Mumbai, India…After a fantastic experience in Taj Mahal, Agra, I decided to end my journey in Mumbai. It is said that when you go to Mumbai, you are stepping into the front door of India. Mumbai is a port city, on the west coast of the Indian peninsula, which was called Bombay until 1995. The name Mumbai is derived from Mumba Devi, a goddess of the local Koli fishing people.
My interest increased when our friendly guide told us that the city is one of India’s most dominant urban centers and one of the largest, most densely populated cities in the world. The city is also famous, as the heart of the Bollywood film industry,. Without a doubt, I was hoping to have a glimpse of my heart throb, Aamir Khan (avid fan here).
I remembered seeing a large number of people riding a train in social media; and it made me wonder. What it is like, to ride a crazy train in India? So I asked my supportive boyfriend and his tour guide friend to let me ride on one of the world’s busiest trains,“Mumbai’s Local Railway”. To my surprise I got a seat! I had already conditioned myself to a face to face a battle with a mob, just to get a seat. I even joked with our guide by asking“where’s your people?” He just give me a good smile and said “you’ll see”.
From station to station, to station the train filled with people. When it was our turn to leave my boyfriend was at my back and our guide was in front, wrestling against the flow of people, until we finally got out of the train. It was the longest 20 seconds of pure bedlam I have ever spent. I saw the victory smile from our guide congratulating me, as I manage to get out of the train in one piece. It was a bit scary but it was also a fun, awesome experience. I must say, our guide was very good in taking care of us and in granting my crazy request.
I was amazed while walking along the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic railway station in Mumbai Maharashtra, which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. When you look around, it feels like you are in a scene of a Harry Potter movie. The place has a touch of a British railway; the vintage type and that makes the station even more unique!
I enjoyed walking around Mumbai because food and refreshing drinks are everywhere and my eyes were amazed of the structures around the stations. It is like you are walking along the streets of London. The vintage buildings and taxis make you feel that you are traveling in time. The city is not a threatening place at all. We felt secure and decided to walk to appreciate Mumbai. I enjoyed cheap restaurants and loved how they represent the flavors of India in every dish.
After enjoying the food we went to our main reason for visiting Mumbai, to see the Gate of India. The Gate was built in order to commemorate the British rule in India, It is located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai and overlooks the Arabian Sea. The structure was erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary, when they visited India in 1911. Today the gate is now one a major tourist attraction .I felt honored to see one of the historical places in India, as I gazed at the gate’s beauty, I felt that I was a part of the history even though I am an ocean and centuries away.
To add to its beauty, at the opposite view of the gate is one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in India, known as Taj Hotel which is also a famous tourist attraction. After a moment of appreciation, we walked along Mumbai Bay where there is a long flatform so everyone can sit, relax, talk and watch the sunset. I enjoyed the place so much that I did not notice the car horns on the busy road.
All in all Mumbai is a mixture of the grandest colonial-era architecture, unique bazaars, hidden temples,history, modernization, authentic restaurants and nightlife. I can say that I was fully content visiting and I can definitely share with excitement to everyone the amazing moments I had in Mumbai. This is a city well worth visiting.