incredible india

i had always wanted to explore an indian city for its rich colours, unique culture, interesting people, and distinct food and flavours. but because of limited time i usually have there, and also safety issues, this had remained on my bucket list for the longest time, until recently when i was given a golden opportunity to do a mumbai flight that allowed me to fly back as a passenger, thus freeing up my time there to do a quick tour in the city, woot!

it is my pleasure to report that mumbai did not disappoint, not at all. scroll on and you will see why!

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my view from the hotel room on the 21st floor. one of the views, actually, because i had the corner room, which is usually bigger, and in this particular case, the room is L-shaped, with windows ALL AROUND.

as you can see from the picture, it was a rare occasion where the roads were not congested, but then again, this was quite early in the morning on a sunday.

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first stop of our tour – dhobi ghat, a well-known open-air “laundromat” in mumbai. linen and clothes from the city’s hotels and hospitals are sent here to be washed, which is done alongside children nonchalantly hopping from roof to roof, residents showering right there in the open (the two that we saw had shorts on, fortunately), and families having their meals by the drains; all these under the curious stares of an almost non-stop flow of tourists and visitors at the top of the bridge that overlooks the area.

someone joked that if we were lucky, we might see a kebaya or two swinging in the wind too; our hotels provide free laundry service for our uniforms, and most of us are more than happy to take up the offer.

next up, mani bhavan gandhi sangrahalaya, or simply, the ghandi museum.

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headquarters from where ghandi initiated many of his famous movements during his time in mumbai.

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the babu amichand panalal jain temple, as beautiful as i imagine an indian temple to be.

this was followed by a late lunch at the famous leopold cafe.

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when we arrived, it was at some odd timing like…4pm, but the restaurant was still packed with fellow tourists, as well as locals.

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despite its iranian origins, and the western-looking facade and interior decor of the building, leopold has an extensive menu of the most superb indian food. pity they don’t have my favourite masala tea, but the chicken biryani i had made up for it.

the service was painfully slow though, and they forgot a few of our orders, but then again, it was crowded, and this is india we are talking about, hahaha.

on a more serious note, i later learned that leopold was one of the first sites of attack during the 2008 mumbai terrorist attack, where terrorists killed and injured many with fire, guns and grenades, before walking to the taj mahal palace hotel, their key target.

though it is said that signs of the attacks have been preserved, we didn’t see any, and would never have guessed that this cheerful restaurant so bustling with life has such a dark, scary past.

moving on, we headed for the long-awaited highlight of the tour, the gateway of india, located on a huge waterfront overlooking the arabian sea, with the taj mahal palace hotel just a stone’s throw away.

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look at that boy checking me out from the left.

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so much swag, hahaha!

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that’s us with our driver/guide, whose name i already forgot, sorry.

as expected, too many visitors at the gateway, mostly locals, surprisingly. we enjoyed ourselves very much nevertheless, not only looking at the architecture but also observing the people.

shall end off the posts with pictures from the street.

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though the stay we had in india was still short, and the tour was also not that comprehensive, given that we chose the truncated version because of the little amount of time we had, i would say this is one of my favourite trips so far.

it is an item ticked off my bucket list, and for once, i got to step out of the hotel and see mumbai for myself. happy to say, it is as incredible as advertised, hahaha!

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