Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I was a frequent visitor in 2004 and can’t say it was ever a particularly enjoyable experience. Traffic here is horrendous more due to the giant traffic jams than the chaotic madness of Delhi while problems with beggars near any tourist site are huge.
The city though does sport some great beaches and a few nice gardens with some notable remnants of the Raj especially with the Gateway of India and the adjacent Taj Mahal Hotel.

The Gateway of India has a 26 metre high archway and was built for the visit of the King Emperor (King George V) in 1911 and was the departure point for the last of the British military presence following independence.

The adjacent Taj Mahal Hotel is slightly earlier and reputedly built “back to front” with the open “rectangle” facing away from the sea front. The area has many restaurants and cheap emporiums for the tourist trade but a correspondingly high level of beggars and shady characters “touting for business”.

Pherozshah Mehta Gardens (or Hanging Gardens) high up on the Cumbala Hill is one of the more pleasant places. Built on top of the reservoir supplying the City below towards the end of the 19th century it is known for its animal topiary.

The main museum of interest is the Prince of Wales museum where the foundation stone was laid in 1905 by the future George V. Apart from the archaeology collection there are extensive collections of Indian and Tibetan art. The Natural History Museum at Hornbill House is adjoining and connected by walkways and is also well worth a visit.
There are a handful of other mildly interesting buildings such as the Victoria Station (albeit if you’ve seen St. Pancras in London you’re not seeing anything different!) and temples dotted around the city but with the transport difficulties visiting anywhere here can get to be quite a challenge. Unfortunately even the large aquarium is run down and rather shabby although the sea turtles are worth the visit.

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