The national flag of India adopted in 1947 after gaining independence from Great Britain and is a tricolour banner of saffron, white, and India green stripes. Saffron represents courage and sacrifice; white represents peace, unity, and truth; India green represents faith and fertility. The white band contains a navy blue wheel with 24 spokes, which is the ‘Ashoka Chakra’, a Buddhist symbol that dates back to 200 B.C. and further symbolizes India’s progressiveness.
A city break in Mumbai (Bombay)
For a birthday surprise, Nina booked us a weekend in Mumbai, India (formerly known as Bombay). As an additional surprise, our traveling companion couple went with us. We arrived at the Mumbai airport, which was an ultra-modern facility and a great first impression of Mumbai. We had previously pre-purchased our visitor visa online, however we got in the wrong queue at border control and waited 30 minutes for nothing. One thing you will find is that the Indian people queue up the same way they drive; they will squeeze past, cut in line, switch lines, etc. if they can get away with it. Once we got out and found our driver, courtesy of the hotel, we were gobsmacked that there are no motorways out of the airport. We were immediately dumped into the mad traffic of Mumbai and inched along for 40 minutes until reaching our hotel that was located only 5 km away (and that was at 6am!).
Our hotel was located on the beachfront in Juhu Beach and was very nice. An odd thing we found was that the hotel had a high wall with only one access to the beach, a large heavy door where access was controlled by a security guard. In order to re-access the hotel grounds we had to ring a bell for the security guard to let us back in. Apparently this was to keep locals from bothering hotel guests. We ended up doing all of our sunbathing beside the very nice hotel pools.
Venturing out into Mumbai
From our hotel we took a walk one afternoon into the heart of Mumbai to an open air market. It was quite the experience; the sounds, the smells, the traffic, buildings, people… We came across a dirt playground where kids were playing cricket and invited us to play. We also walked through some poverty areas where people were living in the streets. After walking through the outdoor market we decided to take a rickshaw cab back to the hotel. That was quite an experience also!
Facts & Figures
— The name Bombay was changed to Mumbai in 1995 due to a change of national political party; Mumbai was chosen to better represent the people of the Maharashtra state
— Mumbai’s population is over 18 million making it the world’s 8th largest metropolitan area
— Mumbai is the home of Bollywood, the hub of Indian filmmaking; ‘Bollywood’ is derived from Bombay and Hollywood
— Even with the extreme poverty and population over 18 million, Mumbai is the wealthiest cityper capita in India
— You must purchase a visitor visa prior to arrival in India; this can be easily done online
— Mumbai airport is a new ultra-modern airport and a great first impression when arriving in India; oddly though there are no motorways/highways when leaving the airport; you are dumped into the mad traffic of Mumbai immediately after leaving the airport; we recommend taking a taxi to your destination
— We recommend taking a rickshaw taxi around town for fun
— Currency in India is the Rupee
If you are a world trekker like us and want to become more ‘worldly’, then you will want to try our books below. Thanks to the former British Empire and current Commonwealth, the English language is widely spoken across the world, however it is spoken quite differently depending on where you are traveling. We believe the books below are essential to worldly trekkers and think you will find them both fun and informative. The books include a dictionary of everyday words and phrases, traditional cuisine, some history and culture, and other handy information.
Simply click on the book covers below to find out more:
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