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Gateway of India |   Marine Drive |   Victoria Terminus |   Flora Fountain |   Crawford Market | Nehru Planetarium |   Kamala Nehru Park |   Hanging Garden |   Taraporewala Aquarium |   Mani Bhavan |   National Gallery of Modern Art |   Chowpatty Beach |   Taj Mahal Hotel  |   High Court |   Mumbai Zoo |   Nehru Centre |   Prince of Wales Museum |   Malabar Hill |   Tower of Silence |   Jain Temple |   Breach Candy  |   Haji Ali Mosque

Taj Mahal Hotel :

 This Mumbai institution dominates the Colaba waterfront and is the epicentre of the city's social swirl. It was built in 1903 by the parsi industrialist JN Tata, supposedly after he was refused entry to one of the city's European hotels because he was 'a native'. It's a magnificent structure that exhibits grand red-roofed dome. Rumours that the architect topped himself when he visited the site and saw that it had been built back to intentionally designed toface away from the hatbour, with its entrance on the landward side. The main entrance today recognided the importance of a harbour frontage;it faces the Gateway of India, wedged between the old wing and the modern Indo-Islamic extension. It's worth a peek at the hotel's interior, especially the grand central stairway and the internal galleries, which were once exposed to the elements to aid ventilation. The Taj is also worth visiting to see the Mumbai elite in their element . You'll get plenty of opportunity to mix with masses the moment the Sikh doorman bids you adieu .

High Court

 The neo-Gothic High Court on Bhaurao Patil Marg was designed by Colonel JA Fuller in 1878 to dispel any doubts about the weightiness and authority of he justice dispensed inside. Local stone carvers, who often worked independently, presunably saw things differently: they carved a one-eyed monkey holding the scales of justice on one of its pillara.It's an immense fortress-like structure in dour blue basalt that looks more like a precipice than a building. It has arched galleries, a bulky central tower and octagonal turrets topped by figures of Mercy and Justice. Visitors can enter the complex from Eldon Rd, a narrow laneway off MG Rd. Watching the interminable courtroom discussions you'll understand why cases in india can take a lifetime to reach a resolution.

Mumbai Zoo :

Mumbai Zoo occupies the rest of the Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan Botanical Garden. Its landscape grounds were planted as a botanical garden by the Agri-Horticulture Society of Western India in the late 19th century. If you've had enough of petrol fumes and crowds, this is a pleasant place to get away from it all while still within the confines of the city. It cintains theusual selection of tigers, lions, elephants, bears and momkeys- most of them housed in tolerable conditions. Just inside the zoo's triple-arched Italaianate gateway is the bronze statue of Edward VII astride a black horse (kala ghoda) that used to stand at the junction of K Dubash Marg and MG Rd. Nearby is a delightful plant house with a skeletal iron framework and a wooden lattice skin.

Nehru Centre : 

The Nehru Centre looks like something out of a 1970's James Bond movie,but was actually designed by IM Kadri to reflect Nehru's vision of Indian modernism.It's a beautiful cyinder-shaped building that achieves unity despite depicting multiple forces pulling in different directions. It opened in 1986 and now houses the Discovery of India exhibition, an art gallery, theatre and resturant. The Discovery of India expo is a lowtech, carefully labelled maze of worthwhile exhibits that's almost gauranteed to give a first-time visitor a majore headache. Inspired by Nehru's book of the same namw, it seeks to wxplore 5000 years of history by investigating the the geographical, social, culture and political forces at play in the subcontinent. It's highly informative in a school trip kind of way, but it's best to concentrate on just a couple of the major themes, such as the detailed exhibits depicting Nehru's life and times.Other interesting topics include the Mauryan empirem, the impact of the west and the struggle for independece.

Prince of Wales Museum :

The Prince of Wales Museum was built to commemorate King George V's first visit to Indian in 1905 , while he was still the Prince of Wales.Designed by George Wettet in grand Inso-Saracenic style, it stans in an ornamental garden and boasts a galleried central hall topped by a huge dome, said to have been inspired by the Gokgumbaz in Bijapur.It was opened to the public in 1923. In the ground floor gallery are impressive local sculptures from Elephanta Island,Parel, Thane and Jogeshwari. The Elephanta sculptures include a composed four-headed Demon being killed by Devi, and a fragment of Shiva and Parvati accompanied by a splendid dwarf. Much of the sculpture collection consists of works from 11th and 12th century Gujarate and Karnataka. There's also a sizeable collection of classical Gandhara Buddhas, including a series of well-labelled miniature panels showing scenes from the enlightened one's life. Other notabble sculptures include foru beautiful red sandstone 6th and 7th century ceiling reliefs from Huchachappayya-Gudi in Aihole (Karnataka) - especially the reposed Vishnu on Shesha - and a lovable 9th century dancing Ganesh from Madhaya Pradesh. Huge land grant inscription tables occupy the veranda, several depicting sexually garaphic bestial acts as a warning to those who violated the terms of agreement.

Malabar Hill :

The expensive residential area of Malabar Hill on the northern promontory of Back Bay is favoured for its cool breezes and fine views. The forests that blanketed the promontory and the colonial bungalows that pep-pered the hillside in the19th century have been replaced by the back-to-back apartment blocks of Mumbai's nouveau riche. The headland is named after the Malabaries, pirates from Kerala who used it as a vantage point to spot potential targets. Like many other hills in South Mumbai, chunks of it were used to reclaim parts of the city from the sea. Thankfully an ambitious plan to reclaim all of Back Bay by levelling the entire peninsula never got beyond the drawing board.

Towers of Silence :

When Paris die, their corpses are laid inside cylindrical stone dakhmas to be devoured by vultures. Five suchdakhmas, known as Towers of silence, are clustered in parkland atop Malabar Hill; the earliest dates from 1673. Most towers rise up to 8m in height and enclose a paved area that slopes to a central lime pit. Bodies placed inside them used to be picked clean in a matter of hours but urbanisation has reduced the local vulture population and chemicals are now used to hasten decomposition. Remains are swept into the central pit and filtered through purifying charcoal and sandstone. Don't come here expecting to see anything, since even the family of the deceased cannot enter a tower - they're the exclusive domain of herediatary Parsi pall-bearers. For trianism section in the Facts about Mumbai chapter.

Jain Temple :

There 's a kitschy Jain temple on Bal Gangadhar Kher Rd,the main road climbing Malabar Hill. Built in 1904, the temple is dedicated to Rishabhadev and Parasnath.The ornate interoir is decorated with murals depicting scenes from the lives of the tirthankars(Jain teacher-saints) and the rear of the temple has fine views over Back Bay. Be sure to remove any leather product(including belts,bags and shoes)before entering.

Breach Candy (Mahalaxmi Temple):

This popular Hindu temple, dedicated to the goddess of wealth, is situated on a headland at the northern edge of Malabar Hill, off Bhulabhai Desai Marg. It's the focus of the city's intense Navratri (Dussehra) celebrations section in September/October. According to legend, a temple dedicated to Mahalaxmi on Malabar Hill was ransacked by Muslims prior to European settlement. The goddess is said to have leapt into the sea to avoid desecration. When the British were constructing a sea wall nearby at the end of the 18th century,the local Hindu contractor claimed the goddess appeared to him in a dream. Several previous attempts to build a dyke had failed , nut Mahalaxmi told the contractor that he'd be successful if he promised to rebuild the temple. Amazingly, a statue of the goddess was unearthed during construction of the dyke. The narrow street leading to the temple is lined by stalls selling oferings of marigold, lotus flowers and coconuts .The rocks behind the temple are a favourite spot to catch sea breezes and relax among the drying laudry and snoozing dogs.

Haji Ali Mosque :

Situated at the end of a long causeway poking into the Arabian Sea is a whitewashed fairytale mosque contaning the tomb of the Muslim saint Haji Ali. The mosque and tomb were buit by devotees in the early 19th century but its origins are shrouded in mystery. The saint is believed to have been a wealthy local businessman who renounced the material world and meditated on a nearby headland after a pilgrimage to mecca. An alternate version claims he died en- route to Mecca and body was thrown overboard bearing a note requesting it be buried wherever it washed ashore.

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