Mumbai is the city of Gold where one willing can achieve his dreams. People from all parts of the country come and try their luck here. This is the reason behind the cosmopolitan and mixed population of the city. You will people of all caste, culture and religion. The dressing, eating habits are a cross section of the traditional beliefs and the new western influence. The urban and educated people are greatly influenced by western culture.
Mumbai has much to see. Once a tiny island covered by palm trees was used to belong to the native koli fisher-folk, who still live here in their little villages surrounded by huge skyscrapers. In the seventeenth century the Portuguese came and dotted the island with several forts, which stand even today. In 1661, Mumbai was finally ceded to Charles II of England and eventually became one the largest ports in the British Empire.
The local language is Marathi, but Hindi is widely used and known to all. Also as English is the medium of instruction is offices, even the locals understand and can speak the basic words to help a foreign tourist get around without much trouble.
Situated in South-Bombay, this is a tourist preferred location. It has plenty of budget and mid-range hotels. The majestic Taj Mahal Hotel has great views of the Gateway of India from its top floor Apollo Bar. The streets behind the Taj Mahal Hotel are the travellers’ centre of Mumbai. The main drag of Colaba is plenty of street vendors, shops, stalls and cafes.
The extravagant blend of Victorian gothic buildings in the Fort district of Mumbai, supports the European roots of the city. This lively area occupies the site of the old British built fort and is the established commercial centre of Mumbai. It’s jampacked with commuters, street stalls and the 19th century British institutions and trading houses. The Bombay Stock Exchange on the famous Dalal Street is one of the many establishments.
- Marine Drive
Built in 1920, Marine Drive runs along the shoreline of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point to the foot of Malabar Hill. It passes Chowpatty Beach along the way. It’s one of Mumbai’s most popular romantic spot and sunset view is amazing. Tourist brochures are fond of stating it as the Queen’s Necklace, because of the dramatic curve of its streetlights at night.
If you’re feeling energetic, a stroll down Marine Drive is possibly the best way to discover Mumbai. This is a windswept promenade, flanked by the sea and a row of art deco buildings. Looped between the concrete jungle of Nariman Point, Mumbai’s Manhattan, and the leafy green slopes of Malabar hill, Marine Drive is sometimes called the Queen’s Necklace, strung with glittering street lights like an enormous strand of imperious jewels. It is also one of Mumbai’s busiest roads, an important artery for the heavy suburban traffic heading downtown. Cars whiz continually past the two mile stretch, past huddled lovers, children and babies in perambulators. This is where most of south Mumbai comes to breathe in some fresh air.
- Chowpatty Beach
Mumbai’s famous beach is no place for a sunbathe or taking a dip. In fact, there’s not much going on at Chowpatty at all during the day, but in the evening it develops a magical atmosphere as locals come to stroll among the balloon sellers, fortune tellers, magicians, nut vendors, ferris wheels and shooting galleries. You might even catch a film shoot or a street play. At one end is a row of bhelpuri shops hawking Mumbai’s most popular snack: crisp puffed rice and semolina doused in pungent chutneys, all scooped up with a flat, fried puri. Eating at the collection of stalls is an essential part of the Mumbai experience. Chowpatty is a great place to witness the annual Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in August/September when large images of the Lord Ganesha are immersed in the sea. If you go to Mumbai and have not gone to Chowpatty and enjoyed the beach-side snacks then you have lost lots of fun.
- Malabar Hill
The colonial bungalows that peppered the hillside in the 18th century have now been replaced by the apartment blocks of Mumbai. The formal Hanging Gardens (or Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens) on top of the hill, offer the visitor a panoramic view of Bombay – the bay, the colorful Chowpatty Beach immediately below,and the imposing buildings of Nariman Point (Manhattan of India) reaching for the sky. And at night, “the Queen’s Necklace” is something to watch from the height. Beside the Hanging Gardens, are the Parsi Towers of Silence. Parsis hold fire, earth and water as sacred so do not cremate or bury their dead. At the Parsi Towers of Silence, (not open to visitors) the dead are exposed to elements.
- Hanging Gardens
Perched at the top of Malabar Hill, on its western side, just opposite the Kamala Nehru Park, these terraced gardens, also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens, provide lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea. The park was laid out in the early 1880s over Bombay’s main reservoir, some say to cover the water from the potentially contaminating activity of the nearby Towers of Silence.
- Crawford Market
The colourful indoor Crawford Market, north of CST (previously VT), is the last outpost of British Bombay before the fever of the central bazaars begins. It’s a blend of Flemish and Norman architecture with a bas relief depicting Indian peasants in wheat fields just above the main entrance. The freize, incidentally, was designed by Lockyard Kipling, father of the famous Rudyard Kipling, and the Kiplings’ cottage still stands next to the JJ School of Art across the road. Now named after a local patriot called Jyotiba Phule, Crawford Market looks like something out of Victorian London, with its sweet smell of hay and 50 ft high skylit awning that bathes the entire place in natural sunlight. It used to be the city’s wholesale produce market before this was strategically moved to New Bombay. Today it’s where central Mumbai goes shopping for its fruit, vegetables and meat.
No visit to Mumbai is complete without a round into the bazaars of Kalbadevi, north of Crawford Market. The narrow lanes of this area are flooded in by laundry-draped chawls, and a huge mass of people bring Mumbai’s traffic to a standstill. It’s in complete contrast to the relative space, orderliness and modernity of South Mumbai. The main areas are Zaveri Bazaar (jewellery), Mangaldas Market (cloth), Dhabu St (leather goods) Mumbai’s
- Gateway Of India
The Gateway of India – a 26 mt. Triumphal Archway designed Century to commemorate the visit of King Geoge and Queen Mary to India in 1911 – is Mumbai’s most famous landmark. Ironically, when the Raj ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph: the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway.
Behind the arch, there are steps leading down to the water. Here, you can get onto one of the bobbing little motor launches, for a short cruise through Mumbai’s splendid natural harbour.
- Prince Charles Museum
Built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture to honour king George V’s visit to India. It has 3 main sections: Art , Archealogy , & Natural History. It has a fine collection of Chinese Jade pieces, oil paintings & miniature paintings.
- Rajabai Clock Tower ( Mumbai University )
Situated at the gardens of Mumbai university building, the Rajabai Clock tower rises above the portion of the library section. Consisting of 5 elaborately decorated storeys, the tower is 280 ft. In height and commands a fine view of the city. From the ground are about eight other statues depicting various Indian castes.
- Haji Ali’s Mosque
Situated in between the Arabian Sea, is a whitewashed fairytale mosque containing the tomb of the Muslim saint Haji Ali.
- Essel World
This is Mumbai’s only international-style amusement centre situated close to Gorai Beach. Special ferries get you across to the park and the entrance fee normally takes care of a fixed number of rides. These include the standard roller coaster and adventure themes, plus a water world section where kids can literally run amok. Summer is usually crowded, but the place also offers low budget monsoon packages and special deals on weekends. Check these out before you go.
- Film City
Mockingly called Bollywood by locals, Film City clings to the outskirts of the National Park, and is practically overrun by assorted stars and starlets — the demi gods and goddesses of modern India. Bollywood churns out over 900 films every year, all packed with those mandatory elements of song, dance, melodrama, violence and erotica that audiences love. Which is probably why Film City sets are heavily booked around the year. They are closed to visitors, but special permissions can always be obtained to check out the action.
- Juhu beach
Like Chowpatty, its downtown counterpart, uptown Juhu Beach is also a bourgeois paradise, filled to the gills with screaming children, courting couples and rowdy adolescents. If you want a more fancy excursion, however, retreat behind Juhu’s many five star hotels, for a steaming cup of coffee and a splendid view of the coast. The most popular of these beachfront hotels are the Sun and Sand and Holiday Inn. The government run Juhu Centaur also has a 24 hour coffee shop with a view of the sea.