Mumbai, popularly known as ‘The City of Dreams’ or ‘The Home of Bollywood’ is a majestic spectacle. Also, known as the ‘Maximum City’ of India, the city is home to over 1.2 million people, who coexist in a chaotic and fast-paced metropolitan landscape. The city represents more than a man-made geographical border. People of various religions, who speak numerous languages, wear different and vibrant colors, eat a wide range of cuisines, live together as a singular spirit. And, being one of the most prime business and trade hubs in India, Mumbai witnesses a large number of migrants and welcomes everyone with open arms. Mumbai was ruled by the Portuguese for 125 years until it was given to the British as a wedding dowry. Catherine Braganza, the Princess of Portugal, had married Charles II, the King of England and the city was given as a dowry gift in 1662. Then, the British developed Mumbai as a port and embarked on extensive urban construction works since the early 1800s. After India got Independence from the British in 1947, Mumbai witnessed a population boom as a result of the extensive professional opportunities and wealth, which was unavailable elsewhere. Various cultures and the rich history of Mumbai gave rise to some of the most extraordinary tourist locations in India. Nomads and tourists can check out this travel guide for their trip to Mumbai:
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is one of the most popular monuments in Mumbai and a starting point for tourists who wish to explore the city. But, have you ever wondered how the Gateway of India came into existence? The Gateway of India was built in Mumbai (then, Bombay) during the British rule. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city. The Gateway of India was designed by a British architect named George Wittet. The structure used to be an arrival point for many visitors from the western world. However, after the Independence, it ironically became the point from which the last of the British ships had set sail for England. Now, the Gateway of India is deeply rooted in the culture of India and of Mumbai. The monument faces the vast Arabian Sea and looks magnificent at night against the backdrop of the sea.
Taj Mahal Palace
Located right in front the Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal Palace looks like its something out of a Wes Anderson film. It was built in 1930 by an industrialist named JN Tata, after he was supposedly refused entry to nearby European hotels for being ‘a native’. The construction of Taj had cost Rs. 4 crore. The six-story building has a central Moorish dome that resembles the beautiful architecture of the Indo-Saracenic style. This royal hotel is carved with Romanesque and Victorian Gothic details alongside Edwardian touches on the roof. The Taj Mahal Palace was the first building in Mumbai to be lit by electricity. This hotel offers a royal and lavish experience like no other.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
Built in 1887, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (then, Victoria Terminus) is one of the largest British edifices in India. The structure is a combination of spires, domes, Corinthian minarets, and columns that are inspired from various architectural styles such as Victorian, Saracenic, Gothic, Italianate, and Baroque. Besides, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is a significant junction in the lifeline of Mumbai, the local train, which witnesses millions of passengers on their commute to different parts of Mumbai. Being an important landmark in Mumbai, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus captures the chaotic and fast-paced, yet orderly vibe of the city.
Marine Drive is a sea-facing eight-lane highway in Mumbai along with a wide pavement that was built in the 1920s. The 3 km long stretch is referred to as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’ as the lit up curve resembles a golden necklace at night. During morning or evening, one can see several people running, walking, exercising, or just admiring the vast sea in front of them. Marine Drive offers a serene and peaceful experience right in the hustle and bustle of the city.
Dhobi Ghat is a 140-year old open-air laundromat that is situated next to Mahalaxmi railway station. It is estimated that the Dhobi Ghat receives millions of pieces of clothing from houses, hotels, and hospitals across Mumbai everyday. One can witnesses several washermen and women (known as ‘dhobis’) sorting, cleaning, and drying a wide variety of clothes. Every piece of clothing is marked with a distinct code, which enables the clothes to reach its owner without getting lost in other clothes.
Sassoon Docks is on the oldest fishing villages in Mumbai. While most work days start at 9 am, fishermen and women start working as early as 5 am. The odor of fishes can be felt from miles away. Interested travelers can visit Sassoon Docks to take a peek into everyday lives of the fishing community in Mumbai. Even after being quite isolated from the rest of city, this place has its own version of hustle and bustle.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is one the biggest museums in Mumbai. The building is an interesting blend of British, Islamic, and Hindu styles along with architecture of Indo-Saracenic design. The museum is home to to a large collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, Indian miniature paintings, terracotta figurines from the Indus Valley, and some dangerous weaponry. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is a must-visit for travelers, who wish to learn about the history of India. However, this is not all that Mumbai has to offer. Tourist attractions like Bandra Fort, Dadar Chowpatti, Elephanta Caves, Asiatic Society of Mumbai, and many more are spectacles that cannot be missed. Explore this huge city like a local by using public transportation like local trains, buses, and metro rail. However, the public transportation can be incredibly crowded, especially during rush hours. Else, travelers can opt for auto rickshaws, taxis, or ride-sharing services like Uber to move around. Also, tourists can go for Mumbai Tours that are offered by many tourism agencies. And, places for accommodation such as hotels can be quite expensive in Mumbai, but cheaper options can still be found.