Mumbai is India’s commercial capital and home to Hindi film industry. Major corporate offices, stock exchange and the national financial centre are all concentrated in South Mumbai. It is here that you will find many heritage buildings from the pre-independence era. The buildings have British and European influences.
Afghan Church stands in Duxbury Lane, Colaba. It is also known as The Church of St John the Evangelist. The church was built in memory of the British troops who fell in the first Afghan War (1838-42). Work began in 1847 and the church was consecrated in 1858. The 60-metre tall bell tower was not completed until 1865.
Leopold Cafe is a popular restaurant and bar on Colaba Causeway. It was established in 1871 by Iranis and serves multi-cuisine food. It was a target of terrorist attacks on 26 November 2008. The attackers opened fire with automatic guns killing ten people and injured many more.
Four days after being peppered with bullets during the terror attack, the bar reopened for business to a full house.
Taj Mahal Palace
Built in 1903, Taj Mahal Palace stands opposite the Gateway of India and faces the Arabian Sea. The hotel is a gracious landmark of Mumbai.
The hotel was attacked by terrorists on 26 November 2008. In the attack on Taj, thirty four people were killed. This included hotel guests and employees, terrorists and an army officer. Taj Mahal Palace reopened after restoration on 15 August 2010.
Gateway of India
Gateway of India is a major landmark in Mumbai. It was built in 1924 by the British Government. It is located in Apollo Bunder and overlooks Mumbai harbour. The monument was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. Many years later, the last of the British troops left India through this gateway. It is a popular tourist attraction in the city.
Ganpati Festival is celebrated with great fervour all over Mumbai. Devotees bring home murtis (idols) of Lord Ganesha. They worship the Lord for a day and a half, three days, five days, seven days or eleven days. The duration is influenced by family traditions and individual commitments.
On the last day of worship, the idol is taken out in a colourful and musical procession for immersion at a beach. Ganesh Chaturthi this year will be observed on 25 August which marks the beginning of the festival.
Flora Fountain is in the city centre of Mumbai. Built in 1864, it depicts the Roman Goddess Flora, the Goddess of Abundance. It cost Rs. 47,000 to build, a princely sum at the time. It is a heritage structure now.
Stone imported from England was used to sculpt the fountain. It was originally created in honour of Sir Bartle Frere who was the Governor of Bombay at the time. Sir Frere was responsible for the deconstruction of Bombay Fort and shaping much of modern Mumbai. At first it was to be named after him but the name was changed before the fountain was revealed to the public.
Flora Fountain in 1960 was renamed Hutatma Chowk as a memorial to the martyrs of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti. There is an imposing statue of Martyr with an eternal Flame next to Flora Fountain. Flora Fountain itself is under renovation.
Churchgate is the southern-most railway station in Mumbai. It has four platforms which are busy from 04:15 hours to 01:00 hours. It is one of the cleanest stations in the suburban sections.
From a visitor’s point of view, the main attraction in coming here is to see the dabbawallahs. A long standing tradition from the days of the Raj, tiffin boxes with homemade lunches are brought by dabbawallahs to Churchgate Station from where they are distributed to office workers in South Bombay. The boxes are brought outside the station and placed on large carts to be taken to hungry workers. More than 200,000 lunches are delivered per day. Dabbawalas now give management lectures at top Indian business schools, describing how the 125-year-old dabbawalah industry continues to grow at a rate of five to 10 percent a year.
Sunny Day in Marine Drive
Marine Drive is a 3.6 km long road bordering the Arabian Sea. It stretches from Nariman Point to Babulnath and Malabar Hill. A promenade runs parallel to the road. Many of the buildings on Marine Drive have an art-deco look. The sea often becomes rough during the rainy season.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is the main railway station in Mumbai. It was built in 1887 and used to be known as Victoria Terminus. The ornate building was constructed to commemorate the golden jubilee of the ascension to throne of England by Queen Victoria. The main building is made of sandstone and limestone. The interiors are lined with quality Italian marble. The main entrance to CST is flanked by stone figures of a lion and a tiger which represent England and India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the second most photographed site in India after Taj Mahal in Agra.
Local Trains in Mumbai
Local trains in Mumbai carry more than 7.24 million passengers every day. The passenger density is unparalleled in any city railway system. The entire route is electrified and there are trains running every 3-4 minutes during peak hours.
IPL Cricket Match in Wankhede Stadium
Mumbai Indians cricket team represents Mumbai in the Indian Premier League. Their home ground is Wankhede stadium which has a capacity of 33,108 spectators.
The Dr. H.D. Kanga League conducts a cricket tournament in Mumbai during the rainy season. The league has had an unbroken run since it was founded in 1948. It is the only cricket tournament to be held during the monsoon. Kanga League has been the nursery for some of India’s biggest cricket stars, including Sachin Tendulkar.
Durga Pooja in Dadar
While the Durga Pooja mania is seen much more in Kolkata, Mumbai too has several pooja pandals which engage Bollywood personalities as well as the common man.
Autorickshaws in Mumbai
I had stopped at the traffic signal to turn to MIDC Central Avenue. I took out my camera to shoot the traffic at the road junction. You can see a red BEST bus and a couple of autos. The rear view mirror of a bike which had stopped next to me can also be seen. There are about 150,000 autos in the northern suburbs of Mumbai.
Double Decker Train at Andheri Station
Andheri is one of the busiest stations in Mumbai. It serves Western and Harbour lines of Mumbai Suburban Railway. It also connects with Line 1 of Mumbai Metro.
Lezim on the Streets of Mumbai
Lezim is a vigorous dance form. The dancers carry a small wooden instrument which produces a jingling sound when the dancers move. They dance to the beat of Dholki, a drum instrument, and are dressed in colourful costumes. The dance is often used as a fitness drill by schools in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra.
Salt Pans in Mumbai
When one travels by train from Mumbai towards Virar and farther, salt pans appear on both sides of the tracks after Dahisar. The salt pans stretch across hundreds of acres. Salt pans are often in the middle of mangrove forests. They act as a buffer against flooding and absorb the tidal surges from the sea. Sixty percent of salt pans fall under coastal regulation zone and are out of bounds for development.
Salt pans are operated by workers from villages of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar. Salt production stops for four months in a year during rains. The workers start their work early in morning to escape the intense heat of the mid-day sun.
If you like my post on Mumbai, please feel free to follow me on Instagram, Flickr and Facebook for regular updates.