First steps in sightseeing

C gets one day off a week (Sunday), so our aim each week is to wring maximum sightseeing juiciness out of the day. The Sunday before last, we didn’t entirely succeed and went to the local mall. But this past Sunday, we went to ‘central’ (actually south, so I suppose south central?) Mumbai to see some of the big sights – Victoria Terminus, the Gateway to India, and the Taj Mahal Hotel. 

I should start, as much of the internet does, with a picture of a cat. This little one was near Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, but widely known just as VT).  We haven’t seen many street cats – they’re certainly nowhere near as ubiquitous as the street dogs, who seem as though they’ve been sprinkled throughout Mumbai. The dogs – sadly, I have no pictures, but this blog Mumbai Street Dog Photos has plenty – generally look like very dingo-like, with splashes of domestic dog colouring. They’re apparently descended from the aptly named Pariah dog. They’re sometimes pets of street and slum dwellers, but are also able to survive on the garbage produced each day in Mumbai.  This NGO report on waste treatment options in the city is interesting, especially as it identifies some of the class and prejudice issues affecting Mumbai waste management.

But I digress. VT is floridly Gothic and the central station for the suburban railway lines. You may recognise it from Slumdog Millionaire (which I saw the last 20 mins of yesterday, am yet to see the rest).

Victoria Terminus

Victoria Terminus ticket hall

Victoria Terminus ticket hall

The architectural style is very much ‘when in doubt, add more gargoyles’:

Victoria Terminus


From VT, we wandered along past the Times of India offices, various hospitals and schools, including this slightly Gothic in the Castle of Otranto/Northanger Abbey-sense obstetrics hospital –

and the Magistrates’ Court.

Then, an 80-rupee cab ride to the Gateway to India. The Gateway to India was one of the sites of the 2008 terror attacks, and accordingly was under tight security.  You can’t go in it or under it, like the Arc de Triomphe – you can go around it. And around it at a brisk pace given the sheer number of people moving with you, and the touts.

Malingering expats are also seen there:

The Gateway to India is next to the Taj Mahal Hotel, in a way that I didn’t really understand when looking at the 2008 news footage. It’s fatuous to say, but for Sydneysiders I think it would be like seeing the Opera House ablaze.

The gentleman on my left decided that he wanted to be in a photo with me. Not sure why but it was a bit odd.

And then, to anniversary lunch at the Masala Kraft restaurant at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Completely delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that I sang a song to the chicken that if it had to die at least it died in the cause of deliciousness.  We had bhalla chaat (lentil dumplings in sweet yoghurt), lamb kebab, peppery lobster curry that I forget the proper name for, and atta chicken. Atta chicken is a house specialty and looks like this:

All washed down with equally delicious, although horrifyingly expensive, Belgian Chimay Red beer.


  1. Sarah MostafavI says:

    Looks fascinating- love the food porn!! Keep it coming lovely!

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