Master of Mumbai
When a tour guide invites you into her home and makes you a special herbal elixir to heal your cough, you have probably made the leap from travel client over to friend. Or maybe you’ve just met Hemali Talsania, the kindest Trufflepig guide of them all.
Trufflepig is built on experience. We don’t plan in places we haven’t been, and we take pride in knowing our destinations inside out. It’s for precisely this reason that we have a network of fantastic guides who live in the areas you want to visit. They have the inside scoop on everything local, and one of our favourites of the bunch is Hemali from Bravo Bombay.
If there’s anywhere you need a guide to help you navigate, it’s India. Born and raised in Mumbai, Hemali walks through the chaotic city like it’s her own familiar backyard, stopping to say hello to various friends along the way. If you want a tour of one of the city’s sprawling slums, she can take you there. If you need some help making shopping decisions, she can do that too. Behind the scenes in a neighbourhood laundromat, eating a vegetarian lunch with Hare Krishna devotees, watching dabbawalas coordinate their multitude of lunch boxes; in a single afternoon, Hemali can show you more of Mumbai’s daily life than you could discover in a month on your own.
This is all without mentioning her downright kindness. It’s a rare guide who would call around at your hotel to check on your health, or give you the leftover material from her own saris after you mentioned your mother’s interest in local fabrics. In a city that can be aggressive and intimidating in the wrong light, Hemali is a friendly face that we can’t recommend highly enough.
Amy Smithers had her impressions of India restored by Hemali last year, after a difficult time travelling in the north. She remains forever grateful to her “Mumbai mom” for taking such good care of a Canadian Trufflepig abroad.