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Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai December 28th 2019

Today is our last in Mumbai and we have decided to visit Elephanta Island. The rock-cut temples on Gharapuri, better known as Elephanta Island, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Created between AD 450 and 750, the labyrinth of cave temples represent some of India’s most impressive temple carving. It was the Portuguese who dubbed the island Elephanta because of a large stone elephant near the shore (this collapsed in 1814 and was moved by the British to Mumbai’s Jijamata Udyan). There’s a small museum on-site, with informative pictorial panels on the origin of the caves. Boats head to Gharapuri from a set of stone steps behind the Gateway of India every half hour. We had no trouble purchasing tickets, several touts approached us waving ticket books in our faces. One tried to tell us the ... read more
Elephanta Island caves
Elephanta Island caves
Elephanta Island caves

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai December 26th 2019

According to Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards, one of the largest slums in Asia has became the favourite tourist ‘experience’ for travellers to India in 2019, beating classic draws like the legendary Taj Mahal. The slum in question is Dharavi, which is located between two main suburban railway lines in the centre of Mumbai. Originally the area was a mangrove swamp inhabited by Koli fishermen. The slum was established in 1882 during the British colonial era, due to the expulsion by the colonial government of factories and residents in downtown Mumbai. Interested as I was to visit, the thought of participating in ‘slum-tourism’ didn’t sit well with me. Peering into the lives of those living in such crippling conditions made me feel uncomfortable. But, when I discovered Reality Tours and Travel, who guarantee all tour profits ... read more
Dharavi
Dharavi
Dharavi

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai December 25th 2019

Travelling on Mumbai’s trains is not for the claustrophobic, and getting up close (but hopefully not personal) with commuting strangers is impossible to avoid. More than seven million commuters a day cram onto Mumbai’s creaky suburban railway network. Crowding is extreme, with trains often carrying six times their capacity. During peak hours its estimated each suburban train carries 5000 commuters. Close to 3000 people die annually riding the Mumbai Metro, that’s eight people a day, according to rail officials. In 2018, 650 passengers died falling from trains alone, others were hit by poles whilst hanging through carriage doors, and even more were killed on the ground. Mumbaikars are always in a hurry to reach their destination, and there are those who won’t use a railway bridge, choosing instead to take their life in their hands, leap ... read more
Yellow metro train in Mumbai

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai December 25th 2019

This morning we have a Local Transport Tour with Reality Tours and Travel, meeting point was outside Regal Cinema at 8.30am. I knew the cinema was within walking distance from our hotel and I made a point of looking for it yesterday afternoon on our way to the Gateway of India. So we walked there this morning without any problems, arriving with ten minutes to spare. Another couple were coming on this tour with us, a lovely Malay couple who lived in Berlin. We enjoyed their company for a few hours and the company of our 18 year old guide. He was very knowledgeable about his city and was able to answer any questions we asked. First stop was reached via public bus. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, also known by its former name Victoria Terminus, after the ... read more
CST Station
The ceiling inside CST station
CST Station - the lovely stained glass windows above the ticket counter

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai December 24th 2019

We were up early at 3.00am, as we had a 4.00am pickup with our driver for an airport transfer. Our flight to Mumbai was scheduled to depart at 7.00am, but we find ourselves still sitting in the airport hours later as our flight has been delayed, now departing at 10.00am. There is nothing more boring than sitting around an airport...waiting....waiting... No transfer was arranged from Mumbai Airport on arrival, so we found the pre-paid taxi counter, told them our destination, and paid for our fare via a voucher system, before we found a taxi. It was R1500 ($30) into the Fort district where our hotel was, and the trip took almost two hours. A new metro line is being built through Mumbai with long sections of the roads being closed off behind corrugated iron walls, forcing ... read more
The Taj Palace Hotel
Arch of the Gateway of India lit up with bright pink light
The Zara shop lit up

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai August 14th 2019

Chapter1- Introduction So hello welcome back. This time I will talk about my trip of Europe. You know me, I am Mrinank Bhattacharjee of class 6, an 11 years old author. It all starts with a sleepy but an exciting night, not like the normal excited but the you are gonna blast type night when we were boarding our flight. Chapter2- Flight We left home at 10pm and reached the airport by 11pm. Our flight was at 1 at night so by the time we reached the airport we were already sleepy. We boarded our flight and then everyone slept, uncomfortably of course except my brother. After 6 hours of my sleep I watched a movie called ‘Fantastic Beasts-The Crimes of Grindelwald. It was a nice movie but with a sad ending. After we reached London, ... read more

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai May 9th 2019

India is somewhere neither of us has been to before, so are very interested to see it. We have done a fair bit of homework for this as we want to get to see as much as possible. The ship docked at about 4.00am in the morning, and by 7.30am, we were all allowed to start leaving the ship. The ship is docked a long way from the port entrance, so there are loads of shuttle buses to take everyone to the entrance. No need to book these though as there are so many of them. The journey to the entrance took about 10 minutes. Once off the buses, they checked our visas again and we were in Mumbai. It was absolute chaos. For about 20 minutes, we walked through man after man asking us if ... read more
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Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai April 6th 2019

This is it. We're off! Its an early start with a 6am pick up from home. We managed to pack everything last night and the bags are ready to go by the front door. As ever some last minute charging of phones, headphones and power packs overnight and then we are ready. Chloe was ready to roll at wake up time, as ever, Lucas and then finally Phoebe emerged. We got to the airport in good time and had a Pret A Manger breakfast of croissants, apple juice and coffee (me) before heading over to get our treats from WH Smiths. Laden with crisps, sweets, sandwiches and drinks we headed to the gate. Olivia was a bit worried about our visa pictures but we got through the gate in the UK without any trouble. The first ... read more
Jet Airways flight to Mumbai

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai March 5th 2019

Had to get up a little earlier today as taxi driver was picking us up outside reception so after a superb breakfast (The Sahara Star does a wonderful selection) we wandered outside and he appeared as if by magic. We had to head right down to the Gateway of India which we visited last time as that’s where the boats go to the island. So along the fantastic road built out into the bay on stilts to get clear of the main city traffic. As the road is 4 lanes and then goes to 2 it does have a bit of a traffic jam at either end but undoubtedly quicker than the stop, start clog of traffic by any other route. Then across to the other side of the pointy bit at the bottom of Mumbai ... read more
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190305 Mumbai (128)
190305 Mumbai (227)

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai March 4th 2019

Last year we had just one full day in Mumbai so did the standard tourist trip down to the Gateway to India, Crawford Market and the railway station taking in Marine Drive and Bandra Worli Sealink. This year we have planned two days to allow us to see a bit further into this massive city. First on the list was Dhobi Ghat, the major laundry for the city. This is where the main hotels send their washing as it has the best reputation. We asked the hotel for a taxi to take us there and got a ridiculous quote of 6000 rupees so instead asked for an outside taxi. That one cost 600 rupees (£6). With difficulty we persuaded the taxi driver that we only wanted to be taken there and dropped off. The taxis over ... read more
190304 Mumbai (64)
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