Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
The Wankhede Stadium, the premier cricket ground in India’s commercial and cricketing capital, has yielded sixty-seven of the country’s 265 Test cricketers. The venue has staged 21 Tests and 15 ODIs since its debut as an international venue in 1974-75. Among the significant Tests it has hosted, the Jubilee Test against England in 1979-80, which was organised to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the BCCI, stands tall. Ian Botham made it a game to remember by becoming the first cricketer to score a hundred and take ten wickets in the same Test. Sunil Gavaskar, Test cricket’s first ‘five-figure’ man, scored five of his thirty-four Test hundreds at this venue.
It was here that the original Little Master bid adieu to international cricket after India lost the semi-final of the 1987 World Cup to eventual runners-up England. (India were bowled out for 219 in response to England’s 254-6). The game featured a brilliant 115 by Graham Gooch. The first World Cup game to be played at the venue was a league encounter between India and Zimbabwe earlier in the tournament which the co-hosts won by eight wickets.
The venue’s third World Cup encounter, nine years later, was made memorable by a batsman who had been a ball-boy during the matches played here in 1987. Sachin Tendulkar’s audacious 90 in a losing cause against Australia, in what also was the venue’s first day-night encounter, was the knock that was believed to have reminded Sir Don Bradman of himself. India fell short of Australia’s 258 by a mere 16 runs, Tendulkar’s pyrotechnics notwithstanding.
On 2 April 2011, the venue became the seventh arena to host a World Cup final, after Lord’s (London, England), Eden Gardens (Kolkata, India), Melbourne (Australia), Lahore (Pakistan), Wanderers (Johannesburg, South Africa) and Bridgetown (West Indies). The new arena is a state-of-the-art-facility that accommodates 33, 442 spectators and is equipped with amenities that have enhanced the playing, viewing and reporting experience for the cricketers, spectators and media respectively. Wankhede will host some of the home games of the Mumbai Indians for IPL 2011.
Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, is the financial capital of India. There is lots to see in Mumbai and one can find a lot of interesting historical buildings. A boat ride to the Elephanta Island is a must for all visitors to this island city. Don’t forget to look at the ‘Gateway of India’, when you’re waiting for the boat to the island.
Want to relax on the beachfront? Head out to Girgaum Chowpatty or Juhu Chowpatty. Take a walk along the paved Marine Drive in the evening and visit Haji Ali dargah, which is located in the middle of the sea and can be reached only during low tide. Travel to Film City and hope to catch a glimpse of some Bollywood star in action. Check out The Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a world heritage site or Babulnath and Mahalakshmi Temple. Don’t miss the Bombay Stock Exchange building, though. This is the heart of most commercial activities in India.
You can buy just about anything in the dense bazaars of South Mumbai. The main areas are Crawford Market for everything under the sun, Mangaldas Market for silk and cloth, Zaveri Bazaar for jewellery, and Chor Bazaar for antiques and furniture, where Dhabu Street is worth a peek for leather goods, and Mutton Street specialises in antiques, reproductions and junk. Check out Colaba Street Market, which lines Colaba Causeway with hawkers’ stalls and shops selling garments, perfumes and all manner of knick-knacks. Don’t miss Fashion Street for never-to-be-believed bargains on clothes. There are also many high-fashion shops near Juhu beach and the Flora Fountain area near Churchgate.
Culture and Entertainment
The epicentre of cultural activities in Mumbai is the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). The NCPA auditorium is a regular venue for concerts and recitals and many plays are also performed here. Located near the Juhu Beach is Prithvi Theatre, the hub of both English-language and Hindi theatre.
The cosmopolitan nature of the city allows travellers a unique culinary journey. Gujarati thalis, Mughlai kababs, Mangalorean seafood, Parsi Dhansak, North Indian tandoori delicacies and Goan vindaloos – like the city’s population, the food comes from all over India. Visit Khau Ghali, behind Fashion Street in Churchgate, to truly experience street food. Be it Bhelpuri, Pavbaji, Vada Pav or Panipuri, you get it all here. The pavement stalls are great places to try the local fast food. Don’t miss Mahesh Lunch Home in the Fort area. For Bengali food lovers, there’s Oh! Calcutta in Tardeo.
Try Leopold’s Café, where most tourists end up at one time or another. There are also other happening pubs in Mumbai like Café Mondegar, the Tavern or Toto’s Garage Pub down in the suburbs.