Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mumbai - December 2011, Part 1

Tour date: 24th December 2011

That day, the weather was crystal clear all the way from my guest house in Daund Taluka until we safely reached in Mumbai City. Hubby, Naim and Nasrul were taking a Malaysian Airline flight after a month vacation with me in India. Ajit, my office colleague and fellow Malaysian had allowed me to take his driver, who is familiar with Mumbai city. We were more relaxed along the journey knowing that we shall not get lost like our bad experience before and able to enjoy the beautiful buildings snapped and shared in this entry while searching for a hotel.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seated at the junction of Dadabhai Naoroji Roadand Mahapalika Road

Mumbai is formerly known as Bombay, a capital city of Maharashtra Indian State located on the south western coast of India. It lies at the mouth of the Ulhas River in the coastal region the Konkan. It sits on Salsette Island, partially shared with the Thane district (also belonging to Maharasthra State). Mumbai is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and many parts of the city lie just above sea level. The city of Mumbai is govern by the Municipal Corporation of Bombay @ BMC and it's building is seen in the above photo. The Gothic design building was completed and occupied in 1899.

Mumbai Police Headquartes in a heritage Gothic style building

I have a great admiration of all the heritage buildings in Mumbai. The architecture of Mumbai blends Gothic, Victorian, Art Deco, Indo-Saracenic and contemporary architectural styles. Many buildings, strcutures and historical monuments remain from the colonial era. Mumbai, after Miami, has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world. Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of 7 islands; Bombay, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba and Old Women's Island. In the 3rd century BCE, the islands formed part of the Maurya Empire, during its expansion in the south, ruled by the Budhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha.

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel - view 1

After numerous changes of kingdom in 2nd BCE through 9th century CE, the Delhi Sultanate annexed the islands in 1347-48 and controlled till 1407. During the time, the islands were administered by the Muslim Governors of Gujarat, appointed by Delhi Sultanate. It is during this time that the prominent mosque is being built, including Haji Ali Dargah in Worli (photo shared in previous entry). The Mughal Empire, founded in 1526 was the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent during the mid 16th century, hence the Gujarat Sultanate (taken over Mumbai from Delhi Sultanate) was obliged to sign the Treaty of Bassein with the Portuguese Empire on 23 December 1534. The Portuguese were actively involved in the foundation and growth of their Roman Catholic religious orders in Bombay.

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel - view 3

On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King King John IV of Portugal, placed the island in possession of the British Empire as part of the dowry. The 7 islands were in turn leased to the British East India Company in 1668 for a sum of 10 pound per annum by the Royal Charter. Thereafter, the population quickly rose from 10,000 in 1661 to 60,000 in 1675. Bombay was blooming by 18th century as the city status where it stood today. 

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel & Resort, Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Hotel (3 pictured above) is a 5 star hotel commissioned in Indo-Saracenic style by Tata and firts opened its doors to guests on 16th December 1903. It is widely believed that the business tycoon, Mr Jamsedji Tata decided to built the Taj hotel after he was refused entry to 1 of the city's grand hotels of the time as it was restricted to the white people only. But some says that the Taj was built at the urging received from editor of the Times of India, who felt a hotel worthy of Bombay was needed. 

From the same road where the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is seated, the monument built by the British Raj, Getaway of India is visibly stand proud and tall. It is located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area overlooking the Arabian Sea. The structure is a basalt arch, 26m high. It lies at the end of of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg (Marg mean street) at the water's edge in Mumbai Harbour. It was a crude jetty used by the fishing community which was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other prominent people. The Getaway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai, and is the city's top tourist attraction.

After the junction of the Getaway of India, we found a suitable hotel for our need. What we chose was a 3 star hotels which give us a comfy family suite room. We had a quick rest in the room before heading out by foot to the nearby attraction, most important a meal.

The view from our hotel, a grandeur building in another Gothic architecture. We took a right turn and found a very cosy restaurant offering a Muslim food. We were surprised to find quite a number of decent Muslim restaurant in Mumbai. 

We had a beef biryani, fried rice, chapati with prawn curry which had an excellent taste. I forgotten the name of the restaurant but rest assured that all of us really really enjoy what was ordered and served.

We saw the boy selling pan just outside the restaurant. There are rows of shops where a small time stall operator operates their business just outside the shop lot. You may shop at the stalls as the prices differ from inside the shop. We found many branded outlets within the same area.

After meal and some shopping, we walked further to explore further Mumbai heritage building in the same vicinity. At the same time, we were looking for my favourite boutique in India, the "Fabindia".

To be continued as it is about time for me to break for fasting. Do visit my page. Thanks to those who had done so.
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