BANGALORE: Life in big cities is so fast paced that we hardly get a chance to stop and enjoy the moment. Most of us are busy with work and commute. Whatever little time we get we spend it on watching a movie or in a mall or at a noisy coffee shop. Nothing wrong with that except that it’s monotonous and gets predictable.
When a long weekend approaches, I notice people get panicky. What are we going to do with so much time? Let’s head out somewhere. I don't know about Bangalore but people in Mumbai, want to go to Lonavala, Panchgani, Alibaug. It’s common knowledge that going to Lonavala (or anywhere in Maharashtra) over a long weekend guarantees getting stuck in highway traffic for hours - because everyone decides to escape from Mumbai. Yet, most people will prefer traffic over spending some laid back time in Mumbai. Whether you are from Mumbai or just visiting, here are five offbeat things to do in Mumbai.
Take the Heritage Walk
Most of the city’s history is concentrated in South Mumbai. Start from CST (Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus), also known as VT (Victoria Terminus).
Rent a beautiful sail boat and go sailing with your friends / family. Book an experience via Bluebulb. Pre-booking is advised. You can learn the basics of sailing or just sit back and watch the sun setting into the Arabian Sea, away from the maddening crowd and noise. The sound of waves gently lapping against your sailboat is just out of this world. When you watch the flickering lights from a distance, you can’t help but fall in love with the city. Once you are back at the dock, treat yourself to some good food and beer in Colaba.
Cost: Rs 3499 (sailboat rental for maximum 4 people)
Here are a few other places that rent out sail boats: Gateway sailing club, Bombay Sailing, Royal Bombay Yacht Club
Spend a day surrounded by books at Oxford Bookstore / Kitab Khana
Oxford Bookstore in Churchgate and Kitab Khana in Fort have a good range of books and cozy cafes. Cha Bar’s (at Oxford) menu boasts of exotic and cultural blends of tea like the Moroccan Mint, South African Rooibos, Decaf Teas, Green Teas and Ayurvedic Teas. You can grab a book of your interest, snuggle in a corner and read to your heart’s content.
Cost: Ranges from zero to the cost of book you may end up buying.
This UNESCO world heritage site was recently rated among the top 12 most beautiful railway stations from around the world by Mashable. Right next to CST is Mumbai GPO. Established in 1794, the General Post Office is one of the biggest in the world. If you like photography, then the Victorian and Gothic architecture of the Colonial era is guaranteed to delight you. Continue walking and cover Lion Gate, Asiatic Library, Horniman circle, the RBI building and Crawford market.
Right opposite Lion Gate stands the oldest building in the city. You’ll spot it if you walk slowly, looking for the engraved stone on the wall that certifies it as the oldest building.
If you are not sure about doing this yourself? Check out travel-logs. They conduct walks every fortnight and will take you to places you didn’t know existed in Mumbai.
Cost: Zero. And walking is good for health too.
Watch a play
NCPA in Nariman Point hosts some of the best plays and live performances. Prithvi Theatre in Juhu is another beautiful place where you can catch some really good plays. Both these places have great open air cafes where you can sit for hours. Amadeus cafe in NCPA on the other hand is a more dressy, formal affair.
Cost: Starting from Rs 500 per person
Visit Cafe Universal
For hard core foodies and movie buffs, here’s my recommendation - head to Cafe Universal in Fort (on Sundays it’s open from 6 pm onwards). Lonely Planet describes it as “a little bit of France near CST“. But this is better than France, I can tell you. The food (try their burgers), high ceiling, wooden interiors, big windows and the warm lighting makes you feel right at home. It’s never noisy here. They will never rush you. Once sated, you can proceed to Sterling Cinema.
Town House Cafe right next to Sterling will charm you with its music and menu. And prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Town House Cafe has a coffee shop on the ground floor which I haven’t tried but can vouch for the pub upstairs. It’s my favourite in town.
— Bharti believes that every suitcase tells a story and she likes sharing these stories on her blog Suitcaseofstories.wordpress.com.