“All they know is that you’re trying to get to the city of gold, and that’s enough.
Come on board, they say. We’ll adjust.”
― Suketu Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
Bombay or Mumbai, call it whatever you like, Bombai Nagariya, Swapno ki Nagariya or Aamchi Mumbai, Mumbai welcomes all its visitors with arms wide open. If you are coming to Mumbai to catch an IPL (Indian Premier League) match, then you might as well see in and around Mumbai.
From breakfast to dinner and everything that goes in between, find out what to do in Mumbai when you aren’t catching up with an IPL match.
Best places for breakfast
Mumbai has dozens of breakfast digs in every locality. From street stalls to elite restaurants, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing what to eat and where. North Indian, South Indian, Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Parsi, Italian, Continental, European, Chinese (or Indianised Chinese), Mumbai has a plethora of options to tantalise you.
• Lip-smacking sambar (South Indian): Dakshinayan (Juhu), Hotel Ramashray (Matunga) and Madras Café (Matunga)
• Vada Pav & wow (Maharastrian): Aaswad (Dadar), Prakash Restaurant (Dadar)
• Majja ni food (Parsi): Jimmy Boy (Fort)
• Ciao (Italian): Fat Man’s Café (Bandra), Café Zoe (Lower Parel), Café Mondegar (a.k.a. Mondy’s)(Colaba)
• Best of west - Continental/European/Italian: Salt Water Café (Churchgate & Bandra), Café Sundance (Churchgate)
• Best eggs and bread: Theobroma (Colaba, Bandra), Suzette (Bandra), Bagel Shop (Bandra), Indigo Deli (Colaba)
• Good ol’ Iranis (pocket-friendly): Kyani & Co. (Fort), Good Luck Café (Bandra), Koolar & Co (Matunga), Yazdani Bakery & Restaurant (Fort), The Pantry (Fort)
To be very honest, Mumbai will be in its prime summer time during the IPL series and outdoor activities may get difficult. Nonetheless, a good pair of shades, sunscreen and hat are more than enough cheat the heat.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus neé Victoria Terminus
This station is nothing less than a beauty! A decade of painstaking hard work that flaunts one of the most exemplified architectures of Indian history. No wonder UNESCO was wowed by it and bestowed it with a heritage status. Here’s revealing a secret, the station has an in-house museum that shields some magnificent relics.
Elephanta Caves (Ferry ride to capture Mumbai’s skyline)
So, when I say Elephanta Caves, it doesn’t come in isolation. There are complimentary bonuses of visiting this place.
1. The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which means that they impregnate a lot of history, style, architecture and a lot of wow-factor!
2. To reach the Elephanta Caves, you have to take a ferry from Gateway of India. An erstwhile landing place for the royal British ensemble, Gateway of India never shies away from welcoming its visitors. Plus, a memorable view of Mumbai skyline from the ferry ride is something to look forward to.
3. You’ll see the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The name is synonymous with luxury, opulence and grandeur, of course the structure is overwhelming.
Give a dekho to the Art Deco in Southern Mumbai
Even if you are in Mumbai to see an IPL match, the architecture in the downtown area should not be missed. Victorian Gothic revival and more often than not, the Art Deco architectural styles in Southern Mumbai, display stunning architectural styles through centuries old landmarks like Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, BMC Building, Asiatic Library, Rajabhai Tower, Flora Fountain, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) and so much more.
Accessories, clothes, antiques, birds and everything else, as strange as it sounds, you’ll find everything on the streets of Mumbai. How about cheering for your favourite IPL team flaunting the fashion steals purchased from the streets of Mumbai?
Did you say retail therapy?
Yes, we did. For funky accessories, trendy clothes, faux jewellery and cheap buys, places like Colaba Causeway, Pali Hill, Fashion Street and Linking Road are absolutely wonderful.
How about shopping in an antique alley of thieves?
Whether you intend to shop or not, you must make a trip to Chor Bazaar (thieves market), a flea market of sorts. You’ll get anything from antiques, weapons, movies, sheesha and unimaginable collection of artefacts. See images of Mumbai through antique Victorian furniture, vintage car parts and Bollywood posters. This place is situated near Mohammad Ali, the Mumslim district of Mumbai, which means satiating food aroma will be a sniff away!
What, birds and animals on the streets of Mumbai?
Mumbai is crazy, I tell you. A market disguised in a cloak of fortress, Mumbai’s largest market, Crawford Market is a melting point of India’s culture. Cheap hardware buys, household utilities, fresh food produce and pets (yes, you heard it right)!
Warning: Hone your bargaining skills, or you’ll be ripped of! Generally, the prices are inflated twice the original price.
If you are extending your stay in Mumbai or are here for an afternoon IPL match, you should definitely enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Mumbai.
How about enjoying the sunset views along Mumbai’s shore? The great Arabian Sea roars towards its western coast. Starting right from the tip of Nariman Point, followed by Girgaum Chowpatty, Bandra Bandstand, Carter Road Seaface, Juhu Beach, Versova Beach Madh Island, Aksa Beach, Manori Beach and Marve Beach, you could enjoy sun, sea and sand coupled up with some amazing seafood.
An absolutely must-see sight is the ‘queen’s necklace’ formed by the street lights of Marine Drive. The Marine Drive promenade comes alive and is bustling with lot of energy and enthusiasm.
Mumbai, a city that never sleeps, a city that is ever-so-energetic, will give you ample opportunity to unleash the party animal inside you. Mondy’s, Leopold Café, Colaba Social, BlueFrog, Hard Rock Café and what not! The list could just go on. Just remember one thing, don’t drink and drive.
Post IPL late-night cravings
It’s late, but your stomach is growling for some mouth-watering food after the cacophonous cheering at the IPL match. When in Mumbai, you don’t have to worry about your hunger pangs even late at night. Famous eateries that are open beyond 12am in the midnight are Bademiyan (Colaba), Ayub’s (Kala Ghoda), Zaffran (Crawford Market), Bachelorr’s (Chowpatty), Mini Punjab (Bandra) and some roadside stalls near station.
Surprise me, Mumbai!
If you thought that Mumbai was all about British colonial architecture, lip-smacking street food, vibrant nights by the sea or a pub crawl to chug a few drinks, then you are definitely mistaken. There’s more to it. Like I said earlier, Mumbai is much more than the fanatic cricket-loving crowd at the IPL match. It is resilient, peaceful, hopeful and a joyous city.
An escape to Sanjay Gandhi National Park
An oasis in the bustling metropolis of modernity, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a tropical forest boasting of many species of animals, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna. You may opt for a lion or tiger safari or you may simply cycle inside its premises and experience the wilderness. You may alternatively penetrate around 6kms inside the thick forest and hike up to Kanheri Caves to see 109 monastic Buddhist caves.
Peace, solace and divinity in Mumbai
Mumbai is a melting pot of cultures, one place where a mix of cultures have a found a safe sojourn. Some of the notable places of worship in Mumbai are Walkeshwar Temple, Haji Ali, Mahalaxmi Temple, Siddhivinayak, Mount Mary Church, St. Thomas Church and ISKON Temple.
Somewhere far away from the humdrum of EsselWorld (an amusement park), there lies a sojourn for peace and quietude that goes by the name of Global Vipassana Pagoda. It is a meditation centre near Gorai, established on the principles and faith of Buddha.
If you want to see beyond a true Mumbaikar, get in the crowded trains of Mumbai. Talk to the vendors and commuters; you’ll read myriad of emotions, ranging from pain, fear, insecurity to joy, resilience and happiness. That is Aamchi Mumbai, my folks.