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Mumbai

Listed under Historic Towns and Villages in Mumbai, India.

  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
  • Photo of Mumbai
Photo of Mumbai
Photo by Jenny Fowler
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Mumbai is an assault on the senses, crowded, busy and diverse, with ancient traditions and religions, Victorian buildings from the colonial era, modern high-rise high-cost real estate and great low-cost food.

The drive from the airport sees seven lines of traffic packed into five lanes, three-wheel tuk-tuks jostling with cars and lorries. Driving skills are accurate and half-inch clearances separate the vehicles. Traffic congestion is a way of life for Mumbaikers. The city is built on islands joined by causeways. Land is so scarce that road engineers have gone off-shore to fight the jams, building the spectacular Bandra – Worli Sea Link joining the centre to the suburbs.

A street can have multi-millionaire houses one side, and fishing families cooking dinner in homes made of scrap materials the other side. Locals escape the crowds by heading seawards, with Marine Drive a popular evening stroll and Chowpatty Beach a favourite open space. A boat from the harbour at Gateway of India is the quickest escape from the city, and day trips to the spectacular caves of Elephanta Island are a draw for Indian families and tourists alike.

Hinduism is the main religion but there are Christians, Muslims, Jains, Parsees and more all with their own festivals and places of worship, many ancient and beautifully decorated. Everyday life Mumbai style is compelling to watch. Strong washermen beat clothes clean in a huge open air laundry. Street vendors sell food and drinks. Commuters surge in and out of Victoria rail terminus and nearby, Crawford market displays fresh grown fruit and vegetables straight from the Indian countryside while modern shopping malls showcase international brands.

Mumbai is often just a stopover point, a start and finish to a tour of India, but it is a worthwhile destination in its own right. There are slums, there is poverty, but there is optimism and enterprise, diversity and tolerance, making it a memorable city to visit.

Written by  Jenny Fowler.

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