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Articles: Travelogue
Sights to wander
- Prof. VENKATA RAMANAMURTY MALLAJOSYULA
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Well youíve traversed the worldís cities and taken those delightful city tours. But for visiting tourists and resident Mumbaikars, other than the foodie places, malls and shopping streets, the city is considered quite bereft of any real cultural stimulation. The truth is Mumbai is packed with history but is so overtaking by the lure of mammon that the more subtle delights have got completely overlooked. Namaste City Tour is trying to straighten the record with its regular city tours. You heard of Mani Bhavan or then again have you (itís the abode where Mahatma Gandhi resided whenever in Mumbai), or do you know the history of Dhobi Ghat (thatís where the British soldiers had their uniforms laundered with not a single piece of clothing getting addresses crossed) or the Prince of Wales Museum (with its varied and rare pieces of historical values)Ö. While every major city of the world has its customized sight seeing tours be it the double decker red hop on and off bus in London and Manhattan, or even the Parsian city tour, in Mumbai finding a customized city tour was near impossible. So when you get a call from Naini Mehta of Namaste city tour to traverse the varied sights on a half a day tour of South Mumbai, you jump on to this bandwagon to see how customized and comfortable it can be, especially with city temperatures taking a harsh beating with the sunís hot rays. T give it a desi touch, tourists are welcomed with the traditional vermillion tikka, garland (making sure that the guest is not allergic to any of the scents) and at the end of it all, an Indian memento exchanges hands as well. So there are air- conditioned mini vans with are available taking to Dhobi ghat. One can see the old world launderette workings that sustains itself even to day. All that it requires for its final cachet of fame is for Prince Charles to visit to put it in the favored list a la dabbawallas. From there one can take two storyed Mani Bhaan which is for a must by foreign tourists, while Indians may give the Mahatma mere lip service, the rest of the world is still awed by his life and deeds. The quietude of his Mumbai dwellings which belonged to his friend Zakaria has a letter written by him to Hitler; a doll museum which depicts real life instances in Gandhiís life like the Dandi march; and a library which has famed savings of the man himself likeí All men are born free and equalí, íLife is greater than all artí.From the father of the Nationís Mumbai residency to the 125 year-old Walkeswar Temple, It is a walk through the history of Jains Mumbai. The Hanging Gardens, The Gatewy of India, Thief or Chor Bazaar (to the delight of the foreigners) the Chatrapati Sivaji Terminus (one of the oldest Gothic structure and one of the live heritage buildings where two to three million people transit through), we do the rounds. With nuggets of information about the history of Mumbai bering givenlike now the dabbawallahs function so meticulously, we make our way to Philips images at Colaba with its exhibits of reprints of old Bombay where water and more water was the norm till modernization and reclamation of land took over. The Prince of Whales Museum, of which we got nuggets of information of how an arlour of Akbar the great was with the museum for years without them deciphering the written text on it and thus being ignorant of the fact of who it belonged to. Full day tours of Elephanta Caves, Temple tours Bollywood tours and more will make this a Mumbai darsana to look forward to.

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