Pre-Ashram Mumbai excursions.
Optional tours arranged in Mumbai on 26th February - 2nd March 2020
Make the most of your trip to India- discover the sights and sounds of India by staying 5 nights in Mumbai before heading to the Ashram
Mumbai is a friendly and easy going city, a great introduction to India if you have not been before, or a must-see if you have missed it on previous trips to India! Previous students have enjoyed my enthusiasm and knowledge of the city, I have good contacts and arrange some great tours to enjoy during your visit. India can be daunting on your first visit, but I will introduce you to the culture, sounds, colours, mayhem and beauty, I will be guiding you from start to finish.
We will be staying at the friendly and modern Hotel Residency Fort. This hotel has a great location, walkable to all the major sights in the city. The staff are friendly and helpful, and will find you taxis at a good price if you want to venture out alone. Breakfast is delicious, whether you opt for Indian masala dosa or utterpam, continental, waffles or omelettes, all made to order. Rooms are comfortable and a decent size, with TV, free Wi-Fi and great showers. Complimentary tea and lime juice are available all day.
I will also be able to recommend restaurants close to the hotel that offer cheap and tasty food.
Flights usually arrive late at night, so the hotel room is booked for the night of the 26th Feb, the tours start on the 27th. Transfer to Hotel Residency Fort is included, either myself and/or a hotel driver will collect you from the airport terminal 1. You may be asked to wait for other student's planes to arrive if the arrival timings are close.
Start your visit by getting to know the rest of your group over afternoon tea at the iconic Taj Palace Hotel. This heritage hotel overlooks the Gateway to India on the Arabian Sea. This afternoon tea with fantastic views, is more like a banquet, so don’t have lunch beforehand!
Start the day with a sunrise cycle tour: this begins watching the catch come in at vibrant Sassoon Dock and takes you on an exhilarating ride through the city, past famous sights like Oval Maiden and Horniman Circle. Stop off at the beach, to join the early morning exercisers along Marine Drive and to wander around the famous Crawford Market. (please check that your travel insurance covers cycling in India).
The third trip is an ethical tour led by a local guide that contributes to the slum neighbourhood and takes you around the city by train and gives you a very vivid sense of life in Mumbai. You’ll visit Dharavi Slum, featured in Slum Dog Millionaire which surely cannot fail to inspire. Your guide will introduce you to people at work and take you on a tour explaining how everyday life is lived here. Next you’ll visit Gandhi’s house in a quieter part of Mumbai and Dhobi Ghat, the enormous open-air laundry. On to the Hanging Gardens where you’ll see the world’s most expensive home and enjoy the views of the Arabian Sea from Malabar Hill, one of the city’s most affluent residential areas.
A trip to a temple and then the cinema, a fantastic end to the Mumbai tour.
I can advise you on other trips such as a boat ride over to Elephant Island in Mumbai’s harbour, to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s cave temples. Or perhaps the Bollywood Studios will tempt you to the north of the city. You can enjoy shopping in the craft emporia, colourful Colaba Market and large department stores. There’s also the museum and art galleries to see around the creative area of Kala Ghoda and many more famous sights around the hotel area of Fort and beyond.
We will be going by taxi to the Ashram.