One Day in Mumbai, India. Visa confusions, interesting highlights including temples, race tracks, laundry, and tasty treats.
So the India visa was a huge confusion and headache due to arrival by ship. We had to apply in person, pictures are not passport size and the paperwork is confusing all adding up to an incredibly frustrating process costing 88 Euro and a lot of time. On arrival, we had to do face to face immigration, get more papers, not lose those papers and go through several checkpoints. And then we were in Mumbai, India – for one day.
A friend met us and we were off. First stop was the famous Gateway to India located on the waterfront, directly in front of the Taj Mahal Palace. The area was busy with tourists, school children and locals. Smog was heavy in the air.
Next stop was the very colorful Churchgate Station, painted by the “Hamara Station Hamari Shaan” initiative – beautifying stations. A gentle bustle saw locals coming and going; little stands selling drinks and snacks lined the rails.
The streets outside were busy with honking cars, motorbikes and buses. Walkways were very congested as well with people going about their daily business. We saw so many sights and some surprises, like the impressive Mahalaxmi Racecourse horse track.
The Babulnath Temple was on our wish list of stops and it did not disappoint. The area surrounding the walk up to the temple was interesting and the temple itself was peaceful. There were no tourists, just some locals enjoying their shrine. Price: Free (Mobility issues? Elevator access: 10 Rupees – $0.15 cents)
Eventually our hunger got the best of us, and we stopped for some Indian street food. The 5 of us each consumed a Samosa, a Vada and chips for a grand total of $3.50. (240 Rupees) Great price for full stomachs!
The Dhobi Ghat open air laundry was next on our agenda. It was overwhelming to see so many clothes, sheets and towels hanging around shacks by the railway,drying in the air. Interesting, environmental solution.
Of course, if you ever heard of Slum Dog Millionaire, you know we couldn’t miss a trip to the famous desolate area of Dharavi Slums. Tin roofs, dust, broken autos, squalor, and satellite dishes jammed the endless area. Kids seemed oblivious, playing in the dirt, waving and talking with us.
We had quite a few other small stops and saw more than one can imagine! Total cost: $53.50 USD (Estimated fair price for a 5 hour taxi for 4 persons $50 + our lunch) Next stop: Mormugao (Goa), India
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