Measure out: one part Hollywood; six parts traffic; a bunch of rich power-moguls; stir in half a dozen colonial relics (use big ones); pour in six heaped cups of poverty; add a smattering of swish bars and restaurants (don’t skimp on quality here for best results); equal parts of mayhem and order; as many ancient bazaars as you have lying around; a handful of Hinduism; a dash of Islam; fold in your mixture with equal parts India; throw it all in a blender on high (adding generous helpings of pollution to taste) and presto: Mumbai.
An inebriating mix of all the above and more, this mass of humanity is a frantic mélange of India’s extremes. It is the country’s financial powerhouse and its vogue centre of fashion, film and after-dark frolics. Glistening skyscrapers and malls mushroom amid slums and grinding poverty, and Mumbai slowly marches towards a brave new (air-conditioned) world. But not everyone made the guest list: more than half of the population lives in slums, and religious-based social unrest tugs at the skirt of Mumbai’s financial excess.
Gateway of India
A prominent landmark of Mumbai city, Gateway of India, is located at the end of the Shivaji Marg. This majestic stone
Arch on the shore of Mumbai Harbor commemorates the visit of King George V in 1911. It was designed by George Witted to symbolize the enduring nature of the British Rule. It is made in Indo- Islamic style with honey-colored basalt. The archway is 26 meters high and joined with four turrets and intricate latticework carved on stones. Behind the gateway there is a beautiful statue of the Maratha leader Shivaji, astride his horse, erected in 1960. A statue of the social reformer Swami Vivekananda also stands nearby.
Situated close to the Gateway, this hotel dominates the Colaba water front and is the epicenter of the city's social life. It was built in1903 by the Parsi Industrialist JN Tata and designed by W Chambers. It is a magnificent structure that exhibits Moorish influences and is crowned by a red-roofed dome.
Victoria Terminus Train Station
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus
is at Dr. D.Naoroji Road, Nagar Chowk. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is the city's most beautiful Indo-Gothic architectural splendor. This station was designed by Frederick Stevens as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company and was completed in 1887. A life-size statue of Queen Victoria is placed in front of the central facade. Carvings of peacocks, gargoyles, monkeys, elephants and British lions are mixed up among the buttresses, domes, turrets, spires and stained glass windows. Topping it all is a 4m-high torch bearing figure of Progress.
Those who haven’t visited Goa tend to imagine it as some kind of Indian Costa Brava but with more cosmic karma and, thanks to this image, many people vow never to set foot there. However, Goa, like everywhere in India, is never quite what you expect. In places the infamous hash-fuelled days of Goa’s golden hippy years are still alive and kicking, especially around Vagator & Chopora, while in others, like Calangute & Baga, the all-inclusive package holiday is king. But these are two very narrow sides of the Goan experience and anyone who spends much time here will discover that Goa contains more variety and vitality than almost anywhere else in India. Head into Panaji (Panjim), one of India’s smallest and most likeable state capitals, and, instead of self-contained tourist resorts and trinket-selling dreadlocks, you’ll discover a Portuguese pantry of flaking architectural delicacies spiced up with Indian exuberance. Inland, you can stand in greener-than-green fields picking vanilla pods, bathe with elephants or visit market towns like Mapusa.
The main draws of Goa are the beaches, such as Anjuna, which are every bit as cliché-beautiful as they’re supposed to be, but just as much of an attraction is its intriguing fusion of colonial Portugal and modern India. There is almost nowhere else in India where the influence of the former colonial overlords remains as strong as it does in Goa and it’s not at all unusual to find crucifixes hanging on walls next to posters of Shiva and groups of elderly Goan men conversing in Portuguese. Wander the crumbling cathedrals and basilicas of Old Goa, for a fascinating insight into this colonial legacy. Goa may not be as cool as it once was but it’s certainly just as magical.
Sinquerim beach at Bardez district is about 13km from Panaji. The beach with its clean stretch of sand is an ideal place for swimming. It is one among the best beaches in Goa with international facilities for windsurfers, water-skis and other water toys. Due to high waves, body surfing is also possible here.
Candolim beach is at a distance of 12 kms from Panaji and 14 kms from Mapusa. Candolim is the birth place of Abbe Faria, a Goan Freedom Fighter and the Father of Hypnotism. The beach is long and straight without the perennial beach curves. It is the scrub-covered dunes that enhance the beauty of the Candolim beach. Besides several water sport activities, the beach has facilities for parasailing and water skiing.
Calangute beach, popularly known as the 'Queen of the Goan Beaches', is located 16kms from Panaji. It was the hippies who discovered this pristine beach in the late 60s. Calangute beach covers several sub-beaches, including Baga and Anjuna beaches. Here some palm trees provide patchy shades to the visitors. This long beach has a host of facilities to cater to visitors, including water sports such as para sailing, water-skiing and wind surfing. At times undercurrent at this beach may be strong, and then swimming is not recommended.
Located 15kms north of Panaji, is the small but perfect Baga beach. Baga beach is a part of the Calangute beach which is connected to each other by a 3 km long road. The prime attraction of the beach is the water sport facilities ranging from gliding to para sailing to motorboats. The beach has several beach shacks that sell delicious Goan food and thirst-quenching Feni. The beach drops steeply to the water where fishing canoes make use of the good boat launching conditions and provide rides. The Baga River that flows down from one side of the beach offers a pleasant diversion for children and those who love water.
The Village of Anjuna in north Goa is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the hill overlooking the beach. Anjuna beach is one the most popular beaches of Goa situated 8 km west of Mapusa and 18 km from the capital Panaji. The beach is known for its palm trees, soft sands and natural beauty. One attraction of the Anjuna beach is the Wednesday flea market where one can buy anything from bikes to second hand goods.
Colva beach lies about 39kms from Panaji and 6 km west of Margao at Salecete district. It is the most crowded beach in the South Goa circuit. The warm and calm sea beach is a visitor’s paradise with 40km of uninterrupted white and golden sand fringed with coconut palms. Here you can get a moped for rent. The water is safe for swimming. The beach is equipped with all modern amenities like air-conditioned resort complexes, tourist cottages, discos, bar shacks, seashell artifact stalls, refreshment stalls, eateries and guest houses. The Church of Our Lady Of Mercy famed for the miracle statue of Menino Jesus (Child Jesus) is located here.