¡Historieta número tres!
This guide will take you through all the spots that you must not miss in Mumbai. [Sure, there are very many places, especially if you have a specific idea for your visit (trying food, going to temples, etc..) but, if you are only here for a day, or a few... this are the few spots that I visited, and made for a perfect, well rounded experience.]
Gateway of India
A good starting point for your day is this beautiful Indo-Saracen monument, that took four years to be completed in 1924.
This site is open twenty-four hours, every day. You will go through security to get close to it and will be greeted by dozens of photographers, so be prepared. A lot of tour guides fish here too, so have a mindset ready. Are you interested in a half day tour? Full day? A tour of the slums? Etc. This is also the place to go if you wish to visit UNESCO heritage site Elephanta Island.
Also, take a look at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, an architectonic delight.
Elephanta Island, The Island of Gharapuri
“The ‘City of Caves’, on an island in the sea of Oman close to Bombay, contains a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian Art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave.”
I was not able to visit because of monsoon season and the sea was very choppy. Here is what you need to know: every half hour a boat leaves from 9:00 to 14:00. The last one from the island, leaves at 17:00. It is about an hour long ride. 180 for foreigners. Entry to cave is 500 for foreigners. A guide will charge 100-200 and they will always ask for “luck”.
Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya
Whether you know everything there is to know about Gandhi or you just know of him, this place is a must. This house has a recreation of his life in figurines, a library, the actual spaces and things preserved and a few of his most inspiring quotes to inspire you in more ways than every single book or documentary on him could. This was (still) is his space, you can feel it. This house was a part of his life, his movement. It is a place where you can learn and be moved.
It is open to the public every day from 9:00 to 18:00.
After Ghandi's house we were taken to a Jain Temple where there are very strict rules as to how to visit and also, where we saw a very good explanation of it's dogma or beliefs.
After gazing at this beautifully carved and ornamented temple, we were taken throughout the city to marvel at monuments we had walked by, but with an excellent conversation as center piece. At this point the driver had shed some light on important aspects of religion, politics and day to day ways of thinking, which made the whole day waaay worth it. With saying's like "from east to west India is best", "too much democracy", "to many men" and "do or die", we had a tighter grip of how it is for him. He always said he worked so that his son would have the best education, which is a sentiment that, I believe, almost every parent in many different countries can relate to.
We also visited the hanging gardens, which were a delight. Then, we were taken to a laundry, "Mumbai Laundry" as he called it, where everything is washed, colored and ironed.
Thanks to Hector Arizmendi for the pics!
Within the laundry, they have a school, where we saw about 7 kids getting ready to head home! They were very curious and friendly, a few of them waved, all of them smiled and a few others said "Hello!".
This little lady right here was learning how to write her name and we learned, that they learn 3 different types of alphabet characters as well as English. Very much impressed!!
We also walked into some guys having their lunch! Sorry! and we realized that almost every culture has a type of bread or carb that goes with the rest of their food. For example, they have naan and papad, and if you are there long enough you feel like there is no difference between a naan with chicken tika and a soft taco or a masala papad (which I discovered laaaaate in my trip to my disdain..) and a tostada.
Now I'm hungry!