Gateway of India…5.09.16 | Oliver Broad
This is my first time to India and I couldn’t imagine a better place to start…at the Gateway of India in Mumbai. My home for the next 3 nights before I venture onto Jaipur, Agra and Delhi is the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This iconic heritage property has become famous over the years for hosting the world’s leaders and it’s easy to see why they continue to stay here, and many travel from all over to get a glimpse of it for themselves.
The location is perfect, right opposite the Gateway’s arch from where you can take the 1 hour boat ride, as we did, to the island of Elephanta. Exploring the caves here is on most visitors to do list and helps provide some basic foundation of India’s history for your Golden Triangle tour.
I have always enjoyed visiting lively and culturally rich destinations. From the modern excitement of Japan to ancient sites in the Middle East to Morocco and Bangkok. In some way visiting such destinations helps you prepare for the noise, smells and influx of the senses when you land in India. As our guide who met us at the airport quite rightly said ‘Welcome to the land opposite to your own, I hope you enjoy it’. He was of course referring to the rules the road, the lack of noise control and what seems at time total chaos…but fear not, it works and makes for a magical travelling experience.
After our tour of Elephanta we explored the cities museums including Ghandi’s house. Here you can see letters he wrote to Hitler and Roosevelt, view his vast library and stand where he once addressed the crowds from his balcony. The art collection in the Price of Wales Museum was vast, but with the help of the audio guide it can easily be explored in an hour or so.
We visited the hanging gardens, watching locals relax, catch up on their news and enjoy each others company.
What has struck me most after just two days in India is how so many different beliefs, religions and cultures live harmoniously amongst each other. There are around 23 million people living in Mumbai. Hindu’s, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Jews often sharing neighbourhoods and respecting each other’s beliefs and ways of life.
Tomorrow I continue my Golden Triangle Tour of India as I fly to Jaipur. I am sure I will continue to me impressed…
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