Mumbai Things to Do Tips by smirnofforiginal
Mumbai Things to Do: 686 reviews and 1,345 photos
I guess in a causeway / religious kind of a way the Haji Ali's Mosque is to Mumbai what Mont Saint Michel is to France or St. Michael's Mount is to the UK.
A floating shrine for saint Haji, it was built in the 19th century. The story says Haji Ali died en route to Mecca and this is where his casket floated to.
The causeway is lined with beggars and obviously when the (Arabian) sea sweaps in there is no access at all.
Plans are to remove the deteriorated structure and replace it with a glowing white, marble one.
1026 troughs + hundreds of people = washing machine!
Every day thousands of kgs of dirty clothes come to the Dhobi Ghat and are beaten and scrubbed, hung out to dry, folded and returned to sender... whites are whites and coloureds are bright. The system of getting the correct laundry back to the right person must be absolutely fantastic because this really is the biggest (himan) washing machine in the world - it covers the entire hamlet. It is awesome to watch and best seen from the Mahalaxmi train stations bridge.
This was the one thing I really wanted to see in Mumbai and the one thing I am pleased to have seen! I was left gobsmacked with the efficiency but hastled by the swarm of children wanting me to buy from them!
I "did" laundry in Mumbai... I am supposing it came via here ^^
From the 2nd to the 9th century these caves were used by Buddhists monks as monasteries and temples. If you are in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park they are worth a trip to but they are certainly not worth a conserted effort to see. The Elephanta Caves are more worth while and certainly Kanheri are not a patch on Ellora or Ajanta.
Having been to all 3 of the aforementioned caves, in 45 degree heat I did not manage to conjure enough stamina to looks around all the caves here. Instead I climbed back down to where there was an entertaining chatter of monkeys and chose to watch them instead!
From inside the entrance of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park take the bus (it's about 5kms away, a small fee the only way to get there!). The bus ride takes you around the edge of a jungle ravine which is nice. Once at the cave entrance there is a café but nothing else. The buses seem to return on the hour and there is nowhere comfortable or in the shade to wait (as I discovered to my discomfort and boredom!).
Fed up with the hustle and bustle in Mumbai? Then this is an ideal excursion!
My Lonely Planet presented me with a certain image of getting down with the wildlife... what with it being 104sq km of protected tropical forest... I saw a lone lizard. However, it is a nice place to go to to relax and it is not at all touristy... only locals out for a walk. There is a section of lake that you can hire a pedal boat on... even this seemed like exceptionally hard work in the summer heat... but was nice and kept the children amused for as long as we had the stamina!
There is a lion & tiger safari which you can take a jeap around - unfortunately due to a man being eaten by the lions the night beofre this was closed when we were there! Do be sure to take your own supplies (eg plenty of water).
From inside the park it is also possible to catch a bus to visit the Kanheri Caves.
Take the train from Churchgate to Borivali which costs me 22p for 2 adults and 2 children (the only other thing I can think of that is this cheap is maybe a box of matches!). From Borivali take a rickshaw to the park. NB we couldn't understand our rickshaw drivers charades but what he was asking if we wanted him to stay with us and drive us around the park or whether he should simply dump us att he entrance. We said dump and run. After we had finished sweating our bodies around the park we thankfully found a rickshaw inside the park who took us back to the entrance before we collapsed in meltdown! Don't assume there will be rickshaws available for you though - the majority have passengers they are taking around!
There is a small entrance fee for the park.
At the Gateway of India you will find a line of ticket offices and a large number of touts - they want your business! The boat trips start around 0930 and leave approx every 30 minutes from the harbour. Once you have your ticket check which "gate" your boat is waiting at and climb aboard.
Elephanta Caves are 9km from land and the boats are not speedy... treat this as a good 1/2 day trip from the city. Once on the island you can take the toy train or walk (the 5 minutes). There is an island tax to pay (minimal) and then of course an entrance fee to the caves (as always one price for Indians and add another 200INR at least for the foreigners!)
Elephanta Caves are an UNESCO World Heritgae Site. If you have, in your Indian journies, already visited the Ellora Caves or the Ajanta Caves you are not going to bowled over BUT they are still VERY impressive and they get you away from the hustle and the bustle of Mumbai for the best part of a day!
The caves were "created" circa AD450 & AD750 at a time when the island was known as Gharapuri.
The temples are dedicated to Shiva and there is an incredible bust of Shiva with 3 faces and eyes closed which means eternal contemplation. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Elephanta.
There are facilities on the island, a couple of cafés and a complete market of souvenirs lining the stairs to the caves entrance... haggle hard and if you see a fixed price lable make sure it doesn't magically remove itself prior to the sale!
Directions: Gateway of India for the boat.
Across the road from the Gateway of India you will not fail to see the elegant and impossing fairytale like structure which is the Taj Mahal Palacce & Tower. It was built in 1903 and suffered a dreadful terrorist attack in 2008 (from which it took a mere 3 weeks to be reconstructed, blessed and reopened!).
If, like me, your budget is not stretching the extra mile for you to stay at this hotel you can pop in and have a snoop around! You can eat here, drink here, or, like me, use the bathroom facilities here (do be sure to have some change about your person if you do this as there WILL be an attendant and he/she WILL help you find an unoccupied cubicle and then help you to wash and dry your hands!)
Lining the street in front of the gateway you will find a number of ostentatious (silver) gilded horse drawn carriages.
The idea of being pulled around in one of these units did not appeal to me. It was stinking hot and I felt that there would be absolutely zero pleasure for the poor horse who would have had to endure the heavy weight. I therefore have no idea what outrageous amount they may or ma not charge... you would have to make your own enquiries!
Address: Gateway of India
In 1911 King George V visited India and to commemorate this event the Gateway of India was built. Construction was completed in 1924.
The area around the gateway is busy, busy, busy! People will try to sell you giagantic balloons, ice creams, boat trips (to the Elephanta Caves), postcards, photographs, jewellery etc... the upside of so many people and so much activity is that once you have said "no thank you" you will not be badgered... there are enough people to keep even the fiercest hawkers and touts run off their feet!
This is where you must come to get a boat to Elephanta. You can also take a gilded horse-drawn carriage for you can pop across and nose around the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel There is little else to do once you have taken your shots of the gateway... unless you enjoy people watching in which case - eat your heart out!
Directions: EVERYBODY knows where this landmark is!
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