Today's guest post is written by Renuka, a writer/photographer and a travel blogger from India. With her blog, Voyager For Life, she aims to inspire and awaken people to travel. She has been a native in four different cities in India and would not mind more city-hopping in the future. When she is not traveling, she likes to be a tourist in her own city. You can follow here on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
I wouldn’t be wrong if I said Mumbai is like wine. You have to smell it, swirl it and feel it to be able to enjoy it. It takes a while to get intoxicated by this enchantress, but when you do, it is for life. Such is its magic. People usually have strong opinions about this city in the western India – either they hate it or love it! Of course, I’m one of those who loves it.
I got a chance to live in Mumbai for around four months, so I got to know it like a local. To be honest, initially I was exasperated by its traffic, local trains and the usual chaos. But as the days passed by, its charms brushed off on me.
Here’s how I was captivated:
Gazing at the horizon at Marine Drive
I simply loved sitting at Marine Drive along with the locals. Marine Drive is a pavement alongside the sea in South Mumbai. It starts from a point known as Nariman Point and ends at a small beach. People spend endless hours here with absolutely nothing on their minds. It’s a well known spot for morning walks and weekend midnight hangouts.
Driving across the Bandra-Worli Sea link
I let the wind blow in my hair while enjoying a drive over the Bandra-Worli sea link. It’s an excellent way to have a quick overview of the harbour city. Although the drive doesn’t last too long, it takes you on a high. You really get to feel the essence of Mumbai while looking over the skyscrapers and the city at large.
Wandering the Colaba Causeway
Colaba Causeway is a commercial street in South Mumbai. There is a lot to discover here while simply wandering your way through the shops and cafes. I liked checking out the interesting and unique antiques, books and paintings, and after I had exhausted myself from walking, I sipped a latte at Café Mondegar.
The Taj and around
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is located right in the backyard of Colaba. Simply stroll your way to the back lanes of Taj to find yourself even more amazed. Just opposite to the Taj Hotel are the Gateway Of India and the harbour. It’s an iconic locale where numerous Hindi films have been shot. So, it’s not just an excursion. It is seeing the reel life transform into the real life!
Strolling along the Bandra Bandstand
Bandra is one of the oldest suburbs of West Mumbai. The Bandstand is a pavement meant for walking along the beach. The promenade also has hand impressions and sculptures of some of the eminent Hindi film personalities. It’s fun to walk in the midst of beautiful palm trees or sip a drink at a sea-facing restaurant. The beach is usually enjoyed from a distance, because it’s mostly hogged by the couples looking for romance.
Sunset view at Juhu Beach
Well, I must admit I did not enjoy it much this time. It has become too crowded over the years. But, I would still suggest one should visit it for the sunset. On one of my earlier trips to Mumbai, I spent a gala evening at Juhu beach – watching people, walking along the beach barefoot, binging on the mouth-watering snacks, and simply savouring the atmosphere. I’d like to mention that it’s also one of the widely seen locales in the Indian movies.
Sophisticated coffee sipping at Heera Nandani
Since I sojourned around Heera Nandani, I frequented it almost every day. It’s a relatively new township in the suburbs of Mumbai. This is one place where I did not feel the essence of Mumbai. It is sophisticated, well planned and well kept, while the city of Mumbai (in general) is quite off the cuff. So, it is a kind of bonus to be in Heera Nandani – it’s all about upmarket restaurants, cafes, hotels, brands and labels.
Although it takes you away from the usual Mumbai, it offers you another beautiful world. I discovered a great confectionery shop by the name of Theobroma in Heera Nandani that served amazing macarons, croissants, and cupcakes!
South Mumbai architecture
I am easily charmed by old architecture, and South Mumbai has quite a few buildings from the old era. While I was walking my way to the Churchgate station, I spotted Rajabai Clock Tower, which is a British legacy. There are also Mumbai High Court, Mumbai University and VT Station that have impressions of Gothic-Victorian architecture. Not just that, South Mumbai is known to be a cultural hub with quite a few museums, libraries and art galleries to its credit. I explored the entire vicinity on foot and I must say I was impressed.
Find quietude at Powai Lake
I would say Powai Lake is a new hideout for tourists and locals alike. It was at a short distance from where I stayed. I found it to be an amazing place for morning walks. Since it’s not very crowded or chaotic, people like to spend some quiet hours by the Lake. I, too, woke up early one cloudy morning and headed for the Lake. I loved the serenity around.
So, Mumbai has got all you need to be in love with a city – people, energy, food and places. Brace yourself!
Is Mumbai a place you'd like to visit?
Yup, Mumbai generally evokes mixed feelings. It is both chaotic and charming, dirty and enticing!