Mumbai (Bombay), India
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Approximately 2¾ Hours
Meals not included
A panoramic drive through the city showcases some of its highlights, including the Gateway of India, the Mumbai High Court and the University. You’ll visit Crawford Market, named after the first Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai. It is housed in a building that looks like something out of Victorian London, but is overrun with a crazy riot of local color, including the chaotic wholesale cloth market with a tremendous variety of fabrics at hundreds of indoor stalls. On your travels, you will drive past Victoria Terminus, built during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year. This is an extraordinary conglomeration of domes, spires, Corinthian columns and minarets in a style described by journalist James Cameron as Victorian-Gothic-Saracenic-Italianate-Oriental-St Pancras-Baroque. Next you’ll visit the Mumbai Spice Market affectionately known as Chilli Street. As the name suggests, this the place where you will find all kinds of spices (whole and ground), from Kashmiri chillies to turmeric, cumin seeds, cinnamon, mustard seeds and much more. The market has undergone several transformations over the decades. The shops used to be mere sheds with metal roofs, and the spices were stored in gunny sacks and sold by wrapping in paper. By the ’70s, business was booming and spices were stored in glass jars and sold in plastic bags. Gradually trade opened up with other countries and people from the Middle East and the Gulf, among others, started purchasing spices. Nowadays, the Spice Market is also deals in jewelry, toys, household items, etc. Making your way through the old part of Mumbai can be both exhilarating and chaotic, because the narrow streets offer little personal space for walking without nudging the person next to you. It’s an up-close and personal experience. Nonetheless it is a fascinating opportunity because every corner is a repository of ancient stories that are easily missed in the modern age.