South Mumbai sightseeing

April 27, 2014 at 15:52

One of the first trips we made with our friends and family visiting over Easter was down to South Mumbai. Colaba and the Gateway was our first stop, as we had plans to take the ferry over to Elephanta Island. It takes just about 45 minutes to drive from our home to this busy centre of Mumbai, but Marius and I rarely make the trip. Sure, this is where Mumbai really happens. The South has most of the best restaurants, clubs, stores and hangouts, but I find it just oh so crowded and touristy sometimes. I think it is the hillbilly girl in me that just loves green surroundings, peace and quiet. And boy, was I happy when I found out that you actually can have that that inside one of the World’s biggest cities. Powai really feels like a home in that sense. Anyways. As I was saying, we headed down to Mumbai’s most visited tourist attraction for our first stop.

The Gateway of India

The Gateway of India

The Gateway looked great as always and was surrounded by tourists as always. Since we hadn’t been to Elephanta Island in six years we couldn’t remember where to buy the tickets for the ferry, but luckily for us we met some grumpy expat Norwegians who helped us out. And by the way, the reason why I call them grumpy is because as Marius was introduced to them as a Capgemini Mumbai employee, they responded with a blunt “Why? Is he hired as a driver?”.

 

Nice Norwegians in the middle, grumpy ones to the left.

Super cute Norwegians in the middle, grumpy ones to the left.

The Gateway and Taj Mahal hotel from the ferry

The Gateway and Taj Mahal hotel from the ferry

The ferry ride took about 50 minutes, and when we arrived we were met with – do you believe it? Crowds! However we eventually made our way up all the sweaty stairs to the top, and it was definitely worth the workout. The Elephanta Caves were even more beautiful than I remembered.

Inside Elephanta Caves

Inside Elephanta Caves

Our friends taking photos

Our friends taking photos

Beautiful rock carvings

Beautiful rock carvings

Back in Mumbai we decided to go straight for lunch. As every visitor to Mumbai have to experience Cafe Leopold, Marius and I decided to bring our friends there, after a small detour to a Colaba Market back ally with a couple of the cutest swindling children I have ever met. Eventually we sat down at an unusually loud and crowded Leopold’s, I got my back and my bag dripping wet from a Bailey’s leakage just behind my chair and we got moved to another table by the always very helpful and friendly staff at Leopold’s. I got through my ten minutes of “South Mumbai hates me” frenzy, and we enjoyed some tasty dishes of biryani, garlic naan and tikka masala.

On our way from Colaba Market to Haji Ali

On our way from Colaba Market to Haji Ali

After this we all jumped into some taxis to experience Haji Ali at Worli. This place really make a big impact on tourists in many ways. Your first impression of the place might not be too positive, as the pathway to Haji Ali usually is filled by beggars, people with severe illnesses and handicaps and – maybe worst of all – quite a lot of children and babies are sitting or lying there to make some rupees from the people passing by. It is a really sad place in that way, and I know it made a big impact on our friends and family. Even though we made a few ‘donations’ here and there on our way to the beautiful mosque, we know it’s not enough. You really feel both privileged and helpless as you walk past these people, and it’s not a good feeling.

Pathway to Haji Ali

Pathway to Haji Ali

Sunset at Worli

Sunset at Worli

Haji Ali

Haji Ali

When we reached the Haji Ali however, the beauty of this mosque was even more apparent after dark. The way Haji Ali lights up in the dark is quite symbolic, as it is an important place of worship for very many people. Well inside the gates you get another completely different impression of this place, and I think our friends and family thought it was well worth the trip.

- Andrea