From here you will enjoy a walk-through Mumbai’s most interesting areas, stopping every few minutes to admire historic attractions while being surrounded by local residents going about their daily activities. The next 2 to 3 hours can be an experience where you will walk just under 2 miles, stopping frequently at the multitude of attractions, or you can ask to be driven for most, or all, of the stretch. You will stroll through busy street bazaars and public parks where cricket is being played on most days, stopping to take in the incredible architectural details of century plus old Gothic and Victorian buildings that were constructed during the British Raj.
You will admire the historic Flora Fountain, and then another short walk will take you to Horniman’s Circle. Next, after a 2-minute walk, is Mumbai’s Town Hall, situated by the Mumbai’s docks. After this you will take another short walk and stop to enjoy a brief tour inside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, which was known as the Prince of Wales Museum until very recently. This is Mumbai’s premier museum, designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, and includes sections of paintings, archeology, and natural history. Even if you are not into museums, a short exploration is recommended, or you can just admire the architecture from outside. After this we recommend that you take a very short walk and break for an informal lunch at the iconic Leopold Café, a popular establishment that opened in 1871 and was one of the targets during the 2008 Mumbai terrorism attack.
After lunch you will drive to Mumbai’s main Dhobi Ghat where you will observe the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry by flogging the clothes on stone in the same manner that they have for more than a century. Over 100,000 pieces are laundered every day and hung to dry on seemingly unending clotheslines, then ironed, and delivered to far reaching areas of Mumbai. The profession is passed on from generation to generation.
Continue your exploration by driving further on Marine Drive and go up Malabar Hill where the Hanging Gardens provide a panoramic view of the city and bay. In the middle of the afternoon, avoiding the infamous Mumbai rush hour traffic, you are driven back to your hotel to enjoy its surroundings, views, and extensive facilities.
(Overnight – The Taj Mahal Palace – Executive Suite 1 Bedroom)
Day 18: Mumbai – Aurangabad. (Breakfast) You are assisted with your check-out in the morning and then you will proceed to explore more of the fascinating metropolis of Mumbai. Your first stop after a short drive on the Queen’s Necklace will be at Mani Bhawan, Mahatma Gandhi’s Museum. This small historic mansion is located in an upscale Mumbai neighborhood and is the location from where the Mahatma started many of his Satyagraha (passive resistance) movements against the British rulers. The stop here will include an opportunity to look through glass panels into the small simple room where he stayed and worked, including his meagre belongings such as two spinning wheels, his thin small mattress on the floor, and more. Another room has photos of his life from childhood until his assassination.
An even shorter drive will bring you to another of Mumbai’s landmarks, the Haji Ali Dargah. Built in 1431 and located on an islet of the coast, this beautifully handcrafted structure hosts the tomb of the Sufi Saint and also serves as an active mosque. A wealthy merchant from what is now Uzbekistan, he gave up all his belongings and traveled the world spreading Islam until he finally settled in the area that is now Mumbai.
From here you will be driven to Mumbai Airport and be assisted in boarding your short mid-afternoon flight to Aurangabad. You can have lunch from the snacks available at your Business Class Lounge at the airport if it is not too full, or eat at any of the scores of cafes and restaurants in Mumbai’s wonderful new terminal. Arrive at Aurangabad and you are driven to your comfortable hotel and assisted with check-in to your suite. Although this is the best lodging in Aurangabad and close to the airport, it is a mid-level upscale hotel and does not compare with your previous lodging.
(Overnight – Taj Vivanta – Premium Suite)
Day 19: Aurangabad. (Breakfast and Lunch) The Ajanta & Ellora monuments and caves (both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites) near Aurangabad are widely recognized as India’s two most amazing archeological sites, and among the world’s most amazing achievements of ancient man. All our guests’ wonder why they are not part of other tours. Many guests have stated that, combined, they are more impressive than the monuments in the Angkor Region, not even taking into account that these two sites are twice as old!
After breakfast you will enjoy an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta. A choice of sandwiches and accompaniments that will be edible for a few hours is included from your hotel for this excursion. Buddhist monks and local craftsmen began excavating, sculpting, and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century B.C.