Mumbai

Go to The Bandra Base

From jazz bands to Javed Akhtar, big acts perform at this tiny space that can’t be bigger than your garage. The Bandra Base holds all kinds of music performances, poetry recitals, parties, drum circles and chai sessions on a slightly raised stage against framed pictures of Frida Kahlo, Kishore Kumar and Bob Marley.

The Bandra Base, 29th Road, off Waterfield Road, behind Micky Mehta’s Gym, Bandra (W), Click here for details, call 30916003..

Ride the oldest elevator

In Fort, Navsari Building has a plaque that claims it is not just the only building with a red façade on the street, but it also has one of the oldest elevators in India. Like many neo-classical structures here, it was built in the early 1900s and is conserved by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region–Heritage Conservation Society and The Heritage Mile Association. The elevator is the size of a small house in Mumbai and has a bench to sit on while travelling all the way to the fourth floor, which takes 32 seconds.

Navsari Building, Fort.

Buy ship treasures

At the Reay Road dockyard, old ships with names like The Brazilian Lady are broken down and the wreckage sold to treasure hunters. This happens every day on a street called Darukhana—gumboots are advisable to navigate muck-filled streets—where massive shipyards along the water open into large walk-in closet-like spaces and let you rummage through compasses and antique switch boards, round ship windows and vintage tan briefcases taken out of the ships. Curios are sold by weight ( 1,500 for 1kg).

Dockyard, Darukhana street, Reay Road.

Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar, Brown Paper Bag

CST tour

In January, the Central Railway started holding guided tours of the neo-Gothic building, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). They begin at the railway museum, which houses information on the history of the Central Railway. The tours are conducted by students from the JJ School of Architecture who will lead you up a magnificent cantilevered staircase, point out corniches carved with a profusion of animals and birds, and take you to a balcony where you can observe the vaulted ceiling that’s painted blue and studded with stars.

The tours are Monday to Friday, 3-5pm. Tickets are 100 per head for students, and 200 for the public.

The Farmers’ Market

Locavores congregate here on Sunday mornings to pick up organic fruits and vegetables that are sold directly by the farmers. You can also stock up on organic groceries such as rice, honey, jaggery, pulses, ghee and milk. The bi-annual market initiated by nutritionist Kavita Mukhi has the happy, floaty vibe of a carnival where all conversations centre around cooking.

Click here for date and location details.

Jehangir Nicholson Gallery

Part of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya or the erstwhile Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, but tucked away in an air-conditioned room in the East Wing, is the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery. The gallery, which opened to the public in 2011, houses the 800-odd works collected by the great art patron, some of which have been part of shows on abstract art, female artists and Bombay artists.

Click here for details.

Mumbai Boss

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Delhi

Visit Masterji ki Haveli

Dhruv Gupta, a management consultant, grew up in a haveli deep in the folds of Old Delhi. He conducts the half-day food tour, where six participants are taken on a walk to the area’s best street-food vendors and to his haveli for a home-cooked meal. The 3-hour tour begins at the Chawari Bazaar Metro stop and involves rickshaw rides through whirring lanes with pit stops for lachha tokri and bedwee aloo, chaat, kadai milk, desi ghee tikki and dahi bhalla. This ends with a meal in Masterji ki Haveli; the best seat in the house is on the open terrace with the Jama Masjid soaring up on one side.

Click here for details, or call Dhruv Gupta at 9810750217, 2,500 for the half-day food tour.

Read poetry at Ghalib’s home

With the restoration job finished in May, Ghalib’s home is open for guests. Housed in the middle of the sunglass wholesalers of Chandni Chowk, it’s not spectacular, but is good for the romantic. Take a copy of Ghalib: Life & Letters, read in the shade of the archways until it’s time to go home. Stop at Natraj for their famous dahi bhalla before you take the Metro back.

Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, entry free.

Order food from Old Delhi

If the legendary phirni and kebabs don’t make you walk through Old Delhi, bring the neighbourhood to you. Titled Delhi 6, this delivery service will send over food that the walled city is famous for. The menu is divided into “From The Khansama", which gets dishes from famous Old Delhi cooks; “Home Made Delicacies" that relies on a network of housewives; and “For The Maniacs", where you ask them to get you a particular dish and they send it to you. Get the Hari Mirch Qeema with Khameeri Roti.

2,600 for a meal for four without alcohol. Click here for menu. Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance. For details, call 9818206410.

Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar, Brown Paper Bag

On the river front

A tour of the Yamuna by DelhibyCycle takes you to the banks of the ill-treated river. On offer: a boat ride with breakfast at Karim’s restaurant.

1,750 per person. For details, call 981172372.

Postcard yearning

Get a rare collection of vintage city-based postcards, including old postcards of Delhi, printed by the legendary photo studio H A Mirza & Sons and look at the old images of Kashmere Gate and Red Fort that would stir an intense desire to explore the Capital. There are also postcards of Mumbai, London, Geneva and Verona.

200 each. All Arts, 1, Hauz Khas Village.

Mayank Austen Soofi

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Kolkata

Discover Kolkata with this map

Kolkata got a new tourist map earlier this year. Armed with it, you have a choice to explore museums, mansions and Bengali mishti. The map, brought out by Iftekhar Ahsan, founder of Calcutta Walks, and cartographer Samit Roychoudhury, has the stamp of exploration and experience. Anybody who has tried locating the hole-in-the-wall Suta Kabab shop near Nakhoda Masjid will vouch for the map’s merits.

These are at Calcutta Walks’ office, 9A Khairu Place and at Starmark stores for 100.

Shamik Bag

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