Scenic Marine Drive, south of Mumbai.
Scenic Marine Drive, south of Mumbai. Contributed

City of Mumbai will enchant you with its lively ambience

BEWILDERING reflections of a city that never sleeps give way to amazement.

Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state, is one of the world's most densely inhabited cities with an estimated population of 21 million.

Even in the early hours of the morning, taking to the streets of the city's new central business district of the Bandra Kurla Complex, the traffic sounds are deafening.

Walking from Trident Rd towards busy BKC Rd, the hustle and bustle is apparent… Is the city always awake?

Activity is endemic: cyclists are brusquely intent on getting to their destinations, some precariously balancing fresh produce; fitness enthusiasts run by; dogs are on leads; and, wait, what's that up ahead.

In this concrete jungle there are many impressive high-rise buildings, but one that caught the eye positively glittered!

Of course, it is the Bharat Diamond Bourse which is the world's largest diamond bourse (exchange) located in Mumbai, India.

Spread over 20 acres, at a cost of over US$200 million, BDB has eight, nine-storey towers housing 2500 offices.

The commercial development in BKC includes private and government offices, banks, wholesale establishments, hotels, banks and schools.

Time has flown. It is 8.15am, and getting hot and sticky (over 28 degrees celsius) I pick up speed, anxious to seek refuge in the newly-opened Sofitel Mumbai BKC.

The air-conditioning is soothing and as I walk through the front door, I think about the welcome card I found in my room with a simple message from the hotel's general manager Bernd Schneider: "Life is Sensation. Life is Precision. Life is Magnifique."

In the grand lobby I am struck by the elegant mélange of Indian and French traditions.

Sofitel's flagship hotel in India, the 14-storey chic address "combines French elegance, savoir-faire and art de recevoir coupled with India's rich heritage of personalized service, tradition of luxury and depth of culture".


Discover the best tourist sites

Sightseeing beckons in India's financial capital.

First on the itinerary is the British colonial architecture of south Mumbai, where the iconic Gateway of India towers over the harbour.

Built to commemorate the visit of the King George V to India in 1911, the 26-metre-high basalt arch overlooks the Arabian Sea.

Visit the ornate High Court and see ancient sculptures and miniature paintings in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum in Kala Ghoda.

Walk through the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a brilliant specimen of Victorian Gothic architecture in India. Once called Victoria Terminus, the station is on the suburban railway tracks of Mumbai.

It was featured in the movie Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.

Mumbai is home to the booming Bollywood film industry, where more than 100 films are produced each year.

Take a guided tour to the heart of the action in Goregaon.

A visit to the Mahalakshmi Temple is a must. Located at the seashore on the northern side of Malabar hills, the temple enshrines three deities namely Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati.

Unwind in the evening on scenic Marine Drive, a three-kilometre boulevard in south Mumbai that's a popular haunt with locals and visitors alike.

It is situated on reclaimed land facing west-south-west.

Enjoy its ambiance as you walk the thoroughfare of an evening, rejoicing in the cool, fresh air.


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