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An energetic and exuberant city, Mumbai's flow never stops, blending in a unique mix of people, a nexus of religions and languages and creating a beehive of activity where one is easily swept in. The city is split into diverse areas, making Mumbai's urban metabolism a complex nest of cultures, greatly influenced by the wave of immigrants taking their shot in the city of dreams. Widely renowned as the pulsing heart of the city, the southernmost precinct of Mumbai represents the downtown area and certainly the wealthiest neighborhood in the whole of India. Home to the oldest and newest parts of the city, it boasts the iconic Gateway of India and the contemporary hustle around the Flora Fountain, along with other monuments, luxury retailers, art galleries and restaurants. South Mumbai is a perfect starting point, a take-off platform to begin exploring the concealed wonders located throughout the city. The birthplace of the Indian film industry, Mumbai also houses the spectacular Bollywood, which is permeated by a charming atmosphere made of light-filled tones, fascinating dances and intense rhythms, producing over 1000 films every year. A place where dreams start, Mumbai is a mecca for incurable romantics.
A complex tangle of cultures and creeds, the financial capital of India is a hub of activity. Get a flavorful sample of the country by visiting Crawford Market, experience a journey through the life of one of the most influential men in India at the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum and visit a fortune teller after a pony ride at Chowpatty Beach. Historical sites are located throughout the city, boasting ancient caves and beautiful temples while the city itself, with its bustling daily life and luxurious retail shops and restaurants, is a unique and vibrant experience in itself.
Renowned for its vast street food culture, Mumbai´s streets bustle with food vendors and diverse stalls. Mumbaikars from all walks of life pour down the crowded streets indulging in the numerous delicacies the city has to offer, in a tradition that dates back several years and reaches its peak in Mumbai. Regional Indian cuisine can be sampled at Mumbai's main roads, offering a sweeping insight into its flavorful culinary tradition. Pav bhaaji, a vegetable curry served with a soft bread roll, is a local specialty and it's a must-try in town. Vada Pav, the poor man's burger or kebabs perfectly represent Mumbai and its thousands of flavors, while bhel puri, a sweet and sour temptation of deep fried pastry shells with onion, tomato and chilies is a popular snack often identified with Mumbai's beaches. Locals tend to prefer grabbing some street food rather than going to the restaurant. However, this city of extremes and cosmopolitan hub certainly has a long list of restaurants to try - traditional Indian cuisine, Italian, Asian, the city is well equipped with every kind of exotic eatery.
With its own coffee culture and as a vibrant and constantly growing center, Mumbai boasts a wide range of cafeterias and afternoon tea spots, fully embodying India's multifaceted tradition. From happening cafes to elegant lounges, the city doesn't lack destinations for coffee connoisseurs and, considering the wide and diverse offer, there won't be difficulties in keeping blood sugar steady all day long. Mumbai in the morning is an experience not to be missed; bustling with people since the early hours, it offers the freshest ingredients and an ample variety of dishes from different culinary traditions. Breakfast tends to have rice or vegetable-based dishes, with a spicy touch that is ideal for a kick-start to the day.
The vigorous club and bar scene in Mumbai has become increasingly popular among party lovers. In the last ten years, the city has seen a multitude of happening hangouts rise up at a fast pace, making the commercial capital of India a trendy destination among night owls. Rubbing shoulders with Goa, the megalopolis features a laid back attitude that has a gravitational force on the hip crowd of the state of Maharashtra. A touristy destination, the district of Colaba is where most of the party-goers hover, starting the evening in one of the happening bars or cruising around local food stalls and souvenir shops squeezed down the crowded Colaba Causeway. From here the way is paved, opening up no shortage of options for those whose party doesn't stop till the early hours with only one negative aspect: bars and clubs tend to close at 3am.
A wide range of upmarket outlets pop up sparsely throughout the city. Plentiful handicrafts, textiles and clothes of any sort sit in local shops, begging to be discovered. Fruit and vegetable markets, typical clothes bazaars and thousand of hawkers located among outdoor dumps and upscale residential areas thrive within the lively city. Mumbai is nothing less than a shopper's paradise and Mumbaikers, living in such a urban jungle, have learnt how to get the best deals out of the thousand of vendors who swear they have the best deals in town. A Mumbaiker would tell you that the stalls along MG Road boast some great quality signature items from brand manufacturers. She would probably tell you that Colaba Causeway offers some of the best knickknacks in town or that fruit at the Crawford Market is fresher in the morning. There are lots of choices on Mereweather Road but you might, however, have to haggle to get the price you want. Discover Mumbai through the locals' eyes, bargain intensely and shop at the markets. The best deals are just waiting to be discovered.
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