Mumbai : Places to Explore

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Fort and Marine Drive

Long, rectangular parks—known as maidans—split Marine Drive starting at the Fort neighborhood, each one filled from end to end with countless overlapping cricket games. At one end there might be a gentle match between players in full white regalia, while the next comparable stretch of land is filled with 10 side-by-side matches, barefoot players whipping the ball and hurling their bodies through the air, laughing and talking trash. To the west, past Flora Fountain and the surrounding street-side secondhand booksellers, you'll find Churchgate Station and the Queen's Necklace (as Marine Drive's curved line of street lights is called), where some of the city's best hotels sit. To the east, past the 130-year-old Gothic High Court building and Mumbai University's 260-foot Rajabhai Clocktower, in the labyrinthine streets of Kala Ghoda (a small area within the Fort neighborhood), the city's best seafood restaurants await, along with a completely incongruous, beautiful baby-blue synagogue. In Fort, the side streets are filled with vendors selling secondhand books and bootleg software and DVDs, all at rock-bottom prices. Fort is a great place to see the kind of grandeur the British had in mind when they dreamed up "Bombay," and Marine Drive offers a wonderful walk along the Arabian Sea.

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