Walt Disney once said that if you can dream it, you can do it. Keeping this in mind, Imma kick start the New Year with a tour of the city of dreams itself. It’s time for some Mumbai Madness.
Mumbai is a second home to me. I’ve visited the city more times than I can count but this time, I went with a mission to bring out the city on the blog which made me discover the city like never before:) So without further ado, Imma start the tour from my favourite part of Mumbai….Let’s head to South Bombay….
South Bombay is essentially a glimpse into the very vintage look of British India. Most of the architecture in this area dates back to the British rule, giving it a very London-like look. This square here is one of the first structures that you can see on entering the area. I love the statue of the man at the top, looking over the traffic and silently judging his less-stone faced counterparts as they try to get through their daily commute:)
A few steps from the statue, we’ve got the Asiatic Library, one of the most iconic spots that define Mumbai. The Asiatic Library is affiliated to the Asiatic Society of Mumbai which was a sort of a learning centre that was established in India during the British rule. An interesting fact about the library is that it houses one of the original manuscripts of Dante’s Divine Comedy(the signed copy). Apparently in the 1930s Benito Mussolini wanted the said copy of the Divine Comedy but the Society denied his request.
I wonder if they have a copy of Harry Potter….
The steps of the library is observably a very popular photo spot. Climbing to the top also provides a great view of the street.
This is the street that the Asiatic Library overlooks. The area is called the ‘London Circle’ owing to its resemblance to the Swinging City. South Bombay has a whole treasury of old buildings and I love how the vintage stone architecture contrasts with the greenery of the park in the centre:)
A close-up of the London Circle.
Walking ahead from the Asiatic Library, there’s the Old Customs House which I believe has a lot to do with trade and shipping. What I love about the compound though, is the overall peace and quiet. I mean, when I photographed this, there were literally birds chirping and a light breeze blowing with no sound of traffic jarring in the background which is quite something to say for India’s busiest metropolis:)
The compound of the Old Customs House had a very cute post office and I simply had to take a picture!
Now, Imma show ya some very vintage and pretty buildings that form an integral part of Bombay’s beating heart.
This here is an old family-run business by the name of ‘NM Mehta and Co.’ which specialises in bathroom fittings, marble tiles etc. The company came into existence in 1914. Mumbai is home to some of the country’s most influential families since time immemorial. In fact a lot of the big names in the spheres of business, shipping, entrepreneurship and even entertainment and sport have found their fame in Mumbai, which is why it’s called ‘The City of Dreams’.
This is a building that I discovered for the first time during this trip. I love the arrangement of the windows and the arcs at the entrance. The building houses restaurants at present and one of them is actually a pizza joint. It must be grand fun to have a pizza in such a vintage building. It’s like living in two eras at once, hehe:)
Mumbai is not essentially green but once in a while, a tree or two really enhances the look of stone buildings. This picture here looks like a postcard that one’s received from Mumbai and the black and yellow taxis really add to the general prettiness.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is the highlight of South Bombay. There’s no Mumbai without the Taj and it is the most iconic place in the city. The Taj Hotel was built by Jamshedji Tata and it was opened in the December of 1903. The hotel was built as a gift to the city of of Mumbai by a citizen himself. The Tata family is one of the most powerful and influential families in India. They have a hold in all sectors, right from automobiles to common salt.
The Taj hotel has some of the most beautiful decor in Mumbai. I was there in Christmas so I could see all of the hotel’s holiday decor which was based on ‘The Nutcracker’ this year.
I love the vintage yet glamorous approach of the decor and every little detail is so well executed that one can simply just look at the decor for hours and still not get enough of it.
The Taj Hotel has been visited by famous people from all over the world. Right from Alfred Hitchcock to Kennedy to John Lennon and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the list goes on. The hotel has a small photo gallery and a visitors’ book showing the pictures and signatures of all the big names that have either visited or stayed at the hotel.
My favourite place at the Taj hotel is the pastry shop called ‘La Patisserie’.
The desserts here are simply delicious and the Christmas specials did not disappoint. We had Yule logs and Vanilla Macarons as an early dessert.
The Macarons are my favourite at La Patisserie! They are so creamy with the right amount of crispiness. The Vanilla and lemon ones are my favourite flavours. The Yule Log was delicious too although it’s tough to eat one in a single sitting as it’s so rich:)
The Taj Hotel is a symbol of tradition, love and strength. It’s come up after facing quite a lot of adversity, especially as it was one of the main sites of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai that happened in the year 2008. The entire hotel had been seized by terrorists and a lot of lives were lost. There’s a memorial held outside the hotel every year to commemorate the lost lives as well as a tribute to the army and the police force.
The Taj Hotel has a beautiful view of the Arabian Sea. I loved the arrangement of ferries in this picture. It’s so colourful:)
Right outside the Taj, there’s the Gateway of India, one of India’s most iconic monuments. It was built in the early 20th century to welcome the then Emperor of India, King George V. It’s also the port from where the British left India after the attainment of Freedom. Today, there’s regular ferry rides from the gateway and it’s one of my favourite things to do in Mumbai. Taking a ferry down the Arabian Sea is a must when visiting Mumbai. IT is another structure of resilience and courage as it’s been the site of two bomb-blasts in the city.
It’s very sad to see how hatred propels man to the extent of bloodshed. Mumbai has seen the worst side of man’s hatred and yet the city has risen to be a symbol of love, faith, harmony and most importantly, dreams:)
And that is a wrap!
I will be back next week with another blog, featuring a new area in Mumbai.
Until Next Time!
Paka and a very Happy New Year:)