Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mumbai tour in two days :D

I was in Mumbai this week with my father for three days for an academic purpose. It was my father’s first and my second visit to Mumbai. I had been to Mumbai earlier as a part of excursion trip during my 11th Std. During my trips I like to maximize my time and visit as many places as possible, mostly of historical importance.

So after getting done with the academic task at hand I had an evening and three quarters of the next day at hand for Mumbai Sightseeing. My Mumbai friend had told me the best way to travel in the city is by local train, but I was a bit apprehensive regarding this because whichever documentary or travelogue I had seen on Mumbai on Lifestyle channels always showed people hanging from everywhere in the local trains and a lot of shoving and pushing going on. As I am pretty clumsy  I was sure that I would be run over in a stampede if I took the trains.

Pic taken from the Ferry
However it turned out, I was living very far away from the places I wanted to visit and Mumbai is a humongous city. So I fearfully travelled to the nearest station to board the train to CST. It was around 3 at noon and imagine my shock when I found it to be sparsely crowded and  I actually got a seat :O and happily travelled the distance to CST seated and watching one shanty after another pass by :-|  

So first stop  after getting down at CST was the Gateway of India.  I remembered the first time I was there in 2007, I had already read about the history of the Taj Mahal Place hotel and how it was a gift to the city of Bombay by J.N Tata and wonderful stories about Taj. The Taj along with the Gateway makes a beautiful panoramic view. I had planned a ferry ride to the Elephanta Caves from the gateway, but turned out that the last ferry for the day had already left. Hard luck :-( .

Anyway to make up for that I took a ferry ride around the Apollo Bunder (Bunder is port not monkey you sillies!!) . It turned out to be an amazing experience, cool gusts of wind playing with your  hair. To enjoy the experience further I went and stood on one end edge of the steamer boat and got an absolutely wonderful view from there. I Gazed in awe at the Gateway and the Taj as we left the port and tried to steady myself against the strong breeze, as it threatened to blow me away :D. In all a wonderful experience.

The next stop was Chowpatty through a taxi drive through Marine Drive. The beach side was rather dirty. :-/ and I was awfully hungry as well. There were wonderful snacks kiosks but there was sand blowing everywhere, I was afraid sand would get in the food and the food won’t be hygienic, but my stomach continued to growl and wagged its impatient finger at me and I decided to screw hygiene and indulge in some pav bhaji. It was mouthwatering!

I wanted to sit at the beach and watch the sunset. However my papa, who was with me, blatantly refused to sit at the dirty beach. See now you know where I get my genes!  But I was adamant; I sat down anyway and gazed into the horizon. But the sun refused to set no matter how much I gazed. It sets so late in Mumbai, Mumbai being in the west :-/ So I decided to leave. Anyway my papa was tapping his foot impatiently wanting to leave. He then suggested a walk through marine drive, so I feigned tiredness.  Last time I was there, I had only come across couple’s cooching cooing all over the length and breadth of marine drive so wanted to be spared this time. :-/

Then off we went to Colaba Causeway. My friend had suggested that’s a good place to shop because as she put it you get a lot of “pretty, pretty girl stuff “ there :D. She was right! However taking your father shopping or rather any boy is the worst idea ever :-/ Boys I tell you :-/ They hurry you along, have patience the size of a teaspoon, and call everything not worth it, so the shopping experience wasn’t that great. Though the merchandise on display was rather nice :D Will shop some other time in future maybe. I am optimistic like that :D

On my floor in the IIPS hostel. These three kittens would come
and sit infront of a  door, every night. Arent they adorable?:D
I am slowly beginning to feel I am a cat person!:O they are small and cute.
Big dogs scare me :-(
Then I  went to catch a local at CST To begin my journey back to Govandi where I was staying at the IIPS(International institute of Population Sciences) . It was around 7 , there was like a massive sea of people at the station. And I finally got to see the real face of the Mumbai local trains, the kind they show in documentaries and shuddered inwardly.

The next day I planned a trip to SiddhiVinayak. Oh did I mention I finally changed my phone , I got myself a Samsung Galaxy Y. A rather nice phone it is. I used the netpack in it for the first time in Mumbai and was surprised by the efficiency of the GPS and Google maps feature. Makes travelling rather simple! I planned my entire trip on that likeaboss :D . I even sat and gave taxi driver, who was at a loss as to where IIPS is, directions from it.  It gives you everything from which bus number to catch and from where, all step by step directions, I was rather impressed. Those of you who have been using Android phones since ages please don’t roll your eyes at my gushing, let me make my own little discoveries and enjoy the pleasant surprises life and technology  throws up.

I reached Siddhivinayak and had expected to find a huge snake like queue there. But surprise surprise the queue was really short! :O I didn’t get pushed or shoved and prayed fervently and peacefully as well. The sanctum where the idol is kept is really beautiful and has beautiful chandelier which reflects light from the gold plated sanctum. On the right of the sanctum there are four idols of mice (Ganesha ji’s Vahana). I saw people going to it as well and what seemed like then kissing Mouse ji’s ears :O. I went to take a closer look at this ritual and found that people were actually bending down and whispering in Mouse’ji’s ears,  then out of the blue I faintly recalled having read or heard somewhere that one is supposed to whisper their wishes in Mouse ji’s ears and he would carry it to Ganeshji. I stood there for a minute or so observing how the ritual is supposed to be done. I noticed that while whispering in one ear , people were covering the other ear of the mice. I tried to put two and two together and concluded Mouse ji is like us human beings in this aspect and in order to ensure that what mouse ji hears from one ear doesn’t go out of the other, we need to cover the other ear (so that mouse ji doesn’t ek kaan se sun ke durse kaan se nikal denge :D ). I whispered my wishes in Mouse ji’s ears for at least 5-6 minutes. I had a huge wish list for lots of people you see. I am greedy like that. I have to say this is one of the cutest ritual I have come across in any sacred site :D.

Pic is not that nice :-/ couldnt make out what
I was capturing on the LCD coz the sun
 was too bright .
My next stop was Nehru Science Centre as it was in a nearby area. The architecture of the building is magnificent and the sprawling lawn in its front very scenic. There is a huge permanent Discovery of India Exhibition at the Science Centre. It is a must visit for any history lover. Its tracks everything from India’ freedom struggle, to birth of some of the greatest religions in India, to sacred sites, development of art, rise and fall of great civilizations. The unique aspect of the exhibition is that it leaves the journey of the discovery up to you. You choose your own journey of discovery of India based on your interests. I happen to like history and those of you who were thinking of muttering how boring can go drown in Worli Seaface :-/ . Oh history lovers can go to Prince of Wales museum too. Unfortunately I didn’t get time. Though I have had  a quick tour of it during my first visit to Mumbai. 

Here is a better pic of the 
science centre, 
Thank you Google. :D
Next stop was Atria Mall. It happened to be walking distance from the Science centre, and I had read that the mall offers a wonderful view of the Worli seaface. At the security check at the entrance, the guard lady who checked my bag saw a hibiscus and marigold flower I had taken from Siddhivinayak and had kept it in my bag in between books, she sought of touched it and did a Pranam to it. She looked at me , her eyes went to the vermillion tikka I had put on my forehead at SiddhiVinayak and she asked me : AAp Siddhivinayak gaye the? . I flashed a broad grin and nodded. :D Felt really nice to see people so attached to their God. 
Their shoes collection made me drool
and their prices made me cry

Atria turned out to be a very expensive mall with mostly luxury brands. I found myself staring through glass panels like a slumdog kid at Rolls Royce and Audi Cars, Ducati Bikes. I drooled at the wonderful heels and wedges at the ALDO showroom. Priced at around a measly Rs. 5000-12000 :-|. And what was supposed to be a panoramic view of the Worli Seaface turned out to be just a sandwiched glimpse of it from in-between  two huge buildings infront of the mall. :-| 

That’s it for my two day sightseeing in Mumbai. Coming from a small town, the hustle and bustle of this huge city was quite new to me. I just didn’t get why people own private vehicles here, everything is so far :O . It not like you can go to CST from Worli in your car :O Or can you? Will have to ask Mumbai friends :P . It’s a huge city. But very well connected via buses and trains.  I would definitely like to come back for a visit :D

P.S: The pics are from my mobile camera so they aren’t that nice. Plus the sun was shining with all its might and the LCD screen was reflecting sunlight, I couldn’t even make out what I was clicking, just went by estimation. :-|