Guest Blogger, John ~ final installment of his India visit: Mumbai
Our final stop in India was the financial capital of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. In many ways, it’s similar to Manhattan. It lies on peninsula surrounded by the sea and it has an impressive skyline.
We stayed at the iconic and historic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. It was built in 1903 and the view of the city from my room was spectacular (see photo above). In 2008, the hotel was attacked by terrorists and the security remains tight to this day.
The Taj Mahal Palace
Pool at The Taj Mahal Palace. It was great to cool off with a swim since the temps were so high.
By the time I got to Mumbai, laundry service was imperative. Each shirt, underwear and even socks came back “dressed” like this.
The “Gateway to India”, built in 1911 to commemorate King George V’s visit to Mumbai, is located directly across the street from The Taj Palace.
Locals gather daily at the Gateway to India ~ it has a energetic feel to the area. Great people watching and a beautiful location.
We went on a tour with “Reality Tours and Travel” to the Dharavi Slum. The area became well-known after the runaway hit of the movie: Slum Dog Millionaire. The pipes in the photo above are seen in the movie. Photos within the actual slum was prohibited but I was able to purchase postcards at the end of the tour which highlighted the day-to-day life in the slums. Dharavi is the largest slum in Asia and going on this tour gave a real appreciation of what true poverty is like. And 80% of the profits of all tours goes to education and health projects in the slum area. For more information about the tour company, click here.
As inviting as the subway entrance looked, we chose not to use the subway and walked around the town instead.
It’s true, there are cows everywhere!
India is a multi-religious country and one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. During the mid-day prayer, people lined the streets, faced Mecca and prayed.
During my visit to India, I ate many wonderful meals ~ mostly curry. Close to the hotel was a restaurant called Mondegar and it turned out to be a favorite for many of us. Even though we were in India, someone in our group insisted on ordering Chinese noodles. Back in London, we frequently get take out from a neighborhood restaurant in Marylebone called “Bombay Spice” but it may be a while before I’m ready for more India food.
On our last day in Mumbai, we took a self guided tour. We frequently saw roadside vendors making “Sugar Cane Water” for sale.
On our walk, we saw the beautiful Mumbai Train Station. Built in 1887, the Gothic style Victoria Terminus Railway station ranks as the busiest station in Asia. It was renamed the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (aka CST) in 1998 and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2004.
India is a huge country and we only got to see a very small part of it. Of all the places we visited during our week visit to India, I liked Mumbai the most. Next stop is Kathmandu…