Saturday, May 25, 2013

Walking In Mumbai

Once I had finally found my guesthouse, safely, I grabbed a taxi to start a walking tour of Mumbai, straight out of the Lonely Planet. It seemed to cover the major sights, and let me explore the central area of the city on foot. Always my preference!

I started at the Gateway Of India, on the edge of Mumbai Harbour, before turning around and seeing the Taj Mahal Palace which was the site of the last stand of the 2008 terrorist attacks of the city.

From here, I arranged my tour for the next day, before returning to the street and walked to the Regal Circle for a view of the stunning buildings all around me at that point.

A little further up on MG Road is the stunning Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. which is the main museum in Mumbai. Whilst I did not go it, I popped inside the gates to check out the well-groomed grounds and the spectacular building - mixing architectural design from Islamic, Hindu and the British.

I viewed more grand buildings to the left of me as I walked up MG Road, before reaching the Flora Fountain, and following the Walking Tour suggestion to duck down to Horniman Circle. This took me past St Thomas' Cathedral, and at the end of walking through the Circle was the Town Hall. The Circle is a park, surrounded by rounded, horseshoe-shaped buildings, which reminded me so much of parts of London.

Back past Flora Fountain, I got to the Oval Maiden, and took in the sight of the busy, grassy expanse. On the edge of the Maiden I could see the Rajabai Clock Tower, next to the ornate University of Mumbai buildings.

Wandering North from the Oval Maiden, I walked through the Cross Maiden and the Azad Maiden, to get to the magnificent Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. This Gothic building is the Victoria Terminus, being the central point of the railway network.

From across the busy road, to up close, and even inside, this mix of Victorian, Hindu and Islamic architecture features domes, turrets, stained-glass windows, and spires, and is stunning!

The published walking tours in the guidebook most of us carry when we travel was perfect to allow me to see the main sights in Mumbai in a reasonable amount of time, and an ideal length on foot. It meant I got to see the bustle of everyday life in the city, the food stalls and the kids playing in the Maiden, and see what I wanted to see.

The next day, to complete my tour of the sights, I had my taxi driver take me from my morning excursion to see Haji Ali's Mosque, before heading to the airport. This temple sits at the end of a walkway jutting out into the Arabian Sea, and requires pilgrims to navigate the path which is washed with the lapping water from both edges.

From here, I could also see across the water the more modern cityscape of Mumbai, although no buildings there really stood out as distinct or that "made" the skyline. It was the older buildings around town that made Mumbai for me. I had always wanted to visit the city once called Bombay, but actually had no idea about the presence of these great buildings.


  1. You've made me feel a bit nostalgic there Tash...all areas I used to frequent during my college days... :) I do love the architecture in south Bombay...

    1. Ohhh, ha! Glad I managed to capture the area then! Was a great city to visit, so glad I got across to it.
      Thanks for the comment!


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