Top Tourist Attractions in Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Four
This is the fourth instalment in the ongoing series on top tourist attractions in Mumbai. As in the previous articles, this one too focuses on places to visit in Mumbai that are close to each other for ease of commuting. From South Mumbai, I will be moving to Central Mumbai and then to West Mumbai. As one heads further up North in Mumbai, these tourist spots become more distanced from one another as the city spreads out in width here.
The other instalments in this series can be read at the links given at the end of the article. I'll start the first of these tourist attractions in Mumbai with something that is unique only to the city of Mumbai, and that is the Mumbai Dabbawalas.
In this article too, I list 10 places to visit in Mumbai. These also to me are amongst the top tourist attractions in Mumbai.
Mumbai DabbawalasClick thumbnail to view full-size
A short movie on the Mumbai Dabbawalas
In India, Dabba (pronounced as Dubb-aa), simply means a box but in this case, it refers to a lunch box or tiffin box and dabbawalas, (pronounced as dubbaa-va-laa-zzz), refers to people who carry these lunch boxes.
A dabbawala is a person who supplies fresh home-cooked food, collecting it from individual homes and delivering it to the workplaces of those who have subscribed to this service, and delivering empty dabbas for the next day's collection.
The Dabba is a cylindrical tin or aluminium container which holds the actual tiffin box or lunch box. You can see the picture alongside.
This service was started in 1880 (it is about 130 years old) with 100 men to deliver lunchtime food to those at work. The service was registered in 1956 and is currently known as Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association but the people who carry these dabbas are simply called dabbawalas.
There are 2 types of dabbawalas. On group is the collecting dabbawallas and the other group is the local dabbawallas who deliver these dabbas to the workplaces.
The dabbas are collected on bicycles, taken to a sorting place and grouped according to the destination. They are then taken to the railway station and put in coaches that are specially provided for them, for delivery in different suburban areas. The empty dabbas are collected a while later.
One of the distinguishing features of this service is the dress code - White Kurta Pyjamas and the trademark Topi, the White Gandhi Cap. The workforce is mostly illiterate.
There are about 5000 dabbawalas delivering about 400,000 dabbas every day.
The system works most professionally, with clockwork precision, and utmost accuracy, come rain or sunshine. The charges are abysmally low (less than 10$ a month). A survey shows an error of just 1 per 6 million deliveries. The service has been rated a six sigma in the Forbes magazine.
BBC has produced a documentary on the dabbawalas.
When Prince Charles expressed a desire to see their operations, he had to adjust his schedule to theirs, since their time was too precise to allow any flexibility.
The video above is a clip from the BBC video.
Nehru Science CenterClick thumbnail to view full-size
Nehru Science Center
Nehru Science Center or Nehru Center, in short, was started in 1977. The science park was constructed in 1979 and opened to the general public in 1985.
Nehru Centre is India's largest science centre built on 8 acres of land comprising the science park having a variety of plants, trees and shrubs, various exhibits on scientific phenomena etc. The centre imparts knowledge of the principles, marvels and innovations in the field of science and technology to children, students and the layman thus spreading understanding of and awareness about, science and technology.
Over 600,000 people visit the Nehru Centre every year. It is open every day including Sundays right through the year with just 2 holidays in a year on Holi and Diwali. It is open from 10 AM - 6 PM.
A must-see for everyone.
Victoria Gardens/JijaMata UdyanClick thumbnail to view full-size
Victoria Gardens is now known as Jijamata Udyan. It was also known as Rani Bagh meaning, Queen's garden. Jijabai was the mother of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire.
Victoria Gardens is a zoo and garden rolled into one, located in Byculla, in Central Mumbai. It is one of the oldest zoos in India and was opened to the public in 1861. It is spread over 52 acres of land.
Victoria Gardens also houses a small museum. As already mentioned in one of my earlier articles in this series on tourist attractions in Mumbai, the statue of the elephant found at Elephanta Caves is located just inside of the main entrance.
The museum was already a part of Victoria Gardens when it was donated to the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai by David Sassoon, a businessman. This property was later developed into a zoo and garden. A clock tower adorns the main entrance to the Victoria Gardens.
The zoo has many rare and protected species of birds and animals. The museum has many valuable collections of Indian art and culture. It also has many old trees and rare species of plants.
Azad MaidanClick thumbnail to view full-size
Azad Maidan was formerly known as Bombay Gymkhana Maidan (Maidan is a sports ground) in South Mumbai.
It is a triangular-shaped ground that is home to interschool cricket matches. There are 22 cricket pitches on this maidan. Public protest meetings and protest rallies are also held on this ground.
It is at Azad Maidan that Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli shared a 664 run record partnership during a Harris Shield school match, in 1987. The record still stands.
Azad Maidan is famous for and derives its current name from the largest ever political meeting for Azadi meaning freedom (of India from the British rule), held in December 1931, by Mahatma Gandhi.
Shivaji ParkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Built in 1925, Shivaji Park is the largest ground in Central Mumbai located in Dadar area. It is not a park but a big ground. It is also a historically important landmark due to various political gatherings and meeting that are held here. It is named after the Maratha King, Shivaji. Even the residential area around the ground is commonly called Shivaji Park.
The highlight of Shivaji Park is the small wall or Katta, as it is called in local lingo (a small wall high enough to sit on), that runs around the entire perimeter of the ground. A walkway about 12 feet wide and lined with trees, runs all around this Katta or wall.
In the evenings, on weekends and holidays, one can find people sitting on the wall chit-chatting and the walkway jampacked with people out for a walk. finding a place to sit on the katta.
Shivaji Park is also a favourite ground for budding cricketers. It also houses a gymnasium, the gymkhana club, a children's park, a senior citizen's park, the Scout's Pavilion, a Ganesha temple, the Bengal club and a library.
Around the park buildings from the mid-1900s still abound. The Mayor of Mumbai has his residence in the Shivaji Park area.
Siddhi Vinayak TempleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Siddhi Vinayak Temple
One of the most famous and venerated temples in Mumbai, the Siddhivinayak temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is located at Prabha Devi area in Central Mumbai and is a major landmark of the area. It was built in 1801. Siddhi Vinayak means Lord Ganesh, the fulfiller of wishes.
Siddhi Vinayak started out as a small 10 feet by 10 feet structure as compared to the sprawling 2550 square meters temple complex that is seen today.
Siddhi Vinayak temple is frequented not only by the common man but by politicians and Bollywood stars as well. One can see long queues of devotees and visitors waiting patiently for their turn to pay their obeisance and offerings to the Lord. Tuesday, the ruling day of Lord Ganesha, sees the maximum number of people turning up at the temple.
Siddhi Vinayak temple is probably the richest temple in Mumbai. The construction of Siddhi Vinayak temple was funded by a rich childless woman who wanted to erect a temple for childless women who could come to Lord Ganesha to seek his blessings.
Bandra - Worli Sea LinkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Bandra - Worli Sea Link
This sea link connects the Western suburbs of Mumbai to Worli in South Mumbai. This - the first phase of the 4 phase project to connect Mumbai city from Versova to Nariman Point - consists of a series of multiple bridges over the Arabian sea to reduce the traffic congestion between the suburbs and the city.
The Bandra - Worli sea link is part of the Western freeway multiple phased projects to connect Nariman Point in South Mumbai to Kandivali in North Mumbai, a total distance of 29 kilometres.
The Bandra - Worli sea link has reduced the travel time from Bandra to Worli by almost 2/3 ie from 60 - 90 minutes earlier to 20 - 30 minutes now. This sea link was opened to the public in June 2009.
Mount Mary ChurchClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Bandra, Mumbai. The church stands on a hillock on the Arabian sea. People of all faiths visit the basilica
Initially built around the year 1640, it is thought to be the oldest church in Mumbai. The church was rebuilt in 1761. The original statue of Virgin Mary was disfigured by Arab pirates to steal the gold-lined object in her hand.
For a brief period, it was replaced by the statue of Our Lady's of Navigators and was replaced by the original statue which was renovated with a child in Virgin Mary's arms.
Every year on the first Sunday after 8th September, the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated in the form of the week-long Bandra fair, to celebrate the birthday of Virgin Mary. This fair is visited by thousands of people.
During Bandra fair, the entire area wears a festive look with decorations and stalls selling various wares and eats.
Linking RoadClick thumbnail to view full-size
Video - Linking Road, Bandra
Linking Road is a street in Bandra, Mumbai famous for cheap street shopping. People from all over Mumbai, both rich and the medium class flock here for purchases. Linking Road has everything for all classes of people from cheap, to imitations of foreign brands to high end branded stuff. Top brands' stores, street-side stalls, regular shops, roadside vendors hawking their wares, you will find them all here vying for customers.
One can find clothes, bags, shoes, belts and other fashion accessories, even musical instruments being sold here. Bargaining especially with street stalls is the norm here. It is best not to show one's keenness for a product even if you like it. Do not quote more than 50% of the asking price and trying to walk away after quoting your price usually settles the deal around that price.
Juhu BeachClick thumbnail to view full-size
Moving further up towards North Mumbai we come to the Juhu area in West Mumbai, which is famous for its beach called Juhu beach.
Juhu is one of the elite and affluents areas of the city and many Bollywood personalities live here.
Juhu beach is one of the most famous beaches in Mumbai. Just like Chowpatty beach, it is frequented by joggers, early in the morning and other local people, in the evenings. Tourists, however, make it a point to visit this beach, no matter where in Mumbai they are staying.
One can find food stalls on the beach serving various types of famous Mumbai street food like Pani puri, Pav bhaji, Chaat etc. Children aa well as adults can enjoy pony rides, camel rides, many amusements, games etc.
Evenings, weekends and holidays witness huge crowds at Juhu beach. A must-visit for everyone.
Some of my other hubs on Tourist Attractions In Mumbai
- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment One
Mumbai, the city of dreams has innumerable tourist attractions for visitors to the city. This article series gives you an insight into these tourist spots with photos as well as the history behind them. Read on...
- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Three
This is the third instalment in the series on top tourist attactions in Mumbai. To know the best tourist attractions, read on...
- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Two
There are numerous tourist attractions in Mumbai for visitors. This article lists the top tourist attractions that are a must see when in Mumbai. To know more, read on...
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly