Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan!

28th Sep 2019
Photo of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan! by Abhinav Jain

This time it is Mumbai or the city of dreams as one puts it. The place where more dreams are realized and extinguished than any other place in India. Ours was a two-day trip covering in and around Mumbai.

Day 1

We reached Bombay airport at around 7 in the morning. Since our hotel check-in was at 2 pm, we had plenty of time at our hands. We booked an Ola outstation for a round trip to Lonavala and Khandala. The place is around 90 km away from Mumbai and will take you a decent 2.5 - 3 hours drive to reach there. The best part, roads are great with an awesome view almost the entire way once you're out of the city.

The first attraction we visited there was the Bushi dam. The real beauty of the place is revealed during the monsoons when the rainfalls fill the dam to the brim and the overflow descends the steps, creating a mesmerizing effect. There were several small shops in the area which were serving mini snacks like corn, maggi, tea and pakoras.

Beware: Watch your step since it can be slippery here.

The water (over)flowing down the steps

Photo of Bushi Dam, Maharashtra by Abhinav Jain

Then we headed to the Tiger viewpoint. It gives you a real good look at the entire surroundings. The splendid view from the top will fill your mind with peace and help you think clearly. This is an amazing place to disconnect from the city noise and clear your mind.

Of course, the actual view is much better with the naked eye than a 48-megapixel lens

Photo of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan! by Abhinav Jain

After a fulfilling stop at the Tiger viewpoint, we headed towards the Karla caves. These caves, carved from a rocky hillside, are among the oldest Buddhist cave shrines in India. Once you're on foot, you will have to climb some 400-500 steps to reach the caves. And the ticket counter closes around 5 pm, so make sure to get there before this.

Cave 1

Photo of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan! by Abhinav Jain

Cave 2

Photo of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan! by Abhinav Jain

We had to skip the Pavana lake since we were getting late. So, we decided to take a final stop at the Khandala viewpoint before finally heading back to Mumbai. It provides a very good view of the sunset.

Empty roads - a sight rare in Mumbai

Photo of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan! by Abhinav Jain

On the way back, we stopped to get some Lonavala specialties. Chikki and Fudge are the best delicacies there. We got some crushed groundnut chikki. The best part about this is that the chikki holds good for up to two months, without any sort of refrigeration.

We checked in to our hotel in Mumbai at around 8:30 pm. I found it really difficult to find a good couple-friendly hotel in all of Mumbai around the Colaba region.

Once we had dinner, we still had some time left with us before the day would finally end. So we decided to hit Marine drive. The whole of city boundary is visible from here, brightly lit up skyscrapers making the most of it. It's a good place for a group of friends/couples to hang out or just chill out alone watching the sea waves hit the shore.

Skyline from the Marine drive (Source: not my camera)

Photo of Marine Drive, Churchgate, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Abhinav Jain

And thus, our day one ended on a high note.

Day 2

The next day started at the Gateway of India. The most famous Taj hotel is just in front. From here, if you want to visit the Elephanta caves also, you need to take a ferry which runs every half an hour from here starting at 9 am till 2 pm.

The gateway of India and the famous Taj standing tall and bright

Photo of Gateway Of India Mumbai, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Abhinav Jain

We decided to rest for a little while before hitting the next spot on our list.

We found ourselves at the Bandra Fort. Make sure to visit the fort before 6 pm as it closes early. The fort in itself may be little, but provides the best view of the Worli sea link that there is.

There's the famous sea link on the top best viewed from the Bandra fort

Photo of Bandra Fort, Mount Mary, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Abhinav Jain

Early into the evening, we decided to come to the famous Chowpatty via the Worli sea link for the evening snacks. They have sort of a food fare that runs till late in the night serving a variety of snacks, mainly accommodating pani poori, pav bhaji, dosas, pizzas, sandwiches, and a variety of kulfis and paan for dessert.

Chowpatty street food party (They have stalls with proper seating too :P)

Photo of Chowpatty Seaface, Chowpatty, Gamdevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Abhinav Jain

Once we were full, we headed to the Colaba Causeway market, where they have all kinds of things ranging from women's tops to earrings to Mumbai souvenirs. Your bargaining skills are sure to be tested here. You may start with a cost price of INR 500 and end up taking the same item for anything ranging between INR 200-250. So, you can guess the level of haggling that goes around there.

Just imagine the adrenaline rush pumping through the veins of the shoppers here

Photo of Colaba Causeway Market, Bakery Ln, Army Area, Nofra, Navy Nagar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Abhinav Jain

In the end, we again headed back to Marine drive, where we ended up having a nice long walk while having mini snacks along the way.

Commute across Mumbai

The transport network is surprisingly good here. You can either take an Ola/Uber or go via the local 'kaali peeli' cabs that run here. The best part about the kaali peeli is that they run to the meter and the cabbies don't ask you to pay over and above the meter price. Even with the cab aggregators like Ola/Uber, the drivers will never call and ask you the destination so that they can cancel the trip, which is a major problem in other parts of the country. I loved the kaali peeli experience. No booking the cab on the app, no waiting, no telling the driver the directions to your pickup were few advantages over the conventional cab booking methods. Plus, they charge you less :) So, it's a win-win.

A Kaali Peeli taxi (literally black and yellow)

Photo of Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan! by Abhinav Jain

You can either choose to travel via the Worli sea link, which has a toll (single side INR 70 / double side INR 105) or via the other route, which saves you money but may take an extra 30-45 mins depending on the traffic conditions.

All in all, our trip was a huge success.

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