Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mumbai Diary

Day 1 (27-9-2011), Tuesday

It was 4:30 PM; hurriedly I left office and headed towards home with my husband, where we had our back pack ready by last night. Me and my husband ate something took our back pack and  left for Bhairahawa, from where we were supposed to take rikshaw upto Sunaulai then 3 hours car ride and finally to Gorakhpur Station. Though it was a hectic schedule, I was excited about the train journey which I was about to experience the following day for the first time in my life. We boarded the bus from Gongabu bus station at about 8:30PM; it took about 12 hours to reach Bhairahawa bus station. 

Day 2 (28-9-2011), Wednesday

It was Ghatasthapana day, which did not lure us much, which would have if we were back at home.  We took rikshaw up to Sunauli and crossed the NEPAL-INDIA border on foot. Had thought many evils about border security guards but I did not experience any such incidents nor I saw any traces of fear and insecurity.
We hired a TATA Indica upto Gorakhpur Railway Station. It took us about 3 and ½ an hour to reach Gorakhpur. We happened to meet two interesting characters on the way to Gorakhpur. A man and his wife, man worked for Nepal Police and was sending his wife on working visa to Saudi Arabia through illegal way from India.

Gorakhpur Junction
Finally we were in Gorakhpur Railway Station; it is about 2:30 PM, Indian Time. Since we had tickets of AC compartments, we were entitled to enjoy facilities of AC waiting rooms. We took shower, changed clothes and waited for our train which would leave station on 9:30 PM. As we waited for the train we found that many Nepalese actually visit India in holiday season. We felt good to see Nepali faces in foreign land.

Our train arrived the station, we walked up to our compartment i.e., AC Tire 3, B2-25, 28. I must say Train was so neat and clean. I liked it inside train. Luckily two Nepali faces entered our compartment. Two ladies-I felt nice to have companion from my country. So did him. But contrary to our expectation, the taller looking lady was rude and from her telephone conversation I doubt if she was taking the other lady, Kanchi (she screamed at her saying this name) to Mumbai to the red light area. I was not sure but I sensed smell of human-trafficking there. She did not allow Kanchi to interact with us, nor did she allow her to stay in her berth without curtain on. So we could not find much about them.
The railway staff brought dinner for us, which we ordered for half an hour earlier, we ate dinner and slept. As we woke up early morning at 5 AM, we were on a bridge over the GANGA, in Kanpur. We bowed our head to Ganga.

Day 3 (29-9-2011), Thursday

Bhel Puri
The two people, who boarded last night on our compartment, got off in Kanpur. Now we were only two in the whole compartment. I liked it very much. We put the curtain on; it felt that only two of us were in the whole world. There was nothing to worry about we kept on trying each and every food the train staff would bring- Bhel Puri, Bada Paun, Dal Bada, Biryani, Tea, Coffee, Sweet Corn, Cucumber everything. Since we were only in our compartment, we tried different poses for photo shoot there. We tried sleeping on each berth. We danced and sang, we played Baghchal, Marriage (card). Most of the time, we enjoyed outside views while other passengers were sleeping or reading newspapers.  After all it was our first time in a train.
Enjoying outside view from Train
Day 4 (30-9-2011), Friday

Mumbai in early morning
Our Train arrived Lokmanya Tilak Station, Kurla, Mumbai at early morning 4:30 AM. It was still dark. As we took our luggage and got off the train, the taxi drivers/auto drivers swarmed up around us. This was what I did not like the most. We tried to ignore them and head towards the station enquiry room. But they were determined not to leave us like that; one of them followed us for about an hour. Finally we found some Nepalese Guys-Amit and his friends queuing up to get ticket of Local train up to CST. We requested him to buy two tickets for us as well, he was really a great help for us. I found Mumbai Local train so punctual and disciplined unlike what I used to see in Bollywood movies. I also found people in Mumbai friendly and helpful. And was compelled to think that we always had been misinterpreted about India and Indian People, not all of them are bad. And I believe Bollywood movies are also partly credited to develop such feelings on us. We reached CST along with them.
Gateway of India, Mumbai

Mumbai- I found it huge, rich and lavish. It was early morning about 6:30AM; Mumbai had not waked up yet, when we reached Central Mumbai. We decided to go to see the Gateway of India directly. The walking distance from CST to the Gateway of India was just 30 minutes. The Gateway of India and The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel face each other on the bank of the huge Arabian Sea. The Gateway of India was built on 1911 and The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was built 21 years before the Gateway of India. Colourful ferries in Arabian Sea in the early morning looked beautiful.
Hotel Taj and Gateway of India 
We stayed about three hours there and set out in search of the hotel. Though we had already booked a hotel in Grand Road, someone suggested us not to stay in that area. So we tried to find out a budget hotel in Colaba. We roamed for about an hour and finally found a hotel behind The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. And luckily the manager was Nepali. I was very happy to found a hotel in such a lovely place. Sea on two minutes walking distance, it was simply wow!
Street which took to our hotel
We got in to our room. It was old British styled room. We did not waste time, took shower, changed cloth and hurriedly went out; again we went to The Gateway and took ferry (INR 130 each) to Elephanta Cave. It was about one hour ride; we reached a small Island with Rock Mountains. Those mountains are carved into huge Hindu Gods and Goddesses. It was also registered into UNESCO’s World heritage Site. To enter the heritage site, visitors need to take ticket, INR 10 for Indian and INR 250 for Foreigners. Since we could speak Hindi fluently, I asked for two tickets in Hindi and paid just INR 20. We saved INR 480 in this way. The photography was prohibited by Indian Navy on the way to Elephanta Cave, but we stealthily took some photos from the ferry.
Elephanta Cave
As we got back from Elephanta Cave, we walked around the city. Nariwal Paani did wonders in such a hot day. We went MC Donald’s for lunch. I must say it was so crowded by teen Mubiakars. We walked around the city, did some shopping, had dinner in a fine restaurant. Overall it was a great experience in Mumbai. Mumbai added a very memorable day in my life. I loved the Mumbai must at night. I must say ‘Mumbai never sleeps’. It is so lively at night, people meet friends, go for shopping, get together, they walk on street so care freely at night, which is very contrary to our Kathmandu. One more day on Mumbai was yet to come.
Mumbai @ night
Day 5 (01-10-2011), Saturday
'Jalsa', Mr. Bachchan's house
My only wish in Mumbai was to see “Jalsa” and “Mannat”. So early morning we took a Local Train from CST to Juhu. We were not sure about the distance from railway station to Juhu Beach, because we decided to go to Juhu Beach first and then to Mr. Bachchan’s House. We reached Juhu Beach after 1 hour walk. Juhu Beach could not attract me much, it was polluted and the water was stinking. I entered the sea reluctantly. We took a photo from a local photographer who carry camera and printers and provide you photo instantly. We tried some Indian dishes in Juhu Beach. And not to forget a rash-gola, which I will never try in my life again. We asked the direction of ‘Jalsa’ with a vendor and again kept on walking. We found it, two guards were there, I thought I need to take permission before a take a snap in-front of Mr. Bachchan’s House. We took permission and took some quick snaps infront of ‘Jalsa’. I was expecting if I could see just a glance of Bachhans.
'Mannat' King Khan's House
My next wish was ‘Mannat’. So we took a bus to Bandra from Juhu Bus Stand. We reached Bandra, and then we took another bus to Bandra Stand from Bandra. Bus fare in India is cheap and very systematic. And there are reserved seats for ladies, elderly and disables. There are certain rules to follow while you travel in bus and Mubiakars follow that. I liked such a disciplined way of bus and passengers.
We reached Bandra Stand, and Mr. King Khan’s House stood just infront of us as I got off the bus. Written ‘Mannat, Lands End’ on the wall. Many fans were already there. They were taking snaps infront of the house. I thought to talk to SRK’s guard first. I peek inside from the window of Guard’s House. There were SRK’s posters all over the wall. I talked to his guard and told him to convey my message to SRK. The guard was very friendly, he suggested me to write a letter to him and he would give that to SRK. I was very happy just to think that SRK would read my letter, I wrote a letter and gave it to him.  We found that nearby there was a Bandra Fort. We went there; found that it might be the most popular dating spot in Mumbai. We saw couple everywhere. Busy and lost in their world. We enjoyed the scenery and the sea.
Bandra Fort
We took bus back to Bandra and a train to Mahalaxmi Station. We were now heading towards Haji Ali Darga and Mahalaxmi Temple. It was about 1 hour walk from railway station to Haji Ali. We bowed our head from outside to Haji Ali Darga and move towards Mahalaxmi Temple. It was 7 PM when we took back bus to Colaba, where our hotel was. We went to hotel, freshened up and again came out for dinner. As I explained earlier, Mumbai was glittering at night. I simply loved it. I almost fell in love with Mumbai. Mumbai is best for street shoppers. You can find everything on the street, clothes, shoes, bags, jewelleries and accessories, souvenirs etc. Chinese products were also commonly seen on street shops, similar to Kathmandu.
Street Market in Colaba
We had dinner and for the last time  we went to watch the Gateway of India, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. They seemed beautiful at night on the electric light.
That was the last evening in Mumbai, next day we had early morning train to GOA. We talked to ourselves that the two days and two nights were not enough to explore this beautiful city. We missed many things, but also were happy because we lived two beautiful days in Mumbai. Thank you Mumbai for adding such a memorable days in our lives.


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed going through your diary. It is also helpful to people who are planning to visit Mumbai. Keep on posting nice write-ups. Good Luck

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