First trip to Mumbai? Fikar Not as Mumbaikars say, for The Other Home has just saved your time by making a list of the 10 traditional things to do at least once, if you are visiting Mumbai. Written by a true-blue Mumbaikar, this list is your guide-book to unleashing the Bambaiyya in you!
Stuff Yourself With Vada Pavs
The first step to getting in sync with Mumbai is to share its love for Vada Pav. It’s a dish made of mashed potatoes fried and served to you in a bun that’s smeared with 2 chutneys and chili powder. To graduate in the art of Vada Pav, one must eat it with fried green chilies strewn with salt. The tangy taste will leave you craving for more.
Offer a Kidney. Or a Lung
Don’t panic. I am talking about Mumbai’s habit of offering miniature body parts and other stuff made of paraffin wax at Mount Mary Church in Bandra. Legend goes that those who offer wax replicas of what they want at the church and pray for the same, the wishes get fulfilled.
Get High on Qawwalis
If you want to see what Mumbaikars listen to apart from their regular dose of Bollywood beats, visit Haji Ali Dargah. Let Sikandar Shad and his band of Qawwals enthrall you with their performance as the setting sun brings respite from Mumbai’s humid heat. Watch them unleash the Sufi in them on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Savour Bhel-Puri on The Beach
Two legendary things about Mumbai are its beaches and wait for it- (it is not bikinis)- bhel puri. Take a walk on the overcrowded Juhu Beach (No. You cannot escape the crowds in Mumbai. Period) and enjoy the bhel puri from the ever-so-famous snack stalls that adorn the waterfront. Be unmindful of the jostling around by the crowd that lined up behind you, but beware of pick-pocketing thugs!
Take a Walk Down Marin Drive
Mumbai’s sea-facing road has been made famous by many a Bollywood movie. Remember the sparsely crowded sea-face you saw Dev Anand strolling on in the song “Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar…” from the movie CID? It doesn’t exactly look the same now, but the feel remains the same. Walk down the wide pedestrian path by 5pm and you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets and a city that simultaneously lights up after it. Of course, with its pros, come the cons. You will have to ignore young and old couples alike getting cozy by the promenade, but that’s okay.
Treat Your Taste-Buds to Bademiyaan!
Bade Miyaan, unlike you might assume to be is not a high end authentic mughlai serving restaurant. It’s a stall on the street behind Colaba Causeway. The seekh kebabs and rolls they serve here are nothing short of legendary. It has made its way into many a travel magazine and people throng this place for day in and day out. It starts in the evening at 7 and make sure you go early for you will barely get a chair to sit. Yes, they lay out chairs on the street for people to enjoy their food!
Guzzle it at Leopold
Leopold has now become a national monument after the terrorist attacks that took place on 26 November 2008, but it has been the darling of Mumbai’s beer lovers for decades now. Established in the 1800s, this bar has always been a landmark in Mumbai’s illustrious past. Thronged mainly for the beer and the chirpy atmosphere, it’s a must visit for anyone and everyone. You will notice the open bullet holes in the walls that have not been fixed as a reminder to one and all of the dark days it has seen and risen from. We say cheers to the valiant team!
Watch a Movie at Regal
One of Mumbai’s oldest surviving single screens of the Raj, Regal is located right at the mouth of Colaba causeway. Catching a flick here is like watching a movie sitting inside history.
Maybe you can watch a movie and then get a beer at Leopold. You see how that works out just fine!
Sail the High Seas of Mumbai
What’s the point of visiting Mumbai if you haven’t been to sea! You can catch a ferry at the Gateway of India for a 30 minute ride along the coast or take a day off and sail off to adore the famed rock-cut sculptures at Elephanta Caves on Gharapuri Island. The Elephanta Trip will take at least half a day, but if you are in a hurry, you can get a good view of the vast coast in the 30 minute ferry ride as well!
Shop Antiques at Chor Bazaar
Aptly called the Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market), it doesn’t necessary sell everything that is stolen. One can get anything and everything in this market and don’t be surprised if you find something you lost in the morning for sale at Chor Bazaar the same evening. Old vinyl records, vehicle spare parts, vintage cars, you name it, and they’ve got it. It’s a saying in Mumbai that anything you have been burgled off can be bought back from chor bazaar!
That’s not it, by the way. Mumbai is home to much more than one can ever imagine of. Too much to fit in one go, in fact. For any further details regarding stay, food, travel etc, one can contact The Other Home.