Explore the most populous city in India, its chief commercial hub and entertainment centre, home to over 18 million residents with a diverse range of cultures, religions and languages. Begin the vibrant tour in the early hours of the morning, as the city awakens from its deep slumber. Witness the rush as local residents scurry to work, the air ringing with foreign dialects and animated discussions. Watch in awe as the crowds’ hurry about their daily chores and errands, moving rapidly through narrow lanes and bustling market streets to begin the workday in earnest. Immerse yourself in the sensory atmosphere of the markets, with silky brocades that caress the skin, gilded trinkets that glimmer and delicate perfumes that waft through the humid city, blending effortlessly with the aromas of hot spices and savoury herbs.
On your way to the flower market, pass by the industrious newspaper sellers, hurriedly sorting the morning paper on chipped curbs, alongside a flood of foot traffic that surges past in a rainbow of sandals, chappals and jootis. Meander through lanes teeming with a kaleidoscope of veni garlands, intricately weaved to create stunning arrangements of ruby roses, pearl lilies, violet orchids and iridescent petals.
Gaze on in wonder as you delve into the Dhobhi Ghat (riverside steps), Mumbai’s 150-year-old and only open-air laundromat, which washes over half a million pieces of clothing from every corner of the city. Functioning in a sort of orderly chaos, the ghat employs a complex system of washing, hanging, tagging and packaging the mountains of clothing in its care.
Continue your tour, passing the Sassoon Docks, brimming with freshly caught fish, before discovering the myriad temples and structures that grace the city’s interior, featuring a blend of Gothic revival, Indo-Saracenic, Art Deco and modern design that pays testament to the city’s rich and multifaceted history.