Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.
This is the second instalment in the ongoing series on tourist attractions in Mumbai. South Mumbai has many more tourist spots so in this article too, we will be looking at more places to visit in Mumbai. These tourist attractions offer the visitor not only a glimpse into the culture and history of India but provide him with a place where he can relax and enjoy some greenery within the maddening rush of the city of Mumbai.
In this hub, I will take the reader on a virtual journey to some of these very attractions that I hope he/she will enjoy reading about as I enjoyed writing about, and visiting in my younger years, innumerable times.
Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of the travel stuff, I would request you to please spare a few moments to cast your votes in the poll. Thanks.
Note: You can read Instalment - One at the link given at the end of the article.
In this instalment, I list 10 places to visit in Mumbai which I consider among the top tourist attractions in Mumbai.
We start off with Nariman Point, an area at the southern tip of Marine Drive. This is the place which is not only Mumbai's leading business centre but also India's first central business district.
It is named after a Parsi visionary, who envisaged that land could be reclaimed from the sea. His name was Khursheed Framji Nariman. Prior to 1940, the area that is Nariman point today was part of the Arabian sea.
Debris from different areas of the city was dumped to fill up the shallow sea coast at this point. Then, reinforced concrete was used along with imported steel purchased from the black market due to world war II.
Nariman Point is looked upon as the 'Manhattan' of Mumbai. It has a spectacular skyline Most of the leading national and international industrial and business houses are headquartered here. Many consulates, high commissions, and airline offices of foreign countries are also located here. There are some exclusive residential accommodations too that are amongst the most expensive, with real estate at Nariman Point being the priciest in Mumbai.
A visit to Nariman Point should be on the itinerary of every tourist to Mumbai.
Town Hall/Asiatic Society Of Mumbai
The Town Hall is located in Fort area of South Mumbai. It is home to the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, the largest library in Mumbai having over 100,000 books. The Town Hall was constructed in the 1830s and the architecture is predominantly influenced by Greek and Roman styles.
A flight of 30 steps leads up to this magnificent monument that has been declared a heritage structure. The Town Hall has a portico with 8 massive pillars, wooden floors, spiral staircases, marble statues and wrought iron loggias.
The Asiatic Society has about 15000 rare books, about 3000 ancient manuscripts; some even on palm leaves, over 10000 rare ancient coins including a gold coin of King Akbar, the Muslim King and some coins issued by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire. Special permission is needed to view these ancient treasures.
The steps of the Town Hall leading to the library are a favourite hangout of people in the evenings who prefer to sit there watching the world go by.
Town Hall is a place not to be missed by the tourist.
Rajabai Tower is a clock tower located in the University of Mumbai's campus. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott an English architect. The clock tower is about 280 feet high and took 9 years to construct. It was modelled on the Big Ben of London. It cost Rs 200,000 when the construction was finished in 1878.
The entire cost of construction of Rajabai Tower was borne by Premchand Raychand, a successful stockbroker who also founded the Bombay Stock Exchange, under the express condition that the tower is named after his mother Rajabai who was blind.
Rajabai was a staunch Jain by caste. Jains have dinner before sunset. After the construction of the tower, following the time was not difficult for her and inspite of her handicap the chiming of the time by the clock enabled her to have dinner at the appropriate time.
Rajabai Tower is made of Kurla stone and has beautiful stained glass windows, one of the best not only in the city but in the whole of Asia. The spiral staircase of the tower has been closed now due to some cases of attempted suicide.
However, it is a structure that is worth visiting.
Banganga, a shortened form of the Banganga tank, is a very old water tank located in the Malabar Hill area. It has a historical significance and a mythological legend behind its presence.
Though it was built in 1127 AD, by a donation from Rama Kamath. A part of the Walkeshwar temple complex and the main temple has also been reconstructed.
Legend has it that about 5000 years back while searching for his kidnapped wife Sita, Lord Rama happened to stop here. The people here faced great difficulty as potable water was not available as the sea is surrounding this.
To quench the thirst of these people, Lord Rama shot an arrow into the ground and a spring burst forth causing a tributary of the Ganga river located about 1000 miles away. Banganga hence derives its name from Ban meaning arrow and Ganga, which is the Ganges river whose tributary erupted here as a water spring.
Today the tank is a rectangular structure with cemented steps on all sides. The entrance has 2 pillars in which oil lamps were lit back then. Even though the sea is located some hundred meters from Banganga, the spring water is surprisingly sweet, even today.
People worship Banganga with great reverence and come here to have a holy dip in the tank water and offer prayers at the temple during religious events.
Mani Bhavan is a 2 storied mansion that Mahatma Gandhi used to live in for 17 years from 1917 to 1934 when he was in Mumbai during India's freedom struggle. This residence belonged to the Mahatma's friend, Revashankar Jhaveri and before him, it belonged to the Mani family
It served as Mahatma Gandhi's headquarters. It is from here that Mahatma Gandhi launched several of his freedom movements like the salt satyagraha, the non-co-operation movement, Khilafat movement, Khadi movement etc.
In 1955, this mansion came under the control of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and it was developed into a memorial to the Mahatma.
Mani Bhavan has a library of more than 20000 books. The entrance has a statue of Mahatma Gandhi while his pictures, press clippings, the room which he occupied along with his spinning wheels (charkha), the floor bed, a book and other things are still preserved as they were then.
Barack Obama, the US president, visited Mani Bhavan in November 2010. This was more than 50 years after Martin Luther King visited Mani Bhavan in the 1950s.
Also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Garden, Hanging Gardens rests atop the Malabar hill just opposite Kamla Nehru Park. Here one can see terraced gardens on the sloping hill. The view of the city that lies at the foothill is spectacular, especially at night.
Hedges have been fashioned into the shapes of several animals. This is a distinctive feature of this garden. The view of the sun setting over the Arabian sea from here is an absolute delight to watch.
Hanging Gardens were developed in 1881 and laid over the main water reservoir supplying water to the city of Mumbai back then. In the middle of the garden is a very striking flower clock. With all the greenery and the fountains, it is a great place for an early morning or a late evening stroll and to feel the gentle soothing breeze. Hanging Gardens is a calm and quiet retreat where one can spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Mumbai.