Tuesday, November 4, 2014

24 hours in Mumbai with InterContinental Marine Drive

The city of Mumbai serves as an eye-opener and gateway to the diverse traditions and way of living in India. With India being the birthplace of some of the world’s most popular religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, it is of no surprise to see a variety of temples all over the country. Other religions represented in the city of Mumbai include Islam and Christianity, whose places of worship also make for great sights to see when visiting. 

The metropolis ranks as one of the most populous in the world and offers a juxtaposition of old and new. Over the years, Mumbai’s cityscape has experienced rapid change with the rise of more skyscrapers that contrasts with the traditional Gothic Revival, Victorian, Art Deco and Indo-Saracenic buildings. 

Mumbai also happens to be the home of the second largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world. While navigating around the bustling and energetic streets of the city, visitors are bound to be amazed by the visual spectacle of impressive monuments and breath-taking architecture such as the Gateway of India, Victoria Terminus, ISKCON Temple, and the celebrated Regal Cinema. 

India’s cinematic history also runs deep in Mumbai as it is the birth place of Bollywood, the Hindi language film industry. Since its inception in the early 1900s, Bollywood influences have spread far and wide and its films can be found screening in theatres across Africa, Asia, Europe and even in the US. 

Albert Ammana, Chief Concierge of InterContinental Marine Drive Mumbai shares a 24-hour itinerary with the best activities for you to get the most out of this incredible city.

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel’s Long & Short restaurant. Its al fresco terrace allows you to take in the beautiful and serene morning views of the beach and the Art Deco architecture of Mumbai promenade while indulging in delectable breakfast delights and designer breakfast drinks. 

Take a serene 10-minute drive along the coast of Back Bay till you arrive at Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum, a two-storey building where Mahatma Gandhi stayed at when he was in the city from 1917 to 1934. Affectionately known as the Father of India, Gandhi is best known for leading India to its independence and his non-violent movements for civil rights and freedom. Visitors of the museum can see the room Gandhi once lived in and the terrace where he was arrested. The picture gallery shares a visual story of his life and the Library Hall houses 40,000 books and periodicals by and on Gandhi. 

At noon, feast your eyes on the majestic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (also known as Victoria Terminus), located 20-minutes away from the museum. The historic railway station is not just the country’s busiest train terminal; it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and the headquarters for Central Railway, one of India’s largest railway zones. Admire the classical Victorian and Gothic Revival influences mixed with Mughal design and stand in awe of this architectural spectacle. The station is best visited at noon as you can catch India’s renowned network of Dabbawalas at work. During lunch time, the Dabbawalas deliver hot home-cooked food in traditional tiffin boxes to workers through bicycles and trains – almost 200,000 deliveries are made in a day.

For lunch, take a 15-minute drive to one of Mumbai’s best award-winning Indian vegetarian restaurants, Shree Thaker Bhojanalay. Do not be deceived by its exterior as it is compensated with great service offering divine authentic Gujarati thali which consists of rotli or chapatti (unleavened flatbread), dal (dried lentils), kadhi (chickpea gravy) and shaak (a sweet or spicy dish made up of different vegetables and spices). 

Take a 25-minute drive south to Colaba Causeway Market for the ultimate Mumbai shopping experience. Navigate your way through the jostling crowds along the many sidewalks. You can find anything at this market, from handicraft to books, from jewellery, accessories and crystals to souvenir rice grains with your name written on it. Be sure to bargain to get the best out of your buck. If you need a break from the heat and the shopping, visit CafĂ© Mondegar, a popular outlet perfect for a drink and some continental snacks. 

Feeling adventurous? Keep a lookout for India’s famous road-side snacks. Try Batata Vada, a garlic and turmeric flavoured potato dumpling dipped in gram flour and deep fried, served with green chillies or chutney, or the Bombay sandwich, buttered toast with potatoes, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion rings and mint chutney in between.

Make your way to the iconic and historic Gateway of India, just a short 5-minute drive away. Built as a grand memorial to English King George V who landed here in 1911, this gateway is also the same port where Gandhi returned to India and the same place where British soldiers departed after the country gained its independence. Enjoy the infinite view of the sea beyond the arches and revel in the atmosphere of what is commonly regarded as the pride of Mumbai. 
Drive back to the hotel, which is located 15 minutes away. Marine Drive is one of the most popular waterfront destinations where you can watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea back at your room or at one of the hotel's lounge patios. Mumbaikars line the sea wall nightly to watch this gorgeous spectacle. This is a great opportunity to capture extraordinary moments and scenic views on your camera or simply take a relaxing dip in the rooftop pool.

For dinner, dine at Kebab Korner, which serves up a selection of North Indian food lovingly created by recipes handed down through generations of family chefs. Select from an extensive menu of the best North Indian delicacies infused with subtle spices and rich flavours and enjoy a truly authentic gastronomical experience.

End the day at the hotel’s award-winning rooftop sky bar, Dome. Sip signature cocktails, a glass of wine or spirits as you admire the dazzling Mumbai skyline across the Arabian Sea.  

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