Mumbai (with kids) and keeping them engaged – Part 1

Mumbai was close to my heart as this city kick-started my career in the IT industry. It continues to be dear as my little sis calls it home – the reason I get to visit it often.

Here is my compilation of 5 things to do and places to visit in Mumbai’s town area with little, restless children in tow

1) Gateway of India

Referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Mumbai”, the gateway was a symbol of the power and aristocracy of the British empire. Before the Mumbai skyline gained prominence, this would be the first grand structure seen by visitors arriving by boat to Mumbai. Imagine the impression on a British aristocrat arriving in erstwhile Bombay for the first time, being treated to the sight of this majestic gateway !

The Gateway of India overlooking the Arabian sea

The Gateway of India overlooking the Arabian sea

I wouldn’t want to leave India too, if I were them 🙂 . The cardboard model of the structure was erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary, when they visited India in 1911. The construction did not begin till 1915. The Gateway was designed by George Wittet. He combined the Roman Triumphal Arch with Indo Sarcenic Architecture of 16th Century Gujarat. One can therefore see an influence of Gujarat in the architecture of the Gateway of India. The Indo-Sarcenic architecture style represents a synthesis of Mughal Indian and designs with Indian materials – which makes for these intricate designs you see around both the sides of Gateway.

Intricate designs on the Gateway of India Photo Credit: Pixabay

Intricate designs on the Gateway of India                                                                                 Photo Credit: Pixabay

Isn’t it then understandably why it is compared to the likes of Arc de Triomphe in Paris ?

I see it as a seemly gesture that the last British troops to leave India passed through the Gateway on their way out in a ceremony in 1948, marking the end of British rule.

If this historical monument is not enough, the kids can have a ride on horse carriage on the road between the Gateway and the iconic Taj Mahal Palace.

The iconic Taj Mahal Palace

The iconic Taj Mahal Palace

The horse carriage rides in front of the Gateway of India

The horse carriage ride in front of the Gateway of India

2) Take a boat trip

The seaport is just behind the gateway and it offers good opportunity for boat rides. From the Gateway of India, rides can be booked to Elephanta caves and Alibaug (Mandwa). One also has an option of a short boat ride on the Arabian sea, which gives a great view of the imposing Mumbai skyline and the Gateway of India, Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai docks and harbor.

Taj Mahal of Mumbai next to the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel Photo Credit: Pixabay

Taj Mahal of Mumbai next to the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel                                                   Photo Credit: Pixabay

We had taken a 1 hour ride into the Arabian sea from Girgaum.

Ready to explore the Mumbai from the Arabian Sea

Ready to explore the Mumbai from the Arabian Sea

We saw some lovely sea facing houses and beautiful yachts. It was really enjoyable day with the sun on the face, wind in the hair and a smile playing on our lips.

Wind in the hair and a smile on the lip (maybe a tune in the head !)

Wind in the hair and a smile on the lip (maybe a tune in the head !)

3) South Point

In my quest to get a perfect view of the famous Mumbai skyline, we reached South Point. The waterfront with the signature tetrapod near the sea wall was ideal.

Mumbai Skyline from South Point

Mumbai Skyline from South Point

Mumbai Skyline

Another view of the Mumbai Skyline from South Point

It was not crowded and one could get a 270 degree view of the ocean at one point. Perfect for evening walk or for the children to run around and play. Blowing bubbles was a big draw.

South point has ample space for blowing bubbles

South point has ample space for blowing bubbles

And catching them !

And catching them !

Have the kacchi kaeri (raw mango) which the peddlers sell. Sitting there reminds you ..this is how you truly get a feel of Mumbai !

Peddler selling kacchi kaeri (raw mango)

Peddler selling kacchi kaeri (raw mango)

4) Hanging Garden

Built in 1880 and later renovated in 1921, Hanging Garden is dedicated to barrister Pherozeshah Mehta and is also known as “Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens”. This renowned garden located on the Western side of Malabar Hills is known for its lovely manicured terraced gardens, green vegetation and animal shaped topiaries.

Hanging garden is known for its animal shaped topiaries

Hanging garden is known for its animal shaped topiaries

Pretty flowers in the Hanging garden Photo Credit: shalakashah via Compfight cc

Pretty flower bed in the Hanging garden                                                        Photo Credit: shalakashah via Compfight cc

It provides a panoramic view of the vast Arabian Sea. Given its orientation, you can imagine the sublime experience of watching a sunset from this point.

The magnificent view of the beach from the hanging gardens

The magnificent view of the beach and Arabian Sea from the hanging gardens

Interesting tidbit is that garden is built over the main Mumbai reservoir and is believed to have been built to protect the water from potential contamination from the nearby Towers of Silence (a circular, raised structure built by Zoroastrians for dead bodies to be exposed to carrion birds) !

The ‘Old woman’s shoe’ or the ‘Boot House’ is completely made from stone, which is also a very interesting feature and a favorite among children.

Old woman's shoe or the Boot House made from stone is a favorite among children Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

Old woman’s shoe or the Boot House made from stone is a favorite among children
Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

5) Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Since its inception in 1999, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an experience to be had. The 9 day long annual festival, commences on the first Saturday of February and closes on the second Sunday, in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai. The Festival is organized by the non-profit Kala Ghoda Association, with an objective of making Kala Ghoda the Art District of Mumbai”. and curated by teams handling each of the 12 sections of the festival eg : visual arts, dance, music, theater, cinema, literature including children’s literature, workshops, heritage walks and a vibrant street section.

I had the opportunity to attend this once. The myriad stalls of eco-friendly hand made arts and crafts wares, the creative art installations, live band at the steps of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai – made the day very very memorable.

Hand made statues in one of the stalls Photo Credit: Vivid Chromaticity via Compfight cc

Hand made statues in one of the stalls                                             Photo Credit: Vivid Chromaticity via Compfight cc

A single lantern installation with plastic bottles Photo Credit: Indianature sw6 Flickr via Compfight cc

A lantern installation with plastic bottles                         Photo Credit: Indianature sw6 Flickr via Compfight cc

Kalaghoda festival deco lights up the night Photo Credit: SleekClicks via Compfight cc

Kala Ghoda festival decoration lights up the night                                           Photo Credit: SleekClicks via Compfight cc

Live band and a musical evening at Kalaghoda festival

Live band and a musical evening at Kala Ghoda festival

Colors awash the otherwise pristine white Asiatic Society building

Colors awash the otherwise pristine white Asiatic Society building

OK, my son could not have a real child experience as I could not plan ahead of time, though he thoroughly enjoyed the walk in the area and loved the bright hues in the street market. Well, he even danced to the music pelted by the band ! If you have luxury of time to plan, you could target children literature events, workshops or story telling !

Life size mascots always thrill kids

Life size mascots always thrill kids

Things you may want to know before the travel (Travel tips)

  • For tips on when to visit Mumbai refer to my blogpost here
  • There is no boat service to Elephanta caves on Mondays. Details of fare
  • Hanging Garden can be reached by train and road
    • To reach Hanging Garden by train, you need to get down at ‘Charni Road’ station, which is the 3rd station from south of western railway. Take a taxi from here, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes to reach
    • Hanging Gardens is well-connected by roads. One can take the Walkeshwar Road and Ridge Road from Marine Drive to reach the gardens. Buses are available from the city but recommendation is to hire taxi or an auto-rickshaw
  • Kala Ghoda Arts festival – Entry to all events is free
  • Put on your comfortable walking shoes as you would love exploring this area on foot
  • Carry a cap and sunglasses to keep the sun away. Use ample sunscreen to avoid skin burn
  • Carry enough water with you to stay hydrated
A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now – a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

admin

A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now - a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

2 Responses

  1. Kala Ravi says:

    Hi Swati, you have a lovely blog! I love the way you’ve covered some of the points of interest in Mumbai, especially considering children. The Byculla zoo and the Taraporewala aquarium are also surprisingly interesting places to visit. For slightly older kids, the CSVS museum and the Nehru Planetarium are must visits. Your clicks are pretty amazing!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Kala. Means a lot coming from experienced blogger :). Will definitely add these on my next things to do along with Elephanta caves. I am sure kids will have fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *