Friday, 4 July 2014

12 unique places you must visit in Mumbai

Mumbai, the city of dreams. Whether you are a foodie, beach lover, an architecture fan, cinema fan, or the one who just loves to wander on the lively streets,  Mumbai is for everybody There's so much to see and experience and see that there's a huge possibility that you might miss out on some of the unique experiences and places. But, make sure you complete this list before you leave Mumbai. This list has the places you are likely to have missed out on your school trip.

1.  Global Vipassana Pagoda 

Located in Gorai, North west of Mumbai, the Pagoda is a meditation hall, dedicated to the Buddha, his disciples and the monks. A place where you learn that 'Buddha is not a person, but a state of mind, which can be achieved by anyone through dedication, hard work and meditation .' They offer a 20-minute free meditation session, where you can learn the art of meditation and practice in your daily life. It has world's largest stone dome without any supporting pillars. Apart from the meditation hall, there is a very interesting art gallery depicting the life of Gautam Buddha (Use an audio guide along), a traditional store, a park , a huge statue of Gautam Buddha and a nice terrace. 

How to reach by local transport : Once you are in Mumbai , Take a local train to Borivali Station, and then walk or take an auto-rickshaw to Gorai Creek. From there, you need to take a ferry. Two types of ferries are available, the Essel World Ferry and local Ferry Service. Take the Essel World ferry as it drops you at a point from where the Pagoda is just walking distance. The last ferry runs at around 5.30pm . 

2.  Watch a play at Prithvi Theater 

If you are a drama fan, this is the place for you. And if you are not, watching a play at the Prithvi theater will make you one. It is a small small theater will the actors very close to you with a very perfect setting. You might meet a few TV actors and if you are lucky, bollywood superstars too. They have a play or two almost everyday. There is also a nice cafe, where you can hangout and meet people before and after the play. The collection at the Prithvi bookstore is also superb. The tickets are affordable with price ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 300. 

How to reach Prithvi theater : On reaching Mumbai, take the local train to Ville Parle Station. From here, take an auto-rickshaw for Rs.20 to the Prithvi theater.
Some tips
- If possible, book your tickets in advance as most shows are houseful. 
- Get into the entry queue around 30 minutes before the play to get a nice seat.

3.  Haji Ali Dargah

The most popular religous place of Mumbai, the Haji ali is visited by people of all religions. Located in the middle of the Arabian Sea, it is a divine place. If you are at the Dargah around the Qawalli time, it will be an unforgettable experience of your life. The evening time is the best as you can enjoy the Qawallis as well as the beautiful sunset at the Arabian sea. 

How to reach Haji Ali Dargah by local train : Get off at the Mahalakshmi local Station.From here, it's just a 15 minute walk through a narrow lane with Arabian Sea on both sides. The narrow lane, known as the Dargah Road begins from the very famous Haji Ali juice centre.

Timings : 5.30 am to 10:00 pm

4.  Versova beach 

Hundreds of tourists flock the Juhu beach but the Versova beach is a much cleaner, peaceful and a less crowded place to enjoy the sea. Enjoying the scenic beauty at sunset time, when the beach is at best, the orange color of the sun reflecting into the sea,  is a delightful site. If you are an adventurist, you can do snorkeling during the water sports months. 
Do spend some fun time at the fish auction held every evening at the Versova village, where fishermen get their rewards for the day's hard work in the sea. 

How to reach : Andheri Station is the closest from where a taxi or auto can be hired.

5. A movie at Regal Cinema 

A royal cinema, a heritage site and an architectual delight, the Regal Cinema, built in 1933 is the first air conditioned theater of India. It is the winner of the Urban Heritage Award in 1991. It gives the real fun of watching an Indian movie. It is located in the Colaba Causeway.

6.  Crawford Market 

Although not a tourist spot nor too great a shopping place, but to get a feel of the Mumbai local market,visit and take a walk in the Crawford Market. A very crowded and a happening place, Crawford Market is a place where you can buy everything, from fruits and vegetables and to clothes, cosmetics and even pets. 

How to reach Crawford Market : 
The market is located in central Mumbai, near the Mumbai CST railway station, and is easily reached by taxi from anywhere in the city.

Useful tips :
- In case you are buying something here, don't forget to bargain, to a large extent
- Have a falooda ice-cream bowl  at Badshah Cold-drinks right in front of the Crawford market.

7.  Stroll around the streets near CST

You will get to see some of the oldest yet most beautiful buildings of India built at the time of the British and later. The times of India, the oldest State Bank of India Building , the Bombay Stock Exchange and few more.... the places which run India.

8.  Ghatkopar Khau Gali

The ultimate place for foodies, the Ghatkopar Khau Galli has best Dosas , along with the world famous street food of Mumbai, the Vada Pao, Pav Bhaji and dozens of other street foods. Definitely, a place not to be skipped. 

9.  Elephanta island

A trip to the Elephanta island is a visit to ancient India, the Indian art , architecture and lifestyle, that too, just 10kms from the hustle and bustle of the Mumbai city life. The one hour ferry ride from the Gateway of India, on the upper deck of the ferry is a very calm and peaceful ride, offering a wonderful view of the Oman Sea. It is a mini-cruise in itself. The island is famous for the Elephanta Caves, an architectural marvel and a result of enormous hard, a blessing in the form of Hindu Gods and Godesss for all of us from our far-off ancestors. 
Don't miss out on the delicious wild berries sold by the locals on the island.

How to reach the Elephanta Caves : Ferries leave from the gateway of India, at 10-15 minute intervals starting at 9am. The return trip on a deluxe ferry costs Rs. 135 with Rs. 10 extra for the upper deck. Leave as early as possible as there is a lot to be explored on the Elephanta island. The first return ferry leaves at 12.30pm and the last one at 5.30 pm.

10. Worli Sea face

Worli Seaface is another of Mumbai's renowned promenades where people like to go for walks and sit in the evenings. It's one of the top places to experience the monsoon in Mumbai, as huge waves thrillingly rise up and onto the roadside during high tide. The Worli Seaface also offers a view of the Bandra Worli Sealink, which starts a little to the north of it. It is also a great place for walking, running and working out with the water drops from the sea splashing on your face. A little workout equipment is also installed for the gym enthusiasts. Neareat local railway station is the Lower Parel.

11. Colaba Causeway

Take a walk on the Colaba Causeway, a very lively and a delightful place. On Friday and Saturday nights, the street turns even more happening and you can spend hours just strolling and visiting some art galleries and nice cafes.

12. Prince of Wales Museum

Over 100 years and located in the heart of South Mumbai near the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales museum, now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), is surrounded by palm trees on all sides. The museum displays ancient Indian Civillizations and has thousands of artefacts from the Indus , Maurya, Gupta civillizations. It also has a section dedicated to Lord Krishna. There is also a depiction of how the culture of differnet paintings evolved in India. In short, if you want to learn about India, Prince of wales museum is the place. 

Read : The smallest hill station of India , just 90 km from Mumbai