To talk of specialties Mumbai is famous for you need to have a grasp on the long lineage, tradition and ever changing culture of the city and for that matter to summon up in one breath all the quintessential Mumbai specialties from its roadside Cutting Chai to Dabbawala to loaded local train getting in the beautiful gothic styled Victoria Terminus to walking beside the sparkling Queen's Necklace, is undoubtedly a formidable task and one cannot demand not to make any omission. In our omission and consideration we tried to represent the living attributes of the city more than the so called tourist spots and historical monuments of Mumbai . Historic monuments, museums and tourism interests uniformly attracts all travelers to Mumbai from all over the world, but specialties that you cannot experience from a distance, rather you have to live on, are something that would actually introduce you with the city's heart and soul. Mumbai is so diverse in each and every respect that you have to come close to its daily life, commuters, food habit and panorama.
The city of Mumbai thrives and breathes with the millions of daily commuters who regularly come and pass through this vast city from suburbs or all adjoining locations around the city. The typical chaos that you experience in boarding a train from this central railway terminal station is perfectly contrasted with the grand heritage of the magnificent gothic styled huge station building and entrance of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus as this station used to be called following its British legacy. At once gigantic, baroque and royal and equally contrasted with huge chaos and pull of millions of daily commuters. After taking some wide angled pauses in various nook and corners of the heritage boarding a packed local train from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is sure to let you know why this is considered an unforgettable experience and one of the specialties Mumbai is famous for. For people travelling to this part of the world from more organized cities with developed transportation system, a local train carrying such huge jostle of passengers can be a thrilling experience with the gates of the coaches never shut and people hanging out of them desperately and at the arrival of every station the great chaos of passengers getting in and out.
Mumbai is a city that is famously built on the seven islands on the Arabian Sea and that gave Mumbai some of the most beautiful city beaches for the city dwellers and tourists from all corners of the earth to experience the glitz of the city from the quaint shore of the sea bay. Marine Drive with Chowpatty beach as its northern spacious part locally named, is the most famous of all the major roads of the city with its prime location connecting the heart of the city with the northern and southern city along the half circled bay that lit in the evening looks dazzlingly beautiful like a star studded necklace and is poetically named by many as the Queen's Necklace. To be dazzled with the distant panoramic beauty of the Marine Drive from a distance or height is one thing and to walk in the evening twilight beside the Marine Drive just overlooking the apparently quaint seawater of the bay is another thing. Walking through this three kilometer stretch of road that goes a half circle from the southern point of Nariman Point to the Malabar Hills in the North West is one of the quintessential specialties Mumbai is famous for.
This visual splendor and engineering wonder is the latest addition to the cityscape of Mumbai and appropriately explains the city of Mumbai representing the financial and commercial success of modern India. To save a 40 minutes hectic drive through the bizarre traffic to reach the business district from the western suburb that had long been a worry for commuters, has just got its reply in this steel cable strayed bridge over the half circled bay between Bandra and Worli. Busy and drastic hustle and bustle of millions of traffic and frantically running people for their workplace and diverse occupational hangouts that practically make Mumbai one of the busiest cities in the world in terms of traffic and commuters is rightly mirrored in this bridge that apart from saving precious time offers a great specter of the seawater and string of stars with the lights of the bridge on in the night time and great backdrop of high rises in the Mumbai skyline. Rolling down in a car on the bridge in both during busy morning hour or at night can provide you some great snaps of the cityscape and undoubtedly it is the newest among the specialties Mumbai is famous for.
After all its glitz and glam Mumbai is ultimately the city that showcase the common Indian's struggle for prosperity in diverse occupations and nuances and if one place in Mumbai is to be considered to portray the poor man's struggle, occupations, adjustments to life and aspirations for better life in their entirety it is undoubtedly Dharavi Slum with its great array of small scale businesses coupled with poor sanitation and tiny pigeon hole like living spaces. In the whole stretch of the slum that covers approximately an area close to 2 kilometers, if you walk in the serpentine, grim lanes inside the slum with various shapes of tin, plastic, tile and thatched rooftops and household exposure you would face the diversity of culture and livelihood from all over the country posing in their most destitute avatar. The slum is the home to many small businesses and household manufacturing hangouts including textile, pottery, numerous types of industry of recycled materials from all over the city, etc. Poverty, struggle and diversity makes way for a different specter of color and harmony in Dharavi and that is one of the very rare types of specialties Mumbai is famous for.
When you think of quintessential specialties Mumbai is famous for you hardly can think of missing the great phenomenal success and fame of Mumbai Dabbawalas. From the extreme north corner to the western fringe, from the busiest business district in the southern Mumbai to the eastern suburb, wherever you are and whatever socio-economic class and category you belong to Dabbawalas are always there to pick up your lunch as packed by your homemakers and deliver it to your workplace. Serving millions of people all over the city for generations and maintaining a huge workforce Mumbai Dabbawalas are considered already a national phenomenon of outstanding brilliance which is proven in the recent wake of calling some of the Dabbawalas to share their work experience in top management institutes. Clad in the traditional Indian dress code of Kurta and Pyjama, all white, Dabbawalas make Mumbai people eat a healthy homemade lunch at the cost of just few hundred rupees and that too almost without any use of technology. Why not a management wonder, it must be!
Like doorstep lunch service of Dabbawalas the city of Mumbai provides another doorstep service for millions of city dwellers and it has already acquired a phenomenal reputation. It is none other than Dhobi Ghat, world's biggest and most impressive open air public laundry that is unique in the use of traditional manual measures in washing millions of people's cloth and furnishing's from all over the city. Located in the heart of the city it takes the dirty linen from the household or establishment's doorstep and after washing delivers in the same manner. With rows of and rows of cemented interlocking grids of wash pens and hundreds of washer men with their colorful heaps of cloth is a great specter to see and after the recent release of a film named after this particular place it came as a great popular place in the tourism map of the city as well.
With great variety of cultural ethnicity from all over the country and with great co-presence of all types of religions and religious traditions Mumbai all round the year shares a lot of religious festivals. But the veneration of the elephant god Ganpati Bappa surpasses all and the heightened festive spirit of this festival remains unmatched among all other festivals and religious occasions. Among all the specialties Mumbai is famous for this festival deserves the most prominent place and every year draws millions of tourists from all over the world.
Besides all other quintessential Mumbai specialties Mumbai is famous for, nothing can be compared with the phenomenal greatness and encompass of its film industry that earned it a comparison with Hollywood visible in its naming as Bollywood. Bollywood accounts for more than 100 new releases in a year which places it among the top world film industries. You can just be caught up within a shooting scene just on the regular walks of Mumbai street at any point of time and without any preparation you just can have glimpse on the celluloid glamour from close vicinity and undoubtedly without Bollywood or film city specialties Mumbai is famous for cannot be thought of.
Mumbai as one of the vibrant cosmopolitan cities of the country is famous for its diversified food culture than spans from elegant dining to street food, from exquisite specialties in the luxury of top restaurants to the mouth watering yet comparatively handy and cheap on-the-move snacks from the road side stalls. When talking of these innumerable road side stalls and street side food vendors, Mumbai almost got a signature snack, literally for all, from common city dwellers to the high heelers and it is none other than Bada Pav, a 10 rupee snack that is available virtually on every street of the city and a common grab for Mumbaikars for small appetites on the go.
Chora Bazar or thief's market is definitely to give you a different experience of Mumbai and equally can be mesmerizing if you find some of your cherished or favorite items in offer at throwaway prices. From antique pedestal light to musical instruments to household items to sport gears, virtually it is market of anything and everything that are stolen from various places and sold to the dealers. It is definitely a marketplace that has many flaws behind and equally a place that characterizes Mumbai in its grimness and color and once you are there in that great clusters of items accompanied usual clamor of any other marketplace you understand that here 'theft' almost came close to become an institution. In searching for something suppose suddenly you discover your long stolen mouth organ with your name engraved, how you would feel? There are endless possibilities of encountering life and living relationships with your belonging in this market called Chora Bazar. You just can't drop this place from specialties Mumbai is famous for.
Mumbai got a food culture and more emphatically speaking a thriving culture of eating out that no other city in the country can simply be compared with. Every street of Mumbai is adorned with cafes, restaurants, food courts or food stalls according to your taste, appetite, mood and other want of delicacies. Though the who's who of world's food business like KFC, McDonald, Flurys, CCD, Subway, all you can find all over the city, as far as the specialties and tastes are concerned to cater to different palates of cosmopolitan crowd these straight-from-the-factory food manufacturers would look just dwarf alongside the thriving local vendors, traditional food stalls, food courts, cafes all across the city in every nook and corner of the city. These food joints and their mouth watering offers are simply the intrinsic cultural attributes and the specialties Mumbai is famous for.
Bada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Parsi Akuri (A scrambled egg delicacy from Mumbai's Persian tradition), Bombay Sandwich, Bheja Fry (brain of goat sautéed in sauce and spices, a typical Mumbai delicacy), Bombay Duck (a dish of fried Bombil fish, a dish gradually took city's name), Falooda (a typical Mumbai adaptation of Persian desert), Pani Puri, Nalli Nihari (a typical beef specialty) or just simple and quintessentially Mumbai specific small toast of tea called Cutting Chai, the list may take much longer and the list of the abode of these mouth watering delicacies in restaurants, cafes, food courts, food stalls or wandering vendors are simply innumerable and that simply gives a idea of Mumbai being a city of eating out. Yes, you can call Mumbai so, a city that holds and mixes so many cuisine and culinary art of different traditions, from Persian to Mughal to Marathi to North Indian to Marwari to Gujrati to other readymade possibilities of fusion, how cannot shy its face from being called a city of eating out?
Few experiences are not just specialties Mumbai is famous for as you are roaming around the city but those have a long lineage to take part in your life. Mumbai being the abode of millions of people from all over the country who belong to different caste, creed and religious culture has a wide array of religious places of worships belonging to every kind of people and all these places have a long lineage of tradition and history behind them presenting different eras of history and their continuing lineage. If you are for the first time in Mumbai either for pure travel purpose or for other personal or professional purpose, Haji Ali Dargah is a must visit place considering the refreshing as well as soul soothing experience it is supposed to offer you. This historical mosque is located on an island on the bay of Worli and is connected to the land through a narrow causeway. In the twilight of the evening the silhouette of the Haji Ali Dargah with the backdrop of the setting rays of sun over the rich blue water of Arabian Sea is definitely a nice specter to watch and if it is specially Thursday, Friday or Sunday the sound of heart rendering Qawwali is sure to provoke a nostalgia for Mughal aura.
The city for centuries was named Bombay until recently, just little more than a decade back following the Marathi campaign for a more aboriginal name of local tradition of Maharashtra it was named as Mumbai. Bombay is still present colloquially and in numerous references and ways and is most delicately and irreplaceably present in one of the trademark Mumbai delicacies over the years and that mouth watering food to draw tourists and Mumbaikars with the same force and apathy is none other than Bombay Duck. Actually it is a fish dish rather than duck and is enough fishy in confusing with its name. Bombil fish are found in plenty around the city in the salt water of the bays and when it is fried with gram flour and spice coating it is crunchy on the surface and surreally soft and testy inside. An all time favorite delicacy of tourists and city dwellers alike, a real champ in our consideration of specialties Mumbai is famous for.
If you are in Mumbai still did not have a through and through experience of Mumbai in its chaotic intermezzo of roads and hasty traffic you still are away from experiencing the city in its signature trait. Fromm its busy southern districts of dominant corporate presence to the posh western areas or northern suburb you are always likely to get stuck in traffic and a Mumbaikar is never panicked, because a chaos of either traffic or people is something to let you examine how patient and alert you are and undoubtedly the dwellers of this city unless he is big shot is almost a yogi in that. It does not make sense for you how such a monotony and grueling experience can be a specialty, but just pass a few months in this city and you would know how this daily life attribute is one of the specialties Mumbai is famous for.
In talking of specialties Mumbai is famous for we must acknowledge the dominant place of Mumbai not only in the economy and business of the country but also in global economy and whatever global riches in the world of business and economy the city acquire and whatever soaring height corporate Mumbai achieves, Nariman Point plays as the geograpgical nucleas behind all these successes. Yes, the skyline of Nariman point seen in picture can give a partial glimpse of corporate America's official district Manhattan. With tall skyscrapers and glitz of steel and glass in modern architecture Nariman Point portrays a piece of ambitious India as an emerging power and without this piece of posh Mumbai office district Mumbai is simply less than half in its stature. From India's stock exchange office to a wide array of regulatory body's offices to almost every company operating in South East Asia are either headquartered or present here.
Shopping is always an irreplaceable and most intrinsic part of life in any major city and for a city as large as a shelter of more than 19 million people there are too many options and too many modes for addressing the need of city's people from all types of social and ethnic background. But all kinds of shopping malls, arcades and marketplaces apart, Fashion Street has its own Mumbai glamour with all typical Mumbai attributes present in this street consisting of innumerable shops selling fashion and designer apparels and surprisingly unlike branded wear boutiques or showrooms you can just look for a good bargain too. It takes care of your purse while opening a sea of choices from almost all traditions and fusions of fashion wear.
Malabar hill is one of the posh residential areas in Mumbai and among all Mumbai localities it provides a nice specter with Arabian Sea on the west and wave of highlands on the north and comparatively a neat and green surrounding around. Seeing Mumbai from Malabar hill would give you the advantage of having an almost panoramic view of the whole city while and in the evening glow of twilight it can just look romantic.
Cricket probably is the only sport at present that India has dominance in the world for years and this city is the Mecca of cricket in India. Mumbai apart from its different variations of cricket that are played almost in all sorts of places like beaches, roads and lanes with comparatively less traffic to rooftops to corridors has a variety that can surprise even the most ardent lovers of the game and yes it is none other than playing cricket in the muddy cricket ground in monsoon, even under the showering rain. Only Mumbai can make such a lovely adaptation of this traditionally British aristocrat game and it is already known to many travelers around the world to be among the specialties Mumbai is famous for.
You have reasons to scorn in seeing the Gateway of India and Elephanta Caves all the way down here, after so many Mumbai specialties up above. The specialties of any city are better understood through its quintessential living attributes and experiences rather than just the array of historical monuments and specific tourist spots, but even in doing so we cannot just leave behind Elephanta Caves and Gateway of India as they open up completely a different specter of Mumbai and its tourism. Gateway of India much like the symbolic architecture in Delhi called India Gate is a large façade just near the port on the Arabian Sea and from here regular ferry service is there to take you to Elephanta Caves, just 10 kilometers away. Elephanta Caves are a series of caves in the Elephanta Island with spectacular ancient sculptures and is now a World Heritage site recognized by UNESCO. These caves which are 7 in total consists of 5 caves dedicated to Hindu God Shiva and 2 caves dedicated and adorned with Buddha statues. Though no particular historical account could not confirm about the age of these caves, as per estimation these are older than 5000 years.