Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is the financial capital of India. It is the city of dreamers, celluloid stars, gangsters, artists, filthy rich millionaires, and some of the India’s most popular beaches. It is the same city that has Asia’s biggest slum, and one of world’s costliest houses. Apart from being home to India’s top corporates, this city is also a fashion capital, and a trendsetter.
With the best fashion in wardrobe, the nightlife of this city will amaze you. The reason why people call it city that never sleeps. But you have to wary of its road traffic and heavy downpour during monsoons. In this blog we are here to help you with top things to do in Mumbai.
Gateway of India
Gateway of India is the most popular spot of Mumbai. It is built in bold yellow basalt and is located by the sea. Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V. History has it that the last British ship post independence departed from here. Gateway of India was designed by the British Architect George Wittet. The foundation stone of Gateway of India was laid down in the year of 1913. Without any doubt this monument is the most iconic one in Mumbai.
On the walls of this monument you will find many Hindu and Muslim motifs together that symbolize the religious harmony. People flock here for spending evenings, and for photography opportunities. Around this spot you will find many street food vendors, selling the popular snacks of Mumbai. Gateway of India is also very popular amongst couples.
Gateway of India is also a point from where travellers can take ferries that head to Elephanta Caves. The best time to visit Gateway of India is in evenings and in nights, when its lit up with lights. This monument is not just historically important but is also an architectural marvel.
Haji Ali Dargah
The history of Haji Ali Dargah dates back to 15th Century. It was built after wealthy Muslim merchant and the Sufi saint Peer Jaji Ali Shah Bukhari. Haji Ali Dargah is accessible only during low tides, because of being surrounded by sea from all sides. The isle on which Dargah is located is of 4500 square meters of area and has a height of 85 feet. The causeway connecting the Dargah to the mainland is about 700 yards long, and you can cross it only during the day.
The Dargah is designed in the Indian Islamic or the Mughal style of architecture. The main complex of the Dargah is built from white marble. Inside the Dargah, yopu will find the ceiling of central hall to be inscribed with 99 different names of Allah. The best thing about this Dargah is that it is visited by people from all religions, with equal faith and devotion.
When visiting here you can enjoy listening to Qawalis, and also pray for miracles to happen. You can visit this Dargah at any time of the year, but to witness its largest event you will have to visit it during annual Urs or the death anniversary of Sayyed Pir.
Marine Drive which is also nick named as Queen’s necklace, is the spot known for beautiful sunsets. People flock here for long walks amidst cool breezes, with splashes of Arabian Sea waves every once and then. The entire stretch of Marine Drive is around 4 Kilo meters long. IT stretches from the Nariman Point to the Malabar Hills. If you want to binge on some real Mumbai local snacks like bhel puri or pani puri or pav bhaji, then this is the place where you should head to.
It is also one of the best places to hang out in evenings amidst younger generation of South Mumbai. The history of construction of the Marine Drive dates back to 1915 which started in Girgaum Chowpatty that was formerly known as Kennedy Sea Face. This place is a must visit to unwind especially after a long day of sightseeing.
On the side of the Marine Drive you will also find many old art deco buildings lined up together. These kinds of bay side boulevards are also prominent in the world renowned coastal cities like Miami and Havana.
Siddhivinayak Termple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The name of the temple means, Ganesha who grants your wishes. The history of construction of the temple dates back to the year of 1801. It was built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. The idol of Lord Ganesha which is housed inside the temple is made out of a single black stone. The shrine of this temple shows Lord Ganesha as Chaturbhuj, the one having four hands.
The temple has gained huge popularity amongst visitors including cine biz stars, politicians, and Mumbai bigwig businessmen. The structure of the temple that stands in present times, was designed by architect named Sharad Athale. The original shrine was kept intact while a six storey temple premises was constructed above it.
Siddhivinayak temple is also the richest temple of Mumbai. On an average it receives more than 100 Million Rupees of donations every year. The grandeur and glory of this temple is best witnessed on Ganesha Chaturthi, when celebrations are on their peak.
Elephanta Caves are located on an island off the Mumbai harbour. Elephanta Caves are one hour ferry drive from Gateway of India. They are group of seven rock cut caves dedicated to Lord Shiva. The three headed Shiva statue of Elephanta caves is quite popular amidst travellers. The history orf the origin of Elephanta Caves dates back to 5th century. The name Elephanta caves was given to it by the Portuguese after they discovered a stone cut elephant on this island.
On this island you will find many manifestations of Lord Shiva, like the Sadashiva, that portrays Shiva as creator, protector and destroyer. You will also find Nataraja the Lord of Dance, and the Yogishvara the lord of Yoga. The premise also encloses a small museum that showcases the history of this cave. The surroundings of Elephanta Caves also offer opportunity to hike on Cannon hills.
The monuments of Elephanta caves have been listed as the UNESCO World Heritage site. The best time to visit the Elephanta caves is during the month of February, when the island hosts a music and dance festival named, Elephanta Festival.
Kala Ghoda means ‘Black horse’ and the name of this place is derived from the historic statue that was placed in the area. Kala Ghoda region of Mumbai is popular for its art galleries, museums, cafes, and eateries. In short this region is the cultural and artistic hub of Mumbai. Kala Ghoda region of Mumbai stretches from Regal Circle which is at the end of the MG Road, to Mumbai University, and Oval Maidan to Lion Gate.
In Kala Ghoda region of Mumbai you will find many notable institutions like, Jehangir Art Gallery, Max Mueller Bhavan, Prince of Wales Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay Natural History Society, and David Sassoon Library. The best thing about them is that they all are located close by, making it accessible to explore the beauty of this region in one go.
Kala Ghoda is also popular for its Kala Ghoda Art Festival. This festival is hosted annually in month of February. During this festival it hosts Children’s Events, Cinematic events, Dance programs, Literature events, Musical shows, Theater performances, and Visual Arts shows.
Dhobi Ghat of Mumbai is the world’s largest open air laundry, and is located in Mahalaxmi. This region is 140 years old and has 1026 open air troughs used by washers to clean thousands of kilograms of clothes everyday. It is estimated that more than 800 groups of people hustle everyday and make out a livelihood from Dhobi Ghat. The essentials that are used to wash these clothes are caustic soda, flogging stones and water.
In Mumbai, this place is the only one from British era whose name hasn’t been changed, whose way of operation hasn’t been changed. It is estimated that more than 50% of the Mumbai’s population get their clothes washed here. When you will visit it during day time, you will get to witness millions of clothes drying out open in air.
Dhobi Ghat is known for its unique photographic opportunities. We bet that you must not have seen anything like a Dhobi Ghat. The activities in Dhobi Ghat start from early morning and lasts up till late in night, and the best time to visit it is during mornings and early noon.
Juhu Beach is the longest beach in Mumbai and it is a hub spot to variety of street food. The entire stretch of this beach is 6 kilo meters long. During Ganesh Chaturthi the scene here is spectacular. During that time thousands of devotees walk in processions along with Lord Ganesha idol to submerge it in the sea. It is surrounding by posh localities and one could also spot celebrities in the region. Television show shootings on this beach is very common.
Like many other beaches of Mumbai, here too you can enjoy a ride on horse driven carriages. We must also warn you ahead, that on public holidays and on weekends this beach is very crowded, so choose the day and the time of visit very cautiously, to experience the best of this beach. The best season to visit this beach is during the winters of India when the weather is pleasant in Mumbai.
In close vicinity to Juhu beach are ISCKON temple and Prithvi café that can always find a place in your itinerary. The beach is also very popular for offering some great photographic opportunities. Interestingly it also offers avenues for water sports.
Girgaum Chowpatty beach is located adjacent to the Marine drive. It is one of the most popular beaches of Mumbai and is the preferred beach to visit by locals of Mumbai. Here every day looks like a carnival, with Ferris spinning around, children building sand castles, vendors selling spicy Bhelpuri, and horses riding with tourists along side. The best thing about this beach is that it is always swarmed by people indulged in some or the other activity.
The Chowpatty beach might be a crowded one, but you will always find a spot for a laid back picnic. The beach is also very popular amidst the couples. Similarly to the Juhu beach, Chowpatty beach also becomes a sight to behold during Ganesh Chaturthi, when devotees gather here with Lord Ganesha Idol to submerge it into the Arabian Sea.
In the close vicinity to Chowpatty beach is the Royal Opera House, which is the oldest opera house of the country, and can easily adjust in your trip to this beach. The best season to visit Chowpatty is during winters, and you should avoid visiting it during monsoon when city is clogged with rains.
If United States has Hollywood, then India also houses to Bollywood of Mumbai the centre of Indian Film industry. The film city of Mumbai is spread across a whopping area of 520 acres. It is home to twenty indoor studios, and simultaneously 1000 sets can be set up in this film city. The Film City of Mumbai is located in the popular Aarey Colony of Mumbai. Over the years Film City has been the centre of film shootings for thousands of film.
Inside the premise of the film city you’ll find artificial temple, prison, court, lake, mountains, fountains, and villages. While visiting the Film City of Mumbai you can also indulge in some of the tours provided within the premise which will take you through the process and different aspect of the film making, including live shootings.
There also are tours for the Bollywood geeks that are interested in the trivia of film industry, by taking you through the history of film industry in India, and information about it. If you are a movie buff then this spot has to be on your itinerary.
Prince of Wales Museum
The foundation stone of Prince of Wales Museum was laid by Prince of Wales himself. The construction of this museum started in the year of 1905, and was completed by the year of 1914. But the doors of this museum were opened to public in the year of 1922. The museum is not only known for the collection it houses, but the structure of this museum is of great heritage value to the city. The museum is also surrounded by well maintained gardens that further beauty it.
In present times it is known by the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The museum is known for housing some of the best collections of art and history in the country. The architecture of this museum has influences of Islamic, Hindu and British design styles. The museum houses more than 50,000 artefacts, including ones from Indus Valley Civilization.
The museum is primarily divided into three sections Art, Archaeology and Natural History. Some of the artifacts that are housed inside date back to 2nd century. If you are travelling with kids then you must take them here for a sneak peek into history, arts, and culture.
Essel World is located on Gorai Island and is accessible with a short ferry ride from Borivali. It is unarguably one of the best amusement parks of the country. It also is home to a water kingdom for some splashy fun. During summers, a visit to this place cannot be matched with any other spot in Mumbai. Some of the popular fun rides of Essel World are Wetlantic, Crazy Cups, which are like by kids and adults alike.
Essel World is home to many theme parks, dancing zones, and gaming facilities. During major festivals of the country the park gets all decorated and lit, making it even more spectacular. We also got to tell you that it can get a little crowded in here on weekends. The park is has many kid friendly zones that you will like when visiting here.
The theme park also houses many cafes and restaurants where you can binge on some delicious food and beverages. Normally one day is enough for this amusement park, but if you want you can also choose to stay in one of the hotels surrounding the park for a prolonged visit.
Chor Bazaar or which is also translated as thief market is one of largest flea markets in India. It is 150 year old and still exhibits antique items, vintage items, Bollywood posters, Victorian furniture, and automobiles parts. It is said that this market sells second hand goods rather stolen ones. If you do not want to buy anything from here, even then it’s a great photographic spot and can give you some great clicks.
As per some historians, the initial name of the market was Shor Bazaar, or translated into Noise Market, which over the period of time got converted into Chor Bazaar as pronounced by the British officers. The best thing about this market is that everything sold here is budget friendly. Surrounding the market you will also get to see some Colonial era mansions.
We need to tell you that before heading to this market you sure need to revise your haggling skills, if you do not want to end up buying an item ten times its price. The Chor Bazaar is located in close vicinity to CST and Kala Ghoda, and can be wrapped in the same go.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is also known as Victoria Terminus (VT), and it is the second most photographed monument in India. It is built in Gothic Victorian Architecture with turrets, spires, stained glass and gargoyles. The monument will sure take you back to the colonial days. The Terminus was designed by F.W. Stevens. The construction of the terminus started in the year of 1878 and it took a decade to finish it.
The time it took to complete the construction of this terminus was the longest time taken to build any monument in that era in Mumbai. The main structure of the terminus is built from sandstone and limestone, while the interiors are adorned with Italian marbles. CST is now Head Quarters of Indian central railways.
In present days CST is one of the busiest railway stations of Mumbai and services around 3 Million passengers every day. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was also the first functional railway station of the Indian Sub Continent. Unarguably, this spot holds a great importance in Mumbai’s heritage.
Colaba Causeway is a shopper’s paradise and pretty much the heart of Mumbai. You will find plenty of vendors selling clothes and accessories of latest trends. You will also find home decor items such as lampshades, and antiques. Majority of the Colaba Causeway is lined up with buildings dating back to British Colonial era. This place will surely take you back in time. There also are number of bars and restaurants in the region for a quick bite.
The spot not only have the glitzy restaurants, but here you will also find many street food vendors serving some lip smacking food. The globally renowned Leopold Café is also located in the Colaba Causeway. Some of the other popular eateries that line up Colaba Causeway are Baghdadi, and Delhi Darbar. If you are in some shopping mood then spare a day or least a noon for it.
The movie buffs that want to experience movie watching in the old world way can make a stop at the Regal Cinema, which is located on Colaba Causeway. To highlight the significance of this place we must add that a trip to Mumbai is incomplete without touring this spot.