From natural calamities and nasty monsoons to terror attacks, Mumbai is a city that has bounced back stronger every single time. The people of the city tell the stories of relentless hope, dreams and truly live up to the adage that says live like there is no tomorrow. The hospitable city of dreams with its burgeoning population makes a place for even more by the day.
From aspirant starlets to Bollywood celebrities, slum dwellers to multi-million dollar business owners and everyone in between, the bustling sea fringed city seems to make space for everyone. Every person here has a story. Every place here comes with a tale to tell too.
11 Popular Tourist Places to Visit in Mumbai
Unending beaches, lively bazaars, overcrowded local trains, historic monuments, thriving economic, art and multi-cultural scene are just a few among erstwhile Bombay’s many facets. Whether you are passing by on business with a day to spare or are on a leisurely tour of the city, read on for our unusual mix of places to see in Mumbai.
Historic Marvels and Architectural Wonders
1. Gateway of India
This monument was erected to commemorate the historic visit of British royalty, King George V, in the early 1900s. It is also known as the last place from which the British troops marched out of Independent India.
A definitive structure of the Mumbai skyline, this is a popular destination for photo-ops. For specific cultural fests in the city, the gateway turns into a venue for dance and musical performances by prominent artists.
It was commissioned to ease the traffic between Bandra in the West to Worli in the South of Mumbai. Suspended by a spectacular array of steel cables and an aerodynamic shape to ward off the terrible monsoons, this bridge is an architectural marvel.
Over time it has become a tourist attraction in itself. Manage to drive down during midnight or at the break of dawn, and you’ll be granted with a visual treat. Couple this with a beautiful view of the skyline on either side, the whiff of salty sea breeze, this is a place that should go on your must-visits.
3. Dhobi Ghat
Age old methods, lines of washing pens filled with water and washermen armed with bats, do the laundry from hotels and hospitals. Starched clothes lined along lines, the dobhi ghat is a small industry in itself.
The washing process is unique, and when hundreds of washermen and women gather, there is a symphony at work – this place is no less than an art muse, a photographer’s delight.
Expeditions that include nature, the lap of waves and marvelous caves
4. Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Kanheri Caves
Given the image of a stunning skyline dotted with skyscrapers and concrete jungle that is Mumbai, could you imagine a sprawling green pocket? Spread across a 104 square km, it speaks of being one of the largest tropical forests in the heart of an urban zone. The Kanheri Caves are tucked deep into this park and tell the tales of yore through sculptures in rocks.
5. Elephanta Island
Earmarked as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this place houses a labyrith of caves and cave temples. A three-faced Shiva statue stands out as a central attraction here. Carved out of rock, it represents the avatars of the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe.
6. Chowpatty Beach
With a long coast line there are many beaches that you can visit in Mumbai. The Chowpatty beach is the most popular among these. With many a joy ride and spicy chaats to tuck into, it serve as popular picnic spot too.
7. Chor bazaar
Chor means ‘thief’. However, the name is said to have originally ‘shor’ meaning noise. Despite its reputation, the bazaar is said to be stocked with more of used goods than stolen ones. Antiques to iPhones, furniture to musical instruments, shoes and clothes – this market place sells it all. Legend has it that if you lose anything in the city, you can buy it back from this bazaar!
8. Flora fountain
Fortresses made of books to greet you and litrary creations waiting to be read. The narrow passageways along the sidewalks are filled with every genre of book, waiting to be picked up. Classics, fiction, age-old comics or novellas -this is a bibliophile’s paradise.
Some best places to visit in Mumbai for a spiritual sojourn
9. Haji Ali Dargah
This dargah is located on the coast of Worli, to the South of Mumbai. Surrounded by sea all around, the walk on the causeway to the marble courtyard of the shrine is the highlight of a visit to this place. Disconnected from the mainland during high tide, the dargah faces rough weathers but the structure still stands tall. This is probably a testimony to the strength of the Mumbaikar and peace it offers to its many visitors.
10. Siddhivinayak temple
What was a humble 3 square meters place of worship has grown into the current modern construction. A monolithic carving of Lord Ganesha with the trunk unusually turned to the right is the highlight of the place. From Bollywood celebrities to wage workers, the reigning deity blesses everyone!
11. Iskcon Temple
Prayer time sees ardent devotees engaged in kirtans accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of cymbals, drumbeats, and dance. The founder of the Hare Krishna movement is said to have spent long durations at this spot. Adjacent to the celebratory place of worship is the modest dwelling of A.C Bhaktivedanta.
More famous places in Mumbai that deserve a mention
Telling tales of the juxtaposed lives of the people of Mumbai, Dharavi is considered as one of the most photographed spots in the city. A stage for many documentaries that range from health and Hygiene to thriving small scale industries, it is said that you need to be a lakh Pati (millionaire) to be able to own a place even in this slum area!
One of the key economic nerve points of India, Mumbai promises tourists their fine share of photo ops and souvenirs to treasure. Polluted, populated yet full of activity, Mumbai dishes out an urban cocktail of sorts for the adventurous soul and food for thought for contemplative ones. Come, explore.