Prepare your senses for India’s entertainment and commercial center, where Bollywood films are made and East and West cultures come together in an exotic blend.
Mumbai, on India’s west coast, is one of the largest cities in the world. Previously known as Bombay, Mumbai was once a series of small towns scattered over several islands before it was occupied by the Portuguese, and then later the British. The creeks and rivers separating the islands were filled in. Today Mumbai is the center of India’s entertainment and finance industries, drawing people from all over the country and beyond.
As you make your way along the bustling streets, admire the architecture, feel the buzz of urban multiculturalism and shop at markets that offer everything from food to fabric. See colonial buildings in the Colaba region where you’ll find the Gateway of India, built from 1911 to 1924 to commemorate the first Indian visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Another impressive architectural feature is the Gothic-Revival Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station.
To properly appreciate the diversity of the city, visit some of its many religious sites, which come in all shapes, sizes and denominations. Highlights include the Mumba Devi temple, the Haji Ali mosque and St. Thomas Cathedral.
Go for a stroll down Marine Drive to see art deco buildings and great views of the Arabian Sea. This is also one of the best places to watch the sun go down — and the city light up.
Take a break from Mumbai’s bustle at the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill. Explore farther afield with a trip to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (previously known as Borivindi National Park), where you’ll find walking trails and the Kanheri Caves.
Brush up on your Indian history and culture at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, also known as the Bombay Museum. The building itself is impressive enough, but inside you’ll find an equally remarkable collection of art, architecture and natural history exhibits.
Art lovers should also check out the excellent collections at the National Gallery of Modern Art and at the Jehangir Art Gallery.
See industrial and historical artifacts from across India at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum.
Mumbai is a metropolis with enough to see and do to last a lifetime. An engrossing history and a remarkable mixture of cultures give this city a character and charm like nowhere else.