Mumbai

Brief

Mumbai (previously Bombay), the megapolis, was formed by conglomeration of seven islands, given by Gujrat’s Bahadur Shah to the Portuguese. They gave these as a dowry of Princes Catherine to England’s Charles II in 1662. It was favourable for the East India Company who could trade from the Mumbai harbours, away from mainland and out of reach of the Marathas and Mughals. Mumbai’s cosmopolitan culture dates back to the history of immigration from Armenians to Baghdadi Jews, besides Portuguese and English. Parsis are an unparalleled success story in Mumbai and there are people from various states of India, who have made Mumbai their home. Mumbai is the city of dreams. The success stories, stating how Mumbai turned their dreams to reality, of DhirubhaiAmbani, Amitabh Bachhan, Shahrukh Khan,and many others, never fail to inspire us.

Travel Tips

Mumbai has tropical climate, summers are sultry and winters are pleasant (15-20 degrees Celsius). Monsoons are gorgeous in the Western Ghats, however, in the recent years Mumbai is facing waterlogging. October to March is the best time to visit Mumbai.

Ganesh Chaturthi in September is the most popular festivals of Mumbai. However, if you plan to visit the city during that time, pre booking of hotels is a must and there will be unimaginable rush.

 

Things to do

The monument that defines Mumbai is the Gateway of India, built by King George-V between 1911 and 1924. The last of the British ships sailed out of Independent India from here.

The majesticTajPalace Hotel (1930) built by Jamshedji Tata can be seen from here. Take a ‘victoria’ (horse carriage) ride to enjoy the sea breeze and the tourist buzz around the place.

Colabacauswayis a street shopper’s paradise with stylish clothes, junk jewellery, shoes and bags. Visit the iconic Irani cafes started by Iranian Zoroastrians (Parsi settlers) – Leopold Café, started in 1871 and with bullet marks of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and Café Mondegar with famous Mario Miranda’s murals (cartoons).

Fountain to Kala Ghodastretch is a heritage spot with grand Victorian neo-Gothic buildings. TheWellington Fountain is surrounded by heritage buildings like Regal Cinema, Police Headquarters and The National Gallery of Modern Art. David Sassoon Library, Elphinstone College, The Bombay University and the High Court are elegant Gothic structures worth admiration. The famous Jahangir Art Gallery with the popular café Samovar is also here. The ChhatrapatiShivajiSangrahalaya (ThePrince of Wales Museum),stands tall here with its wonderful exhibits and architecture.

Elephanta Cavesare a collection of rock cut sculptors and Hindu cave temples dating back to 6th Century, together with some Buddhist stupas. An hour’s ferry ride (Rs.120-150 for adults) from the Gateway of India will take you to Elephanta Island, 10kms east of Mumbai city. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Marine Drive, a 3.6 kms stretch of road along the coast of natural bay from the Nariman Point to Malabar Hills is also called ‘Queen’s Necklace’ because of the dazzling lights on the sea side arc after sundown. Along the arc one can see numerous art deco styled buildingsfrom the 1930s-40s and theGirgaumChowpatty Beachwhich is famous for Ganpati immersion.Malabar Hills is an upmarket VIP residential area of posh South Bombay with the Raj Bhavan, Walkeshwar Temple (1715), BabulnathMandir, Bangangaand Hanging Gardenwith Kamala Nehru Park offering beautiful sea view from the top.

BandraWorli Sea Link is a bridge which connects Bandra (West) with Worli (South). A drive in the evening on the illuminated bridge is out of the world. Do not forget Bollywood icon SRK’s mansion, Mannatat Bandra. Bollywood buffs don’t miss Bandstand, a locality where most of Bollywood reside.

Castella de Aguada(1640) or the Bandra Fort is an intriguing ruin with splendid sea view.

Basilica of Our Lady of The Mountat Bandrais a Roman Catholic Basilica with an age old historic statue of Our Lady.

The Haji AliDargah (1431),a mosque with the tomb of the Sufi saint, Pir Sayed Hai Ali Bukhari, situated on an islet off the coast of Worli, is a landmark monument of Mumbai.

Mahalakshmi Templeis a very popular temple. The Mahalakshmi area is also famous for the Mahalakshmi Racecourse and MukeshAmbani’s 27 storey house,Antilla.

Dhobi Ghat beside Mahalaxmi stationis an open air laundry with more than 70000 people working from collection of clothes from every corner of the city to delivering them after cleaning, washing, drying and pressing them. More than 1lac clothes are washed per day making the turnover of Dhobi Ghat more than Rs.100 Crores.

If you are in Mumbai you must have bhelpuri atJuhuBeach. Juhu is also famous for the iconic Prithvi Theatre, the bungalows of Mr. Bachhan and of numerous other Bollywood stars.

 Pay homage to Sri Ganesh, Mumbai’s most celebrated Hindu God, at the Siddhivinayak Temple.  Shivaji Park, the field where Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar practised cricket is near by.

ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus – CST (Previously Victoria Terminus – VT) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The majestic building exhibits a fusion of influences from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and classical Indian architecture. The skyline, turrets, pointed arches and the staircases make it so grand. The evening view of the station is amazing.

Fort Area to Churchgateis now a posh and bustling area with some of Mumbai’s oldest colonial buildings. The fort area has its name from the 18th Century British Fort which has been brought down in 1860 and the Churchgate Station has its name from the St. Thomas Cathedral (1718), the oldest surviving colonial building in the city. The beautifully maintained Church building at HornimanCircle with lovely stained glass windows and marble memorials make it thedeserving winner of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award. The Town Hall, Asiatic Society,andMumbai Stock Exchange (DalalStreet) are around this area. You can also see Mumbai’s famous Dabbawalas at work here. Between the Horniman Circle and Churchgate Station, there is the famous Flora Fountain (1869). The significant Mumba Devi Temple is also around this area. Mumbai derives its name from Mumba Devi. The old and popular markets – Cotton Exchange, Mangaldas Market, best for unstitched garments, Zaveri Bazaar with the highest number of gold shops of Mumbai and fruits and vegetables market, Crawford Market, are concentrated around this area.

Dharavi, World’s largest slum (520acres) is a space for enormous economic energy and initiation with more than 5000 operational businesses. Rather than poverty tourism, it’s more accurate to think of Dharavi tours as community tourism showcasing the amazing art of efficient organisation and operation.

Film City/ Dada SahebPhalke Nagar at Goregaon is significant to movie buffs. It is a complex with studios and sets where numerous block busters or TV soaps were shot.

Nature lovers will enjoy Powai Lake and Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Borivalli) with the Kanheri Caves inside it. It is a 25660 acres National Park with in a metroplolis limits and is one of the most visited ones in the world because of its rich bio diversity and the rock cut caves and sculptors inside it.

If amusement Park and adrenalin rush is your thing then Essel World and Water Kingdom is the place. Essel World houses some of India’s scariest rides.

Things to do

Leopold Caféand Café Mondegarand bakery products from Theobroma at Colaba.

Shiv Sagar at Santa Cruz (Juhu) for a veg meal.

Open air Prithvi Café at the legendary Prithvi Theatre.

For a cutting chai, Mumbai’s life blood, try out Ashok Patil Tea Stall at Crawford Market and/or Lucky Tea Stall at Kandiwali.

 

Getting Around

Mumbai Suburban Railway make the veins of the City. These overtly crowded local trains are an integral part of Mumbai. One can also use extremely well connecting bus service. ‘Kali Pili’ Mumbaitaxis and Ola, Uber are readily available. Auto rickshaws are common too. Ferry can also be used to commute.

  • Flight

    ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, is well connected to the city by buses, trains and taxis.

  • Train

    ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus (CST) is the most significant railway station, well connected to the city.

  • Car

    Mumbai Central Bus Terminal (Beside Mumbai Central Train Station) is the chief bus stand where interstate long distance government-run buses depart from Mumbai.

Surrounding Attractions

Visit lush green Alibaug for the lovely beaches, the Kolaba Fort, 300 years old ruins by the Arabian Sea and the Magnetic observatory. One can visit by road as well as by ferry (Ferry service stops in the monsoons).

Lonavlais a hill station in the Western Ghats with fascinating ancient Buddhist Karla and Bhaja caves and the imposing Lohagad Fort. Lonavala is a popular monsoon destination, with its greens and the Bhushi Dam. Khandala is another adjacent hill station. One can visit by road as well as by train.

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