On May 11Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Located on the Arabian Sea, it is no surprise that Mumbai has some great seafood restaurants. Some of the best places to have fresh seafood with some great local flavors are:
Considered by many to be the best seafood restaurant in Mumbai, Trishna's can be found in the back lanes of Kala Ghoda. The cuisine is a mix of Mangalorean and Hyderabadi cuisine. Try some plump prawns coated in lashings of butter and garlic, or enjoy the Chettinad crab (either in the shell or out) with some wafer thin neer dosa. If you prefer fish then don't miss the delicately spiced Rawas Hyderabadi.
If you want to try a local venue, then look no further than Jai Hind Lunch Home that has several restaurants across town. This is good quality local food in unpretentious surroundings. Try the Bombay Duck, a marinated and fried fish dish that Mumbai is famous for. One of the most popular dishes for good reason, is the perfectly spiced Prawn Biriyani and the Tandoori Rawas is also worth trying. Just be sure to keep a glass of mineral water nearby.
Bengali cuisine is famous for its seafood and Oh Calcutta! is considered by many to be the best Bengali restaurant in Mumbai. There are two restaurants, one mid-town in Tardeo and the other in the Northern suburb of Andheri. The hilsa fish marinated with mustard is not to be missed and the prawn and crabmeat cake is spiced and steamed in banana leaves and makes a great starter. They have several prawn curries including the chingri malai curry that is delicately flavoured and cooked in coconut milk. If you have a vegetarian with you, don't despair, they are also well catered for at this great restaurant.
On May 11Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:There are many holidays in Mumbai, with most celebrating religious events. These holidays are all celebrated with much fervour and joy, so it is great to visit during a holiday. Three of the best holiday events in Mumbai are:
This event celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, and is a lunar holiday that will be held on September 9 in 2013. Planning for the holiday starts many months in advance with huge statues of Lord Ganesha designed, constructed and then decorated. These statues are then paraded through the streets as people take them to the seaside to submerge them in the water, about 15,000 statues are submerged in the Arabian Sea in this event. Along the way people dance, sing and rejoice.
Diwali is the festival of lights and by far the biggest festival in India. It signifies the start of the Hindu New Year and celebrates the victory of good over evil. It will be celebrated on 3 November in 2013, but most businesses have a four day holiday to celebrate this event. At this time of year Mumbai just lights up, with many houses and buildings flanked in lights and diyas (the small clay lamps) lit in temples and on window sills. It really is a beautiful time to see the city. The sky is also lit up with fireworks each night over the course of the week, and gifts of sweets are given.
Some parts of Mumbai, such as the Western suburb of Bandra, have a large Christian population. During this holiday, the area come alive with an interesting mix of Western Christian tradition and Indian style. The main shopping strip of Hill Road is turned into a Christmas Market where you can pick up tinsel, trinkets and even a pine Christmas tree. At the top of the hill is Mount Mary Church where the streets are lined with candle sellers in preparation for midnight mass, but get in early as doors close by 11.30pm.
On May 11Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Whilst the Kindle has revolutionised the way people read, there is nothing quite like wandering through a bookstore, staring at all the colourful covers and flicking through the pages of a few books before settling on your choice. If this sounds like you, then Mumbai has a range of bookstores that should satiate your hobby.
Kitab Khana, Fort
Located on the busy MG road, Kitab Khana is just around the corner from the iconic Flora Fountain. Here you can relax on bean bags whilst looking through the wide selection of books in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Urdu. You can also grab a coffee or bite to eat in the attached cafe.
Art and Design Bookstore
If you are specifically interested in art and design, then you are sure to find what you are looking for at the Art and design Bookstore. Located in the Fort district you can find a broad selection of books that specialise in architecture, planning, painting and even advertising. If you are looking for a Moleskine notebook you can also pick one up here.
CMYK Bookstore, Lower Parel
Mid-town you can find this unique concept CMYK Bookstore. A first of its kind concept bookstore to be launched in India, CMYK specialises in art design and illustrated books. It is here that you will be able to locate unusual and hard-to-find books on designs or illustrated novels. This store can be found in the trendy Raghuvanshi Mills in Lower Parel.
In the Western suburb of Bandra, Tidal Waves has a wide range of books from English classics to Indian philosophy. There is also a large DVD and music section, with a lounge where you can have a listen to your selection.
Crossword and Landmark
There are also several branches of these two bookstores in Mumbai. Landmark and Crosswords both cover an extensive range of topics, and each also has their own section for movies and music. Here you will find popular books, reference material and all the latest movies.
On May 11Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Mumbai isn't known for its parks, but there are some lovely spots that can be found around the city if you want to have a picnic or perhaps go jogging. Some lovely parks to visit include:
Kamala Nehru Park
Tucked away in the lovely suburb of Malabar Hill, Kamala Nehru Park has a spectacular view over the Arabian Sea and Marine Drive, making it a good place for a picnic. It also has the Boot House, which is a depiction of the nursery rhyme about the old woman who lived in a shoe, which is great fun for children to explore.
Mid-town in Dadar is Shivaji Park, which is the largest park in Mumbai. The park has some historical statues including one of its namesake Chhatrapati Shivaji, who was a famous Marathi warrior highly revered in Mumbai. Here you can also find a few different park areas including the Nana-Nani Park (Grandfather Grandmother Park), Children's Park and the Scout's Pavillion. There is also a gymnasium, temple and library.
As it's name suggests, Joggers Park is where many locals come to get some exercise. Located in the seaside suburb of Bandra, this park isn't just for athletes though, nowadays you can find plenty of young couples sitting around the park courting. Nearby are two famous promenades, Carter Road and Bandra Bandstand which are also good places to go jogging or just people watch.
On May 11Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Located in the posh suburb of Malabar Hill, Kamala Nehru Park is named after the wife of India's first Prime Minister. The park is about 4,000 square feet and is surrounded by lush fauna.
It is a great place to pack a picnic and enjoy a breath of fresh air in the middle of the city. The park also has one of the best views over Chowpatty Beach and Marine Drive (also known as the Queen's Necklace). The view combined with the cooling shade of the trees, makes this a choice spot to just sit back and relax for a little while and have some respite from the heat.
If you are traveling with children, Kamala Nehru Park also has the fun Boot House. Shaped, as its name would suggest, like an old shoe, the house is based on the nursery rhyme about the old woman who lived in a shoe. It is popular with children who can wander through it.
On May 10Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Colaba Causeway is most famous for two things; shopping and cafes.
The market stalls that line the causeway are geared towards tourists, so if you are looking for some souvenirs or cheap jewellery you will definitely find it here. It can be quite overwhelming, with stall holders all eager to show you their wares, so be prepared to have all sorts of things put in front of you with a promise of "best price". It really is good to go to the market when you have some energy.
Of course, when the shopping gets too much you can always duck into one of Mumbai's most famous cafes for a snack or ice cold beer. Leopold's Cafe is right in the middle of the Causeway, and is always filled with tourists and locals alike. It was also made famous by the book Shantaram. At the end of the Causeway is Cafe Mondegar which is also another popular hangout.
On May 10Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Chor Bazaar means "thieves market" and has been a thriving market for over 150 years. If you love searching for treasure than this antique and vintage market is for you.
The best way to see Chor Bazaar is to get right in the middle of it. Located amongst a very Muslim part of Mumbai, you will be surrounded by Masjid pillars and lots of busy and crowded market stalls. It is organised chaos, and that is part of what makes it such a fun experience, but can also make it a little daunting. There really is nothing to fear here, but do keep your belongings closeby and watch out for pickpockets.
The market is open from about 11am to 7.30pm every day except Friday. On Fridays, even though Chor Bazaar is closed the Juma Market takes over, and you can still pick up a wide range of bargains, although some may have suspect origins.
As you wander through the market, be prepared to bargain hard. The stall owners are seasoned, and you will need to show your best poker face and strong will to get the right price. Of course, all the fun is in just being part of the atmosphere, so take your time (and your wallet) and enjoy the experience.
On May 10Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:The Flora Fountain is also known as Hutatma Chowk and was built in 1864. Located in Southern Mumbai it was constructed by the Agri-Horticultural society of Western India, this Roman Goddess graces this busy intersection that is near to CST station and Bombay University.
The best way to see the Flora Fountain is to either view it street-side, where you can also look at the many local street markets and high street stores. You can get up close to the Fountain, but just watch out for the traffic. At night-time, the fountain is illuminated which makes it also a great time to view it. The fountain is open 24 hours a day, so you can even stop by in the early morning when there is less traffic and it is more peaceful.
Sculpted from Portland stone and painted in brilliant white, Flora Fountain was designed by R. Norman Shaw.
On May 10Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Without a doubt, the best architecture in Mumbai can be found in South Bombay. Some of the most famous buildings include:
1. The Gateway of India - Probably Mumbai's top attraction, this entrance to the city was built in 1920 to celebrate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Nowadays, it is a meeting place for tourists and locals alike, and is also where you can find a ferry that will take you to Elephanta Caves.
2. Taj Palace Hotel - Just across the road from the Gateway of India is the infamous Taj Palace Hotel. One of the most luxurious hotels in Mumbai, this grand old building is also architecturally striking. Take a walk through the reception area, or perhaps revisit the colonial days by having a gin and tonic in the bar.
3. Horniman Circle - With a stately facade, the buildings of Horniman Circle are laid in a semi-circle surrounding the kept garden. Built in the late 19th Century this region is worth walking around to see some of the other lovely nearby buildings including the stock exchange and St Thomas Cathedral.
4. Rajabhai Clock Tower - This iconic tower was designed with London's Big Ben in mind. Located inside Mumbai University it looks over the institution and much of Churchgate. Unfortunately it is no longer possible to go inside the tower or the University grounds, but the clocktower is best viewed from the cricket ground across the road.
5. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus - Resembling St Pancras Station in London, it is easy to forget you are in India when you are looking at this magnificent building. With an interesting mix of Gothic and Mughal architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Mumbai's best remnants of the Raj Era.
On May 10Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Mumbai is a huge and modern city, but for the first time visitor it can still come as quite a culture-shock, it isn't known as Maximum City for nothing! To help make your trip more pleasant and prepare yourself for your visit here are few things to keep in mind:
- Whilst Mumbai is a big city, it is still very easy to get ill here from the food and water. So the most important thing to remember is to keep yourself healthy. Never drink the water from the tap in Mumbai even if you see locals doing it. It always best to be safe rather than sorry, so stick to bottled mineral water everywhere. With regards to food, you should be safe eating from large hotels and clean, sit down restaurants. If you want to try some of Mumbai's fabulous street food it is best to stick to hot food that you have seen being cooked in front of you. Steer clear of anything that has been sitting around for long periods of time (as flies and other bugs may have touched them), or cut fruit that may have been rinsed in tap water.
- Even though it may be hot and Mumbai is quite modern, it is respectful and wise to wear modest clothing. This will not only protect your skin from the weather, but also limit the amount of stares that you receive, making your visit more comfortable. If you need some suitable clothes for the weather, why not buy a colourful cotton kurta that are perfect for the sultry weather and will help you look like a local.
- Seeing poverty is unavoidable in Mumbai. There are millions of people who are either homeless or live in slums, and these are everywhere, even in the poshest of suburbs. You will no doubt experience beggars whilst travelling in a car or walking down the street. It can be very confronting, and it is perhaps worth thinking about whether you wish to give money or not before you are faced with the situation. You may be followed for a while, and this can be quite distressing for some people. Just remember, the person who is begging is human too.
On May 9Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:Whilst many travellers are embarassed or shy to bargain, in Mumbai it is an expected part of the shopping experience. Whilst there are many "fixed price" stores where haggling will not be entertained, in street stalls it is expected and in most cases enjoyed by the shopkeepers.
Before you start haggling though it is worthwhile to keep in mind a few rules of thumb:
1. Generally, the more interest you show in something the less willing to bargain the shopkeeper is likely to be. Whilst it isn't always easy, it may be worthwhile curbing your enthusiasm for an item you are interested in, which should help the haggling process.
2. Bargaining relies on both parties making an ambit claim, so when the shopkeeper gives you their price you should first suggest a discount. They may ask you to name your price, but don't give them the maximum price you are willing to pay, but rather go below it, well below it. As a rule of thumb you can suggest paying half or even a third of the price they have suggested to you. From there the bargaining will begin.
3. Many Indians are superstitious and you may hear a shopkeeper say something about the first sale of their day. It is generally considered lucky for them to make their first sale, so starting your shopping day early could work in your favour (although bear in mind that most shops don't open until about 11am in Mumbai).
4. Don't be afraid to walk away from the sale. In many cases you will find the shopkeeper following you to continue bargaining. If they don't follow you, then you can assume that your price was too low. This will give you an indication of a fair price so that you can either go back or know where to start from with another shopkeeper. Don't be surprised to find the same items sold by several different shopkeepers in the same market area.
5. Don't forget to have fun. Bargaining is all part of the experience of being in Mumbai and should be enjoyable for both you and the shopkeeper.
On May 9Rakhee Ghelani answered the question:In almost every part of Mumbai you can find a melting pot of cultures, but each neighbourhood has its own distinct feel. Mumbai is so vast that it is difficult to narrow down where to go, but five of the best neighbourhoods to visit in Mumbai are:
For most tourists, a visit to Mumbai includes a stroll down Colaba Causeway. Whether it is to haggle for jewellery and shoes in the street markets, buying embroidered shawls at the craft shops or stopping for a cold beer at Leopold’s. Colaba is the tourist hub of Mumbai and a must on any first time visit to the city.
2. Kala Ghoda
Just down the road from Colaba is the arts precinct of Kala Ghoda. Here you will find the National Gallery of Modern Art, Jehangir Art Gallery and many smaller boutique galleries tucked inside its laneways. There are also some up and coming designers as well as established brands such as Sabyasachi, alongside trendy cafes like The Pantry and the Kala Ghoda Cafe.
3. Malabar Hill
Probably the most prestigious address in Mumbai, Malabar Hill is famous for its beautiful and unusual Hanging Gardens that overlook the Arabian sea. You can also take a look at Banganga Tank and the Walkeshwar Temple complex where pilgrims flock to bathe away their sins, or just admire this exclusive enclave with some of the most expensive real estate in the city.
The Western Suburb of Bandra is famous for celebrity spotting and having some of the best selection of restaurants and bars in Mumbai, there is always a party going on in Bandra. Located on the sea front you can also take a walk along Bandra Bandstand as the sunsets and enjoy some freshly roasted corn whilst checking out the stars and statues of Bollywood’s who’s who.
The up and coming region of Versova is located in the North Western suburb Andheri. Versova hugs the coast and is where Bollywood producers and wannabe actors meet to discuss their new projects. New restaurants, cafes and shops are coming up all the time in this suburb, making it an interesting one to visit.