I finally had a chance to travel to Mumbai for work for couple days. I took up the opportunity to spend a weekend in "City of Dreams" to do some exploring.
I didn't want to pack to much as I only have one and half days, so I decided just to do some city walking around south Mumbai. August is still part of the monsoon season, but it rains dramatically less than July, but a proper pair of waterproof and comfy walking shoes and an umbrella are something you should consider if you want to do a city walking tour.
First stop, the Gateway of Inida, the most iconic monument built during the 20th century in Mumbai. You cannot come to Mumbai and not visit the Gateway of India. I arrived at the site around 8am, there were already numbers of tourists. I recommended to get there early if you want to avoid crowds as it gets busy very fast.
The beautiful Taj Mahal Palace Hotel still standing gracefully after the 2008 attack.
The landmark is full of pigeons and crows. If you don't like them, this place may be not for you. But I quite liked watching these birds. The feeding ground is fenced up; but you can pay for a bag of grains and go inside of the fenced area to feed birds.
After the Gateway of Inida, I started walking north towards to Horniman Circle Garden, one of the largest parks in southern Mumbai. The garden is surrounded by beautiful office buildings that were built in the 18th century, mainly comprising the city's premier banks.
I continued walking to my next stop, Churchgate Railway Station. On the way, I passed by a famous second hand bookstores in Mumbai. The book stores were set up right on street with thousand of books stacked up. All of them were covered with blue plastic sheets to protect the book from the monsoon rain. I picked up a copy of Lonely Planet India travel guide which only cost me about US$4.
Churchgate station is the Southern terminus on the Western Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway, one of the busiest stations in Mumbai. Many tourists visit the station to experience the rush hours when local people fight their lives to get on the train.
On a corner of the station building, a large coloured mural of Mahatma Gandhi is on display. The painting was done by a Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra in 2017. The paint shows Mahatma Gandhi deboarding a train during the time of the Indian freedom struggle and the railways helped in spreading the independence movement.
Another reason people want to visit this station is because they want to meet the local Dabbawalas, they are the people who collects hot food from the homes of workers in the late morning, delivers the lunches to the workplace and returns the empty boxes to the worker’s residence that afternoon. During lunch time, a lot of dabbawalas arrive at Churchgate station to meet their customers and deliver the lunch tiffins.
The Dabbawalas made me hungry, so I headed back to hotel for late lunch and a quick nap before my last visit of the day, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Station (CST). It is also known as Victoria Terminus. It was build over 140 years ago in a Gothic-revival and now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I wasn't able to stay out for very long as it started to pour. My day of exploring had to end early. There are so many other places I want to see in Mumbai, I guess I have to come back for more.