|View from the waiting area for the arrival of cabs/taxies|
I have always believed that when the destination is not off-beat than choose the timings when half the city is sleeping and for the matter of fact most of the Mumbaikars are night owls. The Western Ghats which are known for its captivating sunsets, but to me, serene mornings have their own beauty. We hop on to the Auto rickshaw and to my surprise, unlike Delhite's Autos, the Autos here actually run on meter and the drivers are keen to share their knowledge about the city. Most of the places here in Mumbai are famous not necessarily because they are worth visiting but they became popular because of the Bollywood. Same goes for the Aksa Beach which became the part of must-visit beaches after the song from the movie "God Tussi Great Ho". (Traveler’s Alert) Most of the beaches here are not clean at all due to the amount of waste dumped daily in the sea. You might experience the foul smell of rotten dead fishes and a lot of trash kissing the shoreline along the waves. And, if you visit during the festive season you might be baffled to see your God's idols lying in bits and pieces on the shore. Despite all its wrongs, Mumbai and people here are full of exuberance and nothing could stop these kids from playing & standing tall against those strong splashing waves.
In the hustle and bustle of the life here, people look for quick-budgetary-filling food options. During those 2 days, I tried Vada Pav at many places (from the street joints to Airport lounge) and realized that it was as simple as any other street foods yet very few people have mastered the art of making it right. The quickest, pocket-friendly and on-the-go-snack that you can enjoy anytime and anywhere.
Day 2: It was time to cross the bridge and explore Southside ( Haji Ali Dargah, Maratha Mandir, RBI Headquarter Building (personal choice), CST Railway Station, Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves, The Taj and the Marine Drive)
We rented the Ola cab for the day, unaware of the fact the parking charges in Mumbai (especially the Southside) will burn a hole in my pocket. We were delighted to witness the engineering marvel Bandra-Worli sea link that weighs equivalent to that of 50,000/- African Elephants. Our first stop was Haji Ali Dargah, an Indo-Islamic architecture connected to the mainland through the causeway which gets submerged during the high tides. This shrine draws people from all faiths and watching the city from the shire with the waves all around is usually an experience visitors tend to remember. (If you are interested in Qawwalis than try scheduling the visit in the evening).
The history of these mysterious caves is unclear but the stories about how they were discovered are interesting. While coming back, the artefacts made of precious stone/pearls lure you to buy at least one as a token of memory.
Its beauty is as perfect from the inside as it is exquisite from the outside. I have been to other fine dining restaurants but the impeccable service here fascinated me the most. After the dinner, a long walk at the Marine Drive appreciating the sea and skyline was like a cherry on the cake.