Mumbai (Bombay), India

Mumbais’s sheer size of 25,000,000 people is a land of contradiction. The city is home to dense slums and also the most-expensive mansions in the world. The streets are as diverse as the population. Here you can find stray dogs, exotic birds, immense bazaars, modern restaurants and sheltered temples.

This city’s colonial heritage brings together Muslims, Hindus and Christians, who live harmoniously side-by-side. Lively bazaars offer everything from spices to textiles, as well as a thriving film industry, the location where Slum Dog Millionaire was filmed.

This is also the home of the Ghandi family, revered worldwide.

Delicious street food, favoured by tourists worldwide, include samosas, Vada Pav (potato fritters), Bhelpuri, with its puffed rice, tangy tamarind sauce and vegetables .and chipati. Open-air laundry is done by “dhobi ghats”, working at their small businesses. They may not own shoes or sandals, but their clothing is white and clean.

A walking tour into the back streets of the slums offered us a perspective of the happiest and friendliest people, fully-satisfied with their humble surroundings. Children attend school at age 6, which is compulsory until grade 10; if parents cannot afford schooling for their children, the government pays.

Next, we will visit Goa (Mormugao).