Ride it with Nilambari, A quick 1-hour South Mumbai tour on a breezy open air deck double-decker bus by BEST is best for weekends. MTDC’s Nilambari bus tour covers 16 to 17 heritage structures and iconic buildings of South Mumbai.
A guided tour, Ideal for both school kids and adults to know depth information about the centuries-old historic structures of this island city.
More about Bus ticket booking, Timings, Ticket rates, Tour attractions, and more below to make a day’s worth with this evening bus tour.
BEST Open Deck Bus Fast Facts
- Places: A guided South Mumbai Tour, Covering Old historic buildings and Heritage structures.
- Duration: 1 Hour which covers about 16 to 17 structures. 2 hours each on Saturday and Sunday (i.e Total of 4 scheduled bus tours every weekend).
- Bus Type: Blue Colour Open air Deck Double Decker Bus which was used for public commuting for so many years in Mumbai. Nilambari is the same open bus that was used when Team India was back to Mumbai after winning the World Cup and Also when Manushi Chhillar got Miss World Crown in 2017.
- Bus Capacity: As detailed by MTDC, It is 30 People Maximum. But few photographs as seen on Google shows 40 People seating on Upper Deck alone.
- Cost per Person: Open Deck Roof Area Cost Rs.180 Per Person & Lower Deck rates are Rs.60 Per Person. (Free for kids below 3 years).
- Touring Days, Months: Nilambari Bus tour operates only on Weekends (Saturday & Sunday). During Monsoon due to heavy rains and since the open deck, It is completely closed between June to October. More details about timings etc below.
- Ticket Booking Options: Advance booking for the same weekend is possible From Tuesday to Friday (Monday Closed) at Gateway of India MTDC Counter. On the spot, booking is possible but mostly sold out so book in advance. More locations in Mumbai to book this South Mumbai tour are MTDC reservation Division (Details below).
- Who Should Ride: Ideal for School Kids, Adults, Foreign National Tourists, School Picnic groups and those who love to see Old Mumbai heritage structures.
Tour Attractions and Route
Not just tourists and citizens from other states, Mumbai citizens get some more detailed information from a professional guide who has in-depth knowledge about those edifices seen during the tour. The royal feel of seating on this modified BEST open deck bus relaxed while it travels through Mumbai traffic, Age-old streets, and the breezy promenade and you just watch the illuminate structures in the evening is a feel-good ride overall. If you have already taken this ride, Kindly share your reviews in the comment box below.
Nilambari Bus Route
Nilambari tour starts at Gate No.4 of CSMVS (Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay) near Regal Cinema Gateway of India (Ring route of Gateway of India with Glimse of Hotel Taj) Mantralaya Building Vidhan Bhavan Trident & Oberoi Hotel Marine Drive (Nariman Point Promenade) Girgaon Chowpatty (Also see the Girgaon Beach View Deck) You Turn with Wilson College on left Taraporewala Aquarium Hotel Ambassador Churchgate Railway Station Eros Cinema Theatre Oval Maidan Maharshi Karve Road Rajabai Tower CST Railway Station Building DN Road Hutatma Chowk Homi Modi Street Horniman Circle Asiatic Library Back to CSMVS museum (Opposite Regal Cinema).
The open-air bus selected for this tour route has some of the best edifice view starting right from where you are at the starting point covering many known tourist locations and streets with lots more information about the listed structures and more around in this south Mumbai tour.
The same old Building structure of CSMVS where you reach 15 minutes prior to commencing the bus ride is itself a famous tourist spot. Worth it if you take another 45 minutes off and visit this museum.
On the route and list next is ‘Gateway of India’ and ‘Hotel Taj’ just opposite to it complimenting each other are Pride of Mumbai. The shattering terror attack on Taj bought tears to citizens, Yet the structure stands strong and will always be iconic and beautiful. Next comes the Vidhan Bhavan where the who’s who of political biggie meet and discuss Mumbai city, Maharashtra state, and more related to the development and other things. The structure of Vidhan Bhavan is really beautiful and has a unique shape and design.
Moving ahead and the bus reaches ‘Nariman point promenade’ where the fresh breeze from the wide-open Arabian sea on one side welcomes you seating on that open deck bus and huge iconic buildings like Rotating Hotel Oberoi, Hotel Trident, and the beautiful Air India building one by one on your view. Some of those very old box trees installed to soak salty moisture from the air, still standing tall since the British Era.
The queen necklace must be already glittering during tour hours giving a spectacular view right from where you are till Girgaum Chowpatty beach, That too from that elevated decked bus is just wow. Moving ahead to Mumbai Gymkhana ground and that promenade long ride back to the next venue on the list.
It’s time this bus says bye to the promenade and moves ahead towards Churchgate railway station seen on the left and the beautiful Eros cinema on the right side. Lots of Memories for all Mumbai citizens who came here for some work or other one and many times. Billions of people have visited Churchgate railway station for so many decades for one reason or another, be it for a daily job or official work in the vicinity or just to take a tour like Nilambari, Special Mumbai Darshan by MTDC or a casual weekend hangout. This South Mumbai bus tour offers ample information about this western route railway station.
Moving ahead towards this huge and green ground called ‘Oval Maidan’, A huge 23 acres of green well maintained ground always up for recreational purposes. Many teams can come at a time to play cricket, football, and other outdoor games together. This ground is peaceful and also a place to relax a bit away from the chaotic surrounding of South Mumbai finding some serene personal time. Historically, Oval maidan was called ‘Maratha Ditch’ where Maratha fighters fought with Britishers.
From Oval maidan, as the bus passes through, the renovated Rajabai clock tower is clearly visible, Which is the next attraction on the route list. This Gothic tower is 85 meters tall and can be seen from all angles around. It is a beautiful miniature of ‘Great Bell of the Clock’ or ‘Big Ben’ as one says which is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. The guide on your will point you towards the structure and will give ample information with significance and dates in the past about same which is also available on Wikipedia too, Yet with some difference.
Moving ahead to CSMT (Formerly CST) railway station and the BMC headquarters building right in front is both mesmerizing with the bustling traffic at the junction right in the middle. This railway station (central railway route) has so many things inside and upcoming plans which cannot be detailed here. To keep it simple, it is not just a simple railway station to commute to, Link on this page has much more details about it.
During Diwali and special occasions like Independence day etc, the colorful lighting glorifies the structure in such a way that professional photographers stop by specially to capture the beauty of lit-up stations from multiple angles. Have a glance, Check this recent video of CST station to get an idea of how huge and beautiful this old structure is. Oh, I forgot to detail something. Do not miss the view of Flora Fountain when the bus moves ahead from Churchgate station towards CSMT.
Before finishing the 1-hour tour which I am sure you will not believe for the time passing away so fast, 3 More attractions are on the way. After CSMT station when the bus moves via Bank street it passes through ‘The Cathedral’ which was once a church and was an important travel ‘Zero Distance Marker’ for Britishers staying in then the Bombay city. Read more about the cathedral and milestone locations which is very interesting.
Horniman circle showcases the admirable work Britishers did and has left Mumbai with a kind of gift to be preserved always. It is a commercial location with a building structure to be sure praised for. The tour bus takes the roundabout from this famous south Mumbai circle and makes you think of the way, neatness, and architecture of those buildings, Most important the strength the structures possess to date.
Last for the best is the ‘Townhall Asiatic Library‘, A classy huge white structure with long white pillars which I am sure many of you have already seen in Bollywood movies. Huge pillars, beautiful structures, and the abundance of historic information about Mumbai city inside the library are what this edifice is all about.
Virtual Picture Tours
Pictures Courtesy : Saurab Raut Vlog
Ticket Booking and Timings
Bus Ride Timings
As said, It’s 60 minutes south Mumbai tour, Operates only on Saturday and Sunday.
Tour 1 Timings: 7:00 Pm to 8:00 Pm
Tour 2 Timings: 8:15 Pm to 9:15 Pm
Important Note: One has to reach prior 15 minutes of departure of the selected tour at Gate No.4 of CSMVS, Opposite Regal Cinema (Not Far From Gateway Of India).
Ticket Booking Timings
One can book this open deck bus tour in Advance (Highly recommended as limited seats so on tour day many are not lucky with on-the-spot booking). That said if lucky and no travel season or school holidays, On Saturday and Sunday one can get tickets at ease. But since it is a weekend south Mumbai tour, There are now fewer tourists around.
A NOTE: On Monday the counter is closed. So for that particular weekend Nilambari tour, One can do advance booking between Tuesday to Friday (For immediate/ coming Saturday and Sunday only). One cannot do advance booking for next upcoming weekend’s Mumbai tour. Seat numbers are mentioned on tickets and accordingly, seats are allotted.
School Vacations, i.e May and June, Diwali, and Christmas vacations are peak seasons with foreign and other state tourists looking for this Nilambari south Mumbai bus ride, So spot booking is very difficult.
Online Booking: Not Available.
Ticket Charges: Rs.150 (Upper deck, Open Air Bus Area) & Rs.75 for Lower Deck.
Ticket Counter details: MTDC Reservation Counter No.7, Gateway of India, Mumbai. Contact : +91-22-22841877, Timings : 9:00 Am to 2:00 Pm (Monday Closed).
MTDC Head Office Reservation Counter (Near Churchgate station, Nariman Point): +91-22-22845678 and Toll-Free No. 1800229930. Timings: 9:00 Am to 5:00 Pm.
Other Offices and Reservation Counters as detailed below (Not Sure if They Book Nilambari Bus Tour Here) :
- Dadar Office : Near Pritam Hotel, Dadar Railway Station (East), Contact : +91-22-24143200.
- CSMT Office : At CSMT Railway Station, Contact : +91-22-22622859.
- Gateway Of India : Counter No.7, Contact : +91-22-22841877.
- Navi Mumbai : Sector No.29, Urban Haat, Belapur, Contact : +91-22-27580347.
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