27th September is regarded as World Tourism Day. While we explore the famous and beautiful places around the country & the world, it is not always feasible to set time from work. So, it is always best to become a tourist and explore the city you live, which is what we have been doing time and again over the past few years in the city of dreams - Mumbai. Here's a guide to being Musafir in Mayanagari and exploring your city, the Mumbaikar Way.
1. Breakfast with Pigeons
Where: Gateway of India
When: Early Morning, around 6.30 AM
What's Special: Ever experienced feeding the pigeons from your own hand? If not, then this is the must try experience one can get in Mumbai. Early morning, just as the sun is about to rise from behind the Gateway of India, you feel the presence of dozens of wings fluttering right above your head. All it takes is a few grains on an extended palm for the pigeons to accept your invitation for breakfast. The feeling when the pigeons pluck the grains from your hand is completely ecstatic. And the sun rise from the far end of Gateway will definitely lighten up the day.
2. Experience Parsi Cuisine at Heritage Irani Restaurant
Where: Kyani & Co., Marine Lines
When: Mon to Sat - 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM. Sun - 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM
What's Special: Just 110 years young, Kyani & Co is one of the best Parsi Cafes in Mumbai. With its rattling, sky-high ceiling fans, bentwood chairs and mosaic tiling, it exudes an old-school Persian charm. Always bustling with people, young & old alike, one must indulge in special khari biscuits, crisp mutton patties, spicy keema pav, creamy scrambled eggs, flavorful Irani Tea & Moist Mava Cake.
And these are just the dishes that are served on your table. They have a separate counter altogether specially dedicated to serve the bakery items like cakes, pastries, sweets and desserts. Boy, the Parsis know how to bake. Each and every item on display is baked to perfection and curated to match the taste buds of each and every person visiting the bakery. As lovely as it gets, we have visited it so many times, but we are yet to savor more than half of the items mentioned in the menu card. It feels good to be a tourist in your own city.
3. Heritage walk admiring the UNESCO sites
Where: South Mumbai
When: All through the day
What's Special: Set around the Oval Maidan in Fort area of South Mumbai, a collection of 19th & 20th Century buildings reflecting the Victorian Era Architectural marvel. Included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these buildings have their own stature and stories to tell. The intricate carvings on the wall boasts the genius of the architects of the yesteryear. Chhatrapati Shivaji Mahara Terminus, Rajabai Clock Tower, Mumbai University are among the well constructions of these style of architecture, however a closer look and you will find around 90-95 buildings, quietly proclaiming the glorious history.
4. Set Sails towards the sunset
Where: Apollo Bunder, Gateway of India
When: December to May, Morning 5 to 8 AM & Evening 5 to 9 PM, Subject to Weather & Sea Conditions
What's Special: Sailing in the sea, with cool breeze in your hair and company of your loved one is an excellent way to get some quiet time in the otherwise hustling city. It gives you the chance to experience inner peace and get the panoramic view of the grandeur of the city as the Magnificent Taj Mahal Palace and Gateway of India scintillate under the night sky. On your lucky day, you might even happen to spot a dolphin circling around your yacht.
5. Get clicked with the gorgeous sky line in back drop
Where: Bandra Fort, Bandra
When: All through the day
What's Special: The ruins of Bandra Fort offer you a magnificent view of the mighty ocean, the magnanimous sea link bridge and the magical city skyline, something you instantly fall in love with. The Vantage point that the place offers for the view of the Bandra-Worli Sea link makes it at par with the popularity of the famous Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. Sunset, as viewed from the sea link, is view worth dying for.
6. Say Hello to the Feathered Friends
Where: Mangroves & Mudflats in Thane & Navi Mumbai
When: December - January
What's Special: The mangroves and the mudflats near the creeks in Mumbai make it an ideal nesting spot for migratory birds, foremost of which are the Lesser Flamingos. When 1000's of these beautiful birds flutter their wings in synchronization, it is nothing short of a masterpiece symphony of Mozart.
7. Experience the Street food galore
Where: Mohammad Ali Road
When: Iftaar during Ramazan
What's Special: If you happen to be in Mumbai during the month of Ramazan, then you must visit Mohammad Ali Road and experience some of the great street food dishes on offer. From the juiciest of Kebabs, Tikkas, Shwarmas and Rolls to the sweetest and flavorful Jalebis, Phirnis, Gulab Jamuns and Malpuas, Mohammad Ali Road is a heaven for street food lover.
8. Sign off the day from City's Favorite Spot
Where: Marine Drive, Nariman Point
When: All through the day
What's Special: Well, a visit to Mumbai is not considered complete if one does not visit the crowd favorite and iconic Marine Drive. This two-and-half Kilometer stretch right next to the coast line draws people from all aspects and forms of society towards it. Time and over I have visited the place and it gives the same amount of joy watching the sun go down behind Malabar Hills as it gave for the time I saw it. After the sun goes down and lights take over, the place gets even more vibrant and energetic. The buildings on the other side of the road have their own rustic charm, while even hospitals are adorned like a hotel, such is the aura of the place.
Well, Mumbai has a lot more to offer to a tourist than the ones mentioned here, the city welcomes everyone with open arms and engulfs everyone in its vast girth. After all, "Yeh hai Bombay Meri Jaan." Being tourist in your own city is fun, for it satisfies your travel bug and prevents burning a whole in your pocket. Keep loving, keep exploring, even if it is your own city.