Born-and-bred Mumbaikar Jasmine Desai is a technology journalist — and, like the subject she covers, her city is constantly changing. Though she’s the first to admit it’s not the “relatively quiet place” it once was, there’s a method to the madness…if you know what to look for. “No place is as random as Mumbai — from its people to its traffic to its slums,” she says. “But in the midst of this chaos, there is still a melodious rhythm to it all.” Here are a few of Jasmine’s favorite things about the sprawling cityscape she calls home.

Mumbai is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Juhu Beach.

The view from Marine Drive. (Photograph by Nicolas Mirguet, Flickr)

The view from Marine Drive. (Photograph by Nicolas Mirguet, Flickr)

Winter is the best time to visit my city because the weather’s not too humid and DiwaliChristmas, and Holi celebrations take over town.

You can see my city best from the street. Whether you’re walking or in a vehicle, every lane is buzzing with life.

Locals know to skip Bombay Bazaar and check out roadside markets instead.

Colaba Causeway is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like Dadasaheb Phalke, J.R.D. Tata, and Mukesh Ambani have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) because it recently showcased Egyptian mummies.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that street names here change very often. Always double check the addresses before heading out.

The best places to spend time outdoors in my city are the seaside coffee shops and eateries in Bandra or on Marine Drive.

A vegetable vendor at Crawford Market. (Photograph by B Furnari, Flickr)

A vegetable vendor at Crawford Market. (Photograph by B Furnari, Flickr)

My city really knows how to celebrate life because even after a riot or a terrorist attack, the next day you’ll find people going about their lives in a normal way.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they know why Bombay changed its name to Mumbai.

For a fancy night out, I go to the Palladium.

Just outside my city, you can visit the Khandala, Lonavala, or Matheran hill stations.

My city is known for being glamorous but it’s really honest.

The best outdoor market in my city is Crawford Market.

Shiv Sagar is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Venky’s is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Time Out Mumbai.

My city’s biggest sports event is ODI cricket. Watch it at Wankhede Stadium. The Mumbai Marathon is also not to miss.

Dabbawalas deliver hundreds of thousands of meals to workers around Mumbai each day. (Photograph by Phip_s, Flickr)

Dabbawalas deliver hundreds of thousands of meals to workers around Mumbai each day. (Photograph by Phip_s, Flickr)

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go shopping on Hill Road in Bandra. Or, if I’m hungry, I might stop by one of the many roadside stalls selling chaat.

To escape the crowds, I go to Mount Mary Church or Crossword Bookstores.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Madhuri Dixit because her dazzling and open smile pretty much reflects the attitude of Mumbai.

The dish that represents my city best is vada pav, and chai is my city’s signature drink.

The legendary Taj Mahal Palace hotel is my favorite building in town because it’s symbolic to Mumbai.

The most random thing about my city are the dabbawalas and vendors who hawk on board local trains. They sell absolutely everything — even cookware!

Chai: Mumbia's signature drink. (Photograph by Garrett Ziegler, Flickr)

Chai: Mumbia’s signature drink. (Photograph by Garrett Ziegler, Flickr)

Hard Rock Cafe is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Zenzi Mills.

Bollywood could only happen in my city.

There are only three seasons in Mumbai:

In the summer, you should wear lots of sunscreen and eat anything flavored with fresh mango.

In the rainy season, you should walk on flooded roads and sip hot chai.

In the winter, you should be ready to celebrate weddings, Diwali, and a plethora of other festivals, like Kala Ghoda.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Essel World.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it’s a city with random stories at every turn. It changes every minute.

Comments

  1. Hayden4u
    India
    May 13, 1:05 am

    Hi jasmine, your article gives detailed information about the Mumbai city. Mumbai is popular touring destination in the world.
    You can check more information about places to visit in Mumbai at http://www.theweekendleader.com/Travel/1743/maximum-city.html.

  2. Rahul
    New Delhi
    March 10, 2:42 pm

    Its a great pleasure to have visit in Mumbai, enjoyed delicious food and recipes.

  3. Subhash Jain
    March 10, 10:27 am

    Hi,

    Does any one has any experience of Mumbai Travel through Maharajas Express? What are the packages?

  4. Brandon
    Mumbai, India
    February 7, 12:46 pm

    Arguing over what the best breakfast is in Mumbai? – Favorite food is an opinion, not objective fact as it’s being discussed.

    Mumbai is full of energy and has can appreciated from many angles!

    I recently spent some time photographing the city – here are my top 15 shots: http://www.theyoganomads.com/travel/photo-essay-the-streets-of-mumbai-bombay-2014/

  5. Rohit
    Delhi
    January 27, 5:45 am

    I read your blog. Such a great information. You can also find more information about Mumbai here

  6. Kalpesh wadikar
    Mumbai
    December 31, 2013, 3:19 am

    Dil, Dosti and Yaari, with chai ki pyali ! Fun with friends is doubled when there is ‘chai’ to accompany all the gup-shup.

    Must watch this I like this video I hope you also Like this

  7. Sachin
    Mumbai
    October 18, 2013, 3:03 am

    Nicely written. But still missing many aspect about Mumbai. You should try including Prithvi Cafe, Gajalee,Bademiya and many more to complete the info about Mumbai.

  8. Ankita
    India
    October 15, 2013, 7:22 am

    Good attempt. However, I think there are so many more things that are missing in there. How can Nariman point, Sachin Tendulkar, Blue frog, Ganesh festival and the plenty of khau gallis be not a part of an article about Mumbai!

  9. Nisha
    Mumbai, India
    May 10, 2013, 11:37 pm

    I completely echo what Hardik has mentioned above. This is not a true representation of the city.

  10. Aakriti
    India
    April 26, 2013, 5:27 am

    Very nicely put Hardik!!

  11. Dipti
    India
    April 9, 2013, 7:26 am

    Completely echo what Hardik above has written. The article in my opinion, gives a very fairy-tale like overview on Mumbai and really looks at the typical touristy spots despite the emphasis on ‘authentic’ and ‘local’ feel. Quite disappointed, that this is from Nat Geo.

  12. Vinay Prabhu
    Mumbai,India
    April 8, 2013, 7:18 am

    It’s a good try to describe my city (Mumbai) but it looks like something is missing.
    The lifeline of Mumbai and best part to describe about Mumbai is local trains which is missing in this article.
    Photos are amazing.
    All in all this article is a guidelines for a visitors to visit a Mumbai.

  13. Maddy
    Mumbai
    April 8, 2013, 5:29 am

    hi Jasmine,
    liked your article, it would be great if u could add something about our Life Line Local trains…..

  14. Hardik
    Mumbai
    April 5, 2013, 8:36 am

    Also, one more thing – that photograph, titles ‘chai’, is actually Filter Coffee. Chai means tea.

  15. Hardik
    Mumbai
    April 5, 2013, 8:16 am

    As a Mumbaikar, this article is not really upto the mark. It feels like the writer has given a touristy perspective of the island city, as opposed to the ‘intelligent travel’ this website is supposed to host.

    This misses out on a loot of crucial points:
    – There is no mention of Gateway of India – something that is synonymous with the city.
    – There are the beach areas – Mandva to Janjira, Uran – that find no mention in the ‘just outside the city’ area.
    – HRC is really not THE place for live music. The author has not even been to Blue Frog it seems. That’s what this establishment started for.
    – The first place in Mumbai for someone to go to would be Nariman Point, for that’s what is also synonymous to this city.
    – The best way to travel in this city is by local trains – the true flavour of the city.
    – If you want a fancy night out, Bandra is the place to be. Paladium is a shopping mall with 5 restaurants.
    – The best places to grab breakfast is Cafe Mondegar or EATC for English fare, Matunga area for a south Indian one, the Sion (E) area for North Indian (at dirt cheap rates), and so on…
    – For late night eats, the Health juice centre at Matunga, the various roadside stalls in Bandra, Amar Juice Centre in Parle are the places to be.
    – Cash strapped people should go to Fashion Street. It’s the cheapest place for clothes in the city.
    – If you want to escape the crowd, you go to Wadala Docks, or Worli Sea face.
    – Dabbawaalas and vendors are not random but an intrinsic part of this city – defining the fast paced life as also the opportunity the city presents to everyone.

    Sorry if I sound curt, but honestly, this is not a true representation of the city I have grown up in over the past 25 years.

  16. Ron Newton
    Los Angeles, CA
    April 3, 2013, 12:47 pm

    Mumbai is now on my list when visiting India again this year. My experience as a student, tourist, and professional when visiting India is that the levels of energy in each place is unique – but there is always energy. Having someone (and not some place like a travel agency) point to things worth seeing is a treat. Thanks Jasmine. Who knows – may run into you a chai shop there. R-