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Basic information

  • Area: 603 km2 (233 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +91
  • Currency: Indian rupee (INR)
  • Population (EST): 12,478,447
  • Official language: Hindi, Marathi, English
  • Time Zone: IST (UTC+5:30)

10 Reasons to Visit Mumbai

1. Gateway of India

A striking monument, the Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. It's the first thing that visitors see when approaching by boat, and is a great symbol of the bustling city of Mumbai. It is here that you can experience the carnival-like atmosphere of vendors selling everything from balloons to fine Indian tea, as well as performers and local characters. This is a fantastic place to start your explorations of the city.

2. Heritage Buildings

The heritage buildings of Mumbai are a wonderful demonstration of fine colonial architecture. Be sure to not miss the gothic-style Prince of Wales Museum of the Kala Ghoda art precinct, as well as the Stunning Bombay High Court, the structures of Horniman Circle of the Fort area, and the delightful Victoria Terminus railway station. Also not to be missed are the lush gardens of Horniman Circle, which provide a nice respite from the busy, energetic atmosphere of the city. Khotachiwadi village is a great place to see the historical 18th century homes that are quire well-preserved.

3. Kala Ghoda Art Precinct

There was once a great statue in Mumbai's cultural centre, and the art precinct of Kala Ghoda, or "Black Horse", is named after this creation of the past. It is here that you'll find Mumbai's most notable galleries and museums, sprawling along the crescent-shaped stretch. There are a number of cultural amusements to be enjoyed here, including the Jehangir Art Gallery. This is also where the popular Kala Ghoda Arts Festival takes place every year.

4. Markets and Bazaars

Mumbai has a number of lovely streets for shopping and strolling. The Colaba Causeway is lined with a number of fun vendors selling colourful, local goods and souvenirs. The Chor Bazaar Thieves Market is certainly not to be missed. Its narrow alleyways are where one can find the finest selection of antiques and local street food this is a spicy, fresh experience for the tastebuds. The Linking Road is the perfect spot to find deals on cheap shoes and clothing of both Indian and Western styles.

5. Juhu and Marine Drive Chowpatty Beaches

Juhu and Marine Drive are where the locals go at the end of a long day to relax and take in the fresh sea air. It is here that the sunsets of Mumbai are most striking, and it makes a perfect spot for relaxation after a long day of walking and sightseeing. Check out the local food stalls that sell snacks and sumptuous treats. Some favourites being sold by the mobile vendors include bhel puri, pani pure, delicious corn on the cob, and other traditional, spicy bites.

6. Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

From this spot you can watch the dhobis, or washermen, do their tedious laundry work in the endless sprawl of concrete troughs. There are literally thousands of washermen that come to this point each day and spend hours cleaning all their garments by hand; standing up to their knees in chemical-drenched waters. It is a testament to the hard work ethic of India, and is a great way to feel a part of the cultural, day-to-day drudgery of living in Mumbai.

7. Mumbai Dabbawalas

Dubbawala is a person who carries a container, and daily in Mumbai there are thousands of men who transport about 200,000 lunch boxes to the city's office workers. This food is freshly cooked and delivered by the Dubbawala every afternoon. The British rulers were the ones who invented this custom, and it still is an important element of city life. Hang out in the streets during the afternoon to see these busy men carrying the fragrant boxes from building to building.

8. Haji Ali

Serving as both a mosque and a tomb, the enchanting Haji Ali was constructed in 1431 by the commission of a wealthy Muslim merchant who was transformed by his great pilgrimage to Mecca. His body rests within the tomb. With a stunning location in the middle of the ocean, the mosque is a unique marvel, indeed. During low tide, it's possible to walk to the mosque on a slender walkway, but during high tide it's completely surrounded by ocean. It's a moving addition to the Mumbai coastline.

9. Bollywood

India's ever-popular Bollywood film industry has its home in Mumbai, and a trip to the Hollywood of the east must be on everyone's itinerary. Bollywood movies are delightful, colourful, romantic, and moving. The best place to catch a film is at the enchanting Eros Cinema, that is located adjacent to the railway station known as Churchgate. You can also take a tour through Film City, to get a real taste of the action and glamour. Take a walk on set, behind the scenes, and sometimes you can even catch some filming in real time.

10. Caves and National Park

Mumbai can feel like a bustling, overwhelming city, and that's why having a national park within its reaches is such a great respite from the pandemonium. Here you'll find some tremendous ancient Buddhist caves carved out of volcanic rock. If the caves are exciting to you, also note that Elephanta Island is home to caves dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, and are startling to behold. All in all, the national park is the ideal place to relax. It's not uncommon for businessmen to take a breather in the park during the afternoon, or whenever they get a break from the office.

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