Mumbai is coined “sapno ki nagri”, or the city of dreams. And South Mumbai is at the heart of it.
South Bombay’s soul lies within the seamless blend of the historical and contemporary; we saw this reflected in the buildings, populace, culture, and food during our day trip to the area. We witnessed three of the many charms available in the region, and they were equally enthralling. I highlight those destinations of our itinerary below:
- Shri Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple: This is one of the most famous temples of the Hindu god Ganesh. It is believed that devotees’ wishes are granted by Lord Ganesh upon visiting this temple. Being a major tourist attraction, this temple is not only frequented by its Hindu devotees, but visitors from various walks of life. In fact, it is known to be busy everyday, with a huge throng of people especially on Tuesday, which is considered to be the Lord’s Day. Though we went on a Friday, we were still mentally prepared to wait in line for a long time. On the way to the temple, we saw countless stalls selling sweets and beautiful, vividly-colored garlands meant to be gifted to the god upon entering the shrine. Because wearing shoes inside Hindu temple premises isn’t permissible, there were also stalls that look after visitors’ footwear. Though we were not allowed to take photos of the shrine, I made sure to photograph one of the many shops that sold garlands on our way there. Upon arrival, we saw that the entire shrine was a stark golden color. Its main wooden doors had various images of Lord Ganesh carved onto it. These images reflect the multiple manifestations of the god.
Shrine of the temple. Not my image, since visitors are not permitted to photograph this area.
Garlands sold at one of the many stalls on the pathway to the temple.
2. The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel: This five-star hotel goes way back in the history books of India, so we of course couldn’t miss it. The European influence on the exterior, and the Indian designs on the interior, created an architectural blend that accurately captured the history of Bengal. Upon walking in, we were welcomed into a lounge that seemed fit for royalty. We brought our sweet tooth along for the afternoon tea that the Taj is known for, and it did not disappoint. The waiter told us about all the icons that lived here, including Obama and John Lennon. Although the British cake tiers weren’t available, there are savory dishes, colorful cakes, truffles, dainties, and sweets, and we did not leave hungry.
Main lobby of the Taj.
Eating in the restaurant!
Squinting in the sun outside the Taj!
- Gateway of India: By the waterfront of the Arabian Sea, the Gateway of India is considered the country’s most valued architectural structure. Judging by the amount of people there, I would believe it. This was the landing spot of the British in the harbor of Bombay, and the first thing anyone arriving by boat to Mumbai would see. It is always interesting to learn about the intricate edifices, like this gateway, that were built in history merely for the sake of grandeur. Although tourists are restricted from entering the great halls flanking the arch, the majestic appearance of the structure was no secret to any visitor. There are about two dozen photographers around the arch with professional cameras, a portfolio, and a printer at their feet, ready to take your photo and print it out for you right on the spot.
Gateway of India.