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I have many favourite places to see in Mumbai. Having stayed in Mumbai for 7 years, I spent many weekends exploring the city. Many of my local friends have told me that they don’t understand Mumbai the way I do. In fact, when I was still living in Mumbai, my visiting friends often requested me to show them the city through my eyes. I enjoyed taking them to my favourite places. Now that I have shifted to Delhi, I still keep getting messages from friends and readers, requesting me to suggest best places to see in Mumbai. It is tough to write this blog because I love each and every place in Mumbai.
South Mumbai: South Mumbai is my absolute favourite place to see in Mumbai. Some of my must do activities to do in So Bo (as the cool kids call it) are: Watching sunsets at Marine drive, admiring art deco heritage buildings, bingeing on Aram Vada pao and jumbo sugarcane juice, watching movies in heritage theatres, boozing at Mondegar, Leopold and Gokul, checking out the latest
exhibitions in Jehangir Art Gallery, taking a ferry ride to Elephanta Caves from Gateway of India, buying second hand books near Fashion Street, exploring parks of salubrious Malabar Hills, sitting peacefully by the quaint Banganga Tank and of course attending the annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. I used to spend most of my weekends here, just enjoying the many faces of this side of Mumbai. I am sure I have skipped some of the places in So Bo, because there are so many things I enjoyed doing here. I feel like writing a separate blog on So Bo.
Masjid: Near CST aka VT station, it is my annual haunt during the Ramadan period. I am a vegetarian still enjoy hunting for vegetarian dishes during the Ramadan period in Mohammed Ali Road, Masjid area. On regular days also, the area intrigues me. I have spent many days exploring the many heritage buildings, mosques and temples in the area. Not to forget, my personal bonding with the slum kids near Masjid station.
Bandra: Breezy, arty and very chic, Bandra refreshes me every time I go there. Whether it is exploring the classy cafes or just enjoying a simple sweet corn on Bandstand promenade, Bandra has something for everyone. The views of Bandra Worli Sea Link are the highlight. The star houses are another attraction. I still remember the madness I witnessed when I saw Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan waving to his fans from his house Mannat on his birthday. The graffiti,heritage buildings and crosses add charm to the Chapel road.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Kanheri Caves: The ancient Kanheri Caves within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park awes me every time I am there. The SGNP is the place where I spent many mornings practising photography in my initial days. Needless to say, the SGNP is ethereal in monsoons. It is easily accessed via Kandivali and Borivali.
Santa Cruz: I love getting down at this and explore its quaint streets. I loved spending many evenings watching plays and spotting celebrities at the iconic Prithvi theatre. Before and after the play, I made it a point to stroll along the adjacent Juhu Beach. On two occasions, I waited for hours to see Mr. Amitabh Bachchan appear before his fans outside his house in Juhu.
Powai: I discovered Powai Lake and IIT Powai while I was learning photography. We were taken to the IIT campus to polish our skills. It was refreshing for me to discover a sprawling green expanse in a metropolis which is perennially space crunched. The lake had occupied my attention for a long time when I was there. And oh, also the warning board, “Don’t roam around in night. There are leopards around.”
Khotachiwadi: The old heritage houses near the fort area fascinated me. I made many visits just walking in the quaint lanes of this colony. What is special about this place is that all the homes are made up of wood. Many of the original houses have disappeared. Yet, many still stand strong, giving us a glimpse of the past.
Bhaucha Dhakka: I would often board the first local train from my home in Navi Mumbai to Dockyard Road. Starting at 4 a.m., I would reach Bhaucha Dhakka by 5-6 a.m. The many fishermen would congregate here to sell the fish. The chaotic movement and the sheer quantity of marine life sold on streets amazed me.
Sewri: Sewri was my favourite haunt for watching the migratory Flamingoes every February. I would join a photography group and would welcome the faraway guests every winter along with other enthusiasts. The other places I found great for flamingo watching are Nerul and Sagar Vihar in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Vipassana Centre, Boriwali: The calm one experiences here is rare in a chaotic city like Mumbai. If I arrived here by ferry, the sights would catch my attention. Via road, the salt pans had my eyes peeled on the way. I can spend hours here, just doing nothing.
You too can enjoy these places the next time you are in Mumbai. Of course, there are many more places in Mumbai which are close to my heart. Maybe a sequel to this blog will follow soon.
Places to stay in Mumbai: Renaissance Hotel in Powai is an excellent choice for the well-heeled. Not only is its food famous but it also enjoys a great location. Situated opposite the serene Powai Lake, it is a calm haven away from the chaos of Mumbai.
Feeling nostalgic about Mumbai like me? Or just want to discover these places? Book your flight with Indian Airlines and make it happen!
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