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This summer, reconnect with your city through quaint experiences

Combining midnight cycling with storytelling in Mumbai.Premium
Combining midnight cycling with storytelling in Mumbai.

  • Rediscover your city with unique walks and trails. Step into the pages of a crime thriller by visiting sites where chilling stories played out in the late 19th century. Or go cycling at midnight
  • Spend a day discovering fiddler crabs in Mumbai, visit a temple managed by priestesses in Bengaluru, or visit the oldest Buddhist art collection in Chennai

MIDNIGHT CYCLING &STORYTELLING: THE KIMAYAGAR OF BOMBAY

Sign up for a 12km tour by The Legend of Bombay Bards for 3 hours of quizzes, games and storytelling—all while you cycle around Colaba. The storytellers take participants through a fictional story set in Bombay, when it was a small town under the British Raj. A young Gujarati boy arrives there to make a living, but destiny has other plans for him. He comes to be known as “Kimayagar", or magician.

Cycles and spares are provided for participants for an additional fee.

Contact Bombay Bards on Facebook 699 per head

Bambaiyya VR in Mumbai

Premiered in December at the Urban Lens Film Festival, Bambaiyya VR is back in the city for just a day at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla. The project is a virtual reality (VR) heritage experience of the communities that shaped Mumbai—the Koli fisherfolk, Parsis and mill workers. Developed by a multimedia team, the immersive tour starts with a cabbie taking a passenger on a whirlwind ride through Mumbai, stopping at an Irani café, a chawl and a Koli market.

4 May at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum; museum entry fees applicable

Shorewalks with MarineLife of Mumbai

Join the collective Marine Life of Mumbai as they explore mudflats, rocky tidepools and open waters in and around the city, bringing participants closer to the city’s rich marine life. On the monthly guided walk, one can usually spot stingrays and octopus in rocky pools. The walk in May will be at Bandstand, just beyond the promenade in Bandra. The exact date and time will depend on low-tide timings.

Contact www.marinelifeofmumbai.in; free

Straight from a detective’s memoir, Kolkata

Step into the pages of a crime mystery with the Murder and Mayhem trail by Heritage Walk Calcutta (HWC). It takes one through sites where chilling stories played out in the late 19th century such as “A queen & her accomplices rob a jewellery store and kill the munshi". The team at HWC researched old newspapers and stories featured in periodicals by former policeman Priyanath Mukhopadhyay, one of the first Bengali detectives with the Calcutta Police Force, from 1878-1911. The aim is to unravel the clues in his Darogar Doptor. “There are some interesting revelations: The area around the Lalbazar Police Station used to be a hub of crime," says Pritha Mukherjee of HWC.

Contact see@heritagewalkcalcutta.com; a scheduled walk is 650 per person, while a private tour is 1,000 per person

A temple managed bypriestesses, Bengaluru

Ensconced within the Ulsoor burial ground lies a unique Kali temple, built around 100 years ago, managed by priestesses. In 2010, when Mohan William, the head priest,went to Kashi and did not return, his wife Tulsiamma and daughter Bhagya took over the duties. Over time, the latter has got more priestesses to join. “Though the temple is located within a burial ground, the women devotees or the priestesses don’t feel out of place," says Tejaswini Gopalaswamy of Unventured, who has included this temple as part of the Bengaluru in a Nutshell walk.

Contact get@unventured.com; 2,500 per person, including brunch

A VR video by Bambaiyya VR
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A VR video by Bambaiyya VR

RUSTIC FLAVOURS OF THE NORTH-EAST, DELHI

Tucked away in the alleys of Humayunpur, an urban village in south Delhi, are a range of eateries dedicated to fare from the North-East. You could try the sangha chhum, a fish dish, at Mizo Diner or the Nagamese thali at Heritage Naga Food. Then there is The Categorical Eat-Pham, which offers rustic and authentic dishes from Manipur. Start the home-style meal with stir-fried shrimp with aubergine and move on to an anchovies curry flavoured with turmeric leaves and a yellow peas curry with bamboo shoots. The more adventurous could try river snail with smoked pork or a fermented fish stew.

Contact 011-4181 2089; 1,000 for a meal for two

Egg devil of the kind found in the cabin eateries of Kolkata
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Egg devil of the kind found in the cabin eateries of Kolkata

Cabin eateries of Kolkata

The 1900s witnessed the rise of cabin eateries in Kolkata. Segregated from the main dining space with wooden planks, it offered women from affluent families the opportunity to dine out, away from prying eyes. “The oldest of these is Dilkhusha Cabin on College Street, which is around 114 years old. And the most famous dish here is egg devil (a variant of Scotch eggs). It is delicious, but also really heavy. After eating that, there is no room for dinner," says Ramanuj, an explorer with Calcutta Walks, who conducts the cabin food walk.

Contact explore@calcuttawalks.com; 3,000 per person, inclusive of food

Sea sponges like this can be seen on shore walks with Marine Life of Mumbai.
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Sea sponges like this can be seen on shore walks with Marine Life of Mumbai.

The oldest Buddhist art collection, Chennai

Now you can embark on a self-guided audio tour through the Government Museum, Egmore, in Chennai to experience its stone sculpture galleries, such as Amaravati. Initiated by Storytrails, a travel company, this tour takes you deep within this 19th century museum. “Amaravati boasts of the oldest collection of Buddhist art and sculptures in the world, with some dating back to 2,000 years," says Vijay Prabhat Kamalakara of Storytrails.

Contact chennai@storytrails.in; free audio tour


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