Travel Guide to magical Mumbai (Bombay), India – what is there to see and do?

Travel Guide to magical Mumbai (Bombay), India – what is there to see and do?
Mumbai – formerly Bombay – is trending as the next Indian travel hot spot.

Travel Guide to magical Mumbai (Bombay), India – what is there to see and do?

“Very good price, very good price”, the bright-eyed boy in the yellow t-shirt poked his head through the car window. He spoke quickly, offering up Lord Shiva statuettes that dangled around his neck, arms and even from his fingertips. “Just 200 rupees, just 200 rupees”.

He saw me grimace and changed tack, “Okay 100 rupees, divine price for Lord Shiva”. Such was the urgency in his dark eyes that I handed over 100 rupees for a figurine that I knew would end up as clutter and placed it in my handbag. And before I knew it the boy was away, his yellow t-shirt luminous against the sun-drenched traffic of Mumbai as he zig-zagged through it.

I was sitting in grid-locked traffic on the main artery that is the national road into the city. It’s like this here everyday with cars, busses, motorbikes and ox carts, inching their way to somewhere giving opportunists time to ply their trade.

Roads are so dense with traffic that skywalks have been erected so that pedestrians can cross safely and not slow down the traffic any further.

I could see moving swathes of colour as women shimmied along Mumbai’s pavements in their pink, red and orange saris, sometimes slipping in and out of nearby bazaars and beyond that, the contrasting grey slums of corrugated roofs surrounded by plush high-rise office buildings or apartments.

This is Mumbai (formerly Bombay), of Slumdog Millionaire fame, and anyone who has seen the film would probably be surprised that actually, Mumbai is the financial powerhouse of India, where the stock exchange is the oldest in Asia and where real estate is the most expensive in the whole of the subcontinent.

The sun was high and hot as I inched my way to the Taj Mahal Palace Tower Hotel, and indeed anyone venturing to the home of Bollywood would do well to start their tourist trail here as it is ideally located for bars and restaurants and the odd celebrity or two. And of course, for the sights.

The Gateway of India arch

Overlooking the Arabian sea is the monumental arch the Gateway of India. This symbol of both Old Bombay and modern Mumbai was built in the Indo-Saracenic style using yellow Kharodi basalt, it commemorates the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay in December 1911.

The arch stands at an angle on the square perched at the edge of the Arabian sea, where dozens of colourful leisure boats bob on their lees.

Elephanta caves

I caught a boat – a fifty-minute sailing and a dinky train journey leading to the Elephanta caves on Elephanta Island. Not really caves, but hugely impressive carvings into rocks. Lord Shiva and other Hindu gods protrude out of the rock, telling stories of intrigue and reincarnation and a series of pillars give it the look and feel of a temple. There is no particular reason that 6th-century kings took to creating this magnificent structure other than for art’s sake and the love of their Lord Shiva.


Mumbai’s most colourful shopping district – Colaba – is a veritable, living creation of British rule. When the Brits first landed in the city in the 1600s the city was a group of seven islands (all now connected seamlessly with bridges) and the shopping area spans two of these islands – Colaba and Old Woman’s island.

Haggling is a way of life. I ventured a few suggested prices for items I didn’t really need just for the buzz of a bargain.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

It’s easy to see British influence in the architecture and the most obvious is Victoria Terminal station renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus after British rule ended in 1947.

A world heritage sight, yet this is a living, breathing train station, where three million people pass through each day on 1,000 trains making it the busiest and largest station on earth.

Its sheer size is impressive, but the beauty of the station is awesome. Think London’s St Pancras and quadruple it. Extravagantly ornamented, it combines the neo-Gothic style of the early Victorian era with elements of traditional Indian architecture and gives more than an eyeful of pleasure.

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

No-one should miss the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat. It is probably the world’s biggest open-air Laundromat and it is nothing short of theatrical.

Thousands of stick-thin, muscle men of the Hindu Dhobi caste, wash a million items of clothes in hundreds of water-and-sud-filled concrete troughs, beating them clean then hanging them on laundry lines in a colour-coded system and ironing them before returning them to their owners the same day.

The Dabbawallahs

Then there are the dabbawallahs, dressed in white robes and white Gandhi hats, who descend on the city every day. At around 9.30am these packed-lunch delivery boys pick up nearly 200,000 home-cooked meals from the outer suburbs, store them, heat them at a central HQ and then deliver them at around 12.30pm to hungry city workers so that they may dine on home-cooked food.

It is the most ingenious distribution system in the world and one that fascinated Prince Charles. He turned up at the headquarters to watch as thousands of meals were stored, heated and then delivered in coded aluminium boxes (tiffins). The service is so good that it has even been entered into the Guinness Book of Records for its sheer efficiency.

Marine Drive

The most famous road in Mumbai is the coastal road Marine Drive which arcs along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point to Chowpatty Beach right through to Malabar Hill.

Laced with Art Deco buildings the promenade around Chowpatty is very popular. Every day as the afternoon sunshine dims into early evening, the promenade wall becomes draped with young entwined couples canoodling in the setting sunlight.

As I watched on wondering what love story lay behind each intimate bubble, a passing stranger whispered cheekily in my ear, “you know they are smooching to kingdom come”.

I remembered my Lord Shiva and as I plucked my figurine of the great Hindu god from the echelons of my bag and I crossed the road to find a patch of wall of my own to enjoy the final moments of the setting sun on the edge of this magical city.

Article Source

Dial Frontier Airlines Booking Number to Make your Instantly

Insider Secrets to the Chelsea Flower Show
Award-winning Gardening Expert Adam Woolcott, offers his insights to the Chelsea Flower Show.

Insider Secrets to the Chelsea Flower Show

Gardening has been my passion since the age of 5 when my dad built a wooden box filled with soil for me, and my mum gifted me some freesia bulbs to plant.
Seeing those bulbs bloom and thrive ignited my love for gardening, and I’ve been hooked ever since. With years of experience and a deep-rooted passion for all things green, I’ve honed my skills as a gardener and am excited to share my expertise with others.

For more than 35 years, I’ve been running my own garden maintenance business, and together with my husband Jonathan, we have achieved remarkable success in the gardening industry. Our accomplishments include four gold medals at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show and three BBC/RHS People’s Choice Awards.

I’ve exhibited at seven Chelsea Flower Shows in total as well as a garden at Hampton Court and Tatton Park, all of which are world-renowned garden shows.

As a professional gardener, one of the greatest pleasures is partnering with exceptional gardening brands like Webb Garden Power. I currently offer monthly gardening advice via their website, which has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with other gardening enthusiasts and share my knowledge and expertise.

Who attends the Chelsea Flower Show?

The Chelsea Flower Show is a truly global destination event, attended by royalty, famous celebrities, and members of the public from across the globe.

I once had a group of ladies visit my garden every day throughout the show who’d all travelled from Australia, and I’ve met people from dozens of different countries for whom Chelsea is a must-go-to event. When you’re at the show it’s so amazing to hear people speaking so many different languages, to see people dressed in so many ways, it’s an amazing melting pot of humanity all passionate about plants and gardens.

Discovering Paradise: Why Choose the Philippines for Your Next Travel Adventure
Manila Unveiled: A Journey Through the Soul of the Philippines
Pleiku: Unveiling Vietnam’s Hidden Gem

Celebrating Diversity at the Chelsea Flower Show

Another glorious feature of Chelsea is that the origin of the plants and gardens are as diverse as the people who visit, I’ve seen gardens from Australia, Italy, South Africa, Korea, Japan, and Barbados to name just a few. These gardens are created using the natural flora as well as introduced plants from the respective countries and can highlight things such as plants that are rare, edible, and used for clothing, medicine, furniture production and even construction such as bamboo for example.

Plants are lovingly nurtured, lifted, grown, and transported across the planet to create genuine gardens with native species and habitats and although this may seem excessive, you must remember that the impact of one of these gardens winning a gold medal could possibly mean the difference between survival or extinction for certain plant species.

Chelsea really strives to show us different types of gardens, gardening techniques, garden designs and garden plants from around the planet and sometimes they can be the opposite of what some people may find desirable in a British garden.

One example is many people in the UK spend a great deal of time and trouble trying to remove moss from their grass whereas in Japan some gardeners will painstakingly remove the smallest blade of grass from their moss.

This is why Chelsea is a destination event because it strives to use different destinations to create the event, it’s a panoramic view of gardening styles, cultures, and ideas.

Why is the Chelsea Flower Show so important?

With the challenges our planet faces today Chelsea has become more important than ever. The exhibited plants come with explanations about the challenges they are facing across the globe mainly due to our influence. Some are so rare that they are microchipped and have bodyguards.

Some plants exhibited there were once thought to be extinct but have now been saved and propagated many thousands of times to ensure their future existence. 

Insider Tips: 3 Essential Lessons Every Gardener Can Learn from the Chelsea Flower Show

If I was asked the three most important and useful points, I have learnt from Chelsea Flower Show that gardeners from across the world can benefit from then they would be:

1. Never underestimate the importance of plants on our own health and existence

2. There aren’t plants and weeds there are only plants.

3. Never think about plants in a fashion sense, plants should never be fashionable they should all be equally revered at all times.

The Chelsea Flower Show is one of my favourite events of the year!