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Mumbai – Dharavi Experience

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Mumbai – Dharavi Experience

This is the last part of my trip to India following from my previous story at Old Delhi. The last stop was Mumbai, our getaway from Asia to Europe. Thirty six hours to spend there. We arrived around 16:00 in the afternoon. Mumbai is an industrial city full of skyscrapers and one of the most populous cities of India with population around 21.3 milion. So after half an hour we arrived outside Krishna Palace hotel. A huge hotel in the city center. Luxury interior and many floors. We enjoyed the ride to our room, since we could admire the view from the elevator.

MumbaiDharaviExperience

Parenthesis, when I showed my Indian friends the accommodations I have booked in Delhi and Mumbai, they insist of changing them since the areas were not good. By saying not good, I thought they meant it was dangerous, but I realized they suggested better areas, cleaner and with more amenities. It was too late to change the accommodation in Delhi but I manage to change the one in Mumbai. They suggested the Krishna Palace, in Mumbai. Getting into the room I was amazed by how huge the room was. King bed, large window and a comfortable bathroom. The only problem was the ventilation. There was an intense smell of cigarettes. When I informed the reception, they sent someone to spray air fresher in the room that made it worse. The window was fixed, it could not open. We faced the same situation the same night where they handled it the same way.

Kala Ghoda Art Festival

My friends suggested an art festival that was taking place the day we arrived. The Kala Ghoda Art Festival!!! So we decided to spend the first half day at the art festival. The inside roof and doors of the taxi, that came to pick us, was decorated with patterns. We noticed that all Mumbai taxis are with colorful interiors. The festival was 20 minutes away. The location was a park in the middle of the city full of art installations, food stalls and a main stage with live performances. The festival felt more like amateur recycled fair, however there were a few interesting pieces.

MumbaiDharaviExperience

MumbaiDharaviExperience

Therefore, after two hours we got a taxi and returned to the hotel for dinner. We were advised to avoid street food and prefer eating from hotel restaurants to “escape” food poisoning. The hotel has two restaurants, the Sudama, vegetarian, and the Flute, multi-cuisine. At Flute restaurant I found my favorite dish in India!!!! S-U-P-E-R-B!!!! Butter naan was the cherry on top to make it the best dinner we had in India. It was so delicious that we had the same dinner the next day too!!!  If you visit Mumbai I RECOMMEND YOU VISIT THE FLUTE RESTAURANT AND TRY THE (i believe it was the) LASOONI MURGH !!!! Still dreaming about it!!!

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(TASTES SO MUCH BETTER THAN IT LOOKS)

 After dinner, I had a shower and started preparing the schedule for the next day. Searching for sightseeings and tours, it is obvious that Mumbai was an English colony since most of the sightseeing buildings were build/influenced by England. Moreover, Mumbai has its own Big Ben. Well I had enough of English architecture when I was studying in UK so I booked a tour to Dharavi, the location where the movie “Slumdog Millionare” was shot.

MumbaiDharaviExperience

Dharavi Tour

The next day we woke up very early to get the train and go to the tour meeting point. The train service in Mumbai was so good. Everything on time and organized. When we arrived at the meeting spot there were already 8 people waiting for the tour.

As we were walking towards the Dharavi, the tour guide started giving us an introduction for the area. Dharavi is the largest slum in Asia and also the densest area in the world, with population 10 times the rest of the city. It was created during the British colonial era when poor Indians were expulsioned by the ruler government. It is currently a highly multi-religious, multi-ethnic and diverse settlement. Dharavi plays a big role in India’s economy, as an informal economy part, since the total annual revenue can be estimated around 1 billion US dollars. The main professions at Dhavari are leather, textiles, pottery, metalwork and recycling. The living conditions, sanitation and infrastructure are dreadful. People are living in abandoned buildings of the area. He mentioned that metalworkers are offered accommodation to the factory they are working, as it is an advantage for their employer, since they can guard the factory at night and also workers will not be late for work. Years ago, a few thousands of Dharavians were sharing only one toilet, and if people were building a toilet to their “room”, they were fined. The problem with the quantity of toilets still exists since people are expanding. It is obvious that government is not helping this area to develop since it takes advantage of the cheap labor. In this area I have seen hardworking people that are facing all these bad conditions because they need to get money for their families. In India the few rich people are controlling millions of poor people. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed, as the tour guide informed us, that this is the most possible area where terrorists will most probably attack. However you need to search more about it in Google and Youtube.

MumbaiDharaviExperience

In Dharavi there is also the residential part where the original inhabitants, the Kolis, live. This area used to be the dirtier and now it’s from the cleanest spots in Dharavi. Saying that we passed by a dead cat and a mouse!!! The guide warned us to be careful not touch anything because Dhavari has suffered from many diseases and epidemics that killed thousands of people. As we were passing through the narrow alleyways and shortcuts between houses, we could see housewives cleaning their houses and taking care of the kids. The people at this side seemed so friendly and kind. The whole tour by the Reality Tours and Travel was so interesting and I RECOMMEND IT to anyone visiting Mumbai. Dharavi is huge so if it’s your first time I suggest you visit it with a guide.

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We met a german guy at the tour, who was travelling around India on his own for two months. Therefore, we started talking and after the tour the three of us had lunch. We hit the Mumbai streets and we were searching for a restaurant. The sun was burning!!! We were hungry and thirsty AF!!! I think I was tanned from February. We ended to a cute restaurant called Verandah 11.  The interior design was awesome. It was a gourmet restaurant with small portions and a bit pricey, however it was delicious.

We farewell our German friend and we visited the Gateaway of India. The monument was built in 1911, to welcome the King George V for his visit in India. It was a symbol of the “power and majesty” of the British empire. Took some photos and we visited the Colaba Causeway market which was closed by. Colaba is a big market with anything from clothing to shoes to accessories. Got some presents and we decided to visit also the Dhobi Ghat, an open air laundry.

Dhobi Ghat

I was so curious to see why it was from the popular sites to see in Mumbai. We paid a small amount at the entrance for a guide. At a first look, the place looks wretched and scruffy, but as we were walking through it and guide was giving us the details for every spot, we realized that everything was so well organized, each step was done separately by a specific “team”. The main customers of Dhobi Ghat are hotels and hospitals. They even use charcoal iron to iron the clothes. The tour lasts for 20 minutes max.

MumbaiDharaviExperience

We returned back to where we got the taxi from because everyone suggested to visit the coast also known as the queen’s necklace. It got its name from the street lights, that are resembling a string of pearls in a necklace and that can be seen clearly from an elevated point. It was the best time to visit it since it was sunset time. All benches and the street ledges were packed. People were chilling and taking selfies with the sunset. As we were approaching a bad smell (like shit) hit us!! We hold our breathe, took some nice sunset shoots and left. It was already night. We had a shower from this long day and we started packing since we had to leave hotel at 4 a.m. . We left the best part for last!!! We had our last dinner at the Flute restaurant (the same as the one we had the previous day). We then slept for a few hours and at 4 a.m. we got the taxi for the airport.

MumbaiDharaviExperience

MumbaiDharaviExperience

This was one of my top favorite trips ever!!! I fell in love with India and its culture!! After this journey, a road trip to India is added to my bucket list. Read all four posts about my trip to India and let me know your thoughts (not the best quality photos but I was using my previous camera). Moreover, if you have anything to suggest about India please hit me!!! Don’t forget to follow me on my socials!!!

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