HOW TO SEE THE CITY IN A DAY
Mumbai may not have the historic charm of
Mughal Delhi, but it does offer an interesting mix of art, culture and food—and, of course, it’s home to Bollywood. History comes in the form of British-era buildings, rows of art deco constructions as well as the urban villages where time seems to have stood still.
No Footprints, a city-based tour company founded by Harshvardhan Tanwar and Eesha Singh, has devised an eight-hour tour called Five Senses, which offers visitors a sizeable serving of the city’s melting pot of experiences. The tour begins at the Gateway of India, followed by a walk around the Fort area, covering the major landmarks of colonial Mumbai. Aimed at foreign tourists who treat Mumbai as a transit stop en route to Kerala, Goa or Rajasthan, the tour was conceptualised by Singh and is led by Tanwar. “While listening to stories about Mumbai’s history, visitors will also have a chance to watch the dabbawalas making their way through the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. We call this section of the tour ‘Sharada’s Mumbai’, after city historian Sharada Dwivedi, as she unearthed stories of these wonderful buildings and documented them in her book Fort Walks,” says Tanwar.
And while visiting landmark sites is worthwhile, a dose of contemporary culture is just as important. So next up is a dose of Mumbai’s sounds, exemplified by a session of Bollywood music and dance. Then, a Konkani thali takes care of taste, while a walk down Lalbaug’s Spice Market is a treat for the sense of smell. “Here, not only can you buy the spices, but also get them dry roasted and ground into the masala mix of your choice. It’s not uncommon to see ladies patiently waiting with bags full of spices and a recipe that has been handed down over generations,” reveals Tanwar. The tour, which begins at 8.30 in the morning, ends at 4.30 in the evening with a visit to a local NGO. “A perfect end to this colourful collage of experiences is to be able to touch people’s lives,” adds Tanwar.
A Slice of Mumbai (Clockwise from top left) the Lalbaug spice market; a Bollywood dance class; children at a local NGO