02.01.2007 - 09.02.2007 30 °C
Pleces visited: Mumbai, Ellora & Ajanta, Hospet, Hampi, Mammalapuram, Pondicherry, Thajavour, Trichy, Kanyakumari, Varkala, Kollam, Periyar National Park (Kumily), Munnar, Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore, Badami, Bijapur
let's start with..
Mumbai is giant, impressive. At night, seen from the plane, the city looks like multicolored jewels spread all over, just amazing. It’s the gateway to southern India. You won’t find here any old and astonishing pieces of Indian architecture, no traces of fascinating ancient culture and traditions. Mumbai is the modern face of India, which doesn’t mean that it’s completely westernized. In fact the city, it’s atmosphere, is a powerful mixture of modernity and traditionalism.
The famous Victoria Terminus
No cycle rikshaws (by the way not very popular in the South of India), no motorikshaws in the center town, no holy cows, but beautiful parks, air-conditioned banks and shops, large streets, and even pavements! But on the other hand also beggars and homeless children, uncountable street vendors, crowds everywhere, slums just in front of exclusive and high buildings…this also is Mumbai. It’s rich and it’s poor, it’s modern and traditional, it all depends in which part of it you actually are. Mumbai is not homogeneous just as India is…. It is full of optimism and energy, of audacious dreams, and great vitality. Mumbai is the heart of India and you can feel it beating if you care enough.
Not allowed in Mumbai
Calling Poland from a cocnut stall? Why not! In India everything is possible
Mumbai is a great place for book lovers
Since many many years the Gateway of India is the famous symbol of Mumbai. An extremely pleasant place especially in late afternoons an evenings, after a long and busy day. Sitting on the front of it on a nice and clean grassy square, you can realize that this symbol of British power is now a symbol Indian strength. India didn’t destroy it, India incorporated it. The place is actually “submerged” by Indian tourists for whom you can be much more interesting than the Gateway itself , if only you’re a blond haired western girl. That was my case. I rapidly found myself with a crying little baby on my hands while his parents were making us photos. I can’t even count how many babies I held in my arms that evening.
Indian tourists at the Gateway of India
Gateway of India
The most expensive hotel in India - Tata's Taj Mahal
Being in Mumbai you can’t miss Marine Drive the most famous promenade in India. Great place to admire the sunsets and observe the life of young, good-looking, modern Indians and have a marvelous walk along the shore up to Chowpatty Beach.
a view from Marine Drive
Oh yeeees Chowpatty Beach! That is the greatest place in Mumbai to observe the city and relax. It’s also one of the best food stops in the town. In Bombay it’s pretty difficult to find a food stall open in the late evening hours. We walked long miles very hungry finding nothing, and then, on a little space, just near Chowpatty Beach we found a “colony” of food stalls! They just emerged from nowhere. One close to another, constantly fighting for each client on this little island of merciless competition (Indian marketing will always be for me an inscrutable mystery). Anyway the food is just gorgeous (fantastic veg. Pulav) and the beach itself a great place to keep up strength for the next day in the metropolis. But don’t think that you can just simply lie on the sand and relax…in India everything is possible beside silence and solitude. So after 5 minutes we had already a quite large number of new Indian friends
Food stall at Chowpatty Beach
Malabar Hill is the most expensive (according to the LP guide and some books I’ve read) and exclusive residential part of Mumbai. It’s worth go there not only for the beautiful panorama of the city or the so called Hanging Gardens (gardens yes, but why hanging???) but also for the route itself. The trip from VT in a public bus takes about an hour and it’s a exiting hour. The bus is running though so many different parts of the city, and you sit by window and just observe. It’s a great way to discover Mumbai if you do not have enough time to do it on your feet.
Mumbai seen from Malabar Hill
Believe or not, I made this photo in the Malabar Hill area!
- Use public transport!
- Don't be afraid to eat from food stalls (especially those on Chowpatty Beach) on the streets they’ve got the best stuff.
- Practice you bargain skills at the giant Mangaldas Market (you will find there everything that possibly exists if you just have enough patience, time and determination).
- When it comes to hotels, well Mumbai is also very expensive comparing to the rest of India. So if you are a budget traveler a good place to stay is Outram Hotel near Churchgate (it’s in the LP guide). The localization is just perfect, the windows free rooms are clean and the staff is very nice and helpful. Prices 400-500 Rs for a double room with shared bathroom