5 Things to Do in Mumbai During Monsoon Season
As Air Canada begins to offer four non-stop flights every week between Toronto and Mumbai, we look at some exciting ways to stay dry during the wet season.
From July to September, India receives over 80 percent of its annual rainfall. But rain doesn’t have the same meaning in a country that’s dry and desert-hot most of the year. It’s something to celebrate, to get out and revel in.
Here are five ways to enjoy a whole other side of Mumbai.
Take refuge in the Kanheri Caves
One of the most popular things for locals to do during the wet months is to hike, since the air is thinner and the heat less oppressive. This cluster of Buddhist caves cut right into the rock face of the Sanjay Gandhi Natural Park, on the southern outskirts of Mumbai, dates from the first century BC to the 10th century AD and has an otherworldly quality that’s even more striking in the mist. Enjoy the calm, the singing birds, the pitter-patter of water droplets and the rush of streams, and be ready for a hilly ascent. The view of the city from the top is worth it.
Watch a play at Prithvi Theatre
No matter how rich and famous, celebrated or awarded, it’s said that every Bollywood star secretly dreams of being offered a role at this small, intimate venue founded in 1948 by Mumbai actor Prithviraj Kapoor. Settle into a navy leather seat in this dry haven for one of the regular English-language productions, or be adventurous and watch a show in Urdu or Punjabi. On your way out, make a pit stop under the awning of the lantern-lit café outside – it’s famous for its Bailey’s cold coffee and as a hangout for young actors, industry hopefuls and veteran playwrights mulling over their latest productions.
Dive into the Haji Ali Mosque
This coastal mosque and tomb in the southern part of Mumbai was built in 1431 and sits on an islet in Worli Bay, connected only by a narrow, kilometre-long walkway that becomes completely submerged during high tide. The interior is stunning: all marble, silver and glasswork in a kaleidoscope of blues, greens and yellows. It’s a popular site, so monsoon season is a great time to explore while it’s a bit less crowded. Though you might appreciate the refreshing walk, rain gear and waterproof footwear are both recommended – even in the dry season times, the waves lap right up the walkway to your knees.
Feast on seafood at Gajalee restaurant
The sunny space of the Vile Parle East location of the popular Malvani cuisine chain is the perfect mix of casual (beige plastic banquettes, lively atmosphere) and indulgent, with its endless menu focused on fresh fish and seafood (there’s meat, too!) that will easily provide a half-day of rain-free entertainment. Order the locally caught pomfret, the famous tandoori crab, the spicy tomato-based prawn sukha or clams koshimbir, flavoured with a fragrant marriage of coconut, green chilies, cumin, cinnamon and tamarind. Between courses, try a solkadhi, Mumbai’s specialty drink: Its mix of coconut milk, kokum juice (it’s in the mangosteen family) and chili-garlic paste is an acquired taste.
Have a laugh at Canvas Laugh Club
This comfortable club in Palladium, Lower Parel, started out as the Comedy Store in 2010 and was a catalyst for Mumbai’s booming English comedy scene. Since 2012, it’s focused its programming on comedians of Indian descent, many of whom have grown extensive fan bases on social media over the years. Stars like Aditi Mittal and Nishant Tanwar are regular guests on this stage, where you can chuckle from the comfort of your red velvet seat or, if you dare, try your hand at one of the weekly open-mic nights. Either way, it could be pouring buckets outside and you wouldn’t be the wiser.
As of July 1, Air Canada offers four non-stop flights every week between Toronto and Mumbai.