Whether you are visiting for the first time or have seen the lengths and breadths of the city on several occasions, Mumbai manages to mesmerize every time! Witnessing Mumbai’s pace, soaking in its spirit, its unique culture and its way of life can be a breath-taking experience in itself. It certainly leaves travelers more appreciative of life and human existence in all its forms. Nevertheless, living it up in Mumbai requisites a visit to the city’s various attractions. Here are the top spots for those seeking an in-depth experience of this urban melting pot.
Note: All the images and text in this article are © Money Sharma and usage of any content without the owner’s written consent, is a punishable offence.
1. Crawford Market
Completed in 1869, Crawford market or Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai as it is called today, is a market building which sells everything from fruit and vegetables, spices, sweet meats and even pets! It offers imported produce from every remote part of the world which cannot be found elsewhere in the country. The busy labyrinth of the surrounding wholesale market offers an amazing array of goods ranging from household furnishings, high-end kitchenware, handmade paper products and other stationery, bed linens, beautiful textiles and saris to perfumes and gold and diamond jewellery. Eat at one of the various restaurants in this locality serving up mouth-watering food for every palate.
Note: Hone your bargaining skills before stepping inside this giant maze of markets for a pocket-friendly shopping experience.
Chaotic gullies, vehicle logjams, rituals, culture, tradition, gossip circles by the shore of the Ganges and more. I guess words are not adequate for describing the world’s oldest living city – Varanasi (aka Banaras aka Kashi). Banaras isn't just a city; it's an experience. Since Banaras is my hometown and also happens to be my favorite place to shoot, I never get tired of visiting the city again and again.
Varanasi, while being the synthesis of several age-old religious traditions, offers an even more divine and enriching experience in the form of its popular street food. With a wide variety of street food available in every flavor known to man, be it spicy, sweet, tangy or even the mix of all, I have come to conclude that street food is at its authentic best in Banaras. I assert this fact with such conviction after being disappointed with several places in the country claiming to serve Banarasi food; they never quite get it right.
As a tribute to my hometown and for all the tourists and foodies eager to savor the delights of this ancient city, here is my list of must-have delicacies, carefully compiled after years of eating around the streets of Varanasi. Although a lot of these items are famous at their particular shops, having these anywhere, at any outlet in the city, is a mouth-watering and fulfilling experience. Have a look for yourself!
Note: All the images shown here are of actual food products. All the images and text in this article are © Money Sharma and usage of any content without the owner’s written consent, is a punishable offence.
Varanasi’s highly demanded breakfast dish. Kachoris – with a similar appearance of puris, stuffed with a thin layer of grinded masala moong dal. Sabji – a variety of vegetables mixed with potato (the sabji is different everyday) prepared in gravy.
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is already on in full swing, the evenings have started turning even more illuminated and several streets in the city are lined up with small food joints, selling some of the most mouth-watering non veg snacks and desserts, courtesy Iftaari – the time when all our Muslim friends break their fast.
As the month begins, most of the non-veg lovers head towards Mohammad Ali Road – the famous area in Fort - Mumbai, where one can get their hands on the best of non-veg delicacies and desserts, available only in the holy month of Ramadan.
While as the community of entire food lover head towards the eating lane in Fort, I decided to take a quick round of Thane’s very own ‘Mohammad Ali Road’ – Raabodi, which is famous for some innovative non-veg cuisines, which can rarely be found in any of the restaurants in the city. With a tantalizing aroma of meat being freshly roasted and fried, it becomes a little hard to walk without pausing at every eatery even as the lanes are choc-a-bloc with food lovers.
After hanging out for a couple of hours and refreshing my taste buds at the street shops in the vicinity, I decided to bring out top ten non-veg snacks which are mostly available only in the month of Ramdan. In case you are an adventurous non-veg lover and a resident of Thane or planning a visit to Thane, do try some of these foods. With an option of Chicken, Mutton or Beef, you get all at one place!
Note: All the images shown here are of actual food products. All the images and text in this article are © Money Sharma and usage on any content without the owner’s written consent, is an offence.
1. Fried Chicken Legs:
With a similar appearance to Chicken Tandoori leg pieces, this preparation is different because of the way it is cooked. Slit marked on the pieces, it is marinated in spices (a secret, which was not revealed to me) and curd, left for overnight and then partly fried before keeping it at the stall. When asked by a customer, it is deeply refried in hot oil, served with salads and chutneys.
Pouring water, lightening, people taking cover from the rain, some getting drenched, couples walking hand in hand, and raindrops playing across windscreens... Everyone is refreshed as soon as the monsoon arrives and right from the first drop of water, most of us start craving for a variety of ‘rain special’ food.
Come monsoon, these foods, especially the ones which are sold at street side food joints, seem even more mouth-watering with each and every session of rainfall. Some tangy, some spicy or even sweet for that matter, all of them have their own unique taste. All these ‘rain special’ foods give you that wholehearted feeling inside and make any rainy day perfect!
Like everyone else, even I love the rainy season, especially in Thane. Lush greenery, aroma of earth, fresh air to breath and a variety of food to eat in Thane this season. Everything around you becomes so special when you get a chance to have vadaa paav or bhajiya along with a cutting chai at a road side food stall.
With a plethora of food items to eat in Thane, and after having hunted for some quality food in the city, I am listing here the top eleven food joints which every Thanekar and visitor to the city must try this monsoon.
Have a look at them. And yes, there are several other food joints as well, which are also worth visiting and might have been missed in the list -- visit them and let everyone know what a great food hub our Thane is.
Note: All the images shown here are of actual food products taken at their respective outlets. All the images and text in this article are © Money Sharma and usage on any content without the owner’s written consent, is an offence.
1. Missal Paav at Maamledaar
If you are in mood to enjoy this rain with some absolutely hot and spicy snacks, here is something which is definitely made for you. Maharashtra’s very own, hot, spicy and tempting all time snack -Missal, which is served with paav, is easily available at mostly all the small and big roadside stalls and even at restaurants too.
Well, even though it’s available at a lot of places and people have their own opinion about Missal at Maamledaar, but for me, a missal eating experience can’t get any more rustic than this. What makes Maamldeaar’s missal so unique is the style and taste with which it arrives on your table. Spicy veg gravy made up mainly of dried peas and sprouts topped with the spicy mixture of farsaan and onion along with a thick layer of oil on top is just too much to resist.
The Missal here is available in three varieties depending on the level of spiciness, but since Maamledaar is famous for its spicy missal, you should try ‘teekha missal’. And yes, the best way to enjoy the missal paav is eating it with your hands without using any spoon or fork. Just wash your hands and dig into the oily lake of spicy missal in front of you and have the eating pleasure that starts right from the first bite till you wipe the bowl clean. Also, you can order some additional yoghurt, lassi or chaas to compliment the cuisine.
Do remember that there can be long to very long queue during peak hours and wait time can go to 20 to 30 minutes when heavily crowded. Just to mention about the place and ambience – it’s not a very modern and lavish eating outlet, but has good enough place to eat. If vacant, you might need to share your table with other customers as well.
Where: Maaledaar, Next to Tahsildar's office, Thane Station Road. Timing: 11 am to 11 pm.
By Money Sharma
A suburb located in West Mumbai, Bandra is undeniably best known for shopping, eating or getting a sneak peek of pleasing Arabian Sea, amongst several other ‘things to do’.
While all who have been living in Mumbai (especially suburbs), this super fascinating and glittering place has always topped on their visiting list, when in leisure. But for them (locals and tourists) who have not been to Bandra earlier, here are some of the top key places and activities to do when one is in Bandra.
All the images and text in this article is © Money Sharma and usage on any content without the owner’s written consent, is an offence.
1. Linking Road
Bandra’s linking road is an absolute shopping paradise, heaven for accessories and bliss if you are looking for cheap (rather economical) stuff, especially for women. Lanes occupied with small street shops selling footwear, designer bags, skirts, salwaar-kameez, etc. are the main attraction of the vicinity.
In case if you haven’t been here earlier and planning a visit, remember the utmost important shopping formula here – ‘Bargaining’. The rates quoted by the shopkeepers here decreases in proportion to your bargaining capability.
2. Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church is one of the most celebrated churches in Mumbai. It is a Roman Catholic Church, dedicated to 'Virgin Mary', situated on top of a hill known as ‘Sunderban Bandra’, which overlooks the mighty Arabian Sea. One gets to see a number of celebrities and tourist visiting the church during the 'Bandra Fair' or the 'Feast of Mount Mary', which is a week-long celebration held every September at the Church.
Interestingly, people suffering from fatal diseases are known to offer wax figures corresponding to their ailment, like the figure of hands, feet etc. Also, one can shop for several religious artefacts, small statues of Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ or even Goan sweets from stalls outside the church.
Photo Feature and First-Hand Account: How 'Shooting the super car show' turned into 'Shooting the burning Audi'
Jan 26 ‘13, Around 9:00 pm: My photojournalist friend Mitesh Bhuvad (PTI) and I were chatting, gossiping and planning the stuff to shoot the next day. Since it was going to be a Sunday, I was least concerned about going out from my home and doing an assignment, till the time we started discussing about The Super Car show which is organized every year by Gautam Singhania, owner of the clothing major Raymonds and was scheduled to take place on Sunday. Mitesh had been covering the same event for the past few years and with his flowery conversation and explanation of the past experiences, he managed to convince me enough to come for the event. I finally agreed upon joining him and covering the event for Fotocorp (Mumbai-based news photo agency) and made plans to reach there by 9 am, as scheduled.
Jan 27, 7:45 am: As decided, we met (with Mitesh coming almost half an hour late) and started our travel to Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai through local train. Since it was an off day, the train had enough room for us to get occupied and make a space at the door of the train and enjoy the ride hanging at the door. The travel time was best utilized by both of us discussing about the images, camera, experiences and shooting encounters as usual.
9:00 am: We reached Mahalaxmi station and took a walk to reach the Racecourse after covering the distance of almost a kilometer till the other corner of the compound. It was a foggy morning, most of the cars were covered with dew and many being cleaned as the people had started coming in. With a plethora of expensive super cars standing and making their enthralling encounter with people around, everyone just looked fascinated. Some were posing along with the cars, some busy clicking, and some were just making weird erotic sounds (yes, that’s the right term) after seeing the features of some of the cars. Since I have not been so keen in shooting still objects (or standing cars for that matter), I was busy creating something which could be offbeat and create stuff worth watching.
10:00 am: After a short Press briefing from Gautam Singhania about the event, we were set for the car rally which was scheduled for the route starting from Racecourse to Nariman Point, Worli Sea Face, Sea Link and taking tour of some parts of suburbs and then back to the origin. We (media persons) were given few open shade Maruti Gypsys which were supposed to take us along with the running super cars so that we can take some pictures.
Having some snacks and keeping a few boxes of them and bottled water provided to us, we (our Gypsy had Mitesh, Raju Shinde – Mumbai Mirror, a photographer from the organizing team and I) joined the rally along with those super cars (may be around 50-odd). People were present in the huge number at the sides of the road cheering for the speed and look of the cars. It was really a funny moment for us to be in a gypsy in the midst of the rally, surrounded by beautiful beasts which were actually acting like a heart throbber for everyone whosoever saw it! Not only was it funny, it was difficult also for us because of cars’ high speed and our position in the gypsy to get the pictures which could make some sense and represent that it was taken at a rally.