In this short break of 1 week, Mumbai was on my bucket list.
We flew from Bengaluru to Mumbai on 3rd September 2016. As soon as I landed in Mumbai, my face was lit up with happiness and joy. When I was at the airport, I wanted to see the whole city in one go acting as if I will not be allowed to stay. During my stay I observed airports, infrastructure, public, went from south to north of Mumbai, celebrated Ganesha festival, experienced public transportation.
We got our luggage on time; we came out of the airport and got into an auto, going towards Ghatkopar (West). While travelling, I observed two airports; one is international and other one is domestic, who share a common runway. Because of this reason the domestic airport becomes little busy. The international airport is in the area called Sahar which is 3 kms away from domestic airport.
As we were entering the city, leaving airport area behind, I could observe lot of slum dwellers saying either in tents with blue sheet in common as roof or people staying under bridges or flyovers. This scene was so evident that nobody can avoid it. Statistics says Bhandup is having 85% in slums, Chembur 77.55%, Khar and Santacruz 78.9% and majority of slum population in Mahim, Matunga. Some of the areas badly filled with slums are Bhandup, Malad, Mulund, Chembur, Santacruz, Kandavali and Khar east. Because of this poverty people are forced to beg on streets or remain seated on the divider of roads.
The transportation is well connected to the suburbs and the town. There are taxies known as ‘kali-peeli’ as well as aggregated taxi service like ola and uber. One can venture self drive using options like myles and zoom car, but it will be discouraging for those people who would be looking for smaller cars as there are very limited options. There are local trains and metro services that allow people to commute the length and breadth of the city. There are government buses called BEST(Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport) plying within the city and the suburbs. One can find few double decker on selected routes, for example bus no. 332 which travels from Andheri to Kurla.
You can frequent the chart counters at juhu choupati for lip smacking chat items. Behind gateway of India one can find ‘wok’ Chinese restaurant where in one can choose there set of vegetables in their noodles. Fun place to be in! If you travel to the western suburb of Charni road railway station, you would find rather unique ice-cream shop offering chilli ice-cream, pan ice-cream and vodka ice-cream to name a few.
On your way to north from the south of Mumbai, if you drive on the P D Mello road you would see Ganesh pandals in a row, each claiming to be the best pandal in the city. Among all these, the only famous Ganesh pandal is Lalbag Raja which general public as well as celebrities offer their prayers and seek blessings from lord Ganesha. The localities get completely involved in prayers with huge sound systems playing music along with drum beats.
The tourists spots in Mumbai are Gate way of India which is next to famous Taj hotel, Elephanta caves – which is also marked as unesco world heritage. You have to take ferry from ticket counter till caves, which is about 45 minutes of ride. You can find a security named Mr.M K Jha who has deep knowledge about the history of that cave. While walking towards the caves there are lots of hawkers on both the sides and the path is inclined with uneven steps. If you buy a cooked corn to relish, you probably have to throw the corn mid way as one can witness lots of monkeys waiting to steal it from you. Tarapur aquarium is a place to visit, where one can find different sizes, shapes and countries fishes maintained cleanly. It is situated on marine drive. Hanging garden is a place to relax. You feel energised to drive on sea link with the breeze from the sea. Famous beaches like Juhu, Girgaum Chowpati, Aksa, Varsoa are also worth a visit.
One has to plan a visit to Mumbai prior and stay for at least 15-20 days to experience life and come and fall in love with the city.