Friday, December 15, 2006

Nilambari-The Open Double Decker Bus Tour

Photo - Courtesy : Rohan Mukherjee
Though the double decker BEST bus has become obsolete, you can still enjoy a ride on an open double decker bus and see the buildings around South Bombay by going on MTDC’s Nilambari, the Open Deck bus service, which leaves from The Gateway of India. The tour is an hour long and is conducted only on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year (barring the monsoon). It has two services at 7 pm and 8:15 pm.

It is a nice ride and apt for tourists who do not have much time to see the city, for people who like open bus rides and also for Mumbaikar’s who would like to see South Mumbai from around 15 feet high and would like to know about the different illuminated buildings and areas along its route.

The bus commences the tour from the MTDC booth at the Gateway of India (the place where tickets for Elephanta are sold), passes the statue of Shivaji Maharaj, moves along the Gateway of India road past the Taj Mahal hotel and turns onto Colaba causeway towards Regal. It then takes you via the Mantralaya towards Marine Drive, takes a U-turn at the NCPA, past the new Oberoi and runs along a little bit of the Queens Necklace to turn at Jazz by the Bay towards Churchgate station. It turns right at Churchgate round the Oval Maidan, past the University of Mumbai, The Rajabai Tower and the Bombay High Court (all magnificent buildings). It goes along the road behind the Bombay Gymkhana, past the Tata House (now Deutsche Bank building). At the end of the road you see the World Heritage notified V.T.Station (Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj terminius). It then runs along Dadabhai Naoroji Road past Fountain and turns onto the road, which leads you to the State Bank building past Bombay House (The headquarters of the TATA’s). It passes Horniman Circle, the Asiatic Library and heads back towards the gateway via the Naval Docks road.

You can listen to the guide who gives you a running commentary on the different aspects of the buildings along the route, the history of Mumbai, anecdotes on incidents associated with Mumbai and a little bit their own stuff like “ There across the harbor you can see Malabar Hill, it is said you can buy your mother or father in Bombay but you cant buy a house there, heh heh heh” OR a story on why the Marine Drive is called the Queen’s necklace OR his or her interpretation on which is the better hotel between The Taj and The Oberoi OR he would be pointing towards the BSE and doling out advice on not to buy any stocks as it had reached 14,000 and is definitely going to fall OR how a ‘business house’ painted the ‘Fountain’ and that’s why it has turned green with the moss growing over it. Else you can just ignore the guide and look out and absorb the city. If you are standing up on the Upper Deck, do watch out for the tree branches that might hit you.

Do go early in tourist season as all the Upper Deck seats get taken. The tickets are priced at Rs 90 per person for the Upper deck and Rs 40 for the Lower deck. (No half priced tickets for children and children sitting on the lap are not charged for) It is better to go onto the Upper deck as you can hardly see anything from the Lower deck and you may as well go onto any BEST bus which runs along South Mumbai instead.


DalzRulz said...

Thank you so much for this post. I live in the suburbs and go to town side on very rare occasions. I'd been trying to get some info on this bus from ages now. Thanks once again n good luck with your blogging

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot for the information it really has helped me to plan a tour on this bus wtih my 4 yr old kid and my family. just one missout in the information the place of booking of tickets is not given

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very descriptive information on the Open Bus Tour, I really wanted to try it out. Unfortunately the tour is only for an hour and doesnt take you around the whole of Bombay. I'd definately take the tour nonetheless but if you do have any information about a Bus tour of the city .... so I can capture the city in my camera please do let me know.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Afshan Yunus said...

thanks a ton for this post as i live in lucknow n am planning a trip to mumbai.i dont have much in short time i want to show as much as of mumbai to my bus is an excellent idea to give them a feel of night-life.