Insider's guide to... Mumbai


What's the weather like now? If you want to escape the floods in the UK, the weather is perfect. On sunny days, the temperature is around 30-35C, although it drops to comfortable levels at night - you won't even need air-conditioning.

What's the weather like now? If you want to escape the floods in the UK, the weather is perfect. On sunny days, the temperature is around 30-35C, although it drops to comfortable levels at night - you won't even need air-conditioning.

What are the locals complaining about? As well the city's name being changed to Mumbai, many Raj-era landmarks have been renamed Chatrapati Shivaji after the famous local 17th century ruler, including the Victoria Terminus, the Prince of Wales Museum, both domestic and international airports and a host of imperially named streets. In the case of Victoria Terminus, the locals had already subverted the imperial name by calling it VT, which sounds like a favourite uncle; whereas the new acronym CST (try saying Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus with a mouthful of pan) sounds like a painful medical scan. Locals say that the name changes are the actions of a local government that has run out of real ideas and emptied state coffers without any visibly worthwhile results.

Who's the talk of the town? The lives of Mumbai's mobsters rival anything that Bollywood could come up with. Take underworld don Chhota Rajan's recent escapades. After surviving an assassination bid by his arch-rival Dawood Ibrahim in Bangkok, Rajan drugged his Thai police guards then climbed out of the window using knotted bed-sheets and disappeared into the night. Many papers speculate that Rajan will not be hunted too hard as he may be in the pay of the intelligence agencies.

What's the cool drink? Latin cocktails have started to make their way on to the menus of Mumbai's swankier establishments, with a margarita (frozen or otherwise) costing around £4 - Copa Cobana on Chowpatty Beach make particularly good ones.

What are people eating? Chinese and Oriental restaurants are definitely à la mode, with new ones opening up with wacky names like Wok'n'Roll or Thai Me Up. The quality at the more upmarket places is very good and even when eating seafood, you'd be hard-pressed to spend more than £15 a head.

Any outrageous stuff on TV? Not really, unless you count Kaun Benaga Crorepati (the Indian Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?), which has spawned a host of imitators as well as the usual hand-wringing comment that it fosters a get-rich-quick mentality. Satellite television has also come under criticism for broadcasting foreign channels whose content (pornography, that is) does not comply with India's strict broadcasting standards.

Where wouldn't the locals dream of going? New Delhi, which is seen as a backwater, with no Bollywood glamour, relatively little business (Mumbai generates more than 35 per cent of the nation's tax revenue) and generally not a place where people's dreams can be fulfilled.

Where are the chic people doing their shopping? Bhulabhai Desai Road in the trendy Breach Candy area has become the place to pick up Western designer clothes at around half the European price or the even less expensive locally inspired imitations.

Where's the trendy place to escape for the weekend? London for those with money, or one of the many hill-stations dotted around the Western Ghats for the merely rich - Matheran, where motorised vehicles are banned, is pleasant.

Charles Young is a writer for the 'Rough Guide to India'.

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there