The great thing about Mumbai is that there’s always a better way to explore the city {such as staying in a sea-facing Airbnb – have you tried it yet?}. But we can explore the city through books as well. We loved Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Here, we’ve listed five places described in the book we feel you must visit.

Leopold Café

Photo source: Leopold Cafe

Photo source: Leopold Cafe

Who doesn’t know Leopold Café, also fondly know as Leo’s? But in the book, this café is described in details as a dark place, the kind which is apt for criminals to plot new plans and make new deals. This colonial café is where everyone gets together- the rich, poor, locals, travellers, thirsty commuters, and so on.

If you’re not looking for a ride on the dark side, just grab a beer pitcher, a plate of beef fry, and see if you can bump into Roberts, who is famous for getting a lot of his writing done at the restaurant.

Sassoon Docks

Photo: Aman Deshmukh/LBB

Photo: Aman Deshmukh/LBB

The smell of fish may not be the most enticing, but in Shantaram, the way Sassoon Docks have been described, you might just want to take a quick round here. One of the oldest docks in the city, Sassoon Docks is also one of the rare few one in Mumbai that are open to public. So if you want to see strips of ribbon fish hung out to dry or soak in the smell of prawns, just like it is written in Shantaram, then head here now.

It’s also a great spot to head to early in the morning to get the absolutest freshest catch from the seas. You might just bump into some of Mumbai’s best chefs, who swear by this spot and make almost daily pilgrimages to shop for the seafood on their loved menus.

Chor Bazaar

Photo: Athul Prasad/LBB

Photo: Athul Prasad/LBB

Originally called Shor Bazaar for it being the noisy market of the city, it eventually got renamed as Chor Bazaar because it seems the British couldn’t pronounce it right. But as described in the book, the protagonist enjoyed long walks past these noisy and busy streets and soaking in his surroundings.

Now, we recommend you head here for the amazing shopping. Buy vintage headphones, gramophones and typewriters to lend some charm to your living room, or buy a vintage Bollywood poster.

Dhobi Ghat

Photo source: MM via Wikimedia Commons

Photo source: MM via Wikimedia Commons [ CC BY-SA 2.0 ]

Gregory David Roberts described Dhobhi Ghat with plenty of love. Go here to see this seven-acre plot where at least 8,000 workers wash thousands of clothes every single day. Interestingly, Dhobi Ghat is described to travellers and tourists as the Washing Laundry.

Crawford Market

Photo: Tejal Pandey

Photo: Tejal Pandey

Walk through the by-lanes of one of the busiest markets in the city as described in Shantaram. When here, don’t forget to shop for possibly anything and everything under the sun {you might be lured in to buy things you may not even require} all while gorging on food from the many eateries there.

#LBBTip: In case you don’t wish to wander around yourself, you could sign up for a guided tour. For INR 3,000, Kishore Khare will give you a tour and take you through the places mentioned in the book, along with giving you detailed information. Click here for more details.

Featured photo source: Skye Vidur Via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 2.0]