Mumbai has something to offer everybody. It’s a city where diversity rules! In Mumbai you can experience everything from food trucks to the 5 star dining. You can travel in the luxury of the chauffeur driven car or choose to experience the hustle and bustle of a local train. For the creature of comfort Mumbai offers some of the best in class hotels, while also offering slum tours for those seeking to explore the underbelly of Mumbai!
Renowned English writer Geoff Dyer has described this uniqueness of Mumbai very well in his own words, as he says – “Have you ever stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai? I’d warmly recommend it. It’s super luxurious, and right next door, there’s a classic slum. So you can do a quick slum tour and get back to your sanctuary without any inconvenience but with some excellent snaps.”
In India, Mumbai is referred to as the ‘City of Dreams’ and rightly so, because no dream is too big for Mumbai to fulfil! Mumbai is the queen of maverick and conforms to nobody’s rules.
If you want to experience a slice of India all in one city, Mumbai is the place for you to experience it. Mumbai caters to the needs of everyone from a budget traveller to the uber rich luxury traveller. If you like to get your hands dirty in mud, Mumbai offers trekking experience right within the city at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a beautiful reserve that is home to the city’s Tiger population as well. But if you prefer to get your feet wet then Mumbai’s long coastline offers you plethora of opportunities from yachting to parasailing.
Mumbai offers an array of both historical and cultural sites to both Indian and foreign tourists.
The Gateway of India is a one of the most iconic structures in Mumbai. It was originally built commemorating the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, but currently stands as a beautiful welcome to any and all visitors. Just next to the Gateway, you can find a shining black statue of Shivaji stands tall representing the pride and courage of the Maratha dynasty. Mumbai is a combination of architecture and influences from the British colonial rule, art deco style buildings built during India’s first economic boom after Independence and traditional Indian architecture and structures.
Mumbai is also home to a combination of different people from all different backgrounds. To cater to its population and its visitors, Mumbai has some of the best and most visited religious sites in the country. Siddhi Vinayak and Maha Lakshmi temple are two of the most popular Hindu temples, Haji Ali Dargah is a world-famous Mosque built on the water, especially popular in the month of Ramzan, and Mount Mary Church in Bandra is a large Christian church that packs up during Christmas season. All three religious places are visited with equal zest irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Haji Ali Dargah has a famous scenic view of the vast open Arabian Sea. It is a majestic mosque built in the 15th century in traditional Mughal style. Lots of foreign architectural researchers also visit this place to take stock of its old minaret shapes and stunningly white dome structures.
Even though it does not come within the top list of the historical or cultural spots in Mumbai, “Chor Bazaar” (Thieves’ Market) is a place to visit (but make sure you are aware of your pockets and bags). This market is more than 150 years old. According to the colloquial tales by the local people, once Queen Victoria lost some of her belongings when her ship was landed in Mumbai. And from this market, she recovered her stolen belongings. Since then, this market got such a weird name.
In addition to the architecture, Mumbai is home to beautiful parks, beaches and UNESCO Heritage Sites. The Kanheri Caves and Elaphanta Caves are two major UNESCO tourist attractions in Mumbai. Khaneri is popular for having old Buddhist idols and the Buddhist scriptures on the cave walls. The Khaneri Caves are located in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which has wide range of flora and fauna. The Elephanta Caves are on an island off of Mumbai and require a ferry ride to get there. The ride is worth it, especially for those who are interested in seeing sculptures and carvings dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva.
To sum it up, we leave with you Danny Boyle’s quote about Mumbai – “It’s not so much what you learn about Mumbai, it’s what you learn about yourself, really. It’s a funny old hippie thing, but it’s true as well. You find out a lot about yourself and your tolerance, and about your inclusiveness.”