Population: Approx 20 million. Land mass: 603 sq kms. Climate: Tropical.
This is Mumbai, the commercial capital of India: the ultimate destination for thousands of people who travel daily to Mumbai with hopes and dreams of making it big in their life. The glamorous and extravagant Bollywood finds itself nestled comfortably between the skyscrapers of multinationals and the bustling slums of Dharavi. So when my wife, Sangeeta and I were given the opportunity to visit this city “that never sleeps”, we must have had a thousand ideas of what we could do to make our visit to Mumbai a memorable one. Our only challenge was that we would spend only 3 days in Mumbai. So here we are writing about our whirlwind trip to Aamchi Mumbai.
In order to make the most of our limited time and budget, Sangeeta and I wanted to find a place to stay that would be inexpensive, comfortable and well connected to the rest of the city. After a series of phone calls and recommendations I found myself talking to the manager of The Methodist Home (in Mumbai Central). Rooms booked and now I was relaxed!
We had an early morning flight on Saturday, 23 April 2016 and had to leave home at 6 am Getting an Ola cab was a blessing! After the routine check-in and security checks at the airport, we were all set to board the flight and conquer the boisterous and humongous city of Mumbai. We landed in Mumbai at 10:45 am and booked an Ola cab right away. The driver drove us through the impressive Sea Link and it was a visual treat to see the Mumbai skyline from the Sea Link.
We got to The Methodist Home by noon. The Methodist Home is a small and humble guest house (compared to the YMCA International Hotel which is just across the road from it). But TMH was clean and the staff were very polite. We liked the place immediately.
A little after 12:30 pm we found ourselves searching for some nearby restaurant to eat at Food is also served at TMH but we decided to explore other options. If you want to enjoy local delicacies, we suggest that you visit the smaller restaurants and not the fancy expensive ones. So that’s what we did for our entire stay in Mumbai. The food was delicious!
The local train in Mumbai is very well connected. So we made the most of it during our visit. Mumbai is a big city and traffic can be a nightmare. However, the local trains are convenient, inexpensive and efficient. Since it was a weekend, the trains were also empty Mumbai local trains on weekdays can be severely traumatic.
Day One being tourists
On our first day, we walked to the Mumbai Central train station, hopped onto a train and went straight to Andheri. Most major stations are only 10-15 minutes away from the Mumbai Central station. The locals were very helpful when we asked for directions. From the Andheri station we took an auto rickshaw to Juhu beach. (Tip: Avoid taking auto rickshaws parked right outside the stations. You will get a better travel deal if you can walk a few meters away from the station and find auto richshaws.) Juhu beach was like one big beach party. Enjoy the ice gollas (kala khatta flavor is highly recommended), vada pav, missal pav and pani puri.
After Juhu beach we went back to the Andheri station and hopped onto a train to Churchgate. The Gateway of India and the Taj Palace Hotel is only a 5 minute drive from the Churchgate railway station. The taxi drivers were very helpful with directions. Both these structures are impressive.
Since Mumbai is a city “that never sleeps”, it feels safe even if you are touring late at night. There are a lot of people and traffic on the streets all day and night. If you enjoy shopping, you should check out street shopping options at Dadar and Bandra.
Day two visiting churches
Our second day there was a Sunday so we took the train to Churchgate and then hopped into a taxi to attend service at the Bombay Baptist Church. The church building has been renovated to retain its century old heritage and yet give a touch of modern progression with a central air conditioning system and state of the art sound equipment. After service we walked to the Colaba Causeway for some street shopping.
We then took a train and headed to Vasai. We had to visit a church in Vasai. It took us an hour to get there. The church service was awesome and energetic. After a great time of worship we were also privileged to enjoy the hospitality of the church Pastor and his family.
Final day being tourists
On Monday morning we took an auto rickshaw to Marine Drive. You cannot miss this if you visit Mumbai. It was beautiful in the morning even though the evening lights add a finer charm to the place. We needed to shop so we took a taxi to the Mangal Das wholesale market and then headed to the Phoenix mall. After lunch it was time for us to head back to the airport.
On our way to the airport we were satisfied with our trip! We had managed to enjoy and experience Mumbai in three days.
Guest author: Nilav Kolay and his wife, Sangeeta live in Kolkata, India. They have enjoyed being tourists in different parts of the world but their favourite travel destinations are all over India.