The City of Dreams has always been one of my favorite destinations when it comes to food, shopping and visiting places of tourist interest. This time I took an extended weekend and traveled to Mumbai to explore the best the city has to offer. This article, based on my experience aims to provide you with a good idea of the places to visit while you are in Mumbai/Pune for a vacation. I was in Mumbai for 2 days, but you can always extend your holiday and explore more of the city and nearby places.
When I traveled to Kolkata last year, one of my friends introduced me to Treebo Hotels. So I decided to try Treebo hotels in Mumbai for the first time and I really liked my stay. Being a frequent traveler, I was always on the lookout for budget hotels, and I have to say my experience at Treebo has been exceptionally well, with their services a notch above the price they charge. I stayed in Treebo Sea Side in Juhu which provides a wonderful view of the beach. I had already made arrangements to hire a car to travel around since I prefer to drive on my own. It just gives me more flexibility.
Places I Visited in Mumbai
I drove down to Bandra the next day morning and was greeted by the aroma of freshly baked rolls from the A1 Bakery. Don’t miss the street art in psychedelic colors that have become the defining image of Bandra. Next head out to Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, made famous by Slumdog Millionaire. Take a tour of the tanneries and workshops and you can also source some good leather bags and shoes here for cheap. Head out to the Fort area and explore the Flora fountain, Kala Ghoda, Jehangir Art Gallery. Stop at the Kitab Khana if you are a bookworm. For lunch, definitely visit the Britannia restaurant for berry pulao, Sali boti, and the fizzy pallonji’s raspberry drink.
As the sun was setting, I visited the Haji Ali Dargah just when the high tide made the shrine look like it was submerged mid-water. Definitely, have a juice at the famous Haji Ali Juice shop after coming back. Dodge enthusiastic shoppers at the Colaba causeway to shop for junk jewelry, export rejects from Zara and H&M, home décor and so many other things. However, don’t forget to bargain and keep your purse close to yourself. If you are a fan of shopping like I am, this will take you around 2-3 hours. Have a beer tower and chili cheese toast at the Café Mondegar, after which drive by the majestic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal to see the building lit in all its glory. Notice the architecture synonymous with British rule in India. Next head down to the Nariman point and Gateway of India. The Taj Mahal Palace, restored after the 2008 attacks stands imposing, right opposite the Gateway. Spend the rest of the evening at the moon-shaped Marine Drive, while sipping a drink at one of the rooftop restaurants. End the night with ice cream at Bachelor’s.
A weekend getaway to Pune
For a day, I headed out to Pune to explore the rich cultural heritage that it has to offer. Pune is around 3 hours away if you take the Mumbai-Pune Highway. The first stop ideally would be the Shaniwar Wada Fort made famous by the Bajirao Mastani movie and the crackling on-screen chemistry of Deepika and Ranveer. It is an ideal visit if you are interested in history. At a 30 min drive from this fortification built by Peshwa Baji Rao I, I came across the Aga Khan Palace, considered one of India’s most majestic buildings. This palace also served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi during the Indian Independence movement. If you are tired from all the traveling around, visit the Osho International Meditation Centre and spend time some in meditation. I liked my stay with Treebo in Mumbai so, I decided to stay with Treebo Hotels in Pune as well.
Pune with all the modernization still retains its old charm and the air is less laden with pollution than Mumbai. After ticking all the places to see off my checklist, I visited a place called for some authentic Marathi cuisine, before heading off to the airport.
As for Mumbai, the colonial appeal, the delicious street food and the urban culture made for a heady combination and has attracted me to Mumbai time and again. Next time, I plan for an extended stay to explore nooks and corners of this beautiful city. Stay Tuned!