Last Updated: May 2, 2019 Nidhi Singh
To everyone who lives in Mumbai, it is a magical city with a vibe that cannot be felt anywhere else. Yes, residents of other metropolitans might have raised eyebrows after this statement of mine but one has to agree with me that Mumbai does have something about it! Housing India’s most prolific film industry; some of Asia’s biggest slums as well as world’s most expensive homes along with the largest tropical forest in an urban area, the city truly mirrors the diversity that India is known for. Not only this, the city can fill pages after pages when it comes to rich history and it can give any place in the country a good run for money when it comes to nightlife. The bottomline is Mumbai is truly a place to see in India, something that will engage your memories for days after the tour as well. There is something for everyone and in enough quantity to blow one’s mind up! Without further ado, let me share with you a list of top 35 places to visit in Mumbai, so in case you are planning a trip to this action packed city, you do not miss out even on one aspect of it.
Gateway of India
Gateway of India is the major landmark of Mumbai City. Built in the 20th Century to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai. Located at the tip of Apollo Bunder, the gateway overlooks the Mumbai harbour that is bordered by Arabian Sea in the Colaba district. Gateway of India is constituted of a large arch, with a height of 26m and is done in Indo-Saracenic style. However, if one looks closely, traces of Muslim architectural styles can also be seen in the edifice. Another top attraction in Mumbai, Elephant Caves are located close to the Gateway of India, and tourists can travel on motor boats to reach there. Also, Taj Mahal Hotel, which is India’s most prestigious and luxurious hotel is situated close to the Gateway of India. Therefore along with visiting Gateway of India, one can catch up on two other important tourist attractions in Mumbai.
Situated at a 10 km radius from Gateway of India is one of the major tourist places in Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves. The caves are said to be one of the oldest rock cut structures in the country and is a perfect example of archaic Indian art associated to the cult of Lord Shiva. It is reckoned that the caves were adorned with sculptures between in 6th or the 8th century. The island on which the caves are built was originally known as Gharapuri and is a quiet and picturesque island with green foliage and harmless primates. The three-headed Shiva sculpture called Maheshmurti is the main attraction of this island. Apart from it the sculptures of Shiva, in the ‘Shiva Nataraja’ and ‘Ardhanarishvara’ forms are also worth seeing in Elephanta Caves.
Note: To go to Elephanta Caves, one have to go to the Gateway of India in Mumbai and take a boat/ferry ride from there. The journey takes one hour by sea.
Colaba Causeway Market
An ideal place for street shopping in Mumbai, Colaba Causeway Market has ion offer cheap clothes, fashionable boutiques, British era buildings and of course good food. Everything that you can name can be found in this old market in Mumbai.
Probably one of the most visited places in Mumbai, Juhu Beach is situated in Vile Parle. Juhu Beach comes to life mostly in the evening, when people from all walks of life visit here to enjoy sunset, play in the water and treat their taste buds with street food like Bhel Puri and Pav Bhaji.
Also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), this Victorian Gothic style edifice is situated in the heart of Mumbai City. Just like the Gateway of India, CST is an important landmark of Mumbai. Declared a ‘World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004, Victoria Terminus was built in 1888 and till today stand as one of the best examples of Gothic style architecture in India. It is also one of the busiest railway station in Mumbai.
Located near Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the vicinity of Aarey Colony in Goregaon is probably the most famous place in Mumbai. Also known as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagri, Film City is spread across 520 acres and is abslolutely a dream world. It is said that the place is so large that almost 1000 sets can be put simultaneously here. The main highlight of the Film City are real-like sets, which include fake lakes, fountains, mountains, gardens houses, picnic spots, cities and villages.
Note: One should has to take prior permission to visit Film City.
One of the most important religious places in Mumbai. Haji Ali Dargah is truly a must-visit. The whitewashed structure is spread in an area of 4,500 meters and is flanked by marble pillars. Haji Ali is said to have miraculous powers and that whoever prays here gets his wish fulfilled. Therefore, throughout the year the place can be seen crowded by the believers. The location of this religious shrine is another highlight, this holy place for Muslim is situated in the middle of the sea and is attached to the land through a 700 yard pathway that gets submerged in water during the evening high tide.
Banganga Tank is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Mumbai. It forms a part of Walkeshwar temple complex in Malabar Hill. As the water in the tank is regarded as the subsidiary of Holy Ganges, it is considered sacred and is believed to have healing powers. The tank is visited by thousands who wish to take a dip in the holy water and offer flowers at the Banganga Temple.
Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat
Believe or not but this 140 years old Dhobhi Ghat (laundromat) is amongst one of the most popular places to see in Mumbai. Travellers actually make sure that they visit Dhobi Ghat on their trip to Mumbai. Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat is Mumbai’s biggest human-powered washing machine, where every day hundreds of people beat the dirt out of soiled Mumbai clothes and linen in 1026 open-air troughs. The best view is from the bridge across the railway tracks near Mahalaxmi train station.
It really takes heart to visit a place like this. But if once you make up your mind to visit Dharavi, which is apparently one of the biggest slums in the world you would be paradigm shift. The narrow lanes, congested houses, dirty vicinity, children playing barefoot and other heartbreaking conditions prevalent in this place will not only make you to be grateful for what you have.However, a Dharavi Tour is not about witnessing how a lower class of the society lives amidst poor conditions so that one can be thankful for his life and facilities he has, but it is to understand how these people living with no amenities at all are hereos in their own way.
Note: No photography and videography are allowed during the tour.
Known as Marine Drive, this tourist spot has also been called Sonapur by the locals of the city. Marine Drive is a 3km long stretch that links Nariman Point to Babulnath, and is situated at the foot of Malabar Hill. Large crowds of people come to this place to stride along the walkway and to view the setting sun at dusk. Marine Drive is also referred to as ‘Queen’s necklace’, because the street lights make the road look like a string of pearls and create an illusion of a necklace, when viewed at night from an elevated point. Towards the northern end of Marine Drive lies one of the oldest beaches in Mumbai, Chowpatty Beach, which is famous for its bazaars and fast food and snacks such as Bhel Puri, Paav Bhaji, etc.
Prince of Wales Museum
Also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the museum is one of the most popular places to see in Mumbai. Prince of Wales Museum was built in the early 20th century and showcases several collections of ancient artworks, sculptures and artifacts in its galleries. Regular exhibitions and lectures on several topics are held inside here. The museum is done in Indi-Saracenic style of architecture and is bordered by lavish green gardens. There are three different parts of the museums: Natural history section, Archaeology section and Art section where innumerable forms of art and artifacts from India, Tibet, Nepal and other far eastern countries are preserved. Also, there are collection of 2000 rare miniature paintings from several art schools in India; decorative artworks made from wood, metal, jade and ivory; rare archeological artifacts dating back to the ‘Indus Valley’ civilization in the 2000 B.C can be seen in the museum. Remnants from the Mauryan as well as Gupta periods are displayed in the museum. There is a section in the museum that includes a collection of reptiles, mammals, amphibians, birds and fishes. On the other hand, another section in the museum displays Indian arms and armor, weapons, swords, shields. The museum has a section comprised of European oil paintings as well.
Probably one of the most beautiful temples situated in Mumbai, the Siddhivinayak temple is definitely a must see in the city. Every day, more than 20000 devotees throng the temple to offer their prayers at the temple and on Tuesday special ‘puja’ and ‘darshan’ takes place. Bollywood celebrities too, visit Siddhivinayak to seek blessings. When one visits this place, they can admire the temple’s ancient style of architecture and its many features.
Reckoned to be one of the first amusement parks in India, Essel World in Mumbai is a place for everyone. Situated in the Gorai Island, Essel World is one of the biggest amusement parks with its colossal infrastructure and several exciting dry and wet rides. The park remains open all year round and fun activities that can be enjoyed here include ice skating, dancing and bowling. The park has several rides that cater to all age groups and also there are avenues for shopping and food courts for people looking for a holistic experience.
One of the oldest markets in Mumbai, Chor Bazaar (Thieves’ Market) has a fascinating history that dates back to over 150 years. Located in South Mumbai, Chor Bazaar is a place to find stolen goods, just as the name suggests. You will usually find shopaholics thronging here as the goods can be bought here at throwaway prices. From antiques to Victorian furniture and fashion to electronics, a wide array of goods are available in this fascinating market.
Note: On Fridays the market remains closed.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Situated within Mumbai, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has the distinction of being a wildlife reserve in a metropolitan . The national park is spread over an area of 104 sq km, andis popular among wildlife and nature enthusiasts. It is also the most visited places in Mumbai, and get about two million people annually. The park was earlier known as Borivali National Park and was renamed in 1990 after Congress leader and late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s son Sanjay. Ashok Van and Gaumukh are the trails commonly used by the trekkers. Whereas, the View Point trail is the most ambitious which takes you to the highest point in the park and offers a panoramic view of Mumbai and Tulsi, Vihar and Powai lake. Barking deer, Hanuman langur and Indian flying fox, birds like jungle owlets, golden orioles among many others can be spotted here.
Nestled in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali, the Kanheri Caves also known as the ‘lungs of Mumbai’ is amongst the best places to see during your holiday in the city. It is saide to be the only place in the city with the maximum amount of greenery and consequently, a lot of fresh air. Kanheri Caves premises offers a pleasant escape from the pollution and the bustling city life. The caves date back to 1st century BC and are reckoned to be one of the oldest caves in India. Kanheri Caves are renowned for their natural Basalt formations, ancient Indian styled architecture and the 109 special entrances to the caves. These caves were once a distinctive Buddhist institution for congregational worship, study and meditation.
Dedicated to honor ‘Goddess Mahalaxmi’, this is an ancient temple in Mumbai. A large number of believers throng this temple on Fridays. Also, during the days of ‘Navaratri’ festival, thousands of devotees throng this shrine to witness the celebrations. It is one of the major Hindu religious places in Mumbai.
Mount Mary Church
An ancient church, built in 1640 and then rebuilt in 1761, The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is also an important religious place in Mumbai. What adds to the charm of this church even more is that it is sited on top of a hill known as ‘Sunderban Bandra’, which overlooks the mighty Arabian Sea. It is believed that the church has healing powers and for this reason, the church is often flocked by devotees. It is also said that those who sincerely pray at the Mount Mary Church often get their wishes fulfilled. The ‘Bandra Fair’ or the ‘Feast of Mount Mary’ is a week-long celebration held every September at the Mount Mary Church and is the best time to visit.
Rajabai Clock Tower
Located in South Mumbai, Rajabai Clock Tower stands in Mumbai University Fort Campus located next to the High Court. The tower is modelled on the Big Ben in London and has become one of the major tourist destinations in Mumbai. The tower holds a big clock which plays melodic tunes at fixed intervals. It has many impressive features as well and has been beautifully embellished with oriental figures.
Kamla Nehru Park
Situated at Malabar Hill, Kamla Nehru Park is named after the wife of first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The park is spread in an area of about 4,000 square feet and provides a great sight of Chowpatty Beach and also Marine Drive (Queen’s Necklace). Kamala Nehru Park has widespread verdant green surroundings. It is one among the most commonly visited places by children in Mumbai. The park has a diverse range of flowers and is famous for a unique structure, called the Old Woman’s Shoe or Boot House, that majorly attracts kids.
Veermata Jijabai Udyan
Formerly known as ‘Rani Bagh’ and ‘Victoria Gardens’, Veermata Jijabai Udyan is located in Byculla, which by the way isin the heart of Mumbai. The garden is also considered to be one of the oldest zoos of India. Another major attraction of this garden is the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, which is located in the same premises with the purpose of enhancing industrial as well as agricultural interests. There is an ancient statue of an elephant near the museum, which is believed to have been found at the Elephanta Caves. The garden is spread over 48 acres and also has a clock tower located near the entrance.
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
Earlier called the Victoria and Albert Museum, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum iwas built in 1872 and is one of Mumbai’s oldest museum. One can find a great number of archaeological findings, photographs, maps and relics that are extremely rare and that relate to Mumbai’s glorious history. The museum also displays over 4000 manuscripts and reference books along with several clay models, costumes, beautifully shaped silver and copper. Bronze sculptures, weapons, ivories, fossils, and decorative metal ware can also be found in this rich museum.
Dotted with private cottages and hotels, Aksa Beach is a popular spot in Mumbai. Situated in Malad, the beach is a base of the Indian Navy. There is another small beach called Dana Paani, which is ideal for beach holiday in Mumbai. On Sundays and holidays, Aksa is packed with vacationing families and students. However during the week, it remains mostly silent and as well as clean. The place is ideal to sun bathe, watch sunrise and sunsets and to relax. After all there are very few place in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai where tranquility can surround one.
St. Thomas Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Thomas is one of the major landmarks in Mumbai. Built in 1718, the cathedral is the highlight of the early British settlement. In fact, St Thomas Cathedral was the first Anglican Church in the city and that is why it held tremendous religious significance for the Christian population of Mumbai. The Cathedral is a towering monument representing peace and is named after St. Thomas, one of the 12 Disciples of Jesus who also visited India.
Crawford Market is another popular spot in Mumbai. It is said to be one of the best places to buy household items. The market was the main wholesale market till 1966. and was spread in 72000 sq. Yards. What catches the eyes the most here is the this splendid architecture of Norman and Flemish styles. It is a place for those who want to savour different flavours as the market is replete with an array of dazzling fruits, vegetables and poultry along with aromas of the fresh cheese and homemade chocolate.
Powai is an artificial lake situated in the Powai Valley in the northern suburbs of Mumbai which was named after Framaji Kavasji Powai Estate. This lake is one the beautiful places in the city and should not be on your visit to Mumbai. Located on the Salsette Island, next to the Powai village, Powai Lake is a calm and soothing spot where one can enjoy nature at its best. To the east of this lake is Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Mumbai) and National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE). There are also various luxurious hotels and housing complexes around the area of the lake.
One of the venues of the famed Kala Ghoda festivals, Jehangir Art Gallery was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir in 1952. This gallery is situated at Kala Ghoda, behind the Prince of Wales Museum, in South Mumbai near the Gateway of India, and has four exhibition halls. Over the years, this area has evolved as the center of art activity in the city and a place where artists, patrons and art lovers can meet and share their passion for art. The gallery is recognized nationally and internationally as a centre of contemporary Indian art. This interesting gallery hosts shows by local artists and the occasional big names and is also home to Samovar Café.
St. George Fort
St. George Fort or Fort George stands in the Fort area of Mumbai. Named after King George III, the fort was built in 1769 at the site of the Dongri Fort, as an extension of the fortified Bombay region. The reason behind its construction was to provide defence against an expected attack by Napoleon Bonaparte. The fort was also used as a storehouse of arms and ammunitions. Between 1889 and 1892, St. George Hospital was constructed at the fort site and its remains can still be seen. Rest, most of the fort is in ruins and travellers visit here to find the rich history that is hidden still in its arches and walls.
Khotachi Wadi is like a tiny hamlet in South Mumbai’s Girgaum district which is famous for a pristine beach, Chowpatty. This is a heritage village has old-Portuguese style houses which have been home to Mumbai’s original inhabitants, the East Indian Christians. Khotachiwadi also offers the most defining image of Mumbai with tall buildings against the Arabian Sea. Most of the houses here are at least a hundred years old and are hand painted in bright colours and are either double or triple storied structures with high ceilings, large rooms and flanked by old-style verandas. This is a place that one must visit to experience an important part of Mumbai city.
Worli Seaface features scenic surroundings that are characterised by endless azure waters of the Arabian Sea and view of distant Haji Ali Dargah. It is a posh and a major residential area in South Mumbai, which is inhabited mostly by affluent people. Extending from the Worli Fort in the north to Narayan Pujari Nagar in the south, this locality is a popular place of interest in the city. Famous for experiencing giant waves during monsoon season, it attracts locals and tourists alike. Worli Sea Face features a number of significant attractions like Worli Fort, Haji Ali Dargah and Bandra-Worli Sea Link (Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link). Besides, there are a number of high-end restaurants and shopping outlets as well.
Global Vipassana Pagoda
Global Vipassana Pagoda is a large meditation complex and memorial in Mumbai. It was built to honour Lord Buddha. Completed in 2008, this sacred edifice is counted amongst the biggest stone monuments across the Asiatic continent and houses the sacred bone relics of Gautam Buddha in the main dome. Another prominent highlight of this shrine is that it comprises the largest pillar-less dome in the world and surpasses Bijapur’s Gol Gumbaz in terms of size. Global Vipassana Pagoda mesmerises visitors with its architecture. It has a towering height of about 325 feet and the large meditation hall at the centre of this domed structure has an impressive seating capacity of 8000 people. Main attractions of this complex include the intricately carved Myanmar Gate and a giant marble statue of Buddha. The Bell Tower and its mirror image, Gong Tower depict Burmese architecture and add mote to the architectural charm of the shrine.
Nehru Science Centre
Nehru Science Centre covers various aspects of science and technology that is both interesting and informative. It is an ideal place to take your kids to. A part of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), this centre has more than 500 interactive exhibits that are related to various topics, including sound, energy, mechanics and kinetics. To be precise it is a science park and gallery where one can see different aspects of science. A major highlight of Nehru Science Centre is the three-dimensional science show which is named ‘Monsters of the Deep’. It takes people into an underwater world that seems real and where they can witness mythical monsters. A science odyssey named ‘Grand Canyon Adventure’ is also organised at this centre. This 45-minute film is based on the famous Grand Canyons of Arizona and attempts at spreading awareness about saving freshwater resources of the world.
Another great place to take your kids in Mumbai, Taraporewala Aquarium boasts of rich aquatic life. The kids can enjoy witnessing more than a hundred varieties of sea fish along with seven kinds of coral fish, octopus, shark, sea horse, moray eels, turtles and small starfish. Apart from these, products made using shells and pearls are showcased at the aquarium. Visitors can also visit the room that displays fossils, seashells and fish preserved in bottles.
Walk of Stars
The Walk of the Stars is a section of the Bandstand Promenade in Bandra, Mumbai that is built to honour the Bollywood film stars similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The path features about six statues of famous Bollywood actors as well as about 100 brass plates embossed with the handprints and signatures of other Bollywood stars. The walk is 2km long and is definitely a place to visit if you are a Bollywood movies lover.
I know the list missed out on some cafes and nightlife places. But we shall surely return with a special blog on it as well. In the meantime, do let us know what you feel about this blog and in case we missed out on some places that should have been here, please let us know in the comment box below. Apart from it, if you want to plan a trip to Maharashtra as a whole or Mumbai, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for best tour packages and deals. You can call us at +91-9212553106/07 or drop us an email at email@example.com with your queries. At Tour My India, we ensure that every trip of yours in India is memorable and hassle free.
Published: 16 Aug, 2016