The financial capital and most populous city in India, Mumbai is a diverse, vibrant, multi-cultural, modern city teeming with crowds. Situated on the west coast of India, Mumbai is the capital of the state of Maharashtra and home to 20 million people. Mumbai, along with the neighbouring urban areas of Thane and Navi Mumbai, is one of the most heavily populated regions in Asia.
Mumbai seems to be chaotic for travellers but the city moves at its own pace and there is a method to the madness of the city. Mumbai is also the entertainment capital of India. Scores of films are produced annually in Mumbai. Lured by its wealth, prosperity and the prospects of ‘streets paved with gold’, thousands of people migrate to Mumbai annually from interior regions of India. The city has welcomed and offered sanctuaries to people from different regions of the world and it is reflected in its cosmopolitan nature.
The city is replete with examples of contradiction. Luxury apartments stand adjacent to sprawling slums; the number of skyscrapers increases daily even as the largest slum in Asia, Dharavi continues to thrive. Cattle driven carts co-exist with luxury vehicles.
In and Around
Gateway of India
It is one of Mumbai’s most striking monuments. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Located on the Apollo Bunder road in South Bombay, it overlooks the Arabian Sea on one side and the iconic Taj hotel on the other.
3 km long stretch is very popular among the people of Mumbai. Also known as Queen’s Necklace as the chain of lights along the stretch of Marine Drive resembles a string of pearls at night. Situated on the outskirts of Mumbai, it is less crowded than Juhu and Girgaum. Marve, Manori and Gorai are some other beaches worth a visit.
Juhu is one of the most popular and posh beaches of India. This fizzing beach on the shores of Arabian Sea is the place where one can find the bungalows of Bollywood stars. Tourists can enjoy horse and donkey rides, dancing monkeys, acrobats, cricket matches, toy sellers etc. here.
Chowpatty Beach is located on the north of Marine drive. Especially on weekends and holidays, the lively Chowpatty Beach turns into a picnic spot for the people of Mumbai. While on the ordinary working days, during the evening people come for a break from the tedious routine life. People of all age from young children to elderly people come here and enjoy the beauty of the sandy beach.
Essel World offers over 40 exciting rides, games, and attractions. The Water Kingdom is said to be the largest of its kind in Asia. It is a perfect destination for a one-day holiday.
It has Gandhian literature, photographic exhibits, framed letters and 3-D tableaux of key events in Gandhi’s life are displayed here. Gandhi’s room and belongings including his books, his trademark ‘Charkha’ (spinning wheel) and ‘Charpoy’ (rope bed) are displayed here. It is place, where Gandhi first learned how to use the spinning wheel.
Jehangir Art Gallery
There is huge rush of artistes in this gallery to show one’s works. Many of the artistes have to wait a couple of years to exhibit their works in this gallery. The building of the gallery is an enormous beautiful mansion. Jehangir Art Gallery is one of the Mumbai’s well-known art galleries.
The temple has a Kalash, which is a pointed dome of 12 feet high Gabhara (sanctum sanctorum) weighing 1500 kg and plated in gold. So, it facilitates the ‘Darshan’ of Sri Siddhivinayak from either the area surrounding the Gabhara or the stage (Sabha Mandap) constructed to conduct pujas and festivities. The temple dates back to 18th Century. Vinayak is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha.
Haji Ali Dargah
Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque in Mumbai built in the middle of the sea with a constricted path leading to the dargah. It is the tomb of Saint Haji Ali. The white mosque is located 500 yards into the sea and can be accessed only during the low tide.
Flora Fountain, also known as ‘Hutatma Chowk’ since 1960, is declared as one of India’s Heritage structures. Built in 1864, this tourist spot houses India’s prestigious fountain, located in the city of Mumbai. The name ‘Flora’ is derived from the name of the Roman Goddess of Flowers.
Mahalakshmi Racecourse, owned by The Royal Western Turf Club-an elite sports club in Mumbai, is a renowned horse racing track in the country. It is considered to be one of the greatest circuits in Asia. The racecourse’s Grandstand, is also included in the list of the ‘heritage structures of India’. The Mahalakshmi Racecourse
Town Hall is one of the most majestic structures among the other heritage buildings in the city of Mumbai. One can say that this building represents one of the last architectural remnants of the Victorian Bombay (Mumbai). The Town hall was colloquially called as ‘Tondal’ during the 19th century.
Mumbai Film city is an integrated film studio located near Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the vicinity of Aarey Colony in Goregaon, Mumbai. Home to real-like gardens, mountains, lakes, homes, cities and villages, it is the favourite venue for Bollywood film shootings. The Film City was constructed by the Maharashtra
Churchgate, now known as Veer Nariman Street, is a prominent location in the South Mumbai. The Place imbibed its name from the Churchgate railway station and St. Thomas Church. Churchgate houses some of Mumbai’s prestigious buildings and organizations. Being a home to banking and business organizations
A sacred water tank, Banganga or Banganga Tank is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Mumbai. This ancient tank, whose origin dates back to 12th century, forms a part of Walkeshwar temple complex in Malabar Hill. Constructed in 1127 A. D under the initiative of a minister of Silhara dynasty that ruled Mumbai from 9th to 13th century
A hillock in Southern Mumbai, Malabar Hill is one of the prominent residential areas in the city. Known for housing Walkeshwar temple and Banganga tank, this hillock is situated at a height of 50 meters, highest point in Southern Mumbai. One of the most expensive residential areas in the world, Malabar Hills is home to mansions.
The commercial capital of India, Mumbai is also famous for the entertainment and tourism industry. Mumbai has many places of interest in and around the city that attract huge number of tourists throughout the year, Hanging garden is one among them. Hanging Garden in Mumbai was built in1880 on the Malabar hills and later renovated in 1921. It is so called because this terraced garden lies on the slopes of Malabar hills.
To know about the theatre life, personalities and artists in Mumbai, a visit to the Prithvi Theatre is a must. Being one of the most famous and best theaters in Mumbai and also all over India, Prithvi Theatre offers an insight to the creativity that is being brewed here.
Rajabai Tower is a famous clock tower located in South Mumbai. It stands in Mumbai University Fort Campus located next to the High Court. The tower is, undoubtedly, an example of exquisite beauty. It has become one of the major tourist destinations in Mumbai. The tower was built by Sir Gilbert Scott, who modeled it on the Big Ben.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a beautiful park in Mumbai. It is situated on the northern part of the suburbs of Mumbai and spread over a total area of 104 sq. km. A huge number of people visit the park, it is roughly estimated that 2 million visitors come here annually. The park is decorated with a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Worli Sea face
A favourite hangout situated south of the picturesque Sea link from Bandra, Worli Sea face is another one of Bombay’s promenades. It is one of the top places in the city for one to experience the epic monsoons that offer a remarkable view of the angry waves rising up onto the road. The magnificent view of the BandraWorli Sea Link is another sight that must not be missed.
Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church is located on a beautiful hill on the outskirts of Mumbai. It is one of the most well known churches in Mumbai. It was constructed by the Portuguese in 1640 and was later reconstructed in 1761. It is believed that Mount Mary Church was destroyed in 1738, during a Maratha raid. Later Mother Mary’s statue was recovered from Arabian Sea by local fishermen and was kept in St. Andrews, before being moved to the newly constructed Mount Mary Church.
Elephanta caves are in the magnificent Elephanta Island, which is 11 km from Mumbai. It has beautiful carvings, sculptures, and a temple of the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been a commercial, military and religions centre for centuries having traces of early Buddhist culture.
Alibag beach is one of the most prominent beaches in Alibaug town of Maharashtra. Among all the beaches, this one has the blackest sands. One of its main tourist attractions apart from the allure of the seashore is the beautiful view of Kolaba Fort. For a respite away from the city, Alibag happens to be one of the more popular places to visit near Mumbai.
The location of the Kanheri caves is so green with wooded hills and valleys, and it is at a distance of only 42 km from Mumbai. The architectures of this cave are regarded to be one of the finest in India. According to historians, these caves scooped out between 200 BC and 600 AD. The whole complex has 109 caves cut manually on the flank of a hill; each fitted with a stone plinth that evidently served as a bed.
Marve, Manori and Gorai
These three beaches are the villages very close to Mumbai. Now this place has become quite industrialized, but its beauty remains the same. One can witness the remains of colonial time in Marve. Watching sunsets and sunrises is really appealing here. Tourists can reach Marve within an hour, as it is just 40 km from Mumbai.
Mandwa and Kihim
Kihim and Mandawa is nearly 10 km away from Mumbai. Kihim has dense coconut trees that give a pollution free green environment. This is a place for the nature lovers who want to spend some time with the beauty of the nature. The jungle of Kihim has different species of rare flowers, butterflies and birds. One can also enjoy perfect tent stay and a wonderful surfing.
Bassein is in the peaceful location, which is 77 km away from Mumbai. It is closely similar with the India’s sultry beach state of Goa. But here, crowd is a bit less and those who wish to enjoy peaceful environment must visit Basssein. This is quite of a historic place. One can see ruined forts that were built by Portuguese inside dense forests of brushwood and palm grooves. The Portuguese cuisines served by the locals are really delicious.
Khandala, Lonavala and Karla
Locating at an altitude of 625m, these hill stations for its beautiful hills, deep green valleys, huge lakes, historic forts and waterfalls etc. Lonavala and Khandala have magnificent waterfalls that give a heart catching view during monsoon. Tourists can plan their trip together with Karla, Bhaja, and Bedsa caves, which are very near from Lonavala. This hill stations are also known as the ‘Jewel of Sahydri’, because of its nature’s gifted of beautiful valleys, hills, milky waterfalls, lush greenery, and pleasant cool winds. Khandala, Lonavala and Karla are 104 km from Mumbai and 64 km from Pune on the Mumbai-Pune highway.
Matheran is an important hill station of Maharashtra as it is the closest one to Mumbai and Pune. This 800m high hill station is located in Alibagh district of Maharashtra. It is appealing to have a view of the valleys from this green and calm hill station. One can also see Mumbai from Hart Point. Such viewings are most suitable on clean and unclouded days.
Shopping in Mumbai
Being the business capital of India, markets abound in Mumbai. Be it Fashion Street, Chor Bazaar or Zaveri Bazar Mumbai offers quite wide ranges to the shoppers. Crawford Market is famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish. A visit to Colaba and Flora Fountain (Hutatama Chowk) is recommended if you are good at bargaining.
The Chor Bazaar which literally means a thieves’ market, is one of the largest flea markets in India. It was earlier called as Shor Bazaar, which means noisy market. It is popular for the sale of second hand goods, more than stolen goods. The area is full of crowded streets and one needs to be careful of pick-pockets. You can buy all kinds of goods at Chor Bazaar.
Kala Ghoda Festival
Kala Ghoda Festival: It is an annual festival, generally 9 days long, held in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai. The festival is a kaleidoscope of music, dance, theatre, literature, street stalls, films, workshops for adults and children, visual arts and heritage walks. It has been held for the last 16 years. It is held across several locations.The venues include: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya – The Museum Lawns, Kitab Khana, Cross Maidan Garden, Coomaraswamy Hall (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) BNHS Auditorium (Bombay Natural History Society) Gallery Beyond, David Sassoon Library Garden, Rampart Row, The Asiatic Library Steps, Rampart Gallery, CSMVS Lawns, Gallery 7, Art Entrance, Artists’ Centre, Hacienda Art Gallery, Gallery ICIA, Traffic Island and more.
The best time to visit Mumbai is from October to March.
How to Reach
Mumbai is well connected with cities all across India and countries all over the world. It has an International airport as well as one for domestic flights.
Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station is Mumbai’s main rail head. It is well connected to all major cities and is also the main railway station for the local trains running within the city.
Bus services ply regularly between Mumbai and cities like Bengaluru, Surat, Nashik, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mangalore, Kochi and Goa. Some bus operators have their own websites to facilitate booking of tickets.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
The Taj Mahal Palace
Apollo Bunder Road,
Off Western Express Highway,
Santacruz East, Mumbai – 400055
Plot No. 31, Central Road,
MIDC, Andheri East, Mumbai – 400093
Where to Eat
Made in Punjab
Inorbit Mall – Malad, Mumbai,
18, M.B. Marg, Apollo Bandar,
Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
The White Owl
One Indiabulls Center,
Tower 2 Lobby, Senapati Bapat Marg,
Lower Parel West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013