Mumbai is often referred to, as a City of dreams, and it would be an understatement to claim that this holds true even today. For the modern traveler, Mumbai has a mind boggling array of things to offer. Whether you are a gourmet tourist, religious seeker, history buff or just a fun loving traveler, Mumbai has something to offer everyone.
Mumbai today is a potpourri of different cultures and traditions. It has been shaped by its myriad immigrant population, each adding their own unique stamp to the city. A lot of things have been written about Mumbai and everyone is already aware of its famous landmarks. Here is a list of top 5 unusual things, you must do in Mumbai. Places and events not generally well advertised, but which are unique to this city and define its diverse culture and evolution.
- Make a point to catch the Dabbawalas during post-lunch hours, at various stations and junctions. These lunch bearers are the meal life-line of Mumbai and can be found only in this city. Even the Prince of Wales could not resist their quixotic appeal on his visit to Mumbai years earlier. With their ant furry like activity, these unassuming men provide sustenance to lakhs of Mumbaikars across the city.
- Dharavi: visit the so called largest Slum of Asia, but is in actual fact a thriving cluster of cottage industries, namely Leather and Pottery. The major quantity of leather and leather goods exported comes from Dharavi. You can even buy some world class leather accessories for half the price in the shops that dot its lanes. The other Industry here is of Pottery or kumbhars as they are called. The entire consumption of Mumbai’s Diyas or traditional lamps and Matkas [water pots] comes from this small city within the city.
- Sample street food which is entirely unique to Mumbai and is a fusion of various cuisines from across the country and the world. It is only in Mumbai that you can have a Schezwan Dosa or a Chinese Bhel. Early mornings, you will find men on cycles with steel bins roaming streets in different areas. These vendors sell tasty little Idlis and dosas; which are co-incidentally mass made in Dharavi in the wee hours of the night. Another tasty street fare is the humble Samosa, which is sold by men carrying their ware in aluminium cans on their heads. Along with fried green chillies and gulab jamun, this simple snack can be a real treat.
- Meander thru the by lanes of Bhuleshwar, Khetwadi, Kalbadevi and Zaveri bazaar. Some of these lanes have old names such as Gai wadi [Cow trench] and Null Bazaar [Tap Bazaar]. If you are a history buff and love exploring the heart of a city, these places are sure to enchant you with their old world architecture and ancient buildings. Today these areas are the hub of Mumbai’s commercial market and are teeming with hawkers and shops that sell you anything and everything at wholesale prices.
- Travel to religious places, which are off the map and speak of era’s gone by. The Dargah of Haji Malang at Kalyan is highly revered and is a scenic place for a day long picnic. Similarly, Killeshwar with its Shivling at Madh Island makes for a lovely tour and gives you a feeling of being out of the city, even though it is connected to it by a 45 minute ride. The Pagoda at Gorai is a true wonder with its golden globe and a must for those tracking sacred spaces.
No matter what your interest may be, Mumbai has something for every visitor, and can be compared to an onion; with layer over layer of different cultures and populations, which have shaped it over the different ages. Explore to your heart’s content and you’ll want to visit Mumbai over and over again.
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