One fine day, my father came home in an excited mood and shouted at the top of his voice
‘We are going for a week holiday in Maharashtra!!!’
The movement my father broke this news; I was jumping on my bed screaming and shouting “WE ARE GOING TO MUMBAI.”
I was in the seventh heaven because being a Bollywood fan, visiting Aamchi Mumbai, was always on my bucket list. I was laughing from ear to ear with the thought of how much fun I am going to have on this trip. I didn’t even care to open the map because I knew exactly where I want to go and want to do on this journey. While I was daydreaming about my Mumbai trip, my father broke the big news, which tore me apart. In filmy language, I was scattered, and my dreams were devastated.
“WE ARE SPENDING JUST A DAY IN MUMBAI”, my father said.
Guess now, I need to open the map as I can’t afford to waste this opportunity of being in my dream destination, that too just for a day. I carefully planned my 24 hours in my Mumbai keeping in mind that none of the famed attractions should be missed and let me tell you I had one of the best trips I could have dreamed of. I also realized there must be a number of people like, who have a single day to spend in Mumbai, so I thought of penning this blog down to help one-day visitors get the maximum of Mumbai.
Our first morning in the city of dreams started with a very humbling experience at the Siddhivinayak temple. Early morning, me, my brother and parents borrowed the car of Raju uncle (one of my father’s friend) and headed straight away to Siddhivinayak temple. I have only seen Siddhivinayak temple in Ekta Kapoor serials and heard that it’s always brimming with devotees, no matter at what time you visit. Fortunately, we didn’t find any rush and it was a smooth walk to the sanctum. In Shree Siddhivinayak, we attended the morning Aarti ceremony, which happened at sharp 05:30 and learned about the significance of this temple from one Marathi couple who was standing right next to us. Inside the temple, there is a black stone idol, which is believed to be 200 years old, under a dome coated with 3.7 kg gold plating. Flanking the deity on both sides are Riddhi & Siddhi, goddesses signifying sanctity, fulfillment, prosperity and riches. After attending the Aarti and seeking blessings of God, we made our way to Gate No 3 to take Prasadam. Starting our day with so much gold and glitter, we proceed to our next stopover Haji Ali Dargah, which is exactly 6 km away from the Siddhivinayak temple.
By 7 in the morning, after a 24 minutes scenic drive along the sea, we reached Haji Ali Dargah. Built in the 18th century, this highly prestigious shrine contains the tomb of the Muslim saint, Hazrat Haji Ali. To reach the main shrine, we walked for 10 minutes on long causeway lined up with many people singing Qawwali and devotional songs and shops selling Chadars. People from walks of life visit this miraculous Dargah. Inside the Dargah, there is a beautiful white dome surrounded by pillars and a wish-fulfilling tree where if you tie a rope, your all wished will be fulfilled. For breakfast, we went Haji Ali Juice Centre, which is located at the entrance of the shrine. Though there was nothing much on the menu for munching, except the fast food, but the variety of juices served here were too good. Fruit cream offered here is thick, creamy and the right amount of sweet to compliment the fruit. My mom tried Ganga, Jamuna & Saraswati, a combination of orange, mousambi and pineapple while I had my favourite orange. After enjoying scrumptious sandwiches with juice and milkshake, we head headed to Bandra.
Finally, it was the time to experience a joyride on the Bandra-Worli Sea link. Yet another architectural wonder in Mumbai, this 5.6 km long cable-stayed bridge crosses the Arabian Sea and links the Mumbai suburbs with South Mumbai. I felt the glory of Mumbai at its best and in the blink of an eye, we were in Bandra. Our first stopover in Bandra was Bandstand Promenade. A beautiful little corner by the sea, this place is a secret hideout for many lovers staying in Mumbai. My father was so mesmerized with this place that he took out his camera and started clicking some awesome pictures. Also we enjoyed some tasty street food like panipuri, bhutta, and vada pav. With belly full of food and beautiful pictures, we head to the next destination ‘Walk of the Stars.’ The path features about six statues of famous Bollywood actors and 100 brass plates embossed with the handprints and signatures of other stars. While walking the walk of stars, I saw a huge crowd, when I asked somebody the reason behind such rush, they said it’s the residence of Shah Rukh Khan and all these people are his fans, waiting outside just to get his glimpses. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see Shah Rukh Khan but I do got a picture clicked in front of name board displaying ‘Mannat.’
Linking Road, Photo: https://goo.gl/j9EnhC
With a sad face and camera full of pictures, we head to Linking Road. Linking road to Mumbai is somewhere like Sarojini Nagar to New Delhi. At linking road market, I picked many accessories, designer bags, skirts and garments that too at very affordable price. After a brief shopping session, we head to Persian Durbar for lunch. People who love non-vegetarian food should visit this restaurant as here on the menu are delicious Chicken Crispy, Chicken Mangolian, and Fish Thai Potlee. The menu also include some vegetarian dishes like Veg Mangolian, Paneer crispy, veg crispy, etc. The Tandoori Raan Masala is great for sharing and Mutton Turkhi Boti worth a try. Post lunch, we head to our car and made our way to the grandest landmark of Mumbai, Gateway of India.
If we go by the map, the journey from Linking Road to Gateway of India will take an hour, but one should never underestimate the traffic of Mumbai. It took us 2 hours to complete this journey so as to reach Gateway of India. Though the traffic was boring, but the best part was that we got an opportunity to see Crawford Market and heritage buildings in the fort area like Victoria Terminus Train Station, Municipal Council Building, Regal Cinema, National Gallery of Modern Art, David Sassoon Library, Army and Navy Building and Flora Fountain. Also, we came across open-air laundries, better known as dhobi Ghats. If you have some extra time at your disposal, you can go to Crawford Market to shop ready-to-stitch clothes, dress material, Chinese toys, party products, artificial jewellery, and miniatures.
We reached gateway of India by 4 and rushed towards the ticket window for the ferry ride. The 30-minute ferry ride amidst the breezy Mumbai winds is one of its kind experiences. After the 30 minutes relaxing ferry ride, we went to Gateway of India. Giant-balloon sellers, photographers, vendors making bhelpuri and touts rub shoulders with locals and tourists, creating all the hubbub of a bazaar. To know this distinguished landmark better, we hired a tour guide, who told us about the significance of Gateway of India. And obviously, we couldn’t miss the magnificent Taj Mahal Palace hotel that stands imposingly right opposite. If you have some extra time, you can take a ferry ride and visit Elephanta caves, which took approximately 3 hours.
Chowpatty, Photo: https://goo.gl/MfWhIB
As soon as the clock struck six, we made way to the Chowpatty beach to see the sun gliding below the horizon and enjoy some beach time. From the Gateway of India, it took us approximately 15 minutes to reach Chowpatty beach. The legendary Chowpatty beach is home to many street vendors and even a fun arcade which is a great place for children as well as adults. We stuffed ourselves with Paani Puri, Kala Khatta Gola, Bhel Puri, Pao Bhaji and Chowmein. We also went for a long stroll along the pier and enjoy the cool sea breeze. If you don’t want to explore the seashores then visit Colaba Causeway for some shopping. Here, you can find items like antiques, books, junk jewelry, apparels, branded sunglasses.
Post a short visit to the Chowpatty beach; we further visited Leopold Café for a relaxing dinner. The journey from Chowpatty to the café was beautiful. It was felt great to enjoy the breeze while viewing the Mumbai skyline and lights from the nearby cricket stadium. As soon as we reached the café, we found a many people waiting for their seats and so did we for 30 minutes. The place is abuzz with patrons who have been dining here for years or tourists who have heard so much about the place that almost always, it makes it to the must visit restaurant in Mumbai. From beer, noodle, to burger and decadent desert, we tasted all most every special meal on the a la carte. I even packed a Due Mellon smoothie to bring back to the hotel.
Marine Drive, Photo: https://goo.gl/7MN70g
By this time our energy levels had started to drop because of the humidity. After a scrumptious meal, we headed to the marine drive for a lazy walk. Its twinkling night time lighting earned it the nickname the ‘Queen Necklace.’ Facing the Arabian Sea on one side and sharp skyscrapers on the other, Marine Drive gave me the sense of space I as so missing in Mumbai. Perhaps this was my favourite place in Mumbai. Also, we hired a horse carriage to enjoy a ride along the coastline. It was a great way to soak in the old world charm of this city.
Phew! The Mumbai Darshan was fun but tad tiring. After the marine drive, we head to our uncle’s house to hand over the keys and then straight to our hotel for a good night sleep. And with this how, our one day trip in Mumbai came to an end. This short trip made me fall in love with this city of dreams. It has something in store for everyone and the experiences in Mumbai offer countless memories for any traveller. Tell me which one is your favourite?