Places to Visit in Mumbai
Mumbai, previously known as ‘Bombay’ till 1995, is the capital city of Maharashtra and lies at the mouth of the Ulhas River on the west coast of India in the coastal region known as the Konkan. It has a deep natural harbor and is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west. Many parts of the city lie just above sea level.
Mumbai consists of two distinct regions: Mumbai City district and Mumbai Suburban district, which form two separate revenue districts of Maharashtra. A melting pot of different religious communities, cultures, economic backgrounds, talent and what-not, this city draws and welcomes people from all other states of India as well as from outside India and is the main reason for Mumbai’s humungous population. Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, and Jews all co-exist in harmony. Considered the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India, Mumbai attracts like a magnet, people from all over the country with hope and determination in their eyes and a zeal and enthusiasm to make it on their own!
The city houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India’s premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy. The city also houses India’s most famed Hindi film industry (Bollywood), as well as the Marathi film and television industry. The potential to offer a higher standard of living will all these job and business opportunities in Mumbai, as well as an openness to letting people try out their entrepreneurial skills, is what attracts migrants from all over India and hence the city has earned the moniker (nickname, pet name) of a ‘cosmopolitan city’. Mumbai has the highest number of billionaires and millionaires among all cities in India, has evolved into a global financial hub and for several decades it has been the home of India’s main financial services and a focus for both infrastructure development and private investment. And ironically, it also has a huge settlement of slum dwellers ! So, one can witness the two extreme standards and types of living in this fast-paced, ‘maximum city’, where dreams turn into reality (or are shattered). You can either love Mumbai or hate Mumbai, but you definitely cannot be indifferent to this ‘City of Dreams’.
Mumbai’s culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, music, and theatres. The city offers you several experiences with a variety of food, entertainment, and night life, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other world capitals. Mumbai residents celebrate both Western and Indian festivals with equal enthusiasm and fervour. Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Good Friday, Dussera, Moharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Maha Shivratri are some of the popular religious festivals in the city, celebrated together by people of various religions, besides other splendid art and cultural festivals organized throughout the year. Beaches are a major tourist attraction in the city. The major beaches in Mumbai are Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu Beach, Dadar Chowpatty, Gorai Beach, Marve Beach, Versova Beach, Madh Beach, Aksa Beach, and Manori Beach. However, most of the beaches are unfit for swimming except Girgaum Chowpatty and Juhu Beach.
Climate in Mumbai : Mumbai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. The cooler season from December to February is followed by the summer season from March to June. The period from June to about the end of September constitutes the south-west monsoon season, and October and November form the post-monsoon season. Between June and September, the south west monsoon rains lash the city
How to reach Mumbai :
By air : Mumbai is the gateway to India for a large number of travellers and is extremely well connected by air with most major destinations around the world as well as in India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport lies about 30 kilometres north of the city. The Santa Cruz Domestic Airport is about 4.5 kilometres from the international airport and 26 kilometres north of the city.
By rail : Mumbai is very well connected to rest of India by trains. Trains travelling from Central, East and West India arrive at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or VT as it used to be called. Trains from the North arrive at Mumbai Central Station.
By road : Buses from other states arrive at the Mumbai Central Bus Station. Most of the inter-Maharashtra buses arrive at this station as well, although those running from Pune and Nasik arrive at the ASIAD bus stand near Dadar railway station.
Abhibus has plenty of buses plying from various places like Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Surat, Ahmedabad, Nashik, Baroda to Mumbai and from Mumbai to these and a host of other cities in Mumbai. Log on to www.abhibus.com and check your preference.
Tourist Attractions in Mumbai :
This city has a lot to offer in terms of attractions, for those who want to explore and experience this exciting, ‘never dull’, ‘crazy as hell’ and colourful place! Listed below are a few:
1 – Gateway Of India
Gateway of India is a major landmark of Mumbai City, built in the 20th Century to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. Located at the tip of Apollo Bunder, the gateway overlooks the Mumbai harbour that is bordered by the Arabian Sea in the Colaba district. This structure is constituted of a large arch and the monument’s design is a combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. The Taj Mahal Hotel, which is one of India’s most prestigious and luxurious hotels is situated close to the Gateway of India. The main gate of this monument is located on Apollo Bunder road and the view from here towards the sea is breathtaking. The Gateway of India has total five jetties which will take you to Elephanta caves or to Alibaug.
2 – Film City
Located near Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the vicinity of Aarey Colony in Goregaon, it is probably the most sought after place in Mumbai for those who feed on cinema and television. Also known as Dada Saahab Phalke Chitranagri, Film City is spread across 520 acres and is very much like wonderland. The place is so large, that it is believed that almost 1000 sets can be put up simultaneously here. The main highlight of Film City are its life-like sets, which include fake lakes, fountains, mountains, gardens houses, picnic spots, cities and villages…….and of course the film and television stars that throng the sets during their shoots.
Note : One has to take prior permission to visit Film City.
3 – Elephanta Caves
Situated at a 10 km radius from Gateway of India is one of the major tourist places in Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves. The caves are said to be one of the oldest rock cut structures in the country and is a perfect example of archaic Indian art associated to the cult of Lord Shiva. The caves are adorned with sculptures and the island on which the caves are built is a quiet and picturesque island with green foliage and harmless primates. The three-headed Shiva sculpture called Maheshmurti is the main attraction of this island. Apart from it the sculptures of Shiva, in the ‘Shiva Nataraja’ and ‘Ardhanarishvara’ forms are also worth seeing in Elephanta Caves.
Note : To go to Elephanta Caves, one has to go to the Gateway of India in Mumbai and take a boat/ferry ride from there. The journey takes one hour by sea.
4 – Marine Drive
This stretch is also known as ‘Queens Necklace’ because the street lights make the road look like a string of pearls and create an illusion of a necklace, when viewed at night from an elevated point. Marine Drive is a 3km long stretch that links Nariman Point to Babulnath, and is situated at the foot of Malabar Hill. Large crowds of people come to this place to stride along the promenade and to view the setting sun at dusk. Towards the northern end of Marine Drive lies one of the oldest beaches in Mumbai, Chowpatty Beach, which is famous for its bazaars and fast food and snacks such as Bhel Puri, Paav Bhaji, etc.
5 – Juhu Beach
Rain or shine…..this beach has people strolling around, no matter what the weather ! Probably one of the most visited places in Mumbai, Juhu Beach is situated in Ville Parle. It comes to life mostly in the evening, when people visit here to enjoy the sunset, play in the water and treat their taste buds with street food like Chaat (bhelpuri, pani puri, sev puri etc), Gola (flavoured ice popsicles) and plenty more.
6 – Prince Of Wales Museum
Also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the museum is another popular place to see in Mumbai. Prince of Wales Museum was built in the early 20th century and showcases several collections of ancient artworks, sculptures and artifacts in its galleries. There are three different parts of the museum: Natural history section, Archaeology section and Art section where innumerable forms of art and artifacts from India, Tibet, Nepal and other far eastern countries are preserved. Also, there are collection of 2000 rare miniature paintings from several art schools in India; decorative artworks made from wood, metal, jade and ivory and rare archeological artifacts dating back to the ‘Indus Valley’ civilization in the 2000 B.C can be seen in the museum.
7 – Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Situated within Mumbai, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has the distinction of being a wildlife reserve in a metropolitan . The national park is spread over an area of 104 sq km, and is popular among wildlife and nature enthusiasts. It is popular for its trekking trails as well as its View Point trail and is the most ambitious, taking you to the highest point in the park and offers a panoramic view of Mumbai and Tulsi, Vihar and Powai lakes. Barking deer, Hanuman langur and Indian flying fox, birds like jungle owlets, golden orioles among many others can be spotted here. It is one of the most visited places in Mumbai and gets about two million people annually.
8 – Kanheri Caves
Nestled in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali, the Kanheri Caves, also known as the ‘lungs of Mumbai’ is said to be the only place in the city with the maximum amount of greenery and consequently, a lot of fresh air. Kanheri Caves premises offers a pleasant escape from the pollution and the bustling city life. The caves date back to 1st century BC and are believed to be one of the oldest caves in India. Kanheri Caves are renowned for their natural Basalt formations, ancient Indian styled architecture and the 109 special entrances to the caves. These caves were once a distinctive Buddhist institution for congregational worship, study and meditation.
9 – Siddhivinayak Temple
Probably one of the most beautiful temples situated in Mumbai, the Siddhivinayak temple is definitely a must see in the city. Every day, more than 20000 devotees throng the temple to offer their prayers at the temple and on Tuesday special ‘puja’ and ‘darshan’ takes place. Bollywood celebrities too, visit Siddhivinayak to seek blessings. When one visits this place, they can admire the temple’s ancient style of architecture and its many features.
10 – Essel World
One of the first amusement parks in India, Essel world in Mumbai is a place for everyone. Situated in Gorai Island, Essel World is one of the biggest amusement parks with its massive infrastructure and several exciting dry and wet rides. The park remains open all year round and fun activities that can be enjoyed here include ice skating, dancing and bowling. The park has several rides that cater to all age groups and one can also shop and enjoy the food courts.
Besides these, visitors can enjoy several other quaint spots like the Chor bazaar (with a guide or local companion), Banganga Tank for certain events, Victoria Terminus, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Dharavi Slums, Khotachiwadi Village and several more popular locales. Mumbai’s night-life with its pubs, lounge bars and restaurants for every type and kind of people is much talked about and worth experiencing too.
Picture Credit – thrillophilia.com