Beneath the crowds, mayhem and smog of Mumbai there lies a fascinating and friendly city with a variety of architecture, lush green parks and a multitude of cabs to carry you cheaply and easily between the many museums, sights and attractions. I spent three days in the city enjoying the following highlights:
I spent my first morning in this quiet neighbourhood. In the hanging gardens residents sit and stroll among a muddle of flowers, trees and various attempts at topiary. It is home to a lot of birdlife too. The area also offers fine views of the city and coastline.
This former home of Mahatma Gandhi gives a detailed but easy to digest account of Gandhi's life and work through photos, letters, quotations and artefacts. Seeing the father of modern India's possessions and carefully preserved living quarters makes you feel close to this peaceful and inspirational political figurehead.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" – Mahatma Gandhi
Clap Global is a scheme which gives travellers the opportunity to visit schools for a cultural exchange with pupils. During my talk I showed pictures of my hometown, Cambridge, explained how we mark Remembrance Day, which was coming up in November, and sang All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. I also had to answer no end of questions about my life, interests and country and was taught how to introduce myself in Hindi. It was really rewarding to see how keen the pupils were and how much they learnt. I recommend taking part if you get the chance. Clap Global is expanding to other cities in India and other countries.
Constant crowds come and go at this mosque is at the end of a long pier. The mosque is a pretty fine building but the sea views and sunset are outstanding.
An hour-long boat trip from the Gateway to India takes you to this island inhabited by monkeys and home to a series of incredible caves carved out of rock. There is an optional train ride from the quay to the bottom of the hill. About 600 metres of step stone steps take you up the caves. The way is sheltered and lined with souvenir stalls making it a steep and narrow shopping mall. The caves and striking sculptures are fascinating to explore while the monkeys are an entertaining side attraction, as long as they don’t steal your food or possessions. There are also terrific views.