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HAPPENINGS INDIA mumbai MALdives SPOTLIGHT Colaba Rations Sumptuous eating and shopping surround this neighbourhood. Start with a seafood lunch at Mahesh Lunch Home before heading to Taj Mahal Palace, the beyond 5-starred hotel and city landmark. From here you can walk to the Gate of India and street shopping with endless bargaining opportunities behind the Taj Mahal Palace. Stop for a snack at the classy Leopold Café or take a horse-driven carriage around the neighbourhood and feel a lovely breeze from the Arabian Sea. A signature cocktail at the Harbour Bar 1933 inside the Taj Mahal Palace whets your appetite for Bademiya, which means big brother, a popular street barbecue behind the Taj Mahal Palace. Prayers to Ganesh One of the most sacred Lord Ganesh temples in the world resides in the heart of the city in the Prabhadevi neighbourhood. From a tiny worship place built in 1801, it became a grand temple welcoming worshippers from all walks of life. Politicians, film stars, even Apple’s Tim Cook, have started their day here by chanting morning prayers and making a wish not only at the orange-hued statue of Ganesh but also into the ears of rats statues. Rats are considered Lord Ganesh’s best friend and a vehicle that ensures wishes are heard. SPOTLIGHT Thai Tastes on the Island Any chance you crave a Land of Smiles’ taste, one of the best and luxury dining experience is at Benjarong – the signature Thai restaurant at the Dusit Maldives at Baa Atoll. The selection ranges from Phla Kung or a spicy shrimp salad in chilli sauce, Tom Yum Poe Taek or Thai seafood soup flavoured with lemongrass and herbs, a Thai- style lobster dish, shrimp cakes to the delicacy of Crepe Phueak or taro coconut pancake dribbled with syrup. The hotel’s Thai cooking classes are also available. You can learn more about the secret aspects of Thai ingredients and how to prepare popular recipes such as Massamun, Phad Thai and Curry – just like a Thai chef. 3-2-1, Action A visit to Mumbai is incomplete without experiencing a Bollywood set. SJ Studios, located in the city, gives you a good glimpse of what’s it’s like to work on the set. This may be an Indian TV series, movies or commercials with tour packages available from early morning until evening. A wax museum houses statues of Bollywood legends. A mini-theatre with Bollywood dancers mesmerising visiting guests with their riveting dance numbers lets you participate and show off some of your moves. Photo Josh Friedman Max Out at AER Bar Make sure you don’t miss the chance to enjoy the view from “Maximum City” at AER Bar. Mumbai’s highest rooftop bar is located on the 34th floor of Four Seasons Mumbai in the Worli neighbourhood. Friendly, hospitable and knowledgeable staff guarantees walking away content. Drinks perfectly match the fun and creative vibe, and enjoyed with Indian-fusion snacks. Wings Over Atolls Why bother flying all the way without continuing with a connecting seaplane flight to your designated atoll? The view from above, once taking off from Malé, is heavenly, magical, and surreal and should be the reason you are vacationing in the Maldives. There are only two seaplane services – Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian that are now merged under the Blackstone group. Apart from their impressive pick-up and drop-off services, the smooth flight will make you forget your vertigo (if any), so enjoy the pictureperfect archipelago from an aerial perspective. The Deep Blue Sea Being up in the air for a spectacular view will be one of the highlights of your trip to a Maldivian atoll. But you also need to go below the surface. To actually surround yourself with the marine life in the Indian Ocean can be a sublime experience. If you’re a diver who’s gone to renown diving sites around the world – once again, you’ll give in to the deep blue colour of the Maldivian waters. To dive to different atolls, try Best Dives Maldives. 112 113