Mumbai’s main tourist enclave is the district of Colaba, at the far southern end of the peninsula. Even though it’s a long, sweaty drive from the airport and far from representative of the city as a whole, most visitors base themselves in the neighbourhood and rarely venture beyond it. As the home of the super-swanky Taj Mahal Palace hotel, as well as some of the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants, Colaba certainly has its glamorous side. But the dimly lit streets between its dozen or so blocks of dilapidated colonial tenements are also awash with junkies and touts, and after a day of being hissed at from doorways by sellers of “brown sugar” most people head for the bazaars and brighter lights of uptown.

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