Wallpaper City Guide Mumbai

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I love flipping pages of the Wallpaper* City Guide Mumbai to read about places and view the gorgeous photos. It is a lovely and helpful city guide for any locals, expats and travelers who love to discover the trendiest in terms of design and style in a city. Having lived in Mumbai for 2 years and looked at the guide book, I can attest to the fact that the Wallpaper* City Guide Mumbai lists carefully selected coolest and hippest places in Mumbai. Wallpaper* City Guides cover more than 100 cities such as Tokyo, Austin, Washington, D.C., Singapore, and Jakarta where I have lived. If you would like to see the list of cities, please click here.

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Wallpaper* City Guide Mumbai has launched in August, 2015. Wallpaper* City Guides are published by a British publisher of books on the visual arts, Phaidon. They are “pocket-sized travel bibles which reveal a city’s hippest nightlife, buzziest hotels, coolest retail, most influential art galleries and cultural spaces and the best in local design and contemporary architecture. The Wallpaper* City Guides series covers more than 100 destinations, from Atlanta to Zurich”. (via Phaidon)

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The launch event for Wallpaper* City Guide Mumbai was organized by one cool art shop in Mumbai called Kulture Shop and was hosted at the upper level of Cafe Zoe, one of my favorite restaurants in Lower Parel, Mumbai. Thanks to a fabulous Kulture Shop, I had a chance to attend its launch event. I really loved meeting with Jas, the founder of Kulture Shop and a professional photographer Prarthna who took some photos for the Wallpaper City Guide Mumbai. They both were so lovely and friendly. I could tell that Jas especially made efforts to give me a warm welcome and made me feel comfortable to be with many locals whom I have met for the very first time.

Here’s some photos from the lovely evening. Being Japanese, I arrived around 6:20 p.m. for the 6:00 p.m. start event thinking I was late. Well, I was the first guest to arrive, which was great because I was able to talk to Jas and Prarthna in a relaxed environment. The venue started to get really busy later in the evening. Many talented artsy youth in Mumbai came and it was really inspiring to meet and converse with them.

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I received a sweet goodie bag from the event. I love Filter Shop and The Pantry as well!! Thank you, Kulture Shop!! Here’s what I found in the fun goodie bag!

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Where to find Wallpaper* City Guides in Mumbai?

They are available at Kulture Shop! More about it here on Kulture Shop Blog.

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Masala Library by Jiggs Karla ☆ Mumbai

Masala Library

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Since Masala Library by Jiggs Karla opened in BKC Mumbai, I have heard many speak highly of the restaurant. A couple of months ago my friend and I picked Masala Library for her farewell lunch. I was thrilled. I finally had a chance to check out Masala Library after many months. When I checked Trip Advisor, I figured out that Masala Library is a fancier restaurant than those I frequently go to, but it felt like it was the right choice for the special occasion.

I felt badly about bringing my 3-year-old son to an upscale restaurant like Masala Library, but the circumstance didn’t allow me to go without him. Thus, I took him. Having been there, I can say that it is definitely a restaurant more for adults in terms of food and ambiance. Contrary to my concern, though, everyone at the restaurant was very friendly to my son. This is what is nice about India (or Mumbai in my case). People in India are very friendly to kids.

As you notice, the proper name for Masala Library is “Masala Library by Jiggs Karla”. Who is Jiggs Karla? Jiggs Kalra, also known as the “Czar of Indian Cuisine”, is a food columnist and author, gastronome and food consultant. (via Masala Library) If you would like to learn more about Jiggs Karla, please click here to jump to the page about him on the Masala Library website.

Masala Library serves traditional Indian cuisine from different provinces of India. However, there is something that sets Masala Library apart from regular Indian restaurants. That is the molecular gastronomy techniques. Masala Library serves innovative dishes in molecular gastronomy. I have never tried any molecular gastronomy dishes until I ate at Masala Library. It was simply intriguing.

Molecular gastronomy is “the application of scientific principles to the understanding and development of food preparation.” (via google) In my observation, if the traditional gastronomy focuses on the taste, molecular gastronomy focuses on texture. When dishes that are created by using molecular gastronomy techniques come out, not only do they entertain you visually, but also they appeal to your curiosity. The experience of tasting the dishes might surprise you. If you would like to know more about molecular gastronomy, here is a good article “What is molecular gastronomy”.

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The appetizer dish that came first was very interesting. When you put the bubble made of dairy in your mouth shown in the photo above, it pops and disappears.

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Cotton candy came last and it was a nice way to complete a meal and freshen your mouth.

The creative presentations of the dishes were enticing. The traditional Indian dishes we ordered were delicious especially Dal Makhani, a creamy sauce dish made with black lentil and red kidney beans. It has been one of my favorite Indian dishes these days. It was more of a treat for me to have lunch there, but it was a lovely place to be with a friend who was moving away from India. It would make a lovely date night spot as well.

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Masala Library

by Jiggs Karla
Ground Floor, First International Financial Center
G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex-Bandra East
Mumbai – 400051
*Opposite Sofitel Hotel, Near TCG Financial Centre

TEL: +(91)-8452900900
TEL: +(91)-22-66424142

Other Reviews
The Times Of India
Miss Malini
Lettuce Review

Amazing Kids Playroom

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Have you seen an amazing kids playroom like this? This is my friend, Laura’s kids playroom where I visited with my children during the summer. Previously I featured her beautiful white kitchen and dining room with mixed chair on my blog. Laura and her husband bought this home with a play room already looking like this. It was the previous owner of this house who hired a designer and created the playroom. How amazing is it? I have never seen a playroom like this in anyone home. Needless to say, my children were really excited to play in this room. I had to yank them out of the room when we had to leave. Thanks to this magical playroom, I was able to have a nice peaceful chat with Laura (until my son called me for help in the bathroom) without my children pulling my shirt and arm to get my attention. I am sure Laura’s children’s friends love to come over for a playdate.

All the photos in this post were taken with VSCO Cam on my iPod Touch.

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I had a chance to see my friend, Laura, when my family and I stayed in the D.C. Metropolitan area during the summer. Laura is a sister of my very good friend, Kara, whose home and kids parties have been featured on my blog. Please click to view her Princess Birthday Party, Bubble Birthday Party, Ladybug Birthday Party and Vampire Birthday Party.

Laura kindly invited me to meet her at her place. I brought all three of my children to her beautiful home since she has a really fun kids play room where she invited my children to play while she and I chat. Unfortunately two of her children were at a summer camp, so my children could not meet them, but they were able to meet the third and youngest girl who was only 4 months old. I will post a few photos of her kids play room soon. Her kids play room was probably the most amazing play room in a home I have ever seen.

The photo shoot I did was impromptu. I did not arrange with her to do a shoot since the main reason why I went to her home was to catch up with Laura and meet her sweet baby. I did not want to make it a photo shoot session as I really wanted to chat with her. However, when I saw her home in person, I was mesmerized. It was so beautiful that I could not help but ask her if I could take some photos. I did not have the right lens for an interior shoot, either, but I used my 35 mm lens and shot some photos anyways. I also used my iPod Touch to take photos which you will find if you scroll down.

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Do you have a dream kitchen? To me a white kitchen is my dream kitchen. The little corner with a bench and table looks so cozy and perfect for Laura’s kids to do homework while she cooks or for her to do some work. If I ever have a corner like that, it might be my favorite corner to have some tea with a magazine or my computer to relax.

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I love the texture of the natural wood on the dining table which goes beautifully with other white items she has in the dining room. Mixing different kinds of chairs is very in style these days. The variety of chairs with lovely colors like white, mint green, and silver adds a character to the room while the consistency in the style and colors make the dining room look fun yet chic. The dining room has big windows that let in natural sun light and it feels very airy and clean. One day I hope my husband and I can own a home with a beautiful kitchen and dining room like hers. I am allowed to dream, right?

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As I was walking to the door to leave after gathering my kids who acted like a herd of cats when it comes to leaving, I saw this desk and chair. It was one of these moments I felt the urge to take a photo because it looked so pretty. The beautiful desk is from West Elm.


Below are photos that I have taken with VSCO CAM (a free app on the bottom of their store page which is totally worth downloading) on my iPod Touch.

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I hope you enjoyed my post. This ended up being the first post in 2 months. How did this happen? I actually enjoyed 2 months off from blogging although I missed writing. I will try to be more consistent with blogging now that my kids are back in school.

Have a lovely week!!

The Sassy Spoon Bandra Mumbai

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The Sassy Spoon in Bandra, Mumbai is an adorable restaurant that makes you forget where you are. I have been to The Sassy Spoon Bandra for lunch and I liked their creative dishes. I was looking for a restaurant for an afternoon tea with my kids and my friend told me that The Sassy Spoon has an afternoon tea menu. I figured girls would love The Sassy Spoon’s ambiance and their food. We all had fun and it was great! We did not have the typical afternoon tea like I had with my girl friends at Sea Lounge in The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai (Here is the post about it).

The Sassy Spoon offers some desserts for tea a la carte. It is like an afternoon tea, but they do not offer a set of scones, sandwiches, and small sweets on tiered trays that is typically seen at an afternoon tea. At The Sassy Spoon each person orders a plate from the tea menu for an afternoon tea. Some of the dessert items under the afternoon tea category on the menu come with a cup of tea or coffee and some others don’t. I ordered a bunch of dessert plates, french toasts and pastries for the table and we all shared them. In the end it worked well to order a la carte because there was hardly any leftovers, thus, we did not waste any food!

I love The Sassy Spoon’s interior design of the restaurant. I hear that the original restaurant in South Mumbai is a must-see restaurant. I will have to make my way out there with my camera! I hope you’ll enjoy the virtual tour of the restaurant!!

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The Sassy Spoon

Address: Classic Corner
St. Andrew Road,
Bandra (W), Mumbai – 400050
TEL: +91-86555 55555
HOURS: 12:00pm – 10:45pm

Dhobi Ghat Mumbai Open Air Clothes Washing Colony

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Dhobi Ghat In Mumbai

Dhobi Ghat is a famous open air clothes washing colony in Mumbai, India. It is one of the popular tourist attractions in Mumbai. The washers who work there are called “dhobis” and the term “Dhobi Ghat” is used all over India to refer to the places where many washers congregate to work. (information via Wikipedia) There are tours for Dhobi Ghat which I know many expats and tourists do. Also I have heard that it is easily seen from the flyover bridge of Mahalaxmi Station.

When my Japanese friends came to visit, I decided to take them to Dhobi Ghat. Since we had a busy schedule from lunch time to the late afternoon, I decided to bring my friends to the flyover to show Dhobi Ghat. The course for the first day in Mumbai for my Japanese friends included Britannia & Company for lunch, Starbucks Coffee in Horniman Circle for coffee and Mani Bhavan which is Ghandi’s museum in South Mumbai.

By the time we arrived at the flyover next to Mahalaxmi Station to see Dhobi Ghat open air clothes washing colony, it was in the evening. It was already quiet and we could not see much of the actual Dhobi Ghat’s clothes washing activities. Nevertheless we were still able to get the ideas and it was impressive to see the view of the colony and some clothes still hung on the clothing lines wavering in the air. It would be much more fun to see many dhobis in action washing the clothes. I couldn’t help thinking, what would happen to the Dhobi Ghat during the monsoon season.

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” It is said that not a single piece of cloth has ever been misplaced in over a 100 years.” This was one of the 6 facts listed in the article “Why Mumbai’s Dhobi Ghat is so badass!” by travel.india.com.

Flyover Next To Mahalaxmi Station

If you would like to see Dhobi Ghat from the flyover next to the Mahalaxmi Station, the view for turning to the flyover looks like this.

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I find that places like Dhobi Ghat give Mumbai a charm and unique character. In some countries such as Japan, for example, many jobs have been replaced by machines. It is refreshing and interesting to see the work done by the hands of humans. I enjoy the aspect of life in Mumbai where the human contact and human interactions are dense. Dhobi Ghat is the place where daily lives and stories of clothes washers, dhobis, unfold in front of your eyes.

Contemporary Minimalist Home With Indian Design

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Isha’s home is a beautiful blend of contemporary minimalist design and Indian traditional design. She decorates her apartment with many beautiful pieces she collected during her time in Mumbai while she tactfully leaves blank spaces to effectively bring the decoration out to catch your attention. She uses subtle colors like grey and black in her living room, bar area and dining area, but there are also several accent colors that are added to them which are complimented by the monotonous colors. In the living room is a mustard yellow which goes beautifully with the grey. Then the bar area has a pop of green. The dining area is the multiple bright colors on the painting, but I would say it’s the red that brings the brightness to the room. The color scheme also effectively divides the big one space into sections.

Isha is an Indian of origin, but she grew up in the U.S. She’s married to a British husband who brought her and their two children to Mumbai for his job assignment. They have lived in Mumbai for 5 years and this summer, sadly for me and all of her friends in Mumbai, they are moving back to the U.K. Isha and her husband are both a lovely couple. Isha and I have overlapped in Mumbai for 2 years, but I had a chance to get to know her better during this year. We had seen each other at social gatherings, but it was not until the time she and I ran into each other at a Starbucks Coffee one time about 10 months ago or so when we talked and got to know each other better. We talked about our previous paths, hobbies, what keeps us busy in our expat lives. Isha and I have passion for interior design in common. She told me she loved reading interior design magazines and books and that’s what I love doing in my spare time, too! She’s also a writer. Writing is her passion as well and she has pursued it while she has dedicated herself to parenting and volunteer activities at school in Mumbai.

I have spoken with Isha about taking photos of her apartment a while back, but as always I procrastinated and waited. Then I realized that she was moving very soon and I would not be able to take photos once she’s too busy for the pack-out. As I was writing this post, her place was actually being packed out and I was thinking of her and her place and wondered how she was feeling. I always have a mixture of feelings on the actual days of pack out. It feels both sad to leave the life you have invested in emotionally while feeling anxious and excited for the new chapter of our family life. Anyways, just a couple of weeks ago she generously offered to have me take photos of her apartment despite her busy schedule. I felt rusty taking photos as I have not taken photos of other people’s places in a year. Here is my last post about my friend’s home this home with Indian antique which I did a photo shoot about a year ago.

I’m excited for Isha and her family to start their new page of their life back in the U.K. Thank you, Isha, for being supportive of my blog, too. It means a lot to me. In the next week many of my friends will depart Mumbai to move to another country or city. This time of year is a reminder in expat life that life is a constant cycle of welcoming new friends and parting old friends. Best of luck to all of my friends who embark on a new adventure wherever they will be. To those who travel during the summer (or winter in the southern hemisphere), be safe and enjoy your vacation!!

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Starbucks Coffee ☆ Horniman Circle Mumbai

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Starbucks Coffee Horniman Circle

The Starbucks Coffee flagship store in Horniman Circle is the very first Starbucks that opened in India in October, 2012. Starbucks in India is a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages and it is called Tata Starbucks Ltd. I read about the opening of the first Starbucks outlet in Horniman Circle, Mumbai on internet when I was still living in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2013. I remember how excited I felt to know that I would be able to visit Starbucks, a place I feel home and relaxed, in Mumbai as well! Ever since then, I have always wanted to visit Starbucks Coffee at the Horniman Circle location. It took me a year and 9 months! Needless to say, I was very excited about the moment of putting my foot in the Starbucks in Horniman Circle for the very first time!

I have seen many photos of the Starbucks store in Horniman Circle when I searched about it. They all looked so exotic, stylish, ethnic and different from any Starbucks I have visited in person. When my friends came to Mumbai to visit, I took them to Britannia & Co. for lunch as they were interested in trying Parsi food. Then we went to Starbucks in Horniman Circle as I thought it would be fun for them to see it as well. The Starbucks store in Horniman Circle in real life was just like I had always imagined from the photos. The high ceiling makes the interior look spacious. The details of the interior was beautiful and dreamy. There are several different rooms with tables and chairs, but I did not want to disturb customers, so I did not take photos of rooms in the back. Starbucks stores in India offer a wide range of food. Some of them are only offered in India, I believe, such as Murg Kathi Wrap and Tandoori Paneer Roll, which I love. If you ever come to Mumbai and have enough time to make your way out to Horniman Circle, you must check out the Starbucks Coffee!

It might appear as if I have become a Starbucks geek since I arrived in Mumbai. The interior design of Starbucks in Mumbai seem to stand out from those in other countries to me. I find it really worthwhile to visit Starbucks in India just to look at the interior design. Here are two posts I have written and posted previously.

Starbucks ☆ R-City Shopping Mall
Starbucks ☆ In Taj, South Mumbai

I love the interior design at Starbucks Cafes wherever I go in the world. I would love to find out who designed the Starbucks outlets in India, but so far I have not been successful with finding the information online. I think they are extremely talented!

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Britannia & Co ☆ Parsi Restaurant In Mumbai

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Britannia & Co. is a Parsi cuisine restaurant in the business district of Ballard Estate in Fort, Mumbai. The experience of going to Britannia & Co. and see the restaurant itself was very fun. Britannia & Co. was founded by Rashid Kohinoor in 1923. In the same year, his son Boman, the current proprietor, was born. I found a blog post about Britannia & Co. “Bombay To Sonapur Hai” written on “Irani Chai, Mumbai” blog which was referenced in CNN Travel article. It is a great interview from which you can learn about a piece of Parsi history in Mumbai, India through the words of Boman Kohinoor.

Parsis in Mumbai

The Parsis, which literally means Persians in Persian langue, are one of the two Zoroastrian communities found in India who originally emigrated from Greater Iran. Around the 8th and 10th century (specific date is unknown), the Zoroastrians emigrated to India to avoid the religious persecution which took place in Iran. During the British Raj in Mumbai, the Parsis in Gujarat came to Mumbai for new opportunities and environment and settled. The Parsis had contributed greatly to the industrialization and commercial development of the city of Mumbai.

The Parsi cafe culture flourished once in Mumbai, but gradually it died down and now there are about 30+ Parsi restaurants listed in Mumbai. My Japanese friends who came to visit and stayed with me in Mumbai read in a Japanese guide book about the Parsi history in Mumbai and told me that they would love to check out a Parsi restaurant. It just happened that I remembered seeing two Parsi and Irani cafes in the Mumbai City Guide on Design*Sponge written by my favorite Indian blogger Sheena of This Is Sheena.

There were two choices of Parsi and Irani restaurants listed on the Mumbai City Guide by Sheena: Kyani and Britannia. Based on the area we were in that morning and for our convenience, I picked Britannia. I have heard of Britannia from my friends, so I have been curious about it as well.

(Information via CNN Travel, Irani Chai, Mumbai, & Encyclopedia Britannica)

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We ordered Mutton Berry Pulav, Sali Chicken and Chapati. When we sat down first at the table, we looked over to the table next to us because two business men were eating very delicious looking Pulav. Basically we asked the waiter that we wanted to try the same dish as the table next to us. The Mutton Pulav looked very similar to an Indian Biryani, but the sweetness from the dried berries made the difference.

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Boman Kohinoor, the current proprietor of Britannia & Co., is 92 years old (or 93) this year (photo above). We had a lovely chat with friendly Boman Kohinoor, who came to our table while we were ordering. He first asked if we were Japanese. He then went away and brought a laminated magazine article of a review of Britannia & Co. written in Japanese published in Japan. Apparently his wife spoke Japanese who has passed away and he told us she would’ve spoken with us in Japanese. Then he brought laminated letters from the offices of Queen of England and George Bush Senior thanking him for his food during their visits. I could tell how Britannia & Co. has been appreciated by many visitors in Mumbai as well as the locals. I presume that Boman is at work everyday and speak to his customers. He is probably as famous as the restaurant. I salute to his passion and dedication to his restaurant. Maybe the key to stay young and happy for him is to work and be involved with what he loves to do.

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I got an idea of taking a photo like this above from the upper level as the magazine article about Britannia & Co. which Bowman showed us had a beautiful photo taken from there.

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Britannia & Co. Restaurant
Ballard Estate, Opp New Custom House
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
TEL:022 2261 5264
Hours: 11:30 am – 4:00 pm

We had a hard time finding Britannia & Co. with a temporary driver who did not know where Britannia & Co. was located. I am afraid I had a wrong map I pulled from a Facebook page which made us confused. The one below is from the Google Map. The key is to find the Tiger Gate Naval Dock Yard on Shoorji Vallabhdas Road and take a left at the circle. You’ll see the restaurant on your right with a huge tree on the left like in the photo below the map. The street view of the restaurant is the photo on the bottom. I hope these will help!

Britania & Co Restaurant Map

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Gateway of India In Mumbai

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The Gateway of India is the most famous monument in Mumbai. It might be the most popular tourist site in Mumbai as you can see The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from there. The Gateway of India which overlooks the Arabian Sea was built during the British Raj in India as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary.

☆The word “raj” in Hindi means “rule”. The British Raj is British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947.

The Gateway of India used to be the arrival point for visitors from the west during the British Raj. Ironically, when the British Raj ended in 1947, the last of the British ships sailed off to England from the Gateway of India as well.

Information via gatewayofindia.co.in, Mumbai.org.uk, mumbainet.com

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Architectural Design Of Gateway Of India

The Gateway of India has a height of 26 meters. The design of the Gateway of India was done in the Indo-Saracenic style. Indo-Saracenic architecture was developed during the period of British India. During the late nineteenth century British architects blended Gothic with the work of the Mughal and other medieval Indian designs, which have the Muslim and Hindu elements, and created the Indo-Saracenic style. (information via Henry Irwin Architect & britishempire.co.uk) Another architecture that you can see the Indo-Saracenic style in Mumbai is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, previously known as Victoria Station.

I find the history behind the Gateway of India fascinating because this beautiful architectural style that represents the city of Mumbai would have not been born without the history of British India. Now the Gateway of India is probably the most popular tourist spot for Indian as well as international visitors. Another reason why many people visit the Gateway of India is to see The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai. The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai is so massive that if you stand right by its entrance, you can’t see the entire hotel. When I first laid my eyes on The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the Gateway of India, I felt moved and was hit by the feelings of realization that I had finally been in Mumbai because the photos of The Taj Mahal Palace was one of the first photos I have seen of Mumbai.

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I can understand why some men decided to rest under the shades. I took my friends to the Gateway of India at the beginning of May which is the middle of the hottest time of the year in Mumbai.

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The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was built by Jamsetji Tata of the Tata Family in the late 19th century and 21 years before the Gateway of India was built. The Tata family is the most powerful family who has contributed to the industrial development in India. For those who are familiar with Starbucks, the Tata Group has a joint venture with Starbucks and operates Starbucks outlets in India.

After we visited the Gateway of India, we headed to The Taj Mahal Place Mumbai and had a lovely afternoon tea at Sea Lounge inside The Taj Mahal Place. If you would like to see how the afternoon tea at Sea Lounge was, please click here.