For busy Mumbaikars

Want a sandwich, The Kite Runneror a window seat for your Volvo ride to Goa? Now you get it all online. Malay Desai goes site-seeing to test whether you should sign up or simply press Alt+F4

   
Order food    

www.mealtree.com
Taking a cue from their daily food-ordering habits, citybased professionals Ashish Agarwal and his brothers conceptualised Mealtree. Albeit not a novel idea (many western cities, for example Durban, have centralised helplines and ‘menu directories’), Mealtree attempts to bring in all major restaurants and fast-food chains under one roof. UPSIDE: We placed an online order (rolls from Wraps and Rolls), and promptly got a call for confirmation. The delivery took the usual time it would have had we ordered directly. What impressed us was the user-friendly menus, where you can easily order from multiple places. There was also the option of mentioning exactly how spicy we wanted our chicken roll.

DOWNSIDE: We didn’t find McDonalds on the site and all items under Garcia’s were dysfunctional.
   
Look up a book    

www.librarywala.com
Our ‘time-less’ city life coupled with the love for books prompted IT professional Hiten Turakhia and his buddies to kickstart India’s first online circulating library last year. It is ideal for professionals with five-day weeks who tremble at the prospect of visiting a library or buying expensive books. UPSIDE: We shelled out Rs 2,398 (out of which Rs 500 was refunded because of a new special offer) to opt for a plan which gives three books per month, for a year. After ‘queuing up’ for The Kite Runner online late one night, we received it the next afternoon.

DOWNSIDE: Its collection is all-English. It won’t have Stephen King’s On Writing — which your nearby raddiwala may have. Nor will it have recently-published books (like Binoo John’s Entry from Backside Only) which your bookshops will have. Also, some popular books like Maximum City, which are always in circulation, may take longer to arrive.
   
Book movie, play or    concert tickets    

www.bookmyshow.com
Unlike some ventures of the Network18 stable, this one doesn’t seem like a strategic investment. In fact it is promoted by Bigtree Entertainment, an info-solutions provider. Good for us, we thought, since almost all the multiplex websites require boring registrations and bug you with emails forever.

UPSIDE: The portal also offers play and concert tickets. It is really simple now to make it to a play at Prithvi or Anoushka Shankar live. And we don’t even mind the extra charge. DOWNSIDE: We decided to test-drive Jodhaa Akbar and found that there were hardly any Fame cinemas on the list. Also, the site only accepted payments through credit card and not direct net-banking. However, it hurt most when they levied a Rs 15 ‘con’venience charge on each ticket. Why on earth should we pay that if the multiplex helplines were ready to book tickets via a phone call?
   
Book bus tickets    

www.redbus.in
This one, too, has an interesting history: it was born out of the frustration of a bunch of Bangalore-based IT professionals who always suffered before travelling due to overbooking and unpredictable schedules. Today, they’ve quit their well-paying jobs and their portal boasts of a tie-up with over 250 operators across India’s smallest towns.

UPSIDE: We pretended we wanted to head to Goa overnight, logged on and printed an e-ticket in no time. We also tried the delivery, which lived up to promise and was cheaper than it’s competitor. As for cancellations, they can be done online, 24 hours before departure. What’s most impressive? You can select the boarding point nearest to you after looking up the route online.
DOWNSIDE: If only they would let us select the movie to be shown en route! We won’t have to watch films like Partner.

No good!

www.ticketvala.com
We checked out another site – which lets you rents cars and book hotel rooms too, but found it’s not half as good.Ticketvala’s site promises more and delivers less (we’re still waiting for a call for a request we made last week). It charges more for delivery and cancels tickets only 36 hours before departure.

   
Grab a DVD    

www.clixflix.com
Mumbai’s cinema lovers have never had it better. Today, we have many international fests, a classic movie club and a just-launched world cinema channel. This portal is among many side-effects of a booming entertainment industry in India. It says its powered by ‘hardcore couch potatoes’, but we found it does little to encourage the movieviewing habit.

UPSIDE: Still looking…
DOWNSIDE: On registration, we found out that its online store stocks only DVDs. We regret this sorely, since Moser Baer sells VCDs at a throwaway 28 bucks! Secondly, they didn’t deliver on a Sunday and shockingly showed up zero results when we searched for common retro movies like Anand and Guide. All this, after a security deposit of Rs 2,000! Not worth your while, we say.

Better options

www.seventymm.com
It’s one of the better-known DVD rentals and deservedly so. It offers a million things for the film buff. It has an impressive regional-language stock and lets customers keep their DVDs as long as they want.Another DVD rental site, www.cinesprite.com, is as good and cheaper.

Want to Enjoy Mumbai ? Read this……….

  • Gateway of India(Local Stn. CST) This was built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India. This arch is the most recognizable symbol of the city.
  • Elephanta Caves Elephanta Island, Mumbai  Check out these fine examples of rock sculptures dedicated to Shiva. Even though many of them have been vandalised by Portuguese invaders, their grandeur is hardly diminished. Every year around February, the Elephanta Festival  of music and dance takes place on this island in the backdrop of the sculptures. Take a ferry from the Gateway of India. The round trip costs Rs. 100 and will take 45 minutes one way.
  • Prince of Wales Museum (Local Stn. Churchgate) 159-161, M.G. Road, Fort, Mumbai – 400 023. +91 22 2284 44 84, +91 22 2284 45 19 (fax: +91 22 2204 54 30 crescent@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in) [9] Now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the Prince of Wales museum is located near The Gateway of India next to Jehangir Art Gallery. Tue-Sun 10:15am. – 5:45pm.
  • Jehangir Art Gallery (Local Stn. Churchgate) M.G.Road,Mumbai 400 023 +91 22 2204 4058 Entrance Free 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Art Galleries There are several other art galleries in the “Kala Ghoda” district, walking distance from Colaba. Most notable being the Museum Gallery and the NGMA.
  • Nehru Science Centre (Local Stn. Mahalaxmi) Dr. Edwin Moses Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 018 +91 22 2493 2667, +91 22 2493 4520, +91 22 24926042(fax: 91 22 2493 2668 nscm@vsnl.com, nscm@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in, Additional Contact[10] ) [11] A science museum, also contains the Discovery of India – a show on India’s History named for Jawaharlal Nehru’s book. It is spread over a relatively large area and surrounded by greenery. Check the website for prices and timings of different shows.
  • Nehru Planetarium (Local Stn. Mahalaxmi) Dr. Edwin Moses Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 018 +91 22 2492 0510 (planetarium@nehrucentremumbai.com) This is located next door to the Nehru Science Centre, has some interesting shows. Adult Rs. 35. Children Rs. 20 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Local Stn. Borivali) Borivali, Mumbai +91 22 2842 1174 Check out this relatively unknown national park, situated in north Mumbai. It’s in Borivali, and serves as the lungs of Mumbai. It’s quite famous for its leopards and the caves inside the park. 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Kanheri Caves (;;Local Stn. Borivali) Borivali, Mumbai is a nice place to visit for history enthusiasts. This is a complex of Buddhist temples cut out of the rock. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Veermata Jijabai Udyan (Local Stn. Byculla) – Mumbai’s zoo, popularly known as Rani Baug (“Queen’s garden” – The queen in question could be Victoria or Jijabai. See infobox.) or Byculla zoo, because it is in Byculla. This is a sad little zoo, mentioned here only because a guide is expected to mention it. Go there for the garden, not to look at the animals.
  • Marine Drive Chowpatty (Local Stn. Marine Lines or Charni Rd) is the city’s most famous beach. Situated at one end of Marine Drive, Mumbai’s most famous promenade. This is not a place to sunbathe, however. Go here to watch the crowds enjoying themselves, and have Bhel puri, as a moderately famous Hindi song asks you to. Note that Chowpatty in Marathi means “beach”. So you may hear people referring to other beaches suffixed with Chowpatty (For example “Juhu Chowpatty”). But if they say “Chowpatty” without qualification, they are referring to this place.
  • Aarey milk colony is another green pocket of Mumbai. You can take a tour of the milk production plant and have a picnic outside.

Do

Marine Drive

Marine Drive

  • Harbour Cruise, Gateway of India, +91 22 2202 3585. Cruises leave at 30 minutes frequency every day except during the monsoon season (June-September). Rs. 40.
  • Heritage walks, Navyug Niketan, 185 Walkeshwar Road, Teenbatti, Mumbai 400 006 +91 22 2683 5856 +91 22 2369 0992 (Contact Brinda Gaitonde or Abha Bahl heritagewalks@hotmail.com) Organized by two architects, these walks take you around various historic and architecturally significant areas of the city. Walks are organized on the third sunday of every month (with a break in June and August for the monsoons) and the route varies each time. The walks last around 90 minutes. Rs. 100 (Discounted rates for students and the physically challenged)
  • Enjoy the Mumbai Festival, held in January every year. In 2006, it took place between January 14-26. Sample the vibrant culture of the city. The festival covers theatre, sports, fashion, food and shopping.
  • Elephanta Festival, Elephanta Island, Mumbai ( MTDC Reservation Division: +91 22 2202 6713, +91 22 2202 7762; Dadar, Near. Pritam Hotel: +91 22 2414 3200; Gateway of India: +91 22 2284 1877; Churchgate: +91 22 2209 3229; Rhythm House +91 222284 2835; Archies Gallery, Churchgate +91 22 2202 7511 Extn. 113, +9193246 35505)  of music and dance takes place around February every year. In 2006, it took place on February 11 and 12. The festival saw performances by renowned artists like Alarmel Valli, Sanjeev Abhyankar and Ananda Shankar. There will be traditional Koli dances and traditional food. 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (both days. Ferries start 4 p.m. onwards), Rs. 300 (per day, includes to and fro journey by ferry from Gateway of India to Elephanta Island)
  • It is a beautiful sight and experience to drive on Marine Drive.
  • Also a very good place to hang out and take in the sea without the menacing crowds is Carter road and Bandstand in Mumbai’s poshest suburb, Bandra .
  • The Rock scene is very good in Mumbai, as compared to the rest of the country . These are very safe to go to and are recommended for rock fans. Most bands cover heavy metal acts like pantera, six feet under, slipknot etc. but at places like Not just jazz by the bay, there are treats for Jazz fans, as well. To try to find places with specific music tastes try asking students outside Mumbai’s colleges.
  • Rave Parties, (Local Stn. Karjat) a place outside Mumbai is known for its “rave” parties. Many international underground and electronic Djs like. Infected Mushroom, Skazi , Astral Projection , and others have played here . These parties are not well publicised and are often held on the quiet,so finding one might be tough. Note that this might be illegal, so caution is advised.
  • If you can afford it, at $300/hour(including drinks & meals), rent the Taj’s private yatch(has 2 sun decks and 3 bedrooms) for a cruise around the Mumbai harbour.

Learn

Yoga

  • Iyengar Yogashraya (Local Stn. Lower Parel) Elmac House, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel West, Mumbai +91 22 2494 8416  This is the institute run by the renowned B K S Iyengar. Mon, Tue, Thurs, Sat: 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Rs. 111 per day
  • The Yoga Institute (Local Stn. SantaCruz) Prabhat Colony, Yogendra Marg, Santa Cruz East, Mumbai +91 22 2611 0506  This is the more famous of the Yoga institutes in the city. It is also probably more conveniently located if you are staying in the Western Suburbs. The Institute was founded in 1918 by Shri Yogendra as a research and educational organization and today is directed by his son Jayadeva Yogendra, Ph.D., who is also the editor of the quarterly magazine Yoga and Total Health.
  • Kaivalyadham 43, (Local Stn. Marine Lines) Netaji Subhash Rd, Marine Drive, +91 22 2281 8417 
  • Free Yoga with Nikhamjiat various hubs like borivali , Mira road ( Jehangid Complex) various suburbs in Mumbai ever sunday early morning at 7 am by Nikam Guruji Followers.

Universities

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay  Ranks among the best technological institutes in India and has a worldwide reputation. The institute has quotas for children of Non-Resident Indians (people of Indian origin settled abroad) and also for foreign students.
  • University of Mumbai  – The oldest university in India.
  • VJTI  A reputable technological institute.
  • SNDT University A reputable university for women, with main campus in Juhu and smaller campuses in Marine Lines and Ghatkopar.
  • Sardar Patel College of Engineering  A reputable technological institute. Hub of Mechanical Engineering Department  of Mumbai University.
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences 
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research 
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies 

Work

Nariman Point aand Fort are the commercial hubs of the city and the most sought after destinations. Bandra-kurla has come up in recent years too, but remains less desirable. A good idea to make quick money is to work part-time in a BPO or a call center. A part-time job can pay you as much as $350 a month for just 6 hrs a day for 5 days in a week .note : only good for english speaking travellers. Foreigners can also earn a quick buck by doing cameos in Hindi movies.

Buy

  • Buy some material and get some clothes made up by a tailor. It’s an incredibly cheap way to get quality made-to-measure clothes. Usually only takes a couple of days.
  • Also for antiques , see Mumbai’s Chor bazaar located in the Grant Road suburb . Be careful as to what you are buying and also bargain a lot. theres nothing like taking a local along to shop for you
  • Fashion Street (Mahatama Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai – From Chruchgate Station start walking towards Flora Fountain make a left turn and its a block down) – best place in Mumbai to buy cheap clothes. Bargaining/Haggling skills are a must if you want to shop here! Offer to pay 1/4 of the asking price or less and then work your way upwards!
  • Burlingtons in the Taj is a tailor specializing in Indian outfits. The Oberoi shopping arcade (in the Oberoi hotel) has a variety of shops offering Indian leather, silks and handicrafts. The Colaba area bylands also have many shops selling antiques, carpets and chandelliars. Afgan Carpets (in Colaba, near Salvation Army) stocks vegetable dyed carpets.
  • Crossroads Mall The largest shopping Mall in Mumbai, located on Tardeo Road, Tardeo.
  • Atria Mall– Near Nehru Planetarium,Worli. One of the best malls in Mumbai. It is not as big as Inorbit Mall at Malad but the atmosphere is good. Well known brands are available. Avoid taking your car as the traffic can be bad in evenings and weekends.
  • Phoenix Mills This is another great place for shopping. It is a mega center formed by converting an old cotton mill into a shopping center. It is home to numerous different things including lots and lots of shops, great restaurants, nightclubs, and a bowling alley. On weekends this area can get quite crowded, but in general this is a very safe place, with all the food clean and hygenic. There is also almost no chance of being scammed as all stores have price tags on their products
  • Inorbit Mall Great Place for shopping.Situated at Malad linking Road.Auto Riksha would cost 25 -30 Rs from Goregaon. There are movie theatres in the mall with various international brand stores.Avoid going on weekends and holidays especially in the evening
  • Infinity Mall Good place for shopping at Andheri (West) Linking Road. Includes movie theatres as well as one of the best book stores in Mumbai Landmark
  • Colaba Causeway is filled with tourists and locals. It is located very close to the Gateway of India. It is a place where you will be able to find many authentic Indian souvenir. But foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price.. If they refuse a price just walk away, and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.
  • Sarees – the best place to buy them is Dadar. The place is buzzing 12 months a year. On sundays the crowd can be maddening for outsiders. Good shops to buy Sarees are Dadar Emporium, Lazaree, RoopSangam. On N C Kelkar Road and Ranade Road you can buy almost everything a woman needs. Bargain Hard.

Eat

The dining experience at an upscale restaurant in Mumbai is more or less the same as anywhere else in the world. If you search hard enough, you will find cuisine from practically every part of the world represented in the city. But to get a real flavour of what’s unique to Mumbai, you will have to go a little lower down the scale, and experience its street food and Irani cafes. That is what is described here. For individual restaurants and other places to eat, go to the individual district pages.

Speciality Restaurants

  • Sea Food– Mahesh Lunch Home (near Fountain and in Juhu) and Trishna (Kala Ghoda)are the usual suspects and have been famous for their coastal cuisine. The latter is of course good, but had become too touristy by nature.
  • Italian– Giovanni’s (Juhu), Mezzo Mezzo (at the JW Marriott), Vetor (at the Hilton Towers, Celini (at the Grand Hyatt)
  • North Western– Peshawari (at Maratha Sheraton, Andheri). Its sister restaurant Bukhara in Delhi has been recognized as the best Indian restaurant across the world. Try tandoori jhinga, the kebab platter, sikandari raan (leg of lamb) and mangoes and ice cream (only during summers). Kandahar (Oberoi) and Khybar (Kala Ghoda).
  • Regional Indian– Dakshin (Maratha Sheraton) and Woodlands (Juhu) for south Indian, Oh! Calcutta for Bengali (at Tardeo), Poush (Andheri) for Kashmiri, Preetam’s Dhaba (Dadar) and Urban Tadka (Mulund)for Punjabi food, Chetana (Kala Ghoda), Thacker’s (Marine Drive) and Rajdhani (multiple locations) for Gujarati Thalis.
  • General Indian – Sheetal Bukhara, Great Punjab (both in Bandra)
  • Chinese– Mainland China ( Saki Naka) Ling’s Pavillion (Colaba), Golden Dragon (Taj Mahal Hotel), Great Wall (Renaissance), Spices (JW Marriott), China Gate (Bandra), China White (Bandra). Royal China at VT (behind Sterling Cinema serves some of the best DimSum the city has to offer)
  • Japanese– Wasabi by Morimoto (Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba) is Mumbai’s most expensive restaurant, but Japanese food is on the menus of most Pan asian restaurants like Pan Asian (Maratha Sheraton), India Jones (The Oberoi) and Spices (JW Marriott), Japengo ( Atria Mall Worli).
  • Combination Oriental– Pan Asian (at Maratha Sheraton), Seijo and Soul (Bandra), Joss (Kala Ghoda) has some of the best East Asian food in the country and at moderate prices (compared to hotels).
  • Fusion – Zenzi (Waterfield Road, Bandra), Out of the Blue ( Pali Hill, Bandra)
  • Lounge – Olive (Bandra), Rain (Juhu), Indigo
  • Speciality Deli – Indigo Deli (Colaba), Moshe’s (Cuffe Parade), Cafe Basilico
  • Cafe – Leopold, Cafe Mondegar (both near Regal Cinema, Colaba) are great places to while away time, eat cheap and swig a beer or five.
  • 24X7 Coffee Shops – Vista (Taj Land’s End, Bandra), Hornby’s Pavilion (ITC Grand Central), Lotus Cafe (JW Marriott), basically all the big hotels have one.
  • Goan, Coastal – Goa Portuguesa (Mahim) Near Hinduja Hospital
  • Mumbai Street Food – To experience the tastes and flavors of typical Mumbai chaat and yet not expose oneself to the dangers of unhygenic street food, check out Vitthal’s Restaurant located on one of the lanes opposite Sterling Cinema (C.S.T.)

Street food stalls

Songs have been written about Mumbai’s street food, and you will find that the hype is justified. You will find them at every street corner, but they are concentrated in beaches and around railway stations. It is difficult to categorize them, but there are

  • Bhelpuri stalls, selling what in the rest of India would be called chaat. In Mumbai itself, the term chaat is rarely used.
  • Vada pav stands, developed to provide nourishment to mill-workers in Mumbai’s burgeoning mills. Now they are found everywhere, particularly in the railway stations.
  • Sandwich stands – try them. Uniquely developed in Mumbai, you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in India or the world.
  • Chinese food stalls – you’ll find them at many places, but they are particularly concentrated near Dadar railway station. They all have a typical Indian twist added to it, which is why it is frequetly called “Indian Chinese”. Although it is great tasting, the hygiene of these places leaves a lot to be desired.

A tip: cheap and tasty food stalls are concentrated around the city’s colleges.

One should only have the food that is cooked fresh in front of you. During the monsoons, it is advisable that all street food be avoided, due to the numerous flies which are always on the food.

Udupi restaurants

“Udupi” restaurants (or “hotels”) are everywhere. They bear the name of the town of Udupi in Karnataka, but do not be misled into thinking that they specialize in the cuisine of Udupi. They serve pretty much everything, and that is their speciality.

Usually strictly vegetarian, these restaurants were started off by migrants from the district of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka (of which Udupi is a part), to satisfy the palates of other migrants from the district. Over time, they gained popularity as places to have South Indian food. As the tastes of their customers evolved, their menus too evolved, so much that now you can find Mughlai, Indian Chinese, Bhelpuri and other chaats in addition to South Indian stuff. Amazingly, some places serve imitations of pizzas, burgers and sandwiches too!

They are fast food joints and sit-down restaurants combined. The reason to visit them is not to experience fine gourmet dining, but to have cheap, passably tasty and fairly hygienic food. There is no easy way to identify an Udupi restaurant – they are not a chain of restaurants and they may not have “Udupi” in their name – so you will have to ask.

Though present all over the city, they started in the Matunga area. Madras Cafe is one of the oldest Udipi Restaurants in King’s Circle (Maheshwari Udyan)

Irani cafes

Absolutely the best for “Chai” and “Makhan-Pau (bread and butter). Also for assorted snacks, like Kheema-na-Patice, samosas, mava-na-cakes, etc. The best dish which is always on the menu is Kheema Pav. Kheema ( prepared from ground meat) & pav ( bread). One of the best places to eat is Cafe Military which is in the Fort area ( near the Bombay Stock Exchange). Majority of their customers are upscale like lawyers, bankers & stock brokers because of which the quality is good. Inspite of that the prices are very low, average entree would cost around US $ 1 or 40 Indian Rupees.

Thalis

If you order a thali (lit: “plate”), you will get a complete meal arranged on your plate, with a roti or chappati, rice and many different varieties of curries and curd. Ordering a thali is a popular option when you are hungry and in a hurry as it will usually be served blazingly fast. Most mid-level restaurants will have a thali on the menu, at least during lunch hours. Occasionally, they will be “unlimited”, which means that some of the items are all-you-can-eat. The waiters will actually serve them at your table.

Of course, you will find many varieties of them, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There is the South Indian thali. The “North Indian” thali translates to Mughlai, i.e. Punjabi. Do try the Gujarati or Rajasthani thalis if you can find them. They are sinfully filling and tasty. Rajdhani (At Crawford Market) serves up thalis in the Rajasthani style while Aram (near Mahim Church, Mahim) and Shree Thakker Bhojanalaya (off Kalbadevi Road) do filling and fabulous Gujarati thalis.

Fast food chains

Surprisingly, there is no fast-food chain in Mumbai serving Indian cuisine. But Western chains like McDonalds, Subway, Pizza hut, Dominos etc. have many outlets all over the city. But if you are a weary westerner looking for the taste of the familiar, be warned that all of them have rather heavily Indianized their menus, so you will find the stuff there as exotic as you found Bambaiyya food. However, Barista, Cafe Coffee Day, and Smokin’ Joe’s are all Indian chains, although they don’t serve Indian food. While Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, as there names suggest, serve coffee and pastries, Smokin’ Joe’s serves decent pizzas and is headquatered in Carmichael Rd, Mumbai.

What to eat

  • Vada Pav, The vada is a mashed potato patty. Pav is a kind of bread that has its roots in Mumbai. (The word comes from the Portugese word “pão”, for bread). The potato patty is sandwiched in the bread. Liberal helpings of three kinds of chutneys (sauces) are also added to the sandwich to make a seriously tasty snack. It is widely available on the streets and most folks price it Rs. 4 a piece. If you feel uncomfortable with the hygiene of a particular stall, avoid it. The Jumbo Vada Pav outlets at almost all train stations in the city are hygienic and its not risky to have Vada Pav from there.
  • Pav bhaji. Again part of the street food culture – this is mashed vegetables cooked in spices, topped with butter and served piping hot with pav. Widely available.
  • Bhel puri and sev puri. Again a classic Mumbai concoction, bhel-puri or bhel in short comprises mostly of puffed rice and assorted spices with a few chutneys. You can specify whether you want it spicy or bland and the vendor will make it for you. It is quite tasty and again ought to be had off the streets to get the real flavour. Most people though, like to flock to Juhu beach to try this out.
  • Pani puri. For first timers, this can be seriously intriguing. The vendor hands you a plate. Next he takes a puri (it looks like a golf ball, but brown in color), makes a small hole in it, and dips the puri into two jars. These jars contain water – one tangy on a tamarind base, the other spicy on a mint base. He tops it off with some condiments and places the puri on your plate. You got to pick it with your hand and pop the whole thing into your mouth. The outcome is an explosion. Awesome. A word of caution here though. Make sure you don’t have your pani puri from any vendor. The best vendors use only packaged water. Stick to that and enjoy the taste.
  • Indian-Chinese, nothing like regular Chinese. For a typical Bambaiyya flavour, try the Chinese Bhelpuri!.
  • Variations of world cuisine such as Tandoori Chicken Pizzas or McAloo Tikki burgers
  • If you happen to be in Mumbai in summer, try eating some Hapus (Alphonso) mangoes.

Drink

Coffeeshops

There many coffeeshops in and around Mumbai. Try the Cafe Coffee Day and Barista chains of coffee shops there are the best around town and also serve some pretty neat coffee for cheap. There’s the Cafe Mocha chain of coffee shops which also serve fruit flavoured hookas– South asian smoking pipes. If a small coffee and cookies place is what you are looking for, try Theobroma, it has an outlet at Cusrow Baug in Colaba. Those looking for a more native form of coffee can try the filter coffee, a milky coffee with origins from South India, from any Udipi restaurant.

Alcohol

  • Toto’s Garage Pub, 30, Lourdes Haven Pali Junction, Bandra West 400 050. (Off Pali Market) +91 22 2600 5494. Toto’s is the closest you will ever come to a Western bar. The place fires up every single night throughout the week, the beer is great and the place is packed with locals and the occasional tourist. But don’t go in expecting a seat. The tables are hard to get even if they’re empty. They are parked with ‘reserved’ signs unless you are a party of 4 or 6. 6 p.m.-12 midnight. Rs. 250 (average per person)
  • Indigo, An exclusive lounge & bar located at Colaba causeway behind Hotel Taj Mahal in South Mumbai is a not to miss destination. +91 22 56368980. On the expensive side with an average drink costing Rs. 250 upwards. Boasts of a large wine collection & also serves superb fusion food.
  • Head to the nightclubs in Phoenix Mills: Ra & Lush. Jazz by the Bay (opposite Ambassador Hotel) is a small bar with live performances on most nights.
  • The newly opened “Dome” in the Intercontinetal Hotel provides a great view of the city.
  • Zenzi at Bandra sees a lot of the expatriate crowd apart from models and filmmakers. Drinks aren’t chap and the service is slow but the place is always buzzing.

==Sleep== You can also find for-pay Wi-fi at the airport, provided by Tata Indicom.

Stay safe

One of the safest and economical place to stay in Mumbai is the YMCA. Reasonably priced accomodation are available at the Colaba, Bombay Central, Andheri and CBD Belapur Branches. For more details log on to http://www.ymcabombay.com

For a city of its size and global importance, Mumbai is quite safe. Though many people seem to think that Mumbai is full of underworld gangs and pickpocets, Mumbai is probably the safest city in the world with over 15 million inhabitants. However, there are a few basic safety tips –

  • Keep your money, credit card, passport and important documents safely with you at all times.
  • Do not display 500 and 1000 rupee notes in public.
  • Beware of pickpockets on BEST buses.
  • In case of danger, call 100 from your cell phone or the nearest phone booth.

Although violent crime in Mumbai is much less than in Delhi or in a large American city, it does sometimes occur.

Emergency numbers

  • Police: 100
  • Fire: 101
  • Ambulance: 102

The services have improved quite a bit but they are more likely to respond to a phone call from a house/office etc rather than a public phone.

Cope

Get out

  • Mumbai Metropolitan Region: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region around Mumbai is fast developing into a major conurbation. If you need to get to the surrounding cities of Thane, Navi Mumbai or Kalyan, bus services are available
    • TMT (Thane Municipal Transport) operates services in the Thane city and areas around it.
    • The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation), commonly known as ST, operates services from selected points in the city to the extended suburbs. From Dadar, services to Navi Mumbai and Panvel and from Borivali to Thane being the most prominent. Numerous other important routes are also covered in the MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) by the MSRTC.
    • NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) operates services in Navi Mumbai Area, and a few points around. They also have services from Mulund in Greater Mumbai.
    • KDMT (Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Transport) operates in the Kalyan-Dombivali Area with a few connections to Navi Mumbai.
The suburban train service, mentioned above, does a good job of connecting the surrounding cities.
  • Raigad district of Maharashtra lies just south of Mumbai. It is famous for its beaches and forts. You can get there by road or by ferry from Mumbai. The important ferry routes are:
    • Ferry Wharf, Mazagaon – Mora (Uran)
    • Ferry Wharf, Mazagaon – Rewas (near Mandwa) -These are in the budget range.
    • Gateway of India – Rewas Fast boats and Catamarans operated by private operators. Service approximately every 2 hours, suspended during the monsoon season, i.e. May-October. From Rewas, take a bus or car to Alibag.

Mahim

Name-Changing Anyone?
The different epithets that Mahim has had:
Bimbsthan – Prabhavati – Mahikawati – Maijim – Mahim

Map of Ancient Mahim

The former island of Mahim has a romantic and chequered history. It is one of the seven islands that originally made up Mumbai.

Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, and often called the city of dreams, is located on the west coast of India, in the state of Maharashtra. Mumbai is to India, what New York is to the U.S of A, or what London is to Great Britain.

The seven islands which together were called Bom Baia by the Portuguese meaning Good Bay were:

Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman’s Island, Worli, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga-Sion.

This group of islands, which have since been joined together by a series of reclamations, formed part of the kingdom of Ashoka, the Mighty Emperor of India who reigned from 273 B.C to 232 B.C. After him the island was ruled by several Hindu rulers till the 14th century (A.D).

Mahim, or Mahikawati as it was known, was the capital of Raja Bhimdev, who reigned over the region in the 13th century. Raja Bhimdev’s origins are not clearly known. He may have come from Anahilwada-Patan in Gujarat or from the dynasty of Yadavs in Deogiri. He built a palace and a court of justice in Prabhadevi, as well as the first Babulnath temple.

During his reign he brought various communities to these islands, such as the Pathare Prabhus (the first settlers), Palshis, Pachkalshis, Bhandaris, Vadvals, Brahmins, etc. The Bhandaris were originally toddy tappers; the Vadvals were gardeners. He also introduced many fruit-bearing trees, including coconut palms to the island. Today, we cannot think of Mumbai’s landscape without its swaying coconut palms.

In 1343, this island was possessed by the Mohammedans of Gujarat. It was in their reign that the old Mahim mosque was built. Dargah of Makhtum Fakir Ali Paru was built here in 1431.

In 1543, the Portuguese then took possession of the island of Bombay by force of arms. By then they were already in possession of other trading centres on the west coast such as Panjim (in Goa) and Daman & Diu. They built several churches; the St. Andrew’s Church in the suburb of Bandra has the distinctive Portuguese-style facade which is very much visible even today.

A hundred and twenty-eight years after the Portuguese captured the island, it passed into the hands of, who else, but the British. This tale too is not without its romance.

In 1662, these islands were given to the English King, Charles the II, as a part of the wedding dowry for the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza.

In 1668, Bombay was acquired by the English East India Company, on lease from the crown, for the annual sum of 10 pounds in gold (!). The British built the Mahim Fort here in order to protect themselves from the Portuguese.

This heritage structure has perhaps not been given its due, for today it stands virtually in ruins – a sad testimony to our times.

Anyway, continuing with our historical journey, in the 1670s, a convent of Our Lady of Salvation was built, and a Franciscan church constructed in what is now Dadar.

The East India Company shifted its headquarters from Surat to “Bombay” (corrupted by the British from “Bom Baia”) in 1687. Thus Mumbai (from “Mumbadevi”-the goddess of the fisher-folk), acquired even more importance as a trading centre – it became the gateway to India, which of course was called the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. The Causeway connecting Mahim and Bandra (corrupted from “Bunder” meaning port) was completed in 1845 at a total cost of Rs.1,57,000 donated entirely by Lady Avabai Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, wife of the first baronet Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy with a stipulation that no toll would be charged to citizens for its use by the government.

In 1847, a small group of Scottish missionaries decided to start a new school. Charitable, god-fearing and humble, they stayed in the background working unobtrusively and leaving no trace of their names. Nevertheless, they paved the way for a glorious future for Bombay Scottish School. On 28th February 1878, the construction of the Bombay Scottish Orphanage was completed at a cost of Rs 84,015 and opened by his Excellency, the Hon. Sir Richard Temple Bart, G.C.S.I, the then Governor and President in Council.

In 1913, the Bombay Municipal Corporation opened up Mahim for development as a suburb. This was done by building three major north-south access roads, now called the Western Express highway, N. M. Joshi Marg, and Tulsi Pipe Road. And so to now, circa 2000 A.D. For such a small area, Mahim houses several places of worship. It boasts of temples, churches, mosques, and a Gurudwara – in short, something for every person of every religion. It is also in close proximity to the remarkable Maharashtra Nature Park. This park has been created out of a garbage dump, and houses a bird sanctuary. It houses 12,500 varieties of plants and several rare birds including flamingos.

With several restaurants, businesses, stores and places of entertainment, Mahim can truly be likened to a buzzing beehive.

And today, Mahim is well connected with rest of Mumbai by Western railway, Harbour railway and Mahim Bus Depot, which has buses travelling to the far south Mumbai, Colaba and also to far north Mumbai, Dahisar.

Mahim Fort

For a large part of this last millennium, barring the last 55 years, India had many rulers. Be it the Mughals, Portuguese, or British, there has been no shortage of folks who wanted to rule this part of the world – after all, India was once called the land of milk and honey.

The city of Mumbai has several historic monuments and heritage sites, each telling its own tale. The Mahim Durgah, the Portuguese Church, or for that matter the Gateway of India, are all legacies of the ruler of that era.

Of these, the Mahim Fort is a relic from the British Raj. This fort is actually a fortress – a part of the larger “Bombay Castle” or St. George’s Castle. This castle was an important base during the time of the British Empire, but now all that remains are a few ramparts scattered about the city.

The Mahim Fort has cousins in Sion, Worli, Shivri and Mazgaon. The fort was built by the then Governor of Bombay, Gerald Aungier, in the year 1669, in order to strengthen British defences. He also made Bombay more populous by attracting Gujarati traders, Parsi shipbuilders, and Muslim and Hindu manufacturers from the mainland.

A man named Thomas Grantham then strengthened the fort’s ramparts in 1684. In the year 1772, 111 years after Bombay was taken from them, the Portuguese attempted to attack this fort. The British replied with cannonballs and thunder. In fact, the Bandra church also bore the brunt of their fire. By all historical accounts, there were apparently 100 soldiers and 30 cannons in the Mahim Fort at that time.

It is therefore anti-climactic that today, in all probability, all one can find are encroachers and hutments in the area. It is sad that a heritage site with such a glorious past, has been allowed to run to seed. The fort which was once visible from the Mahim Causeway and Bandra Reclamation, is barely visible now. The Mahim Fort needs to be restored and given the status of heritage structure.

A case of Mahim Fort, Mahim, Mumbai, submitted by Swetal Kanwelau of the Kamala Raheja Institute of Architecture & Environmental Studies, Mumbai, won the second prize at the Second IAHH International Student Design Competition. The results were announced in February 2004. The competition was aimed at investigating the issue of urban decay and degradation to evolve a more enlightened approach to planning, design and management of revitalisation, restructuring, redesign, conservation and redevelopment of such urban areas.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, in its budget proposal for 2005-2006 has intended to pay special attention to Mahim Fort.

Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport

{Airport codes|BOM|VABB}}, formerly Sahar International Airport, is an airport in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India.

The airport, spread over an operational area of 1450 acres (5.9 km²), is India’s biggest international and domestic aviation hub. It serves the Mumbai metropolitan area since the terminals are located in the suburbs of Santacruz and Andheri. The airport was formerly known as Sahar International Airport & Santacruz Domestic Airport. It was recently renamed after the 17th century Maratha Emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhonsle, to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.The Royal Indian Air Force Santacruz was a defence airfield of the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) during World War 2 and was entrusted in the 1950s (after India gained independence from Britain) to the Public Works Department, and subsequently the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India. It was named after the suburb of Santacruz where the airfield was located. Santacruz Airport remained the name well into the 1980s until the new international terminal went into operation at nearby Andheri. Even today, the domestic terminals 1-A and 1-B are commonly known as Santacruz airport

Mumbai airport is the busiest in India and South Asia. Recently the Mumbai-Delhi route has been ranked by Official Airline Guide (OAG) as the seventh busiest domestic route in the world based on the number of flights per week. The airport is the primary international gateway to the subcontinent and served by 46 international airlines and is also the base for international and domestic operators Air India and Jet Airways. It also serves as a hub for others domestic operators Indian Airlines, Jet Lite, GoAir, Deccan, SpiceJet, IndiGo Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines. Peak international traffic occurs at night while peak domestic traffic is before 10:00. Nevertheless, at least 45% of traffic flows between 10:00 and 18:30 daily.

In the 11 months between April 2006-February 2007, Mumbai airport handled 180,000 landings and takeoffs and over 20 million passengers, with a total of 13.56 million domestic air passengers and 6.73 million international passengers. It registered a 21.28% growth in passenger traffic over the previous year 2005-06, when the figure was 17.6 million passengers.

Structure

The international terminal

The international terminal

The Domestic arrivals terminal

The Domestic arrivals terminal
Terminal 1B

Terminal 1B

The airport consists of the International Terminal (Terminal 2 aka Sahar) and the Domestic Terminal (Terminal 1 aka SantaCruz). These terminals use the same airside facilities but are physically separated on the landside, requiring a 10-15 minute drive between them. The Airport Authorities of India provide shuttle services between the domestic and international terminals for connecting passengers. Terminal 1 is further divided into Terminal 1-A, opened in April 1992, and serves Indian Airlines, its subsidiary Alliance Air, Kingfisher Airlines, and GoAir. The older Terminal 1-B serves Jet Airways, Jet Lite, SpiceJet, Deccan and other private domestic carriers. Terminal 2, designed by Aéroports de Paris and opened in January 1981, is now Terminal 2-A–the original complex consisting of parking bays 41-46, namely, gates 3 to 8, the first aerobridges ever installed in South Asia–which serves most airlines whereas Terminal 2-C, inaugurated in October 1999, is exclusively for Air India, Air-India Express and those carriers whose ground operations are handled by Air India. Terminal 2-B, which is not in use, functioned as an extension wing between September 1986 and October 1999 for Air India and handled airlines.

Mumbai airport has two cross runways designated 09/27 and 14/32. Runway 14/32, 2,925 meters (9,596 ft)[1], runs between terminals 1 and 2, while the main runway 09/27 is 3,445 meters (11,302 ft)[1] (previously designated as 3,489 meters (11,447 ft)) intersects it south of the terminal buildings. Instrument landing system (ILS) approaches are available on the 27 (CAT II) and 09, 14 and 32 ends (CAT I). ILS at 27 end starts at 3,700 feet (1,100 m) and is 10.5 nautical miles (19.4 kilometres) long with a glide slope path of 3.3 degrees. With regard to (truncated) use of both runways, only 11,303 feet (3,445 m) is designated usable at 09/27 and 9,596 feet (2,925 m) at 14/32, especially for landings. Runway 14 approach requires aircraft to backtrack and exit upon landing as the turning pad at 32 end is unusable. Due to maintenance runway 09/27 is unavailable for landing or takeoff between 0715-0915Z on Monday and Saturday, and between 0715-0845Z on Wednesday.A parallel taxiway has been installed on runway 14/32 for aircraft landing and taxing which saves time as well as runway occupancy.

From January 1, 2006, both runways were operated simultaneously for three hours in the morning from 0530 to 0830. On average, about 50 flights of smaller aircraft have taken off daily from 14/32 in this time period. Since the experiment was deemed successful it has recently been decided to carry out simultaneous use in the evenings too. It is not clear if this will be for two hours or three hours. A rate of 25 departures per hour is being targeted in the evening slot. The problems with utilising 14/32 are: (i) Mumbai’s controversial new control tower erected in 1996 and some 72 meters (236 ft) tall penetrates transitional obstacle limitation surfaces by over 50 meters (164 ft) for instrument approaches, and in excess of 40 meters (131 ft) for visuals. Approach minima at both 14 and 32 ends are higher (based on best approach aid) and are as follows: RW 14 (DA 580 feet (180 m)), RW 32 (MDA 1,440 feet (440 m)) compared to RW 09 (DA 270 feet (82 m)) or RW 27 (DA 230 feet (70 m)), meaning that there is a higher probability of missed approaches and diversions in inclement weather (ii) a hillock, Trombay Hill, lies 4.5 NM (8.3 km) away from the 32 end, an approach also questioned recently by security agencies because the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) nuclear complex at Trombay (Anushakti Nagar) lies within its flight path.

Now expansion of Domestic Terminal and the construction of the International Terminal of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has been awarded to L&T ECCD. The brand new International Terminal T2 is being designed by one of the largest Architectural-Engineering firm in the world, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).

Upgrades

Artwork at Mumbai airport

Artwork at Mumbai airport

Arrivals

Arrivals

Upgraded Baggage Claim area at the International terminal

Upgraded Baggage Claim area at the International terminal

Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), a consortium of GVK Industries Ltd. (GVK) and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), was appointed to carry out the modernization of Mumbai Airport in February 2006. MIAL improved areas of passenger convenience like kerbside, terminal entrances and improved cleanliness. Human resources initiatives were taken such as employee communication and training. Some of the changes that have taken place at CSIA over the last few months are:[3]

  • additional check-in counters
  • cleaner toilets
  • better housekeeping
  • improved signage
  • more F&B options
  • better curbside management
  • aesthetic changes
  • smoother traffic flow

 Master Plan

In October 2006, MIAL unveiled the masterplan[4] for CSIA. The master plan has been designed to expand and upgrade the infrastructure at CSIA to cater for 40 million passengers per year and one million metric tonnes of cargo per year by 2010. International and domestic terminals will be merged into one terminal building at the current international building and the current domestic terminal will be converted to a dedicated cargo terminal.

The implementation will be undertaken in two stages:

  • The Interim Phase is the implementation of several immediate measures. These are to be completed by 2008 and will include:
    • Refurbishment and construction at Terminal 2
    • Revamp of Terminal 1A to upgrade and expand facilities such as check-in counters and boarding bridges
    • Setting-up of temporary cargo facilities to add capacity
    • Upgrading of the airside runway facilities such as rapid exit taxiways to increase runway capacity to cater to traffic growth
    • Enhancing city-side facilities such as multi-level car parks
  • Phase One to be completed by 2010 includes:
    • Creation of a brand new terminal building (T2) at Sahar catering to both international and domestic passengers
    • Construction of a dedicated link from the Western Express Highway to T2 at Sahar
    • Enhancement of the airside facilities by shifting the Air Traffic Control tower and construction of a parallel taxiway
    • Development of infrastructure on the city-side
    • Building new cargo facilities
    • construction of Terminal 1C
Arrivals

Arrivals

Terminal 1A

Terminal 1A

Key facilities at the revamped CSIA:

Facilities Proposed Existing
Parking stands for aircraft 106 (67 in contact and 39 remote) 84 (18 in contact and 66 remote)
Boarding Bridges 51 18
Check-in counters 316 182
Car parking 12000 3600

New taxiways have been developed to reduce the runway occupancy time by aircraft after landing. MIAL is undertaking the installation of a centralised data system which will provide information about domestic as well as international flights to all display devices at both terminals instead of just one or the other as at present. There are plans to extend the scope of the system to the Air traffic control (ATC) and apron control areas, the airport website and even to leading hotel chains. A centralised call centre to provide flight details is also envisaged. While a parallel runway seems to have been ruled out, the ATC tower is now expected to be taken down and relocated to facilitate cross-runway operation.

Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) has launched a free wireless network, in association with Bharti Airtel, to provide wi-fi service throughout domestic and international terminals.[5] This means that passengers transiting through Mumbai’s airport terminals can access the internet for free.

Airlines and destinations

Operations and Statistics
Flight frequencies to the metros
By flight frequencies (weekly one-way)
1 Delhi 381
2 Bangalore 237
3 Chennai 168
4 Hyderabad 133
5 Kolkata 113

Terminal 1-A (Domestic)

  • Air India(Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jamnagar, Jodhpur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Madurai,Mangalore, Nagpur, Patna, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Srinagar, Thiruvananthapuram,Udaipur, Vadodara, Varanasi, Visakhapatnam)
  • Kingfisher Airlines (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhuj, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Goa,Guwahati, Pune Hubli, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Mangalore, Nagpur, Srinagar, Varanasi]

Terminal 1-B (Domestic)

  • Jet Lite (Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jammu, Kolkata, Lucknow,tarukha Patna, Varanasi, visakhapatnam)
  • Deccan (Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bhavnagar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kochi, Kolkata, Mangalore, Nagpur, Raipur, Rajkot, Thiruvananthapuram, Vadodara, visakhapatnam)
  • Jet Airways (Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Nagpur, Pune, Raipur, Rajkot, Thiruvananthapuram,Udaipur, Vadodara)
  • IndiGo Airlines ( Agartala, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwhati, Goa, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, New Delhi, Nagpur, Pune, Vadodara)
  • SpiceJet (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Pune)
  • GoAir (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Indore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kochi, Srinagar)

 Terminal 2-A (International)

Terminal 2-C (International)

Cargo

Fixed Base Operators (FBO)

There are several fixed base operators at the airport and they include:

  • Caterers: TAJ-SATS, Ambassador’s Sky Chef, Sky Gourmet, Oberoi Flight Services, Chef Air.
  • Fuelers: Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum.
  • Ground Handlers: Air India, Indian Airlines, GlobeGround India, Cambata Aviation, Air Works India.