Mumbai the bustling city in the Maharashtra state of India may be known for the chaotic traffic and humid summers but this wonderful city within it has some unique gems of history, culture, and heritage. There is no dearth of things to do in Mumbai, the dream city of opportunities. You will easily need a weeks time if you want to explore them all. So here is what you need to add to your list of must-do on a Mumbai visit.
Gateway of India
The arch monument was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai in 1911. The grandiose structure built in Indo-Saracenic style features intricate latticework and a central dome flanked by 4 turrets.
Gateway of India in its history has also served as a ceremonial entrance to Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay. The structure overlooking the Arabian Sea stands opposite to the other popular tourist attraction of Mumbai ‘The Taj Mahal Palace’.
Taj Mahal Palace
One of the top tourist destinations of Mumbai the Taj Mahal Palace is a five-star luxury hotel right across the street of the iconic Gateway of India. The hotel also built in Indo-Saracenic style features a huge red central Moorish dome along with Victorian Gothic and Romanesque design features.
The hotel has over 500 rooms and suites, 11 Fine-dining restaurants and Spa. The hotel opened for the first time in 1903 and has since hosted some of the famous and eminent personalities from all over the world. Next to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is the Taj Mahal Tower hotel built in the location of the Hotel Greens which is said to be very popular with the sailors during its time.
Tip: Try some delicious kebabs, rolls, and biryanis from the iconic Mumbai eatery Bademiya Seekh Kebab Stall which is located right behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The eatery is open from 12 pm until 3 am midnight.
The colonial rule has left Mumbai with some of the magnificent and remarkable heritage buildings and monuments. A Mumbai Heritage Walk will walk you through the some of the imposing historical buildings accompanied by some interesting facts and stories of the past.
The bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station is the most stunning and majestic of them all. The UNESCO World Heritage Site built in Gothic Revival architectural style features dome, turrets, sculptures, and intricate carvings.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is one of the popular museums in Mumbai and part of Heritage buildings in Mumbai. The three-story Indo-Saracenic style building houses over 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history from Art, Archaeology and Natural History including some of the artifacts related to the Indus Valley Civilization. Book a guided tour and explore the wonderful collection of various artworks.
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad is another important and the oldest museum established in 1855. The museum houses collection comprising of decorative artworks, history, and evolution of the city of Mumbai through maps and models, archaeological findings and paintings.
Haji Ali Mosque
The Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque located off the coast of Worli connected by a narrow causeway. Haji Ali Dargah built in 1431 in Indo-Islamic Architecture is one of the popular landmarks of the city of Mumbai. The Dargah was built to honor Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari a wealthy Muslim merchant turned saint who renounced the world to head on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Dargah features marble pillars with colorful mirrorwork.
Tip: When you are here do try some refreshing juices from Haji Ali Juice Center which is popular for exotic fruit juices, milkshakes, and icecreams.
Shopping in Mumbai
The bustling metropolitan home of Bollywood has no dearth for large lavish shopping malls in Mumbai. One can find some of the world-class designer brands and high-end boutiques.
But the best way to indulge in some shopping spree is to go to one of the shopping streets in Mumbai which sell latest fashion trends, seconds and are great for bargaining and grabbing some great deals. The wholesale markets offer almost anything to everything from traditional and western wear to accessories and antiques, leather, home decor.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park formerly known as Borivali National Park is one of the popular national parks in India. The rich flora and fauna of the park comprise of over 1000 plant species and fauna comprising of birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. There are several walking trails to explore the park, you can go book a guided tour or interested ones can also go on lion safari or a tiger safari to watch lions and tigers in their natural habitat.
Another important draw of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is the Kanheri Caves which was an important pilgrimage site. The caves house some important sculptures dating from the period between 9th and the 1st centuries BCE. Another famous attraction is Trimurti Digambar Jain Mandir, a famous Jain temple housing three huge idols of Lord Adinath and his two sons, Lord Bahubali and Lord Bharata.
The location of the city of Mumbai on the western coast of India endows the city with some of the pristine beaches. These beaches make a for a great respite from the chaotic city traffic and hustle-bustle. These beaches are a perfect spot to behold the magical sunset over the magnificent Arabian Sea. Most of these beaches also have carts selling chaats, corns, sandwiches and other the popular Mumbai street foods which are a must try.
Girgaum Chowpatty is the most popular beach of Mumbai well known for the Ganesh idol immersion during the Ganesh festival every year. Every evening at Girgaum Chowpatty is like a carnival with a large number of street food stalls, hawkers selling toys and offering ferry-ride. Gorai beach is another popular beach known as the starting point of ferries to the popular amusement parks Essel World and the Water Kingdom.
Stroll the Marine Drive
Popularly known as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’ Marine Drive is a 3.6-kilometre-long C-shaped six-lane boulevard forming a natural bay. It is a bustling hangout place where you will people from every walk of life enjoying the city skyline along the shores. Especially at night a common sight is of families who come here to relax and take in the gleaming city lights, the kids frolicking and the hawkers selling snacks and toys.
Tip: Before starting you drive or walk along the shimmering Marine Drive stop and try some delicious ice creams at the Bachelorr’s Ice cream Shop especially the spicy chilly Green Chilli Icecream. The stall also sells juices, smoothies, and milkshakes.
The Guinness World Record Holder Dhobi Ghat is a 140-year-old open-air laundromat where the washers clean the clothes in a traditional way. The daily routine work revolves collecting clothes from around the corner of the city, washing, dyeing or bleaching the clothes, drying and iron pressing them. The clothes are then returned back to the owner.
One can get a majestic view of the Dhobi Ghat from Mahalaxmi Railway station. And the best time to behold the washers in action is in the morning and early afternoon.
Day Trips from Mumbai
There are plenty of trekking places in and around Mumbai that make for a great respite from the city hustle bustle. These places can easily be visited on day trips from Mumbai.
These places are at their best during the monsoons (the rainy seasons from June to September) when the earth is sheathed in green carpet and the mountains dotted with gorgeous cascades. Some trekking spots also have historical forts and temples to explore.
A popular day trip from Mumbai Elephanta Caves has 5th-century Hindu and Buddhist cave temples. Located on Elephanta Island the ancient caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with remarkable rock-cut architectural style sculptures and carvings depicting stories of Hindu mythology. Some of the caves design and the sculptures are said to resemble the magnificent caves of Ellora in Aurangabad city of India.
Several ferries run from the Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves daily which takes around an hour. You can even choose to drive all the way to the caves on your own, hire a taxi or book one of the half day tours to the caves.
Essel World is a popular and one of the largest amusement theme parks in India. The rides range from adult rides to family and kids ride with a promise of maximum fun and adrenaline rushing moments. Apart from rides the amusement park also hosts several entertainment activities through bowling alley, dance floor, skating rink and has several restaurants and eateries peppered across the park. The amusement park also features an exotic and interactive bird park which is first of its kind in India. The Water Kingdom next to the Essel world has some of the amazing and thrilling water games and activities.
To reach Essel World you can take one of the ferries running from Gorai Creek (nearest stations are Malad and Borivali), drive on your own or hire one of the taxis.
Places to visit near Mumbai – Weekend Getaway
The coastal town of Alibaug is a popular weekend getaway for the Mumbaikars from the hustle bustle of the city. Alibaug has plenty of untouched pristine beaches and homestays where you can devour on some local delicacies and delicious seafood. Alibaug is located at a distance of 120 km from Mumbai, there are regular ferries from Gateway of India to Alibaug or you can drive on your own.
Mahabaleshwar is a beautiful hill station and yet another popular weekend getaway from Mumbai. Mahabaleshwar bound by lush forest area and valleys has several breathtaking vantage points. Mahabaleshwar is well known for the cultivation of strawberries. Mahabaleshwar is located at a distance of 280 km from Mumbai well-connected by the public and private buses running from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar.
The city of Aurangabad is a popular base to visit the famous ancient cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora. The city also has several historical landmarks like the Daulatabad Fort, Bibi ka Maqbara which is a copy of the iconic Taj Mahal, ancient temples, and tombs, no wonder the Aurangabad City is called the tourist capital of Maharashtra state of India.
Have you visited Mumbai? What has been your favorite part of visiting this dream city? Do share with us in comments.
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