Sunday, 10 March 2013

Its Mum-bhaaiii...

Andheri is one of the crowd-est suburb region of mumbai. Walking across station from west to east was our every-day-route. Mumbai has 2 main division. Mumbai city or South Mumbai and the Suburbs. But east-west division is mainly bec of the city's 'lifeline' railway line which covers most of the city. 

We quickly dressed that day (05/06/2010) and locked the door back when leaving. Hari Prasad (@hpadhur), Akshay Nayak, Rakesh, Sunil, Delwin Dias and me hurried to the station and caught the jam packed local train heading towards Churchgate terminals, the one end of the western railway. That train was then driving back to Virar, the other end (covering 79km). There is one more railway line that starts from south mumbai, The Central Railway using which Karthik and Harsha were joining us from Powai (known for having l&t company, a beautiful lake and IIT, Mumbai but not a Railway station !!). Its main head station is Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminals (C.S.T) and connects till Kalyan, which makes nearly 64 km coverage. Check out this wikipedia link to know more about local railway system of Mumbai. Both Churchgate and C.S.T lies parallel to each other with around 2 kms in between.

Finally all gathered at the welcoming doorway for the country from the arabian sea, The Gateway of India built in 1924 (sadly it welcomed Kasab too in 2008). Next to it we can see the majestic heritage hotel owned by TATA group, The Tajmahal Palace & Towers. Beside the gateway there were many ferries tripping to Alibaug and Elephanta Caves. We had decided to head towards that island where those Hindu & Buddhist caves having archaeological importance exists an hour distant (around 10km) on those ferries.

The Tajmahal Palace & Towers with The Gateway of India :)
As ferry drifted away we could see back both the great structures as if they were built as a final touch to the city's beauty. (Yes, South Mumbai is really beautiful mainly because of the architecture of the old buildings mostly built in reign of British. Those who appreciate the art and can ignore the crowd/tourists, will love roaming around the city. But we get the opposite opinion about not-so-clean suburbs). The view gets even better when we can see the panoramic sweep of the eastern part of island city. After-all.. Mumbai is said to be made by joining 7 islands by the British after Portuguese dowry-gifted to them !!!

The coastline still continues at both end where we see huge ships anchored, being one of the busiest ports, along with our pride Indian Navy dockyards with sophisticated and equipped sailing vehicles. While O.N.G.C was busy pumping out the oil from the sea beds (though i'm not sure what they are doing exactly :-P), I could see many private luxurious boats floating here and there...

Elephanta Caves: Its a great place for any historian, enthusiastic archaeologists or admirers of the artistic stone sculptures. Name derived by the Portuguese because of the elephant sculptures found by them at the entrance of the main cave temple(At present, the statue of elephant is housed at Jijamata Garden in Mumbai). There are seven cave excavations in the Elephanta group belonging to 6 -7th century A.D. The most exotic feature of the caves is the Maheshmurti, depicting the three facets of Lord Brahma the creator, Lord Shiva the destroyer, and Lord Vishnu the protector. And other prominent structures are Ardhanarishvara, Lord Shiva holding the rush of Ganga to earth, Yogisvara, Nataraja .. etc.. But the sad part is many of them are not in good shape. Said to be destroyed by portuguese, and lack of maintenance perished naturally. Anyway now its a UNESCO heritage site of Rs.10 ticket per Indian. After visiting all the caves, because of the sun's heat we decided to get kulfi by the seller. As it was making us calm and moving along, we had forgotten about the localities !! Monkeys !!!! They were very aggressive than any where else I have seen. They had come after us for the kulfi.. Some of us managed to hide it somehow, Hari had completely inserted in to mouth :P. But the best part happened to Rakesh, he gave up his piece to them and raised the hands. His dramatic action was so funny that we laughed the whole day thereafter mocking his act.. :P :D

Mumbai have these all... (just a rough list) -

  • C.S.T (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) formerly Victoria Terminus, Churchgate Terminus, The Gateway of India, The Tajmahal Palace & Towers (if u can afford, try booking a room :D).
  • Elephanta Caves (Island)
Yes..!!! Mumbai's favorite The Marine Drive :)
  • Marine Drive - A 4.3 km road linking from Nariman Point to Babulnath and Malabar Hill, runs in a curve giving it a nickname 'The Queen's Necklace'. You won't deny this if you happen to take a pleasant stroll over its walkway at the dawn. When the sun gets dimmer the street light comes to life along the drive making u feel amazed by the 'glittering jewel-like view. And the ambiance gets cooler, calmer as wind blows from the west ( hmm yeah sounds romantic ;) :P ). 
  • Bandra-Worli Sea link, 5.6 km long, 8-laned cable-stayed bridge opened in June, 2009 - an engineering marvel of the country costing 1,600 crore. If you have a glance from the flight once, will understand the need of it for Mumbai as it saves nearly 30mins in peak hours for the regular commuters over that region. 'Time is Money', the motto of Mumbai !!?
  • Wankhede stadium, Oval Ground & Azad Maidan.
  • The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly, Prince of Wales Museum) & Nehru Planetarium(in Worli).
  • Some prominent Buildings, Structures - RBI,  BSE, NSE, Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC), Air India Building, Bombay High Court, Hotel Trident...
  • Siddhivinayak, Mahalakshmi Temples (Mumbai's popular temples) & Haji Ali durgha (at least you'll like its location). 
  • Borivali National Park - not that good if u r expecting animals but Kanheri Caves 6kms inside the forest area is a pleasant one for its location & numerous Buddhist Caves dated back from 1st century BCE to 10th century ADE. 
  • The Global Vipaasana Pagoda, Gorai -  The world's largest stone tomb built without any supporting pillar, a Buddhist Meditation Hall. It also has complete relics of Lord Buddha and a museum depicting his life through Paintings. Its in the same Island where the Essel World and Water Kingdom locates. So a full day can be enjoyed over there :) 
  • Just roam around in Colaba Region of South Mumbai and happy shopping ;)

PS: This is not supposed to be a guide to Mumbai (in fact has lot more than these), but just some things about it that I wanna share :)