Walking tours are a great way to know a city. Walking tours of Mumbai are no exception. You get to know the city from real close quarters. The city’s character, its people and its various layers are peeled in front of your eyes as you walk along its streets. I took a few walking tours of Mumbai when I was in the city recently (some paid, some with the help of knowledgeable friends in the city that never sleeps). Here they are for you.
The Heritage Walk
Mumbai’s colonial past lends itself to a variety of interesting walking tours. I took the one that covered South Mumbai, called the Heritage Mile Walk, conducted by Raconteur Tours. An able handed guide walked me through what is called the Heritage Mile starting from CST terminus along Dadabhai Naoroji Road towards Flora Fountain and touching upon Kala Ghoda, High Court, Mumbai University Building, ending the tour at Marine Drive. There was a lot of historical information, peppered with interesting anecdotes that made the tour likable. Also, I have noticed that when you go on a guided tour – where things are explained to you – you tend to remember details more accurately for a longer duration.
The Highest Point Trail at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National park is the green lung in the Northern suburbs of the city. I enrolled for the Highest Point trek conducted by BNHS. A slightly arduous trek that went on for about 4 hours, the trek takes one to the access point from where the Tulsi, Vihar and Powai Lakes can be seen. The trail also provides panoramic view of the city. Sadly though, the day I went on the trek, Mumbai’s smog decided to play spoilsport and I only saw a blanket of smog over the city’s skyline.
Bandra Art Walk
The hippest neighborhood of Mumbai, Bandra is where graffiti artists come to roost. Walk along the tiny lanes off Hill road and immerse yourself in the quirky street art that decorates the peeling, flaking walls rendering them a bit of character. Add to that, the recent St+Art festival has left the walls of Bandra’s villages with interesting graffiti and wall art. Walking along the lanes and stumbling upon children indulging in wall art is also a pleasure you can rarely find anywhere else.
The Vada pav city is also synonymous with street food of its own making – the healthy Maharasthrian bakris and the sweet-savory Gujarati farsans are proof. I got to taste Aloo Vadi, Bakris, Dhoklas, Teplas, Muthiyas and many such delicacies. But it is the dying breed of Iranian restaurants that got my fancy. This Keema Ghotala (minced mutton with eggs) is so rich it could trick your system into believing that it is time for your siesta. The berry pulao (that I did not get to taste this time) at Britannia restaurant also comes highly recommended by the city’s connoisseurs.
Where are you headed next this year? Leave a comment and let me know.