Mumbai is arguably one of India’s greatest cities. Whether you’re a Bollywood fan, history buff or simply an admirer of colonial-era architecture, there’s something to strike everyone’s fancy. As always when you travel, the tricky part is figuring out how to spend your limited time. For a taste of this spicy city, here are some must-see spots during your trip to Mumbai.
Located just six miles northeast of the city’s shores, Elephanta Island is famous for its extensive labyrinth of rock-cut cave temples dating back to AD 450 and 750. To get there, catch a ferry at the Gateway of India and relax for an hour as you cross the picturesque Mumbai Harbour. This excursion takes about half a day and it’s totally worth it for the views.
• Gazing up at 20-foot-tall carvings of Shiva, one of the three deities of Hinduism.
• Strolling through thickly wooded areas of palm, mango and tamarind trees.
• Mingling with curious island monkeys.
• Talking with some of the 1,200 locals, most of whom rely on tourism or fishing to make a living.
• Learning about the fascinating history of this tiny island, which once fell under Portuguese and British rule.
Prince of Wales Museum
Chhatrapatī Shivaji Mahārāj Vastu Saṅgrahālay, or Prince of Wales Museum as most tourists know it, is the primary art and history museum of Mumbai. Built to commemorate the visit of a former Prince of Wales, the museum contains roughly 50,000 exhibits showcasing ancient Indian art, archaeology and natural history.
• Admiring the Indo-Saracenic architecture style of the museum building.
• Examining the dancing Krishna statues, which have been around since the 18th century.
• Learning about relics from the time of the Gupta, Maurya, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta empires and dynasties.
Marine Drive (“Queen’s Necklace”)
Marine Drive is a two-and-a-half-mile-long boulevard located in South Mumbai, featuring a beautiful promenade lining the natural bay. This area is also known as the “Queen’s Necklace,” because it resembles a string of pearls when it’s illuminated at night.
• Walking through this idyllic stretch and taking in the shimmering lights on the bay.
• Keep an eye out and your camera ready for talented street performers.
• Sit along the calming water and watch the passers-by.
Colaba has been rightfully dubbed the “Culture Square” of Mumbai. Boasting architecture reminiscent of the old Bombay, this area is home to great restaurants, cafes and various shops. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, Colaba offers an authentic glimpse into the cultural scene of the city.
• Drinking a mango smoothie at Café Leopold.
• Catching a movie at the Regal Cinema, an art deco movie theater built in 1933.
• Ducking into the many boutiques for authentic souvenirs–just keep in mind, many aren’t open until 11am.
Do you want to visit Mumbai? What are some of the top destinations on your India bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!