Mumbai is a densely populated city on India's west coast. A financial center, it's India's largest city. On the Mumbai Harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch, built by the British Raj in 1924. Offshore, nearby Elephanta Island holds ancient cave temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The city's also famous as the heart of the Bollywood film industry.
The city's long association with the British is reflected in the old world charm of its buildings made in the Indo-Saracen style. With its well-known landmark- the Gateway of India is located at Apollo Bunder overlooking the harbour. The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911.Mumbai's most famous monument, this is the starting point for most tourists who would love to explore the city. Today the Gateway of India stands as a symbol of perfect Indo-saracenic style of architecture and draws hordes of local tourists and citizens. It is one of the finest examples of colonial architectural heritage in India.
Elephanta Island is an hour away from Mumbai Harbour. Motorboats ferry tourists across to the island from the jetty at the Gateway of India. The boat ride, itself, is interesting as you go past fishing boats, anchored ships, yachts and little islands. What is known about the island is that it once was the capital of powerful coastal kingdom. The Portuguese established fortifications and used the island for military exercises; as a consequence many sculptures were destroyed. The island resembles twin hillocks rising from the sea and the caves are located halfway up the higher of the two. Carved out the solid basalt rock, the caves represent Mount Kailash, the heavenly mountain residence of Lord Shiva and date back to the 3rd or 5th centuries. The entire cave complex area is constructed on 60000 square feet and consists of a main chamber, courtyards and several additional shrines. There is a mass of natural rock above the temple. The temple plan is designed in symmetry with the focal points worked out in a geometric Mandala, representing the cosmic field of energy. Inside the cave temple is a large hall, with nine sculptured panels depicting Lord Shiva in different moods as well as scenes from the life of Shiva. Little is known of the artists and architects who created these magnificent temples and sculptures out of sheer rock with the most primitive of tools.
A well-known land mark in Mumbai, the mosque of Haji Ali is located in the Arabian Sea some 500 yards from the shore. It is connected by a causeway linking it to the busy Lala Lajpat Rai Marg near Mahalakshmi Race Course and Worli. The beautiful white mosque is said to have been built in 1431 and holds the tomb of Saint Haji Ali, who died while on a Haj journey to Mecca. Behind the façade and entrance of the Haji Ali Mosque is a courtyard where the shrine lies. There is a separate area for men and women to pray and pay their respects and everyday thousands of pilgrims circle the tomb that is placed in a silver frame and covered with a green and red chaddar. The tomb itself is replete with intricate mirror work in all colours and a mosaic of Arabic patterns that spell the ninety nine different of names of Allah. The mosque can only be approached during low tide as the causeway gets submerged in the sea during high tide and during the monsoon season. During this time the mosque looks like a floating mosque in the sea. Many thousands of pilgrims visit this holy mosque everyday and on Thursdays and Fridays it is quite crowded as people from all faiths and religions visit Haji Ali to pay homage and be blessed by the legendary saint.
Juhu Beach is an attractive beach located in the western suburbs of Mumbai. This beach has a carnival like ambience year round and is considered a relaxation spot for the local people. Spread across a stretch of 6kms on the shores of Arabian Sea, this beautiful site is well-known for its mesmerising sunset view during the evening. The setting sun presents a sky in shades of red and orange and makes a perfect view for the onlooker. A popular haunt for all away from monotonous city life, Juhu Beach has more than sand and sun. It is brimming with Mumbai's own street food which is a temptation in itself, hard to resist. One could relish lip smacking specialities like Bhel Puri, Pani Puri, Sev Puri, Chaats and don't miss out on the mouth-watering Pav Bhaji. Because the stalls are located on the beach side, one may not be sure of hygiene of these foods, but if even that fails to lure you, be assured that you have a clutch of some of the most lavish hotels and restaurants in the vicinity to keep your taste buds satisfied.
The Flora Fountain at the Hutatma Chowk in Mumbai was built in 1869 in honour of Sir Bartle Frere, Governor of Bombay, and the man responsible for much of Bombay. The heritage monument is located at the southern end of the historic Dadabhai Naoraji Road, also known as the Mile Long Road. Today the fountain stands exactly at the point where once the original Church Gate of Bombay Fort stood. The construction of the Flora Fountain is a blend of water, architecture and sculpture. The structure is named after a Roman goddess Flora. The Portland stone statue adorns the top of the fountain and the four corners of the fountain are decorated with mythical figures. Exquisitely carved sculpture is made out of white marble and now wears a white coat of oil paint. The total estimated cost of Rs. 47,000 or 9000 pounds sterling which was a considered to be a huge sum in those days.
Prince of Wales Museum, now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, was set up in the early 20th century to honour the visit of King George V to India. Designed by an eminent architect, George Wittet, the museum is an impressive heritage building of Mumbai and one of the best museums in India. The architecture of Prince of Wales Museum displays an Indo-Saracen style with an imposing white dome adding to its magnificence. The museum can be categorised into three main sections namely, Art, Archaeology and Natural History. The Museum has a fine collection of various forms of art from India and some invaluable Nepali, Tibetan and Far-Eastern art and artefacts. If intricate paintings interest you then a collection of over 2000 miniature paintings from various Indian schools of art is bound to leave you awestruck. This section of the Prince of Wales Museum has one of the best miniature collections in India. Ancient Indian art is presented by the Stone Sculpture gallery with sculptures from various regions of India. The museum also houses Decorative Art objects with wonderful collections in jade, wood, ivory, and metal. The Prince of Wales Museum has some rare and optimum collections of the Indian history featuring archaeological artefacts from the Indus Valley that dates back to 2000 BC. It also exhibits relics and remnants from the Gupta and Maurya Periods. The Indian Coins collection, acquired from individual collections, as well as the Archaeological Survey of India covers an entire range of coin specimens from various dynasties. The Natural History section has galleries displaying collection of Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fishes. This section of Prince of Wales Museum aims to increase awareness about flora and fauna especially, endangered species.
Located on the coastline of south Mumbai, Chowpatty Beach is a popular beach which attracts people of all age groups. Every evening, the beach brims with crowds amidst food stalls, ferry rides, balloon sellers, et al. Chowpatty Beach is a lively place where one can unwind after a tiring day to please their taste buds, breathe in some fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of the sandy beach. People come to this beach for a break from their tedious routine and on weekends, the busy Chowpatty Beach turns into a picnic spot for the people of Mumbai. The beach also hosts various Hindu festivals throughout the year. Coconut Festival and Ganesh Chaturthi are occasions when the beach is swarming with people of Mumbai from all walks of life. During the day, Chowpatty Beach witnesses people dozing off under the shade of small trees. However, the evenings transform the whole beach into a carnival-like atmosphere, where children enjoy in ferry rides and pony rides, while wayside fortune tellers make some easy money. One can delight in the peculiar entertainment like dancing monkeys, snake charmers, gun shooting, toy sellers and acrobats. Take a quick bite of Mumbai's own street food – Bhel-Puri, one that is hard to resist. Relish the lip-smacking Pav Bhaji, Pani Puri, Sev Puri, Chaats and Kulfi sold at local kiosks at the beach.
In India, dhobi refers to a traditional washer man, who will collect your dirty linen, wash it, and return it neatly ironed at your doorstep, all for a meagre amount. Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, commonly known as Dhobi Ghat, is a well known hub for open air laundry where Mumbai's dhobis wash thousands of clothes a day. Located alongside Mahalaxmi Railway Station, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat is the world's largest outdoor laundry and a popular attraction among tourists. The municipality of Mumbai gives out over 800 washing pens (each fitted with a beating stone) on rent individually to the dhobis at Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat and to make the most of them work starts well before sunrise. Clothes are soaked, slapped, spun, and ironed in this compact open-air hub which is spread across 10 acres at Mahalaxmi. Clothes are soaked in water and then hardly beaten clean against a stone platform at one end. Stubborn stains are removed by tossing the garments into huge tubs of boiling caustic soda (starch). Next, they are spun dry or are hung out in the sunshine. Ironing of the clothes is done by either heavy coal-burning irons or electric powered irons. Then the clothes are piled into neat bundles and delivered to their respective owners. One may witness hundreds of dhobis washing clothes at the same time. Surprisingly none of the clothes are ever misplaced or exchanged with someone else's. Washing, dyeing of garments, and giving stone wash to denims is the major amount of work here.
Marve Beach of Mumbai is a beautiful beach located in the western suburbs of Malad. The hills surrounding the Marve Beach give a spectacular view of the rising and setting sun. The beach holds an ancient Portuguese Church and an orchard of Cashew nut trees that add to the exquisiteness of the beach. Marve Beach is also beset with several exotic cottages. Visitors frequently come to this beach to stroll along the beach and to get some quiet from the hustle-bustle of the city life. Marve Beach connects Essel World, the popular amusement park of Mumbai and Madh Island to the city of Mumbai through a ferry service. Other popular beaches in proximity to Marve Beach are Gorai Beach and Manori Beach, which are a ferry ride away.
The Rajabai Clock Tower is one of the most significant landmarks of Mumbai and a popular tourist attraction. The tower was designed by an eminent architect, George Gilbert, who also modelled on the Big Ben. The construction of the tower was completed in the year 1878. The tower is within the Mumbai University Campus and houses the University Library. The Rajabai Clock Tower is named after the mother of Premchand Roychand, a stockbroker, who contributed a lot towards its construction. Rajabai Clock Tower stands tall at a height of 280 feet and is adorned with ornate figures. The ground floor of the tower has two large rooms. The tower forms a 2.4 meter carriage porch (a roofed structure) and a spiral staircase lobby measuring 2.5 square meters. The staircase is beautifully engraved with attractive pictures. Over the carriage porch, the tower has a square form, raising 20.7 meters high where it changes into an octagonal shape. The height from the porch to the top of the Rajabai Clock Tower is 36 meters. Rajabai Clock Tower reflects the blend of Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture. Below the clock tower is the glorious University Library, with some of the most beautiful and delicate stained glass windows. Unfortunately, the spiral staircase of Rajabai Clock Tower is now closed to the visitors after several unfortunate incidents involving depressed people hurling themselves from the top. The clock of the Rajabai Clock Tower rings every fifteen minutes. When it was first built, the tower played ‘Rule Britannia' and ‘God save the King' among sixteen different tunes that changed four times a day. But with the passage of time the Rajabai clock plays the tunes of the ‘Big Ben' on the quarter hour.
The Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum is a huge house in Mumbai which served as a residence to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 to 1934 during India's freedom struggle. The two-storey mansion is now a Gandhi Museum that preserves the spirit of this legendary freedom fighter, and is a must visit for all those who are inquisitive about knowing Mahatma Gandhi. It was from Mani Bhavan that Mahatma Gandhi initiated the prominent national movements, including the Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat movements. The building came under the custody of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi in 1955 and since then Mani Bhavan has become an authentic memorial to the Father of the Nation. The major attraction of Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum is Gandhi's very own old charkha (spinning wheel) which is well preserved, along with his living room and workplace. His involvement with the charkha began during his stay at Mani Bhavan. The museum houses a picture gallery displaying photographs, posters, slogans, among other things related to Gandhi's life. There is a reference library with over 50,000 books and periodicals on Gandhi related subjects, along with a film and recording archive.
Victoria Terminus, now recognised as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), is a remarkable railway station in Mumbai which serves as the head office for the Central Railways in India. Designed by the British architect, Frederick Stevens in 1887, it was built in the honour of Queen Victoria. Owing to its magnificence and striking architecture, Victoria Terminus was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. The imposing building of Victoria Terminus was designed in a Victorian Gothic style derived from medieval Italian models. It demonstrates an impressive blend of Victorian architecture and traditional Indian architecture. Victoria Terminus has a remarkable ground plan, domes, spires, towers, pointed arches, but the main attractions are the passenger booking hall and the stone carvings and sculptures on the building. Above the entrance gate of the Victoria Terminus are stone sculptures of a lion and a tiger - indicative of Britain and India. The hall has a soaring Neo-Gothic roof which is decorated with colourful tiles and stained glass windows. The platforms are large and spacious to accommodate the swarming commuters that pass through Victoria Terminus daily. The old steam engines have been replaced by electric ones.
The Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir, commonly known as ISKCON Temple, overlooks the skyline of Juhu in Mumbai. It is among the most visited temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, also known as Sri Radha Rasabihari. Founded by Swami Prabhupada in 1978, and managed by ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), the temple is set upon prime land of Hare Krishna Land sprawling over 4 acres. ISKCON Temple of Mumbai, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is amongst the forty ISKCON temples across India and a major attraction of the Juhu locality. Swami Prabhupada inspired the construction of this beautiful temple in Mumbai to spread Krishna consciousness. Also known as Radha Rasabihariji temple, thousands of devotees swarm the temple from across the globe to seek peace. The architectural splendour of the ISKCON Temple is worth-seeing. Both, its interior and exterior walls are adorned with murals and sculptures. In the central prayer hall, one will find paintings portraying the incidents from the life of Lord Krishna. Many devotees who gather at the temple can be seen chanting the ‘Mahamantra' (the great syllable) given by Swami Prabhupada. The temple also arranges food and snacks for visitors at nominal charges. Every evening, the temple gets echoed with prayers and bhajans, attracting devotees from the surrounding area.
Marine Drive is a 3 km long arc shaped road along the sea coast in South Mumbai. The sea coast is a part of the Arabian Sea. Though this road was officially named “Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road”, people hardly use that name. The Marine Drive starts from the north of Nariman Point and ends at the famous Chowpatty Beach, which is located at the foot of Malabar hills. This is the city's ultimate sunset spot. From here after watching the beautiful sun sink into the sea one can witness the streetlights transform the Marine Drive into a shimmering string of pearls forming a necklace. This is the reason it is also named “Queens Necklace”. At the Northern end of the drive we have the famous “Chowpatty Beach”, which is famed for its “bhelpuri”. At night this whole drive completely transforms from a quiet, serene place to a colourful fair. Children of all ages are seen excitedly riding the Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds. After so much excitement people have an array of chaatwalas and restaurants to satisfy their taste buds. Another main attraction of Marine Drive is that a lot of celebrities live here, making it one of India's most arch residential community.
A fresh water lake in the northern part of Mumbai, Tulsi Lake is said to be the second largest lake in Mumbai which provides for a part of city's potable water requirement. Situated inside the Sanjay Gandhi National park, the lake is one of the three lakes sited in the Salsette Island; apart from Powai Lake and Vihar Lake. Both Tulsi and Vihar Lake are present inside the thickly forested area of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The lake was built by damming the River Tasso, and redirecting the flow of the river to nearby Vihar Lake. During monsoon season rainwater from the catchment area of Powai-Kanheri hill ranges also drains into the Tulsi Lake. The plan to make the lake started in 1872 A.D and the completion of the project took place in 1897 A.D. It covers a surface area of about 135 hectares.
The Jehangir Art Gallery located at Kala Ghoda was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir. Constructed in the year 1952, the gallery is today managed by the Committee of Management. Inaugurated on 21 January 1952 by then Chief Minister of Bombay, B. G. Kher, the gallery is dedicated to the memory of Sir Cowasji's late son, Jehangir. One of the first concrete structures of the city, the building is an introvert art gallery by design, mainly due to its twin purposes of an auditorium as well as an art gallery. An example of the modernist notion of an inward looking art gallery,the structure was necessitated by its function as an auditorium which left no scope for the gallery to be open. The gallery begins with a large wavy cantilevered entrance that touches the street, and is must visit for anyone planning to go to Mumbai.
A popular beach of Mumbai lying on the North West coast of the city is the Manori Beach. It is located about 20 minutes away from Madh Island. Situated in the fishing village of Manori, this exotic and serene beach is beset with orchards full of cashew nut trees, making the beach even more appealing. Manori Beach is a happening place for picnics and family outings and is well known for its all-night parties. This fascinating village has beautiful bungalows and wide sparkling beaches. Other attraction here is the quaint Portuguese Church, located near the Marve-Manori road, with its appealing rustic charm and painted windows. The Manori Beach is also a connecting link between Mumbai city and amusement parks like Water Kingdom and Essel world. Other beaches in proximity to Manori Beach are Marve and Gorai beaches, which are a ferry ride away. These tiny beaches have remained unscathed by expansion and industrialisation.
Essel World in Mumbai is the one place almost every child in India has dreamt about. It is the ‘Neverland' of India and is the country's most famous amusement park and Asia's largest water themed park. Located in Gorai, Essel World is spread over a massive 64 acres of land. Essel World was started by Subhash Chandra of the Essel Group in 1986 with the Water Kingdom section being added in 1998. Essel World offers both dry rides as well as water rides with the rides being subdivided into three sub categories. The Family rides are for the whole family to enjoy and allow your family to come together and spend quality time together. Some of these rides are Aqua dives, Mazes, highway cars among many others. The main attractions of the park though, are the adult rides. Here every adult can become a kid again and enjoy these rides. Essel World has the most exhilarating and adrenaline pumping collection of imported rides. Free falls, roller coaster rides, being upside down in mid air, rock climbing etc tend to make adults feel like kids again. There is also the Kiddie ride section that is meant for entertaining the toddlers and the very young ones.
One of the popular amusement parks of Mumbai, the Fantasy Land is a must visit, located at Jogeshwari East. This place is full of entertainment and fun activities for all age groups. Fantasy Land offers several dry rides along with water splashing rides, amazing swings, games zone, artificial lake, boating, horse riding and the list goes on and on. Enjoy going round and round in the lovely merry-go-round or swing in to and fro on the Dragon-like pendulum swing. If driving is your passion, try Grand Slam and crash and bump your car into another's. This is one place where you will not get the ticket while bumping your car into others. Want to experience the thrill? Go for the Slam Bob and surf speedily in air. If that is not enough, then try the Master Blaster and feel butterflies in your stomach enjoy being raised on a great height and then being dropped on the ground. If you want a break from the thrilling rides then go for pedal boating. Simply sit and paddle the boat and enjoy the colourful sights of the Fantasy Land. You may also want to enjoy riding a horse by the lake side.
Shree Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai is one the most visited pilgrimage not only by the locales but also attracts devotees from around the world. The literal meaning of the word ‘Siddhivinayak' is ‘Ganesha who grants all wishes'. The temple was built in the early 18th century by a professional contractor, Mr. Laxman Vithu Patil. A rich history lies behind the construction of Shree Siddhivinayak Temple. The temple was constructed as per the wishes of a rich lady of Agri Samaj of Matunga, Mrs. Deubai Patil who was unable to bear children. During the prayer time the idea of a Ganesha temple struck her. She wanted the other childless mothers to be blessed with children who humbly prayed the deity. The idol of Lord Ganesha that we see today is carved out of a single black stone and is 2.5 feet high and 2 feet wide, with the trunk in the right. The idol has four hands. The upper right arm holds a lotus flower, the left has an axe. The lower right arm holds a rosary and the lower left hand holds a ‘modak' (the favourite delicacy of Ganesha). On both the sides of the idol are Riddhi and Siddhi, the two wives of Ganesha, who are the Goddess of ‘success' and ‘prosperity'.
The Church of St John the Evangelist, also known as Afghan Church, is located at Navy Nagar in Colaba, Mumbai. It is a Presbyterian Church built by the British in the honour of those who died in the First Afghan War of 1838. The church also memorialises the Bombay Army, Madras Army and Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Army from Lahore. The earlier architecture of the church was a small thatched chapel to the south of now INHS Ashvini Naval Hospital. Eventually, a new structure was brought up on the plot of land granted by the government on the agreement that the spire will serve as a landmark for the ships at the harbour which could be viewed from quite a distance. Today's architecture of Afghan Church is the work of the City Engineer, Henry Conebeare, whose designs were approved in the year 1847. However, the reredos, the Afghan War Memorial mosaics, the tiles, pews and screen were designed by architect William Butterfield.
Crawford Market, officially known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai is one of the most popular markets of South Mumbai set up in 1869. At the time of its establishment, the market was named after Arthur Crawford who was the first Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai. After Independence, an extended combat by the President of Mahatma Phule Smarak Samiti, Mukundraoji Bhujbal Patil, the Market got named after Mahatma Jotirao Phule. The market is to be found opposite the Mumbai Police Headquarters. It lies to the north of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station and west of JJ Flyover, which is quite a bustling crossroad. Crawford Market is one of the most spectacular markets. Though the market is indoors but you have some added small shops in the outdoors. The establishment is a wholesale market of fruit, vegetable and poultry, and houses the imported brands of food, cosmetics, household and gift items too. Until March 1996, when the traders were relocated to Navi Mumbai, Crawford Market was the main zone of wholesale fruits.
Aksa Beach is a popular beach located at the Aksa village in Malad, Mumbai. A much visited vacation spot, the beach offers a peaceful serenity, rarely found in the city of Mumbai. Aksa Beach is very clean, with its shoreline dotted by countless snails and shells.Frequented by youngsters on weekends, the beach has several cottages and hotels, many of which are rented to visitors and tourists alike. However, it is advisable not to go swimming at the beach, as the currents are strong and the sands often misguiding.
Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, popularly known as the Hanging Gardens, are terraced gardens sitting atop the Malabar Hill, in the city of Mumbai. Located just opposite the Kamala Nehru Park, the garden offers a tremendous view of the setting sun over the Arabian Sea, and is littered with several hedges carved into the shapes of animals.The park was founded in the year 1881, before being renovated in the year 1921. The Hanging Gardens were created over the main reservoir of Mumbai, the reason according to some being to cover the water from the contamination caused by the adjacent Towers of Silence.
Taraporewala Aquarium is the only aquarium in the city of Mumbai. Built at cost of 800,000 rupees in 1951, the museum houses colorful marine and freshwater fish. Taraporewala Aquarium is located on Marine Drive area of Mumbai. The Aquarium is named after a Parsi who donated the handsome amount to build this aquarium. There are 100 species of marine and freshwater fishes found in this aquarium. It also has 7 types of coral fishes from the famous islands of Lakshadweep. Other attractions inside the aquarium include sharks, turtles, ray fish, moray eels, star fish, stingrays and many others. The aquarium also gives visitors the glimpse of variety of marine life found in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Also inside the aquarium there is a room which has fossils and preserved fishes in bottles on displays along with rare kinds of sea-shells. So enjoy a day at Taraporewala Aquarium and lose yourself in the colorful world of fish.
Crystal Hospital Building, Near Rama Krishna Hotel, Maratha Colony, Wamanrao Sawant Road,
Dahisar (East), Mumbai-400068, India.