Favourite places in India – Mumbai – Maximum City

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Known as Bombay until its name change in 1995, Mumbai is India’s financial, commercial and industrial capital, and its property prices are some of the highest in the world. As such the city hums with activity and its twelve and a half million residents seem to be constantly on the move. There is a distinct multicultural feel here, with people from all over India and abroad having gravitated to the metropolis in search of a better life.

Crawford Market Mumbai

Crawford Market Mumbai

Visit colourful Crawford Market and from there the more local bustling markets of Chor Bazaar (thieves Market), Zaveri Bazaar (Jewellery Market) and Mulji Jetha, the cloth bazaar.

If you’re even a little bit interested in India’s diverse religions and faiths, don’t miss the bustling Mahalaxmi Temple (for Goddess Laxshmi, the Goddess of Wealth) or Mumbadevi Temple, dedicated to the Goddess Mumbadevi, after whom Mumbai is named. Haji Ali Mosque has a unique history and wonderful situation being built on a rocky outcrop offshore. The mosque is only accessible at low tide. Of course the Parsi’s (Zoroastrian’s) have their ‘Towers of Silence’ where traditionally, vultures would pick the bones of their dead clean. Tragically these days, the vultures have all but disappeared.

Dhobi Ghats, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai

Dhobi Ghats, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai

One of the more unique sights of Mumbai is the intriguing Dhobi Ghats – the city’s laundry washers, although local Mumbaites are fascinated by our fascination!  A stroll along Chowpatty Beach at sunset is a must, where you can try the local street delicacies such as Bhel Puri and experience the carnival-like atmosphere of the markets.

 

Pani Puri Wallah, Chowpatty Beach

Pani Puri Wallah, Chowpatty Beach

Mumbai is also India’s entertainment capital, and the home of Bollywood, so if you’re lucky you might bump into a star, a film shoot on the streets or even get offered a part as an extra in a Bollywood extravaganza. Why not take a tour of the Bollywood studios, or at the very least take a taxi ride past some of the more famous star’s homes.

And of course, it’s hard to miss the fading grandeur of the British. Wandering around the Fort area of Mumbai, the British heritage is blatantly obvious when you see such remarkable buildings as VT Station, the High Court and Mumbai University.

Of course, Mumbai has had its share of tragedy. Scene of the 2008 terrorist attacks, the Taj Mahal hotel, situated in front of the Gateway of India, is now immortalised as one of India’s more infamous buildings. However, looking beyond its recent fame, it has a fascinating story, as the hotel built in 1903 by a wealthy Indian industrialist as a snub to the British who refused him entry into one of the exclusive British Clubs.

Taj Mahal Hotel and Gateway of India, Mumbai

Taj Mahal Hotel and Gateway of India

Mumbai is also famous for its slums, which in more recent years have found fame through film and tourism, particularly Dharavi. Dharavi is remarkable for the trade and commerce carried on within its 175 hectares, and its unique economic model which these days forms a significant part of Mumbai’s GDP.
Love it or not, Mumbai, or Bombay as many still refer to the city, is an awesome place to visit. Give it time, explore it at leisure and Mumbai is sure to weave its magic.
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Visit Mumbai on our Women Only tour, Incredible India Tour, Essence of India tour, Big Cats of India Wildlife & Heritage tour and our Heartlands of India tour
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