Metro secrets - Mumbai

Medieval forts, hidden churches and amazing food —India’s commercial capital is full of surprises.

     Print Edition: February 10, 2008


Metro Mumbai
Khau Galli for Economy Class
First Class
The place: Thai Pavilion
Where: Hotel Taj President, Colaba
Why it’s hot: This is one restaurant that has truly stood the test of time. The old favourites, the red, green and massaman curry along with the tangy Tom Yum soup and the Som Tam papaya salad, will charm you as always.
Cost: Approx. Rs 4,000 for two
Open: 12.30 p.m.-2.45 p.m. and 7 p.m.-midnight
Contact: 022-56650808



Business class
The place: Japengo
Where: CR2 Mall, Nariman Point
Why it’s hot: Japengo boasts of an authentic Oriental menu. In fact, its sushi, sashimi and tempura are second only to the legendary Morimoto’s Wasabi at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Dessert is divine too, with the crust of crème brulee as perfect as perfect is.
Must try: Japengo Mixed Platter, Hot Apple Pie with Ice cream
Cost: Approx. Rs 3,000 for two
Open: 11.00 a.m.-11.30 p.m.
Contact: 022-66334040

Economy class
The place: Khau Galli
Where: Opposite CST Station, in front of Capitol Cinema
Why it’s hot: If you are a foodie, do not miss the Khau Galli experience. One such Khau Galli is right outside CST (Victoria Terminus), famed for its Cannon Pav Bhaji and the Khala Khatta juicewala. It thrives on regular officegoers and tourists. The Galli itself is much larger and, amidst the teeming crowd, one can eat the choicest local food at affordable prices.
Must try: Cannon Pav Bhaji, Rs 22; Khala Khatta Juice, Rs 6
Cost: Rs 60-80 for two
Open: 11.30 a.m. to 11.30 p.m.


Short trip
The place: Matheran
Why it’s a must visit: Head to the hill station of Matheran. Motor vehicles are banned here. The walk within the hill station starts from Dasturi Naka where cars are to be parked. This nature trail is home to many arboreal birds; Watch out for the birds of prey soaring over the steep cliffs. The main attractions are the various viewpoints. Check out Mount Berry for an impressive view of Sahaydri range of mountains and visit One Tree hill.
How to get there: Book a car till Neral and then buy a toy train ticket to Matheran. The train leaves Neral at 8.50 a.m and 10.15 a.m. You can return by the 4.25 p.m. train.
Entry ticket: Rs 25 to enter Matheran

Shorter trip
The place: Elephanta Caves
Why it’s a must visit: Take a ferry from the Gateway of India to the Elephanta Caves—a World Heritage Site, just 10 km away. The caves are carved out of solid rock and date back to 600 AD. The most significant sculpture is the 20-ft high, three-headed Trimurti Sadasiva.
How to get there: Ferry tickets cost Rs 120. Entry to the caves is Rs 10 for Indians.
Timing: 9 a.m to 5.30 p.m.
(Closed on Mondays)


1.The Place: Ballard Bunder Gate Navy Museum
Where: Indira Gate, Ballard Estate
Why you must see it: This is a maritime museum. A plaque in the compound tells you how this building was once a gate house and was the key access point to the sea. The building is beautiful, with wooden windows and stained glass doors.
Open: Daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Entry: Free

2. The Place: Afghan Church

Afghan Church
Afghan Church
Where: Colaba Navy Nagar
Why you must see it: The Church of St John the Evangelist, also known as the Afghan Church, is a Presbyterian church built by the British to commemorate the dead in the First Afghan War of 1838.
Open: Every day
Entry fee: Free

3. The Place: Bandra Fort
Where: Situated at the end of Band Stand, right behind Taj Lands End WHY YOU MUST SEE IT: Take a walk along Bandra Fort located ahead of the Sea Rock hotel at the Band Stand. The fort, originally called Castella de Aguada, was built by the Portuguese in 1640 as a watchtower. A few of the arches and walls are still intact.
Entry fee: Free
Open: All days. The best time to visit is just before sunset.



The place: The bylanes of Fort, South Mumbai
Why you should take this walk: If you are a history or an architecture buff, a ramble through the bylanes of the Fort area is recommended. Buildings and churches dating back to the initial days of the East India Company adorn almost every street. It’s a great place to amble around on a Sunday, but a word of caution: watch out for the speeding bikers.
After the walk: Want to try some yummy Parsi food? Head to Jimmy Boy or Cafe Britannia in adjacent Ballard Estate.


The place: Book Pavement outside American Express Bank
Where: Flora Fountain
Why it’s a must visit: This long stretch is a veritable treasure trove of books. Close to 500 people visit this book corner daily.
What to buy: You can get the latest and the oldest books in good condition.
What to pay: From as little as Rs 20 for an old edition of National Geographic to Rs 75 for the latest. Novels cost anywhere from Rs 70 to Rs 150. One can also get some good coffee table books for about Rs 1,000. The same would cost you Rs 3,000 in the bookshops.
Timings: 11.30 a.m.-7.30 p.m.
Open: Monday to Saturday

My favourite bookstore

Chetan Bhagat, author: I love to spend time at the Oxford Bookstore in Churchgate, which is walking distance from my house. The natural light that comes in helps me to browse on a weekend afternoon.


The place: Curio Cottage
Why you must shop here: Nestled in the heart of Colaba lies Curio Cottage. The store, run by the Bathija family, is a treasure trove of exotic jewellery, with gems that come from as far as Mexico and Afghanistan.
Contact: 022-22022607

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