India: Mumbai by taxi - The360 Travel

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  • Saturday, December 14, 2019

    India: Mumbai by taxi

    India: Mumbai by taxi

    Have you ever been to Mumbai? To give you an idea, it looks like New York for the big city economic side, Bangkok for the indescribable clutter and Havana for the dilapidated heritage. Let's add that it is the richest city in India and one of the most populated on the planet: 22 million inhabitants!

    Prepaid taxi

    The first question that comes to mind when we get off the plane is: are we going to get ripped off in this city where the biggest fortunes are next to the most extreme misery? No. In the airport, there are taxi counters where you can prepay for a fixed price. Each company offers different rates. But it costs around $ 10 to get downtown. As a bonus, the driver speaks English!

    Choice number 1

    Where to go? Where to start? Bandra, where do Bollywood stars, hipsters and expats go? Malabar Hill, opulent neighborhood that dominates the city? Lower Parel, where can we party? Colaba, the tourist heart of the metropolis? If you are in Mumbai for a short stay, do not think of it all. Traffic and distances are insurmountable obstacles! The number one choice is Colaba, in the south of the city, where the emblematic luxury hotel The Taj Mahal Palace and the Gateway of India are located, one of the last symbols of British colonial rule.

    Commented visit

    Mumbai is huge: 603 square kilometers. It's hot, the distances are long, and it takes a lot of courage to cross the streets. To visit the city without breaking your head, opt for a taxi ride of a few hours. Leaving the hotel, you will probably meet a driver, such as Pappu, the company Cool Cab, which will offer you to discover his city for a fee of $ 6 per hour. Get in! In addition, he will make you a commented tour in impeccable English. Good to know: the best months to discover Mumbai are from January to May and from October to December.

    The father of independence

    First stop: Gandhi House Museum, where fans come from all over the world. Commonly called the Mani Bhavan, this small museum traces the journey of the father of the Indian nation with photos of his youth, personal items, 50,000 books and a correspondence with the great men of his time. On the second floor, the office and Mahatma rest room were kept as is. You will better understand the country by immersing yourself in the story of the life and action of this great humanist.

    The misery of the rich

    Then drive to Malabar Hill, following Marine Drive, a 3.6-kilometer boulevard by the sea, known as the Queen's Necklace, because at night the street lights look like a pearl necklace. Malabar Hill is Mumbai's most exclusive district, home to wealthy businessmen and Bollywood stars. It's also home to the delirious 37,000-square-foot Antilia Tower, which has 27 floors and 9 elevators - one of the most expensive homes in the world. This "house" belongs to Mukesh Ambani, the greatest fortune of India, who lives there with his wife, three children and an army of 500 servants. Ambani has no qualms about spreading his wealth in a city where half of the people are very poor.

    Outdoor laundry

    To find out how the poor live, go to the slum of Dharavi. Viewed from above, it looks like a tangle of corrugated iron roofs. Nearly 1 million people (100,000 families) live in this "slum", the largest in Mumbai, where the worldwide hit Slumdog Millionaire was shot in 2008. On the way, make a stop on the bridge which is near Mahalaxmi railway station to contemplate the largest human washing machine in the city: the dhobi ghat. Every day, hundreds of launderers wash clothes in a thousand outdoor washhouses.

    The bazaars

    Then, after visiting one of the many temples in the city, head to the Crawford Market, where you'll find mountains of fruits and vegetables, but also spices, meat and fish stalls. It is an incredibly dense mix of people and goods in which we struggle to find their way. You can buy just about anything here, but it's more fun to explore the aisles than buying souvenirs, aside from, perhaps, a cashmere scarf. It can be confusing to navigate this huge labyrinthine market, but you always find your way, thanks to the GPS of your smartphone!

    Always Bombay

    If you still have some energy left, you could walk back to your hotel by making a first stop at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Station, formerly known as Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India; then, a little further, visit the Prince of Wales Museum which today bears the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. Surrounded by a beautiful park, this museum houses collections of sculptures, paintings and ivories. And on the road, you could see public writers typing letters to earn their bread in Bombay. Because, if the city bears the name of Mumbai since 1995, for the inhabitants, it is still Bombay.

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