It would sound very clichéd to call Mumbai the New York of India, but that is what describes this city of dreams the best. It depicts the place that is always up and about, a city with a spirit of gold and a determination to never say die, even in the wake of terrorist attacks and natural calamities.
Capital of the State of Maharashtra, Mumbai boasts of a population of about 100 million. There is an extensive network of flights from Mumbai’s Sahar (International) and Santa Cruz (Domestic) airports. International and domestic flights connect it to almost all major cities. Trains are available from all major stations of India. The Intra city trains are the fastest and the best way of commuting through the city. Bus services both inter and intra city are equally efficient.
The ideal time to visit this city is between the months of October and February when this coastal city is free from humidity and the sultry climate of summer and also the excessive downpour during the monsoons.
Mumbaikars represent the true spirit of India as this city is a crucible of people from different religions, caste and communities. Representative of the “never say die” spirit, these people are full of life and vigour. This however doesn’t mean that religion holds no place in the life of the people of Mumbai. The Siddhivinayak Temple stands testimony to the devout nature of the people of this city who are essentially Hindus. Marathi is the official language of the region. However, the intermingling of people from all corners of the country has ensured the recognition of numerous other languages.
Food is the highlight of this city. Chaupati beach offers one a wide variety of street food ranging from bhelpuri (puffed rice mixed with onions, chillies and sauces), panipuri (puffed puris filled with sprouts and potatoes), vada pav (a deep fried cutlet made of potatoes in a round shaped bread) and paw bhaji (vegetables eaten with round shaped bread). Desserts of this place include chikki, srikhand, puran poli and shira.
The home of the Indian Film Industry, one has to visit the Gateway Of India, the central attraction of the city, important because this is where the British left Independent India. A walk down Marine Drive, along the Arabian Sea, is all that is required to soothe one’s soul after a day full of hectic activity. For a livelier beach, the Chowpaaty beach or the Juhu Beach is the ideal place to be in. The Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the true evidence of Victorian architecture, is the headquarter of the Central Railways, serving as one of the finest railway stations in the world. The Haji Ali Mosque is also a major tourist destination.
Shopping in Mumbai is an absolute delight. A house to all the brands of the world, this place also provides a good bargain for people who do not want to leave a hole in their pockets. Linking Road, Fashion Street and Lokhandwala markets are ideal places for the street shoppers and the young trendy teenagers where nice products can be purchased at really cheap prices. For the elitists, malls are spread all across the city, housing brands, making Mumbai a shopper’s paradise.
The commercial capital of India, this city comes as a surprise to visitors with its high rising structures, multi millionaires driving down the roads, multinational business houses on the one hand and decaying old structures, slums in the form of Dharawi and the overcrowded surroundings on the other.
Mumbai, thus is the definition of Urban India. Not meant for people who love the calm and peace of the countryside, it is however the best place to visit if one believes in living life to the fullest.