India was never really on my bucket list… I’m not a big fan of the food and it just never really had the appeal to me. However, after being in Mumbai, I actually really love it and that’s on periodt! It gave me Lagos vibes – it didn’t feel that different from home.
Yes – there’s traffic and people did stare at me, but I really did have a good time. Here’s what I’d recommend:
Eat: Have tea at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
Eat: Have dinner at The Table
See: Visit the Gateway of India
This is an arch monument built to commemorate the first British monarch to visit Mumbai in 1911. It was a symbol and reminder of conquest and colonisation and it was used to import colonial personnel. However, the British left via this Gateway when India gained their independence in 1948. So as the saying goes, the way you came is the same way you will go back. There’s so many reminders of colonialism in India, even down to the fountains, statues and galleries that were named after British people that they had to rename when they got their independence. What was once Flora Fountain is now Hutatma Chowk and the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India is now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I absolutely loved this, it’s great to see the colonial countries celebrate their own heroes. People did ask if they could take pics with me though being the only black person.
Do: Walking tour of Dharavi Slums
This was really something. Forget everything you think you know about slums and come and see what people are achieving despite their environment. The tour is run by residents of the slums who use the proceeds of the tour to further their education. Most of the waste of Mumbai goes via the slum where they sort everything and recycle. Within the slums, they have everything they need, there are schools, churches, mosques, temples, clinics – absolutely everything. They have every industry – engineering, tailoring, catering to name a few. They are fully self sufficient – for them, by them. They all live together in harmony and despite not having all the privileges we have, they are thriving. Part of Slumdog Millionaire was filmed here too. Also, only the men work! Women don’t have to work – isn’t that something. Honestly, it’s far from a place of misery but definitely a place of inspiration.
Do: Hang out at the Otters Club
Do: Get a massage at Iosis
I do try to have a massage in the different cities that I travel to and I would usually stick to the hotel spa. However, Iosis was recommended to me by a Mumbai local so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t have a booking and the branch I visited in Khar were fully booked and couldn’t fit in my 90 minute full body massage I wanted. However they were kind enough to fit me in for my next alternative which was a 30 minute back massage and a 40 minute foot reflexology session. They gave me a real massage – it felt like therapy. They stretched out all my muscles and I heard cracks in places I didn’t even know existed! Both treatments cost me around £20 – most definitely worth it!
What gems do you know about in Mumbai? Let us know!