Comedy Store in Lower Parel is highly recommended for an evening full of laughter and puns.


Image: Jehangir Art Gallery
Photographs: Suryanarayan Ganesh/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Take a ferry

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Yes they stink of fish and they may be as packed as Mumbai trains depending on the time of the day. Yet, the Mumbai ferries are an experience that must not be missed. Take one to Elephanta Caves or to Mudh Island, Alibaug or the likes. They run with great frequency and don't need any advance planning.

As the ferry pulls away from the main city, leaving behind the traffic and the noise, the sea welcomes you with open arms and the breeze flows gently through your hair. This too is Mumbai.


Photographs: Sahil Salve

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Nightlife

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Mumbai is known for its nightlife. With pubs shutting at 11pm in Bangalore and Delhi being infamously unsafe at night, Mumbai is rumoured to be the happening capital.

If clubbing is your scene, you will find plenty of options in whichever part of the city you are in. Whether it's Blue Frog or Polly Esther's, this city has something for everyone.


Photographs: Harnoor Channi-Tiwary

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Local Trains

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I tried very hard to keep this point off this list. Let's be frank, this is not an enjoyable experience to say the least. Yet, this is Mumbai and it would be wrong if you did not even once get a flavour of the lifeline of this city – the Mumbai Local.

It is rumoured that people often keep an extra shirt in office. Sharing space with millions of bodies grinding against you in the Mumbai humidity may render your clothes unfit for the day. A little tip – do not be intimidated when the train rolls in. Yes, it will be bursting in the seams. Yes, people will be practically falling off. Just position yourself in the middle of the mass of people wanting to get on and you will be swept into the bogey without any of your own doing.

Whatever said and done, trains remain the fastest way to travel in Mumbai. They can cut your journey time into half. So, take a deep breath and climb on!

Want to share with us must-dos in your city/town? Send us a list like this on travelpicsga@rediffmail.com and we will publish the best ones right here. Don't also forget to send pictures of the activities you are listing out in your article!


Image: Commuters travel in a suburban train in Mumbai February 24, 2010. India's Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee is presenting the annual railway budget in parliament on Wednesday.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

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