Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are visiting Bombay over the weekend. They have a packed itinerary of course – dinner with diplomats, business big-wigs, Bollywood stars, NGO events and the likes… you know.. just the usual one would expect from a Prince.
But as they show in the movie ‘Roman Holiday‘, Royal folks are humans too and surely, they must be getting extremely bored of the official protocol, polite head nods, etc.
Taking cue from the film, what if Prince Charles and Camilla decided to sneak out of their regal suite in Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, give the tight security a miss and scoot off to explore the city on their own. Just in case a situation like that should arise, I have kept an itinerary ready for them.
Day 1: Saturday
Breakfast at Cafe Mondegar: The place doesn’t need much introduction. Find a nice table by the window, order your meal, get some coins for the Jukebox, enjoy the music while admiring the murals by the famous illustrator Mario Miranda. The English breakfast here is perfect for the couple – complete with bacons, ham, eggs and sausages.
Suggested song for the Royals.
Postcards from Bombay: Hop in to a cab and head straight to Mumbai GPO, about 10 minutes from Mondys. Established in 1794, the General Post Office is one of the biggest in the world. The historic building must have been frequented by Prince Charles’ ancestors and wouldn’t it be great for him to send a postcard to his infant grandson Georgie back home?
Mumbai GPO (Pic via Google images)
Fort and Ballard Estate: CST or Victoria Terminus (old name) is a UNESCO World heritage site and is situated right next to the GPO in the Fort area. Walk in this part of town, admiring the Victorian and Gothic architecture of the Colonial era. Don’t miss – Lion Gate, Asiatic Library, Horniman circle (hehe.. yea that’s a real name), the RBI building and the Crawford market.
Lunch at Britannia & Co: All that walking can make you hungry so I suggest a pit-stop at one of the most iconic and oldest restaurants (built in 1923) in the city. Mr.Kohinoor, the 90 year old owner who still hangs around in the restaurant talking to guests will be very happy to see Prince Charles and probably even show him the letters from diners like George Bush Sr, Dick Cheney and even the Pope. Interesting trivia on Britannia here.
Britannia & Co. (Via Post Magazine)
Next up is Kala Ghoda: The SOBO art district is home to Jehangir Art Gallery, Prince of Wales Museum, Army Navy Building, Lund / Blockley library, Elphinstone college and Esplanade mansion. Esplanade mansion was previously known as Watson’s hotel – a ‘whites only’ hotel back in the days. Legend has it Jamshetji Tata was denied access to the hotel and in retaliation he opened the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where, ironically Prince Charles is staying today. Ha! Sweet Karma.
Kala Ghoda in the night
Chai break at Tea Centre: Located right next to Churchgate station, Tea Centre is known for its colonial ambience and the widest range of teas available in India. Am sure Charles will approve.
Tea Centre in Bombay (Pic via dailyspeculations.com)
Joy ride on the Bandra – Worli Sea Link: Because everyone loves a joy ride! Plus this takes Charles to Bandra, the queen of suburbs.
Walk the streets of Bandra: Do check my previous post on Bandra. South Bombay may have its old world charm, but Bandra is the hippier and younger part of the city. Keep an eye out for cool street graffitti seen on every other corner.
Dinner and drinks at Aer Lounge: After a long tiring day in the city, this is just the right place to end the day on a high note. Literally a high note. Aer is Mumbai’s highest rooftop bar. This 34th floor open air lounge gives a panoramic view of the city. Quite spectacular indeed.
Day 2: Sunday
Breakfast at Kyani & Co: Over a century old Iranian bakery. They bake their own bread, and is one of the best places to have Bombay’s trademarked breakfast – ‘bun maska and chai’.
Movie date at Regal Cinema: There’s Thor 2 playing at 11.30 am. As per the Limca book of world records, it’s the first air conditioned theatre in India and am happy to inform you, one of the few single screen cinemas in the city that is still going strong. Charles should either get the last row in the Balcony section or the first row in the Dress Circle.
Regal Cinema in Colaba
Regal Cinema (Pic via flickriver.com)
Shopping at Colaba Causeway: After the movie, step out of the theatre and walk down Colaba Causeway. Even for those who are not into street shopping (am sure Camilla falls in this category), you have to walk down Colaba Causeway to get the true feel of the city. Lot of silver shops here, best ones being Aquamarine and Curio Cottage.
Afghan Church: Keep walking southward in Colaba and you will eventually reach Afghan Church – a 400 year old John the Evangelist church. A real beauty. It was built as the Afghan war memorial and is a site to behold. Lots of Bollywood movies shot here.
Stop for a late lunch at the Gaylord Bakeshop: Melt in the mouth chicken croissants. After a light lunch, walk down the road to feast on sandwich ice-cream at Rustoms for desserts. This little shop in Churchgate has been serving ice cream sandwiches for over 30 years! Slabs of yummy ice-cream sandwiched between two wafer biscuits – messy to eat but worth getting your fingers sticky for.
Evening watching plays at NCPA: This Arts complex on Marine Drive plays host to classical, traditional and contemporary performing arts in dance, theater and music. Great place that’s a must visit.
Dinner at The Dome: The last dinner in Bombay city has to be in this rooftop cocktail lounge housed in The Intercontinental at Marine Drive. The place offers a breathtaking view of the entire Queen’s Necklace with mild breeze from Arabian Sea adding to the ambiance. This is a good chance to show Camilla what the Queen’s necklace actually looks like.
So that’s that! 2 days is hardly any time to truly experience the magic of Bombay. I hope Prince Charles and Camilla have a good stay in the city.
Written by Bharti Singh, a traveller from Mumbai, India. The original post appears on her travel blog: http://suitcaseofstories.wordpress.com/