India, like a lot of Asian countries, offers a large variety of street foods. Street vendors offer hot fresh snacks or even complete meals all through the day. Hot tea/ coffee, quick meals on the go are prepared right in front of your eyes. Infact some of these vendors gain such a reputation that people will travel from far to get food from a specific vendor.
Watching a Bollywood (or Tamil or Malayalam, etc.) movie is an integral part of a visit to India. The quality varies as much as that of Hollywood films, but it's an experience that shouldn't be missed.
Although I didn't manage to fit in a studio visit during this trip (my passion for Hindi movies didn't take hold until well into the two months), I'm hoping to do so this winter.
If you're heading to India, check out the site below for a recommendation on what to see. Their reviews are usually quite reliable (scale of 1 to 10) and will give you an idea of what you're signing up for. If you don't think you can handle 3+ hours without subtitles, give it your best shot and leave at intermission. . .no one will mind.Related to:
- Theater Travel
Bombay Duck (and I really don’t think you can convert that to Mumbai Duck) is also known as Bummalo. It is not in fact a duck but a lizardfish and is native to the waters between Mumbai and Kutch in the Arabian Sea. The fish is most often dried and salted before being eaten. Because of its pungent smell after drying, they are usually transport in sealed containers. Despite the strong odour, it is often considered a delicacy by experts of Indian cuisine. Sometimes it is also eaten fried in batter in its dried form or in curries. The bones are not a worry as they are soft and easily chewable.
Taking the Train
Learnign how to get on and off the local trains from Churchgate station was an education. I have to thank Aadil for my first lessons, afterwhich I believe I mastered the art of running and jumping, not to mention hanging out and breathing!Related to:
- Budget Travel
If you are alone (and a male) it is the custom to ride in the passenger seat next to the driver. I like this as you get a better view and might have a chat, the downside in the Mumbai taxis is that the motor causes the front seat to stay at an average temperature of 40 degrees / 103 F, this is without considering the outside temperature. It is also OK to smoke (99% of the time).
In Mumbai after about 30 taxi rides only twice was there a discussion as to the cost and this was in taxis I had picked up at CST at odd times of the night/morning.
Mumbai is much easier to get around in then Delhi!
University of Mumbai
University of Mumbai (UM) or Mumbai University (MU) is a multi-campus university, but the original campus is in Fort, Mumbai, near the southern end of the city of Mumbai. It houses the administrative division of the university. It is built in the Gothic style of architecture and also includes a library which holds many original manuscripts. The University of Bombay was established at the Fort Campus in 1857. In the same year universities were established in the two other Presidency towns of Calcutta and Madras. It was one of the first educational institutions established by the British in India following Sir Charles Wood's Dispatch on Education in 1854. Alumni include Mahatama Ghandi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and many other distinguished leaders and faculty now resident in the United States and Europe. Visitors to this part of Mumbai will frequently see students in the streets and the gothic style colonial architecture in the background.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Sugar Cane Drinks
Like the Coconut milk drinks, sugar cane is also very popular. Street vendors operate manual crushers and extract the juice from matured cane. The juice deteriorates fairly quickly so it cannot be stored for more than a couple of hours. Street vendors are certainly not the most hygienic places to try this drink, better to get from a hotel or restaurant
Hooray for Bollywood!
Bollywood pumps out hundreds of films every year. The typical ones are of the boy meets girl variety and involve a lot of singing, dancing, longing looks and lovers running towards one another in slow motion. I was lucky enough to be introduced to minor pop star Saalif who, along with his cameraman Munnar, knew Jackie Shoroff, one of the old hands in the game and a great star in his time (the 70s) - see 2nd pic
The Bollywood scene, like Hollywood, is a lot about not what you know but who you know. Prostitutes become starlets and street kids icons. There’s a lot of action and a fair amount of glitz and glam. And who knows, kid? If you can sing and dance, you may make it big in this town.
If not, there’s always that other Mumbai business: high finance. Bombay is the growing money center of India.
On the street you will often see the Coconut vendor selling juice. The top is knocked off the top of the coconut with a swipe of a machete type knife and a straw is inserted reading for drinking. Apparently the way in which the coconut is cut is only done this way in Mumbai... not sure what the difference is.Related to:
- Road Trip
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
This is the BOLLOYWOOD movie experience of all time, with full audience participation at the Maratha Mandir just across from Mumbai Central, it is the most fun I have ever had at the movie, and have now seen it 10 times.
It costs like 15 Rupees for a seat in the stalls and has been shown every day for 10 years at 1130AM.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
The climate in Mumbai is mostly made up of two seasons. Humid (between March to October) and dry (between November to February). The monsoon time is usually between June and September when most of they incur most of the cities rainfall. Annual temperatures range from a high of 38C (100F) to a low of 11C (52F). I was there early April and it was definitely hot but not oppressive. I don’t think the humidity had kicked in. If you are not happy with the heat then the best time to visit would be the winter time.
Party at Maratha Mandir Cinema at 11 AM
Maratha Mandir is part of Mumbai's film history, where some of the industry's greatest hits have been screened. In this theatre, the 1995 hit film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge has been running successfully for ten long years!
Twenty-four-year old Nathu Ghorpade, a porter at Mumbai Central station, does not subscribe to the view that his city is one of the costliest in the world. Over the past few years, he, along with his friends, has, at least once a week, been spending four hours in air-conditioned comfort, munching popcorn and watching a hit movie for just Rs 14 (till recently it was Rs 9).
If you don't believe this, refer to the Guinness Book of World Records. Yash Chopra's hit film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) arrived at Mumbai's Maratha Mandir theatre in October 1995 as a morning show and is still running to packed week-end houses and semi-packed week days.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Theater Travel
- Budget Travel
BOMBAY DUCK (yuck!)
In 1997 Bombay Duck was banned by the European Commission (EC) of the European Union. Bombay Duck is a delicacy eaten as an accompaniment to curry. It is dried fish that is usually served fried. It has an acquired pungent taste adored by curry lovers.
The EC admitted that it had no "sanitary" evidence against the product and the UK Public Health Laboratory Service confirmed that there are no recorded cases of food poisoning, or bacterial contamination, associated with Bombay Duck. It was been banned because the EC only allows fish imports from India from approved freezing and canning factories. Bombay Duck is not produced in factories.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
How to wear a saree
Sari reflects women's style, grace, sense and elegant. Sari enhances an increases the beauty, personality and importance as a lady. It is important to drape a Sari in proper manner so as to look perfectly dressed. Properly dressed Sari has greater appearance.
Few Tips on Wearing a Saree: -
Slim women should wear Cotton Sari , Tissue Sari , Tapeta Silk Sari , Tussar silk Sari , so that they may look beautiful, attractive and Healthy.
Healthy women should wear Georgette Sari , Chignon Sari , Maysoor silk Sari , or Chiffon Sari so that they may look beautiful, attractive and slim.
Shorter women should wear the Sari with small borders or no borders and in dressed position the lining on Sari , if so, should appear horizontal to the earth so that they may look beautiful, attractive and tall.
Longer women should wear the Sari with big borders and in dressed position the lining, if so, on Sari should appear parallel to the earth so that they may look beautiful and attractive.
Fair complexion women should wear dark color Sari so that they may look beautiful, attractive.
Dark complexion women should wear light color Sari so that they may look beautiful, attractive.
The legacy of dance in India is tremendous. On temple walls, on an urban stage, in impromptu outbursts by a mellow evening fire, men and women twinkle their toes in expressions of joy.
The classical dances of India are numerous. Characterised by stylised movements and elaborate costumes, these dances communicate age-old tales of love, longing and rage. As in most things in India, myth and legend find expression here too, as the epic tales of Ramayana and the Mahabharata are brought to life in nritya.
Kathak of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Kathakali and Mohiniattam of Kerala, Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Manipuri from Manipur and Odissi from Orissa are the prominent classical dance forms in this country that sways to an altogether novel beat. The robust bhangra of Punjabi men, the graceful whirling of Rajasthani women, the gentle sway of northeastern dancers, vigorous tribal dances - every corner has developed its own unique form.
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