Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra. A Global City (importance in the economic system) and Fashion and Film hub (as the home of Bollywood) it is one of the most cosmopolitan of all Indian cities. Mumbai is known for its night life and its rich cultural heritage.
Even a single day spent in exploring Mumbai will turn out to be an enriching experience, there is so much to inhale and absorb. From the fast pacing city life, to the soft lull of sea waves, from historical to contemporary architecture, the exclusive boutiques to the local bazaars, the caves and forts to the galleries and museums, this commercial and the cultural hub of India has something to offer to everyone.
Mumbai derives its name from the name of goddess Mumbadevi. As the very name suggests you can give a holy slant to your day in Mumbai. And not just temples, the city boasts of an incredible religious blend, rich in myths and legends. Mumba Devi temple, believed to be built in 1675, is located in Bhuleshwar . Other temples include Mahalakshmi temple, Walkeshwar temple, Swaminarayan mandir . Built in 1801 Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is another important site. Located in Prabhadevi, it is one of the richest temples in Mumbai, and is also frequented by movie stars and politicians thus staying regularly in news.
Other religious sites have an equal presence in Mumbai. Afghan Church, a 19th century building, is located in Colaba area. The Gothic arches and stained glass windows make this heritage structure a place worth visiting. Mount Mary Church in Bandra has a long and fascinating history which could be traced back to 16th century. The Blessed Virgin Mary, as the devotees and pilgrims believe, holds miraculous powers. St. Michael’s Church, in Mahim built in 1534 also happens to be among one of the oldest Portuguese buildings in Mumbai.
Haji Ali Dargah, in Worli, is a world renowned site, and dates back to 15th century. Architecturally it has Indo-Islamic influences, the minarets and marble pillars, mirror work, the sculpted entrance and the rich folklore and legends associated with this Dargah of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, makes it a must visit place.
If your interests and passions veer more towards historical and archaeological heritage of any place, then Mumbai offers you a plethora of places to visit from the pre colonial as well as colonial era. Bombay High Court building dates back to 1860s and incorporates the styles of Gothic Revival. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, popularly known as Victoria Terminus is a landmark monument. Built in 1887, this UNESCO world heritage site, boasts of Victorian, Italianate, Gothic as well as Mughal influences. Today it serves as the headquarters for Central Railways.
Elephanta Island in the Mumbai Harbour houses the Elephanta Caves, another UNESCO world heritage site. Lore about these caves is traced back to Mahabharata and the Pandavas. Their history and styles are traced to varied eras. The caves have many sculptures depicting various myths, for instance there is a panel depicting Nataraja doing the tandava.
Gateway of India is perhaps the most recognizable landmark of Mumbai. It was finished in 1924, and has served as the ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the Governors during British Rule. The architecture has Roman, Hindu and Muslim influences. The place is frequented by tourists and is extremely photogenic. Next to this is the famous Taj Mahal Palace, a hotel that is an architectural delight, and was made 21 years before the Gateway of India.
Worli fort was built by the British in 17th century to watch out for enemy ships. Today it affords a spectacular view of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and Mumbai bay. The Kanheri caves are some 2000 years old and a protected archaeological site located within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The National Park itself offers varied experiences like Safaris, Walking trails and an impressive range of flora and fauna.
Mumbai is also very famous for its beaches, Juhu Beach, Chowpatty, Marine Drive are all immensely popular tourist attractions. Marine Drive at night also referred to as Queen’s Necklace , standing on the beaches and feeling the wind and waves, the endless blue of the seas makes a trip to these places worthwhile.
For those who want to sample the more contemporary offerings of the city, there are museums and theatres galore- Nehru planetarium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Prince of Wales Museum to name a few. They are a heaven for artists and art lovers. Essel world is India’s largest amusement park, and is equipped to entertain not just kids but people of all ages. The place adds fun quotient to your day. Plays, musical performances are organized on a regular basis in places like the National Centre for Performing arts, and Prithvi Theatre.
The food lovers could give their taste buds a treat in this city known for its street food- pav bhaji, vada pav, bhel puri. Or you could visit the innumerable restaurants and sample the exclusive dishes and seafood on their menu. You can also add a visit to the Leopold Café in the Colaba area to your day. Built in 1871, it also features in the well known novel Shantaram. Along with your coffee you can also drink in its rich history.
If you are a shopaholic, and judge a place by its markets and shopping experience, Mumbai won’t disappoint you. From high-end shops and exclusive boutiques in Bandra, to the street shops, you can shop your heart out as your wallet dictates. Some of the most popular markets are the Colaba Causeway, Linking Road, and the Chor Baazar. These markets have their own fascinating histories and the shops display why Mumbai is a fashion capital.
Mumbai offers diverse and incredible locations for any person to visit and experience, and if “to travel is to live”, then even a single day in Mumbai will equate to a memorable life.