Amchi Mumbai.

Mumbai is a place many of us have visited. I personally have been there dozens of times, but the city never fails to excite me. Despite being from Delhi myself, a fast city in itself, I always wonder how people survive in such a fast paced city as Mumbai.

Mumbai locals are very rightly called the lifeline of the city. What would the Mumbai traffic be without the locals is unimaginable. Traveling in the Mumbai locals is always a pleasurable and exciting experience; I call it pleasurable because I have always travelled in the locals at off peak hours. I wonder how it must be at peak rush hours. I am sure Mumbai wouldn’t be half as lively and fast paced if it weren’t for the Mumbai locals.

We were in Mumbai this time to spend some quality time with our kids so it was more of our kids’ days out again. We live in Pune, therefore it was aorund 5 hours drive from our Pune home to my company’s guest house in Churchgate. Although we had initially planned to dash off straight to Water Kingdom from the guest house, we were too tired for it when we reached the guest house at 1pm. We had a small lunch and spent the remainder of the day strolling down fashion street at Church Gate. Those who are familiar with Delhi would equate it to Delhi’s Janpath, but I personally found more variety and better bargains at the fashion street. It must be more than a kilometer long strech of clothing, footwear and accessories stalls which continue to excite the compulsive shoppers like me and my kids. There is something for every age group. So next time you visit Mumbai, do make some time for this place.

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Marine drive in the backdrop

We ended the evening with a leisurly walk on the marine drive, the necklace of Amchi Mumbai. We had always wanted to revisit the spot where Munnabhai would listen to “Good Mooooorning Mumbai”, and this was our chance.

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My kids having their share of making fun of their mum by making signs of antlers ;)

The next day was reserved for Essel world. We had an early breakfast and dashed straight to the Churchgate station, that was luckily a 5 minutes’ walk away from our guest house. Churchgate being the first station, finding a seat for each one of us was a child’s play. On top of it it was a saturday. We couldn’t have asked for more.

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My younger daughter, in a Mumbai Local, enjoying the ride to the hilt.

We took a fast local to Borivili from where we took an auto to go to the Bay side from where the ferries for Essel world start. We already had the Essel world passports, otherwise an Adult ticket costs Rs. 480 and a child ticket(for height 3’3″ to 4’6″) costs 350 on the weekends. Children below 3’3″ go free.

The other more suitable/economic option if you live in or around Mumbai is to buy a passport, that costs Rs. 750. This entitles you to upto 3 trips to Essel World/Water kingdom within a span on 12 months. Great for people with kids.

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Right outside the gates of Essel World

The most favorite rides with the kids were the Monster, bumping cars, trampoline, go cart, telecombat, trains, convoy tracks, rocking alley, crazy cups etc.

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We as adults had the most fun in Rainbow, Roller coaster and bumping cars. The biggest horrors of all time were Thunder, where we were hung upside down for a minute inside the ride. I had no clue what it was going to be like, and was chewing a gum. it was when I started to say something to my hubby while we were hanging upside down and my gum fell down from my mouth, that the “Ground” reality hit me.

Inside the hoola loop we were rolling and doing somersaults bound by belts inside something like vehicle wheels. It was so fast and so furious that we hardly had anytime to think.

While enjoying the ride on the Rainbow you’d get to see the most amazing view of the island that houses Essel world and water kingdom. Don’t miss it for anything.

I would suggest everyone reserve 2 days of Mumbai for Essel World and Water Kingdom, so again for a budget traveller, it would make the most sense to buy a passport on the very first day. Even with 2 visits it makes economic sense. Park timings are 10AM to 8PM.

To end it on a sweet note, we also enjoyed rain dance with live DJ playing; as it is, we as a family love dancing.

Travel back was again fairly uncomplicated and simple. Take an auto to Borivili station, then a local to Churchgate.

The next day was for local sighseeing in Mumbai. We started with a visit to the latest symbol of Indian Resilience, the Taj Mahal hotel. Everytime I look at it, I feel proud of being an Indian.

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Taj Mahal hotel, standing tall and proud in the background

We then spent our time roaming around the galiaras (BBC Telecast: Read Corridors) of places around Taj Mahal Hotel. These galiaras look painfully familiar to those of Connought place in Delhi, and it brought back sweet memories of my college days. We also chanced upon “The” Leopold Cafe.

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Leopold Cafe in the backdrop

Very close to Leopold Cafe is Delhi Durbar restaurant. We had our lunch here. The food is fairly decent. Since we were looking for authentic punjabi ishtyle murga, we were in for a small disappointment. We as punjabis are fond of the leg piece and experience of holding it while enjoying it. The butter chicken preparation was with shredded chicken, to my horror. Tandoori fish was very decently priced and was nicely done. Don’t go for their Faluda though. It is nothing close to what we get in “apni Dilli”. But the whole lunch experience was a fair bargain. I’d personally give it 3 out of 5.

Time to drive back home now. Will see you soon…Phir milenge, chalte chalte.

5 Comments

  • nandanjha says:

    Very well composed and narrated Yamini.

    My father was posted in Mumbai for 4-5 years during 2000-2004 odd, and I would visit them once a year odd, since I was in Delhi, and that is my connection with the city. The locals are indeed the lifeline , its crazy to see how 000’s of people manage to do that every other second.

    By the way, I always found Mumbai to be a cramped place :), guess that was primarily because of road-traffic (more so when you compare that with Delhi).

    Great story.

  • Yamini says:

    Yes Nandan, indeed. Mumbai is cramped, especially since it is swarming with millions of human faces everywhere. But I like the pace of the city, which I personally find very addictive.
    The locals are the main reason you see “Less” vehicles on the narrow roads, imagine what it would be like without the locals :D
    Delhi has much wider roads. I hear Delhi too is becoming a traffic nightmare these days anyways. Besides, there is no running away from the traffic, whichever part of the world you may be in !!!

  • Ram says:

    Yet another beautifully narrated post from Yamini.

    Your post reminded me of the great time we used to have at the Leopold during our annual training courses at Mumbai. Though I have not been to that part of Mumbai for a long time, the major official activities being centered around Andheri and Powai, your post has created an urge to take out sometime and visit South Mumbai during my next visit to the city.

    Looking forward to your next post.

  • Patrick Jones says:

    A couple of visits to the city years ago, I must say I like it. Got into the local as the locals do and enjoyed the shoreline.

    Thanks for taking me there once again.

    Keep writing.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    I enjoyed reading about the chewing gum falling from your mouth and you hitting the ground reality :)

    Nice way to put it :)

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