Mumbai – the city of dreams, the city that never sleeps, the city with the most awesome spirit and always open arms! My tryst with Mumbai began ten years ago, and the city is my home today. This month as I celebrate another birthday and another year of mine in Mumbai, I was actually reminiscing the days I have spent here….And I realised, there are so many things I have not done here yet, so many places I haven’t visited yet…So this year, apart from all the gifts I received, I decided to gift myself the opportunity to look at the city with a new lens.
In the process, I have shortlisted some places/thing to do before I turn another year older…Here’s the list (In no particular order) and the reasons why I have shortlisted them:
1. Dhobi Talao
Dhobi Talao (Literally translated Washermen’s Lake) is a historic place in South Mumbai, where clothes were washed in the British Era; and even before. There is an awesome system that works in this seemingly chaotic place, where hundreds of dhobis work together on a few thousand clothes each day.With a network of washing stations, and large expanses of clothes set out for drying; the Dhobi Talao has also been a venue for many Hindi movie shoots. Though not the most well maintained, I want to visit this place for its history. And the fact that this is still used by many washermen, only will add to the charm of the place – I can imagine the colour riot around!
Dhobi Talao Banganga
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
2. Banganga & Walkeshwar Temple
Situated in Walkeshwar (Near Malabar Hill), South Mumbai, Walkeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Close to the temple is the Banganga tank. The Shivling at the temple is said to have been built by Lord Ram…And the tank, it is believed has also been created by an arrow shot by him. Banganga, literally translates as “Arrow Ganga” – or the waters of the river Ganga brought here by an arrow. This place has many more historical landmarks associated with it; and it only intrigues me that so much history lies in the heart of this city 🙂 A must visit for a history gorger like me!
3. Cycle tour of South Mumbai
South Mumbai, or “Town” is the quintessential old Mumbai, where the British influence on architecture is a treat to the eyes! Apart from the Gothic structures, the well planned streets, dotted with many landmarks is a must visit for anyone wanting to know Mumbai and its journey through the years. And what better a way than to explore it on a bike! Whether it is the Flora Fountain that one passes through in traffic; or the Victoria Terminus (CST) building that is the gateway to Mumbai for millions every year; this tour will help me pause and look at Mumbai differently – not the traffic, not the hustle-bustle, not the crowds. Just good old Mumbai milestones that are testament to its rich heritage.
South Mumbai view during the Annual SC Mumbai Marathon
4. Chor Bazaar
Chor Bazaar or “thief market” is probably one of the largest flea markets in Asia…As the name suggests, it is a trading place of “stolen” articles in Mumbai…I haven’t been here yet, but there are many interesting stories about the place that makes this one a must visit for me..I may find some authentic antique furniture and artefacts here; although bargaining is something that I need to learn before I go…
5. Birdwatching in mangroves and salt pans
The peripheries of Mumbai are home to beautiful mangroves (though fast depleting now); and converted salt pans. These mangroves are a rare preserved sight in the city which is otherwise jostling for fresh air. Stretched between Thane and Ghatkopar; Malad and Manori , Vasai, Sewri and few other places, these mangroves are a rich bio-diversity sight and have many visiting / residing birds like spoonbills, herons, flamingoes. I would love to just pick up my binoculars and savour this diminishing breather, before they are completely wiped off.
Mangroves at Sewri
6. Haji Ali Dargah
The Dargah & tomb is located just off the coast of Mumbai at Worli; and has been a place of homage by people from all religions. Dedicated to the Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah, this Dargah is a beautiful example of Islamic influence on architecture in the middle of the city, with large domes & minarets. Every time I pass the area, I can feel the empowering vibes around the place; although haven’t been able to visit it yet. I do imagine walking on the narrow lane that connects the dargah to the mainland, surrounded by the sea; and the thought itself is so endearing, I can’t wait to go!
Image courtesy: hajialidargah.in
7. The Elephanta Caves
Talking of the rich history of Mumbai, this UNESCO World Heritage sight tops the list of must visit places! I wonder how I have stayed away from this place for all these years! Located off the shore of Mumbai, these ancient caves are a testament to the magnificent architecture & sculptures from the 5th-6th century. Devoted to Lord Shiva, and some to Buddha, these rock-cut caves have stood the test of time to bring the rich pedigree of India to the fore. I am sure once I visit these caves, I will dedicate a blog only to this one!
Trimurti statue Main Cave
Image courtesy: ASI & Wikipedia
8. Mani Bhavan
When talking of history, India’s recent history cannot be complete without the mention of one man – Mahatma Gandhi. And a little piece of his life belongs to this place in Mumbai – Mani Bhavan. Today known as Gandhi Sanghralaya, this house belonging to a friend of Gandhiji’s, was the core location of his political activities during the struggle for independence from the British. It houses Gandhiji’s personal belongings, books and is also houses a large library. I want to show this piece of our history to my little daughter – and to introduce her to Gandhiji.
This post is getting longer than I expected! So I will split it in three parts…Do check out the others soon…
Also, if you have visited any of these places, do provide tips/reviews in comments 🙂