Shining like glow worms in the darkness of this year’s world recession are heart warming tales of hope and triumph. One of the brightest is perhaps the story of movie Slumdog Millionaire, the low budget Indie with no major stars that stormed the Oscars and carried off no less than eight coveted awards. And as we all now know, this film, which stunned everyone by its unlikely success, is a story of outside chance – the boy from the hovels of Mumbai who routed his enemies and found his lady love by winning a TV quiz show.
And Slumdog Millionaire’s grand slam is likely to have all sorts of knock-on effects. According to industry pundits, Mumbai – the pulsating city where the movie is set – may have a tourist boom this year despite the economic gloom.
If you loved the movie and can make the trip, you must go too. It’s well worth it. With sensations and surprises around every corner, Mumbai provides the kind of full-on experience that makes you feel truly alive.
But a word of advice, ease yourself in gently. Mumbai is a rich dish and should be eaten slowly. For a perfect introduction, take the Mumbai Sightseeing Tour (about 4 hours), to view the highlights. Sniff the mouthwatering aromas of street food and salty sea air at Chowpatty Beach, gaze up at the iconic Gateway of India, travel along the beautiful Marine Drive (the ‘Queen’s Necklace’), watch the laundrymen at Dhobi Ghat, see the island shrine of Muslim saint Haji Ali and much more.
Or, if you’ve got plenty of time, take the Sightseeing in Mumbai and Elephanta Caves Excursion (around 8 hours). This shows you all of the above but adds a boat trip to the rock-cut temples on Elephanta Island, with their famous Shiva sculptures.
Thus prepared and acclimatized, you’ll be ready for ‘advanced Mumbai’. Explore the labyrinthine bazaars and observe the crowds, the cows, the colors and the contrasts. See the modern and glossy cheek by jowl with the rough and unkempt. Look for faded touches of the Raj and let the city seduce you with her warmth and energy.
In your wanderings, don’t forget to check out Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (better known as Victoria Terminus), an architectural gem of a railway station where Jamal, the Slumdog Millionaire, blissfully embraces Latika, the girl he lost and found.