‘Aamchi Mumbai’ or ‘Mayanagari’ is regarded as the city of dreams in India. A bustling metropolis that is truly cosmopolitan in its character and ethos and is home to diverse religions and ethnicities.
People from all over India, from all walks of live, from all milieus, throng to Mumbai in search of their tryst with destiny. Be it the daily wage labourers from UP and Bihar, the niche professionals from across the length and breadth of India, or those youngsters who aspire to make it big in Bollywood, Mumbai’s charm is unfading and enduring for all of them. In the popular imagination, Mumbai is second to none – whether it is for the 24*7 round-the-clock fast life, industry, finance, business or a vibrant history.
Mumbai’s – or Bombay’s – journey started as a tiny Portuguese fishing hamlet in 17th century, which thrived as a trading centre under the British. Post independence, Bombay continued to be the financial and industrial powerhouse in India. The story of Bombay’s origin is very interesting. It was a part of dowry of Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess, to Charles 2nd, the King of England. Thus Portuguese control over Bombay ended and British rule was heralded.
Mumbai residents vouch that there is no place in India like Mumbai and the city has a unique charm about it.
Mumbai is also a city of contradictions, from congested alleys in Nagpada to sea facing promenades in Worli and Marine Drive; from glistening skyscrapers to Asia’s largest slum area.
Mumbai has a large number of tourist attractions, ranging from ancient caves to heritage restaurants to colonial era buildings to entertainment parks.
We have included a list of 20 tourist must visit attractions in Mumbai:
1) Gateway of India:
It is the most popular landmark of Mumbai and one that has been on postcards for decades. The Gateway of India was built in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India. The Gateway is a mix of Indo-Saracenic and Muslim architectural styles. It faces the Arabian Sea and is located in South Mumbai near Colaba.
2) Elephanta Caves:
These rock caves, situated 10 Kms from Gateway of India, are said to be the oldest in India. There are sculptures of many god’s inside the caves. It is said that the sculptures, including the Maheshmurti sculpture of Shiva, were built in 6th century.
3) Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus:
Earlier known as Victoria Terminus, it is located in the heart of Mumbai and is built in the Gothic architectural style. It was built in 1888 and was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2004. It is a bustling railway station.
4) Marine Drive:
It is situated in the Malabar Hills and is a 3 km long stretch linking Nariman Point to Babulnath. During the evening, Marine Drive is illuminated by nearby lights and this is why it is also called ‘Queen’s Necklace’
5) Prince of Wales Museum:
The popular museum has been renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. It is a must visit attraction in Mumbai for those interested in history. Built in the early 20th century, the museum has an elaborate collection of ancient artifacts, decorative artwork and over 2,000 miniature paintings from all parts of India. The museum also has a natural history and archaeology section.
6) Essel World:
Essel World is the first waterpark in India. It has very good infrastructure and facilities for all age groups. Located in the Gorai island, it offers dancing, ice skating, bowling and also shopping and food court.
7) Chor Bazaar:
The name translates to ‘thieves market’. It is one of the oldest marketplaces in Mumbai where goods can be bought at throwaway prices. One can find almost everything here, from old furniture to clothes to latest electronic gadgets.
8) Rajabai Clock Tower:
It is situated in the campus of Mumbai University. The tower is modelled on the famous Big Ben in London and is a major attraction amongst tourists. The clock in the tower gives a melodious tone after every hour.
9) Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
Earlier known as Borivali National Park, it is the only wildlife reserve in a metropolitan area. The park sprawls over 104 acres and is a must visit for nature lovers. It is visited by more than 2 million people annually. Indian flying fox and wild owls can be spotted here.
10) Aksa Beach:
Aksa Beach is situated in Malad and is ideal for vacationers and those on a picnic. It is also a base of the Indian Navy and one of the very few places in Mumbai that offer calm and peace, away from the daily commotion and traffic.
11) St George’s Fort:
The fort was built in 1769 and is named after King George 3rd. It was constructed for a defense against the French. Earlier it was used to store weapons. Today mostly those who are interested in the colonial history of Mumbai visit its ramparts.
12) Jehangir Gallery:
It was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir in 1952. The internationally renowned gallery has 4 exhibition halls and is the centre of Mumbai art.
13) Global Vipassana Pagoda:
It is a very large meditation complex and spiritual centre in Mumbai. It was completed in 2008 and is one of the biggest stone carved monuments in Asia. It is also the largest dome in the world, which is not supported by a pillar. There is a huge statue of Buddha inside it and it is built in the Burmese architectural style. 8000 people can be accommodated in its auditorium.
14) Khotachiwadi Village :
It is tiny suburb in South Mumbai near the famous chowpatty beach. The houses in this village are built in old Portuguese style and most of them are more than a hundred years old. It gives a quaint picture of Mumbai.
15) St. Thomas Cathedral :
The Anglican cathedral was built in 1718 during the early phases of the British settlements. It is named after St Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who also visited India.
16) Colaba Causeways Market:
One of the oldest markets in Mumbai for cheap and fashionable clothes and other merchandise. It is also a foodie’s delight!
17) Film City:
A visit to the home of Bollywood is incomplete without visiting the film city. The film city is located in Goregaon. Spread over 520 acres, it is another world in itself, with artificial lakes, mountains, picnic spots, fountains and entire villages. 1000 movie sets can be simultaneously put in the enormous film city.
18) Haji Ali Dargah:
The 400 year old mausoleum is one of the most important religious and spiritual centre of Mumbai and people of all faiths visit Haji Ali Dargah to seek blessings. It is situated in the middle of the sea and the only link to the land is through a 700 yard path.
19) Kanheri Caves:
These caves are natural basalt formations and date back to 1st century BC. They were Buddhist centres earlier. Kanheri Caves have lush greenery and the cleanest air in Mumbai. People visit it to appreciate the natural beauty around the place. Kanheri Caves are also known as ‘Lungs of Mumbai’ for the unpolluted air there.
20) Leopold Café:
Established in 1871, it is perhaps the oldest surviving multi cuisine restaurant and bar in Mumbai. Leopold needs no introduction in Mumbai and has word-of-mouth publicity amongst both domestic and international tourists . It is amongst the handful of few Irani cafés that are still doing good business. It offers lip-smacking food, delectable cheesecakes, amazing cocktails and a good ambience in Colaba.