Cradled in nature’s lap, with an extravaganza of its bounty all around, along with cool winds and peace - this is the vista that comes to mind when one envisions famous tourist destinations around the world. Well, Mumbai is the complete antithesis of that vision - no greenery, no mountains at all and definitely no peace! Then why do tourists flock to Mumbai every year, every season? What charm does Mumbai exude to attract tourists in such huge droves?
Today, on World Tourism Day, we celebrate the spirit of all the backpackers, hitchhikers and explorers. Read on to find out what makes Mumbai such a popular tourist destination!
1. The Bombay Climate:
To begin with, we have the Mumbai climate. Without leaning towards the abominable extremes of weather conditions, Mumbai’s climate ensures that tourists don’t need to look up the perfect time or the perfect season to visit! Their tour won’t be marred with frigid winds or sweltering sunshine, whenever they choose to come. Unlike the constraints some tourist destinations seem to place upon the visitor - like Rajasthan being out of question during summer and Mahabaleshwar at its best in Monsoon - you have a perfectly reasonable and enjoyable tourist destination throughout the year in the welcoming Mumbai.
Not to mention the buzz of life, 24x7x52. So if you want to follow an electric lifestyle in your holidays, Mumbai would be one of the top places to visit. Whenever you venture out into the city, the liveliness at all times of the day and night will strike you anew!
2. The Bombay Cuisine:
The way to tourists’ heart is through their stomach, and Mumbai certainly does not disappoint in that respect. The streets are covered by a variety of food stalls; Mumbai has proved itself to not shy away from putting a sumptuous-looking mélange of cuisines up on offer!
For those with a taste of fast food and chaat, Mumbai boasts of some delectable stuff, like Samosa-pav, Vada-pav, Pav Bhaji etc. Hangout spots like Girgaum Chowpatty snack shops, Amar Juice Centre and Juhu Chowpatty have gained legendary fan following among the backpackers!
On the other hand, one need go only as far as Mohammad Ali road if one wishes for succulent meats of all kinds cooked up into curries and delicious kababs.
This is not all; Pure Konkani meals to make you sweat because of the fiery spice, pure Maharashtrian meals that will tickle all your taste buds, and many other cuisines are amongst the ones Mumbai has adopted, and puts up proudly on show.
Simply speaking, the cuisine of Mumbai is an assault on the senses ;)
3. The Nerves of the City..
The biggest problem in a city of Mumbai’s proportions is the transport facilities, and how much time it takes to go from Point A to Point B. Traffic is a headache, and transport is a bit of a headache. No qualms, however, for the local trains - the nerves of the city, so to speak - run through the day to whisk you from one place to another! Granted, there’s some trepidation in boarding a local the first time. However, once you get used to it, there’s no mean of transport more convenient.
Besides, you have rickshaws, buses and taxis for short-distance transport. The unique modes of transport make Mumbai an absolute haven for those birds of passage!
4. Places to visit :
Finally we come to what there is to actually see in Mumbai - as mentioned before, there aren’t many places that one could liken to heavenly peace or greenery. What, then, is up on offer for seeing? Various infrastructural marvels scattered throughout the city, like the Worli Sea Link. It is a great example which show the extent of progress in infrastructure.
One of the most spectacular views is presented by the sea. Mumbai has a vast coastline and a number of beaches to kick your shoes off and enjoy. Lying back on the sand looking at the vast expanse of water, building sandcastles and munching on ‘chanas’ will make all your stress vanish in a jiffy.
Apart from these, you have marine drive, the most beloved night-time hang out spot for college-students, Gateway of India which is the termination and break-down point of all night-outs, the grand and beautiful Haji Ali Mosque and much beyond.
An art buff can find sanctuary in places like the renowned National Centre for Performing Arts and Prithvi Theatre, while the historian in you may find solace in haunts like Victoria & Albert Museum, Bombay Natural History Society and Prince of Wales Museum. The city can proudly proclaim to have something for everyone! ;)
5. Markets, bazaars and much more
Those looking for bargain buys, fabulous photo opportunities or interesting souvenirs to take back home won’t be disappointed! Home to some of the most chic places and the cheapest street marts alike, Mumbai presents a cornucopia of options to those looking at either side of the coin. The latest threads which are creating a sensation, to the handicrafts prepared by workers in their houses - the city offers alluring options for anyone with a few bucks - or a few hours, for that matter - to spend.
Colaba causeway will feel like one of the most natural places for a tourist to step into and start shopping. Offering just about everything from jewellery and crystals to incense and handicrafts, this place lives up to the old Indian adage, “sab kuch milega” i.e you’ll get anything you want. Dodge persistent balloon sellers, get your name written on rice grains and feast yourself on the plethora of goods available at Colaba Causeway!
Chor Bazaar is another of the favorite haunts for shoppers. A place famous by reference in movies, the cheap thrills up on sale are a delight, and you can get yourself great bargains for antiques and vintage items.
A rant about the shopping scene in Mumbai won’t seem to have an end, though. So rushing quickly through the rest, Kala Ghoda pavement gallery will satiate the artsy types with some brilliant renditions of paintings ranging from portraits to religious paintings. Linking Road is the place to go for clothes and accessories, while Fashion Street will suffice for the fashion cravings of the teenagers and college students!
Lively markets are something you can definitely be assured of seeing in Mumbai!
6. That Bollywood Connection..
Ah, yes, much has been made of the eternal love affair between Mumbai and Bollywood. The City of Dreams offers not just cuisine, places to shop and splurge, but also offers glamour in an equal measure. After all, one of the leading cine-industries in the world is at Mumbai! It has been at the heart of all that’s been grand, memorable and regal about Bollywood over the years.
Visit the Film City and take a look at the places where the shooting actually takes place. Walk past the gates of ‘Mannat’ and ‘Jalsa’, and also make sure you visit the Maratha Mandir, which still premiers movies like DDLJ! Nostalgia overload, this one ;)
It isn’t only about the places; The biggest part of what Mumbai has to offer in terms of Bollywood connection has to do with the personalities. It’s people like Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan that truly confer upon Mumbai the title, The City of Dreams.
Mumbai is a shrine to the monumental impact Bollywood has had on our lives, and that’s another thing that you won’t find any place else!
Travelling first renders you speechless. Then it turns you into a storyteller. We hope you’ve enjoyed this short walkthrough of the magical city that Mumbai is. But remember what they say, better see something once than hear about it a thousand times! So do visit here once, for the city is rich in experiences to offer and as already mentioned, has something for everyone :)
Keep that hitchhiking spirit alive, folks! Travel, gather experiences, explore the world and revel in it, for memories are infinitely more precious than bits of paper ;)
Happy World Tourism Day!