Explore Mumbai, India: A Virtual and Accessible Tour
This week we are heading to India to explore one of its most culturally rich cities, Mumbai. Formally known as Bombay, Mumbai is home to ancient temples, museums, delicious foods, and more. To take a virtual accessible tour of the city, keep on reading!
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Visit the Museums and Sites
A well-known and popular tourist attraction in Mumbai is the Gateway of India, which was erected in the early 20th century. The arch-monument was created to commemorate the landing of King George V, the first British monarch to visit India. To access a video touring the Gateway of India and going over its history, click the link here. The video includes captions.
The Kanheri Caves are also an incredible site. The caves feature rock sculptures and other constructions, as they acted as Buddhist monasteries meant for meditation and studying. For more information about the caves, watch the video linked here or visit the Just Words blog linked here. The video includes captions.
Mumbai houses many fascinating museums, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, which was founded in 1922. Exhibitions in the museum document the history of India from prehistoric to contemporary times. To learn about the museum as a whole, visit the blog linked here. For a more detailed view of virtually featured exhibitions at the museum, visit the site here.
Another wonderful feat of architecture is the Global Vipassana Pagoda, a meditation dome hall which can fit 8,000 Vipassana meditators. Its golden structure is very beautiful, and serves to be a monument of peace. For a tour of the pagoda, watch the video linked here or access a blog by the link here. The video has captions.
One of the most famous temples in all of Mumbai is the Shri Mahalakshmi Temple, built in 1831 by a Hindu merchant. The temple is dedicated to a central Hindu goddess, Mahalakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth, prosperity, and fertility. To access more information about the temple, visit the blog linked here and the blog linked here.
The Chor Bazaar or the “Thieves Market” is a rewarding site, perhaps because of its alluring name or the fact that it is one of the largest flea markets in the city. The market boasts vintage trinkets, bronze figurines, new technology, and other such items. To dive deeper into the wonder that is the Chor Bazaar, visit the blog linked here as well as the blog linked here.
Elephanta Island is an intriguing attraction, hosting a number of ancient cave temples that have been carved out of rock. The constructions date back to mid-5th to 6th century AD, and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For virtual access to the caves, watch the video at the link here or visit the blog at the link here. The video includes captions.
Tune in to Shows and Movies About Mumbai and India
There are many shows and movies set in Mumbai and India overall that are sure to appease a variety of audience members. From Bollywood in Mumbai to smaller productions across the country, India’s film culture and impact are significant. Besides these picks, there are many, many more that have subtitles and are generally accessible.
For a romantic comedy set in contemporary Mumbai, look no further than “Little Things” on Netflix. The show follows a couple in their 20’s navigating the trials and tribulations of work and relationships. To access the show, click the link here, and it includes subtitles.
“Breathe: Into the Shadows” takes a much darker turn, centering around a family that must kill someone in order to save their kidnapped daughter. The series plays with suspense, crime, drama, and more. The show is available on Amazon Prime and can be accessed here, and it includes subtitles.
In a similar vein, the show “Sacred Games” follows the cat-and-mouse game of police officer Sartaj Singh as he tries to stop criminal overlord Ganesh Gaitonde in Mumbai. In his chase, a corrupt underworld is revealed, forcing Singh to try and save the city. The show is available on Netflix at the link here, and includes subtitles.
The sports-drama series “Inside Edge” brings intrigue into the politics of Indian cricket. Conflict, corruption, and power all make their way into the lives of the cricket players featured in the series. The show is available on Amazon Prime via the link here, and includes subtitles.
“CityLights” is a film that follows Deepak Singh, a farmer who is forced to move to Mumbai in hopes of leading a better life with his family. However, he is greeted with many challenges and tribulations. The movie is available for rent on AppleTV via the link here, and includes subtitles.
For a lighthearted romantic comedy, turn to “Chhoti Si Baat”. The film centers around accountant Arun Pradeep and his attempts to assert himself to win the girl of his dreams, Prabha Narayan. “Chhoti Si Baat” is available on Amazon Prime through the link here, and includes subtitles.
Another engaging romance with dramatic elements is “The Lunchbox”, which follows housewife Ila sparking an unlikely friendship with widower Saajan after he accidentally receives a note from Ila meant for Ila’s husband. The pair uses this unusual form of communication to speak of their joys and sorrows without ever having to meet in person. “The Lunchbox” is available on AppleTV and can be accessed here, and includes subtitles.
Get Lost in Books About Mumbai
Mumbai has served both as the backdrop for action and as the center for plot in many engaging books.
In “Em and the Big Hoom” by Jerry Pinto, the narrator follows the ups and downs of living with Em, his mother, as she lives with bipolar disorder. Pinto brings life and compassion into this touching tale of family bonds and parental relationships. The book is available via the link here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
Another family drama is found in “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry. In contemporary Mumbai, 79-year-old Nariman Vakeel finds himself wholly dependent on his family after breaking his ankle. He must turn to his daughter Roxana, her husband, and her sons, and redefine what it means to be a family. “Family Matters” can be accessed through the link here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
“Murder in Old Bombay: A Mystery” by Nev March brings readers back in time to Mumbai in 1892, when Captain Jim Agnihotri attempts to solve the crime of the century. Channeling his idol Sherlock Holmes, Captain Jim finds himself enveloped in the mystery behind the crime and figuring out the truth. The book is available through the link here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
Saumya Dave brings a unique perspective to the tale of three generations of women in “Well-Behaved Indian Women”. Following the excitements and struggles of Simran, Nandini, and Mimi, the book serves as a reminder of how finding a sense of identity is so closely entwined with pursuing one's dreams. “Well-Behaved Indian Women” can be found via the link here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
“Kaikeyi: A Novel” by Vaishnavi Patel is a retelling of the infamous queen from the epic “Ramayana”, where themes of fate, courage, cosmic power, and family are at play. Kaikeyi’s main desire is to leave her mark on a world where gods and men shape most of what is to come, and she will stop at nothing to make it happen. The book can be accessed here, and has a Kindle and audiobook version.
Bring Mumbai to Your Kitchen
Mumbai has numerous tasty and vibrant dishes that are sure to satisfy the palates of most anyone. The following recipes have been picked out to be vegan and gluten free, as well as delicious!
Bhel puri is a commonly found Mumbai street snack that is made with puffed rice, veggies, chutneys, and other ingredients. For a vegan, gluten free bhel puri recipe that will leave you wanting seconds, click on the link here.
If you like biryani, you will love Mumbai Tawa Pulao –– a rice dish with vegetables and spices galore. Easy to make and very flavorful, the recipe linked here is perfect for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Another mouth watering Mumbai style dish is the Bombay sandwich. Packed full of vegetables and chutney, the Bombay sandwich is a handheld meal that is both tasty and light on the stomach. To access the recipe, click on the link here. Though the original recipe calls for some ingredients that are not vegan or gluten free, there are also suggestions within the recipe on how to make the sandwich both vegan and gluten free.
Of course, we can’t forget dessert. The Mawa cake is commonly found in Mumbai’s restaurants and bakeries, notably flavored with cardamom. For a vegan Mawa cake recipe, click on the link here. Although the recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you can make the cake gluten free by using gluten free all-purpose or baking flour, as shown in the link here.
Where to Next?
Thanks for wandering Mumbai with us virtually. Join us next time as we explore St. Petersburg, Russia.