Chloe, one of our India specialists, recently experienced the everyday local activities found in the bustling city of Mumbai, from seeing the fisherman arrive at 5 in the morning to witnessing the Dabbawallas running around the city.
All will agree that as soon as you enter the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Mumbai, you are fully immersed into a colorful yet contrasting city that is hugely rich in culture. In comparison to the rest of India, Mumbai is relatively liberal due to the confluence of varied cultural beliefs. This, amongst other factors, contributes to the diverse and vibrant atmosphere that you are immediately drawn into. This cosmopolitan city is also symbolized by the presence of Bollywood which has played a large role in the development of cinematography. Bollywood produces the 2nd highest number of films every year, coming after Hollywood.
As a traveler coming to the city I could not recommend it more highly to Scott Dunn guests, it is a place where there is something for everyone, including families; fascinating sight-seeing tours, unique adventurous experiences, amazing restaurants, shopping (particularly jewelry and textiles) and delicious street food.
For my first morning in the city I visited the Worli Fishing Village, which is nestled amongst the modern architecture and skyscrapers that capitalize the financial district. This village is 600 hundred years old and is a settlement for the traditional fishing community. Walking through the village you feel as if you have been transported back to olden times, observing the people and their daily duties as if nothing has changed. The tour gives you a first-hand view into the lives of this vibrant community.
My next stops were to the iconic attractions that make up Mumbai. The Gateway of India is a renowned city landmark and is remarkable as it was once the only gateway into India before the invention of airplanes! Nearby, whilst driving along the Marine Drive, you will see amazing views of the curved Front Boulevard by the sea. This is also referred to as the Queen’s Necklace as at night the pretty lights capture the bustling city life of Mumbai. A sight that will make you love the city at night just as much as in the day. The beautiful Jain temples are also a must-do, you will be overwhelmed as you gain an insight into Jainism. Another fascinating experience is to witness the Dabbawallas – Tiffin Carriers as they deliver hundreds of thousands of hot food lunch boxes to resident workers daily. This occurs between 11am – midday and is spectacular to witness.
The most moving way to see the city is at dawn. This unique experience will captivate you as you have a true insight into the underbelly of the city and how it functions so magnificently. I woke at the crack of dawn and began a tour at 5am; it was well worth the early rise! The Sassoon Docks were our first point of call to see how the daily catch of 20 tonnes of fish arrive in the city. We then moved to witness the extraordinary newspaper vendor distribution network. You are directly amongst the bustle of hundreds of workers sitting on the roads sorting and organising all the different varieties of newspapers. One thing that was poignant was how incredible it is to see these men doing this so efficiently when a large percentage of them are illiterate.
Next I saw men and woman from all walks of life at the Crawford Market bargaining with the wholesale fruit and vegetable vendors, to pick up fresh produce for their families for the day ahead. If you are like me, quite an adventurous type and love to get involved, this will be a true highlight as you feel as if you are part of the hustle and bustle of a very different day-to-day life.
The exploration continued to my witnessing the daily lives of bread boys carrying their delicious smelling fresh bread, the milkmen riding past in their milk trucks, workers at the Dhobi Ghats (a huge open-air laundry), vendors at the spice and vegetable market, as well as the stunning flower market.
The fabulous array of color and variety of aromas is so impressive and will stick with you as a long-lasting memory of India. There is so much to offer in this lively city and is well worth the visit to start your Indian adventure, even if for only a few days!
For more information on our customized vacations to India, give one of our Consultants a call on 0203 603 3555 or visit scottdunn.com