Thanks to a cousin visiting from abroad, I took an opportunity to see/show Bombay the way I always love to.
On foot that is.
It’s one of the best leisurely walks around this megapolis. I love wandering around cities with elaborate history attached to them. Delhi, Calcutta, Shimla and Pune are some examples. As one looks closely, you can read; like chapters; the eras which the city has been through.
So, I get down at VT station, or Victoria Terminus, of the days of the Raj. Today it is Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus or CST. Bombay became Mumbai decades ago.
(Some pictures are picked up from google search and are being used for non comercial purpose)
I walk from VT to Flora fountain. The footpath shops of DN ( Dadabhai Nawrojee ) road are an experience in itself. One can get anything from cheap books, to electronics. From fashion accessories to adult toys. From office stationary to bike accessories to pirated softwares and movies. Its a bargainers playing ground.
Behind one of the alleys is Bora bazaar. Its the hub of all camera gear vintage and new. Though I’m a full supporter of online shopping, it’s always worthwhile to checkout these shops here and pocket a couple of good deals.
Next up is Flora fountain itself. Its not much about the fountain itself that’s interesting. Its a gothic sculpture right in the heart of South Bombay. Its the footpath around it that I’ve spent hours on.
There are tons of books around to browse and pick from. Bargains are welcome and enjoyed. I’d say it’s a better place to pick up smart women than the bar. LOL. Sometimes one can come across old and rare publications otherwise not available online.
Cafe Mondegar or Mondy’s
Next stop is cafe Mondegar. Its the cafe of the old school Bombay fans. If you’ve found folks who despise KFCs and McDs then you can blame it on the charm of old Irani and Parsi eateries like Leopold and Mondegar. The quintessential Irani cafe near VT station succumbed to McDonald’s, which is sad and epic at the same time.
So if at Mondegar, kheema pao is the rule. So is a lemon ice tea to go with it. In the meanwhile you can enjoy the happy doodles all over the place by the great Mario Miranda.
Gateway of India
Next up is a walk to the gateway. ” What’s so fancy about this gate?” asked my cousin. To which the first thing that popped in my head was ” It’s a monument built by the British, to welcome other high ranking Brits to Bombay presidency. India was still a colony of the empire then. So nothing to be really proud of I think. ”
It’s epic fun to see Indians click funny pictures by force perspective-ing themselves to hold the gate way in a pinch. Typical Indian stereotype I say.
After a long stroll, it’s time for another round of food and drinks. And did I mention how much I love hanging out at Leopold’s. In 1851, six years before the uprising of 1857 the British set up this cool hangout for the fancy few. Today it’s a thriving restaurant which has become a back packers go to joint. Its famous for its beer tower and sea food. They also have a pub upstairs which plays popular music and dishes out a wide range of flavours and serves a full bar in the middle of the day. We deserved after a brisk walk.
Jehangir art gallery
It’s not the most macho thing out there, but I’m a fan of fine art and displayed photography. So Jehangir art gallery is a must do. Its always gets me debating in my head about what’s good art and what’s just garbage under the garb of contemporary styles floating around dime a dozen.
NCPA is National Center for Performing Arts. Its at an extreme end of Marine Drive, towards the Trident Hotel. Why I love this place is because its the area which has relatively less number of people, unlike the remaining Marine Drive stretch. Also, one can actually touch the water, or sit on the tetrapods for hours enjoying the sunset and chatting away from the cacophony of city life. Besides one can take a stroll in the NCPA campus, and there is always something interesting going on there, at times free of cost.
Marine drive is to Mumbai what Ocean drive is to Miami. Yes, we are a poor country and so is our ocean strip, but nevertheless its a place people come to dream. At marine drive its hard not get in touch with your emotional self. Many feel ambitious, they feel happy, feel relaxed, unburdened, relieved, guilty, sad, excited and everything in between. Its a place for business, for couples cuddling, for student hangouts, for family outings and fitness runs. one can never get bored of marine Drive ever.
Dhobhighat is nothing but a place where washer men wash clothes. Dhobhi means a washerman and Ghat is a stepped tank or a river bank where he washes clothes. So far nothing exciting, but it is the scale at which everything is so organized and picture perfect that makes it a visually appealing entity. Popular culture and social media has made Dhobighat one of the prme tourist spots of the city. So much so that the most popular one, the Mahalaxmi Dhobhi ghat does not allow clicking pictures at all, at times, understandably so because too many outsiders hinder their daily work. The Navy Nagar or Colaba dhobighat is less famous, and allows you to see it with a little persuasion.
I am sure I have not covered all the fun places, there is so much to see and do. Perhaps I’ll jot that down in future posts.
Have fun. Cheers..!