Mum­bai

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS -

Mum­bai of­fers a daz­zling range of ex­pe­ri­ences, from ex­plor­ing the city’s fan­tas­ti­cal ar­chi­tec­ture to es­cap­ing into a tan­gle of jun­gle or go­ing bird­watch­ing. You can, in the space of a few days, take a boat trip to Ele­phanta is­land, with its an­cient cave tem­ples, ex­plore the sets of Bol­ly­wood, try his­toric Ira­nian recipes in a his­toric Parsi café, or cy­cle through the city in the early morn­ing as it slowly wakes up from a heavy sleep.

SCOPE OUT THE SPEC­TAC­U­LAR AR­CHI­TEC­TURE

Founded by two city ar­chi­tects, Bom­bay Her­itage Walks have been un­cov­er­ing Mum­bai’s dif­fer­ent ar­chi­tec­tural lay­ers for 20 years. You’ll feel dwarfed by the im­pe­rial bravado of the sea-fac­ing Gate­way of In­dia and en­light­ened by the Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ma­haraj Ter­mi­nus, a fever­ish Vic­to­rian Gothic sym­phony of de­sign. Learn about the build­ings’ col­or­ful his­to­ries, and dis­cover sur­pris­ing cor­ners, such as the sta­tion’s cathe­dral-like vaulted ceil­ing.

In­sider’s tip: As well as choos­ing be­tween two dif­fer­ent routes that take two hours each, par­tic­i­pants can opt for a com­bi­na­tion of the two, tak­ing three-and-a-half hours.

HANG OUT AT A PARSI CAFÉ

With soar­ing ceil­ings, droopy chan­de­liers, whirring fans that stir up the muggy city day, and tall stained-glass arched doors open­ing onto the street, Bri­tan­nia & Co is one of Mum­bai’s few re­main­ing grand old Parsi cafes. It’s still run by the 95-year-old Bo­man Ko­hi­noor, who rou­tinely re­gales for­eign visi­tors with af­fec­tion­ate mus­ings on the colo­nial era.

In­sider’s Tip: Do try Bri­ta­nia’s most fa­mous dishes — Ira­nian chicken, which re­sem­bles a rice-based biryani, served with cashews, tan­gi­bly sour bar­ber­ries, and caramelized onion, and a sin­fully deca­dently creamy and sub­tly fragrant crème caramel.

Open­ing times :Mon-Fri, 12pm-4pm; Sat, 11.30am-10pm; closed Sun­days

TAKE A TOUR THROUGH IN­DIAN HIS­TORY

The fab­u­lous Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ma­haraj Vastu San­gra­ha­laya mu­seum in South Mum­bai would be worth vis­it­ing for the build­ing alone, a colo­nial-era fan­tasy of eastern prom­ise, topped by a white dome and set in balmy palm-fringed gar­dens. How­ever, do spend time ex­plor­ing the 50,000-strong col­lec­tion of ar­ti­facts within, which in­clude hand-painted snuff bot­tles and the per­sonal suit of ar­mor of Mughal em­peror Ak­bar.

In­sider’s tip: While away con­tented hours in the cool mu­seum gal­leries to es­cape the heat and don’t for­get to pop to the mu­seum cafe­te­ria which is set in lush green gar­dens. There’s a par­tic­u­larly good mu­seum shop too.

Open­ing times: Daily, 10.15am-6pm

GET YOUR BOL­LY­WOOD ON

The es­capism dreamed up by Bol­ly­wood stu­dios is part of the lifeblood of In­dia, and al­though there are ma­jor film stu­dios else­where in the coun­try, no oth­ers have quite the hold on the na­tional imag­i­na­tion as those in Mum­bai. Through Bol­ly­wood Tours, glimpse some be­hind-the-scenes ac­tion at a shoot­ing stu­dio and ex­pe­ri­ence the fas­ci­na­tion your­self.

In­sider’s tip: Fully re­search the tour com­pa­nies as some are al­ter­na­tive out­fits un­der sim­i­lar names who charge for an over­priced, un­der­whelm­ing tour.

Open­ing times : var­i­ous, bol­ly­wood tours. in

EX­PLORE THE RICHES OF MUM­BAI’S OLD­EST MU­SEUM

Amid the pas­tel-coloured colon­nades of the beau­ti­fully re­stored Dr. Bau Daji

Lad Mu­seum, dis­cover some of Mum­bai’s most re­mark­able trea­sures, in­clud­ing the ele­phant that gave Ele­phanta is­land its name. The mu­seum is a sur­vey of the soul, cul­ture and his­tory of the city: you can’t fail to be be­guiled by its col­lec­tion of early maps of the nascent city or dis­plays of tra­di­tional head­wear on an ar­ray of busts from the 1930s.

In­sider’s Tip:The mu­seum has a busy pro­gram of work­shops and talks for both adults and chil­dren, from cre­ative writ­ing to guided walks –check the web­site be­fore you go.

Open­ing times : 10am-6pm; closed Wed­nes­days.

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