I reached Mumbai CST at the early hours. The sun was not shining, and I came out from the station towards the rain-soaked parking lot. A car was waiting for me to take me to my hotel where I was supposed to hold up for the next two days.
After breakfast at my hotel, I started out and asked my driver to drop me at the Gateway of India. It was around 10 AM. The sun was shining brightly by then, and its rays reflected on the Taj Mahal Palace, just opposite to the Gateway of India. I bought my tickets for the boat-ride to the Elephanta Caves.
The boat started to sail on the Arabian Sea. As I drifted along from the mainland, I could see the lovely skyline of the Mumbai city with all the towering buildings. It was nearly an hour’s boat-ride to the Elephanta Island, in the midst of the Arabian Sea. From the dock of the Elephanta Island, it was a kilometre’s distance to reach the Elephanta Caves. There was a provision of toy-train to take us there but I have had always preferred walking. There were few restaurants, from where it was a steep climb to the Elephanta Caves. It was a tiring climb. There were many stalls selling various items along the climb. From the top, at the Elephanta Caves, I could see the Arabian Sea and the waves breaking one after another. The sculptures inside the caves were a treat for the eyes. After strolling for around an hour, I climbed down and had my lunch at one of those restaurants below, before I started sailing back to the mainland.
Back in front of the Gateway of India, I watched people going merrily all along, clicking pictures of near and dear ones. I started walking along the road that runs straight in front of the Taj Mahal Palace. My destination was finding myself a nice restaurant to gorge on the famous Pav-Bhaji of Mumbai. I asked a few local people, and they directed me towards one such place, and I had that, one of the best delicacies till date, at a roadside eatery.
I started early the next day for my ‘Mumbai-Darshan’. I first stopped by the Marine Drive, though it was early morning, yet it was lovely to watch the stretching road along the sea. As I stood on the Marine Drive, I saw a Ferrari zoom past me. I thanked my stars. From there I went to Haji Ali’s Dargah. The Dargah stood quite in the middle of the sea and since it was low tide, I did not have to go barefoot from the mainland, along a concrete path that connected the Dargah. I learnt that during high tides, the concrete pathway remains submerged in water.
Next, at the Siddhivinayak Temple, I had the most delectable ladoos so far. The smell and the taste of those ladoos oozed freshness in every bite of those. I packed some for later too. Kamla Nehru Park was my next stop. Antilia, the home of Mr. Mukesh Ambani, could be viewed from the park. My driver then drove me towards the Sea Link. As the car climbed on the Sea Link, I watched the Mumbai skyline with all the skyscrapers lined along. I found it quite similar to New York/ Manhattan skyline. After crossing the Sea Link, I reached Bandra, the place for all the film stars of Bollywood.
On my way, I crossed Saif Ali Khan’s bungalow, Basera, before halting in front of Mannat bungalow of Shah Rukh Khan, a stone thrown away from Basera. Scores of people were already standing in front of Mannat to catch a glimpse of the Baadshah. Naivedya, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow, also fell on my way. As I was being driven towards Jogger’s Park, I spotted Sachin Tendulkar’s home. At the Jogger’s Park, it was very beautiful to watch the setting sun, sitting on one of the benches. From there, I went to Juhu Beach and walked along the beach, barefoot, with water stroking my feet occasionally. I even had Pav-Bhaji and Gola from one of the numerous eateries by the beach. Until the time I was leaving Juhu Beach, the sun had already set, and the streets were lightened up with head lights of the cars. I was on my way to the Marine Drive once again to witness why the stretch’s often referred to as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’.
This post was originally published on Terrain SPOTTER by Arijit Debbaraman