Mumbai, the city of dreamers and gangsters, starlets and laborers, exotic birds and fisherfolk, high-rises and slums, servants and millionaires, is famous as the commercial capital of India.
The city is home to Bollywood (one of the most prolific film industries in the world), some of the most expensive homes of the world, some of the largest slums of Asia as well as the fashion center of India. Mumbai is a city that loves to deal in extremes. Its undulating energy might take some time getting used to, but it often ends up making you fall in love with its lifestyle.
The city might not be high on historical attractions as most other travel destinations in India, but it certainly offers its visitors a range of sights and activities that can keep them entertained for days at a stretch. Below is a list of the top things to do in Mumbai.
If you’re looking to not only explore Mumbai, please do check out tours and things to do in India.
1. Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is one of the national symbols of India that was built in the year 1924 to commemorate the royal visit of King George V. This basalt arch is located on the top of Apollo Bunder and has become famous as one of the most popular tourist hotspots over the years. The place is one of the hottest destinations in Mumbai for people watching as well as understanding the local culture. You can also find all sorts of street artists, photographers, balloon sellers and street food vendors here.
2. Siddhivinayak Temple
The Siddhivinayak Temple is a historic temple that dates back all the way to the year 1801. Considered to be one of the most impressive Hindu temples in the country, the Siddhivinayak Temple has been dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The shrine is placed within a small hall which features beautifully carved images of the eight manifestations of Lord Ganesha and also boasts of a gold plated roof.
An enormous modern structure was added to the original constructions in the year 1994 and its unique architectural style has been inspired from the traditional designs used to create Hindu temples. Due to the massive popularity of this temple, you can always expect to find a huge queue, irrespective of when you plan to visit the Siddhivinayak Temple.
3. Elephanta Island
The Elephanta Island, or City of Caves, was once known to be a capital of a powerful coastal kingdom. Today it is famous as a fantastic relic that boasts of exotic architectural wonders. The beautiful rock-carved temples of Elephanta Island (the main reasons behind its worldwide popularity) were created between the years AD 450 – AD 750. The temple complex covers an area of roughly 60000 sq. ft. and features a main chamber, courtyards, 2 lateral chambers and numerous shrines.The place was given its name because of a humongous stone elephant that was built near the shore. This mammoth structure was later moved to the Victoria Gardens by the British. The Indian artwork that has been featured in these temples is known to rank as one of the most perfect expressions of art, particularly when it comes to the larger reliefs located in the main cave.
The place was given its name because of a humongous stone elephant that was built near the shore. This mammoth structure was later moved to the Victoria Gardens by the British. The Indian artwork that has been featured in these temples is known to rank as one of the most perfect expressions of art, particularly when it comes to the larger reliefs located in the main cave.
EsselWorld is a huge theme park that is spread over 64 acres in Gorai Island. It is one of the oldest and most popular theme parks of India and is said to be up to international standards as well. The park is particularly famous for its rides and roller coasters, but it also has the very first ice skating rink of Mumbai. Other popular features include a 6 lane bowling alley and a water park. What makes EsselWorld special is that it is well maintained and has lots of rides, shades, slides and attractions on offer.
5. Mumbai Art Walk
Mumbai is rich in its art and architecture. The city is home to some of the greatest art galleries of India such as Jehangir Art Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery and Sir J.J. School of Art. Each of these galleries warrants a visit and a Mumbai Art Walk Tour is an ideal way of doing so. This Art Walk requires almost 6 hours and it helps you understand how Indian art has evolved over the years.Most Art Walks begin at the National Gallery of Modern Art that is famous for its beautiful central dome, horseshoe-shaped balconies and numerous art exhibitions. The prestigious Jehangir Art Gallery is considered to be one of the top destinations for Indian fine art and is one of the most sought after venues for artists.
Most Art Walks begin at the National Gallery of Modern Art that is famous for its beautiful central dome, horseshoe-shaped balconies and numerous art exhibitions. The prestigious Jehangir Art Gallery is considered to be one of the top destinations for Indian fine art and is one of the most sought after venues for artists.
6. Mumbai Fashion Tour
Mumbai has been the fashion capital of India for decades. The city is home to most of the major fashion brands of India and also hosts a number of international brands from all over the globe. A fashion tour offers insights of the rich textile production history of India and introduces the world-famous weaving styles that originated in India. This tour helps you learn more about various weaving techniques, takes you to the showrooms of the country’s leading designers and lets you discover how Indian styles have influenced world fashion.
7. Taj Mahal Palace
The Taj Mahal Palace is one of the most iconic hotels in India that also ranks as one of the most popular landmarks in Mumbai. This exotic hotel was built by Industrialist JN Tata in the year 1903 after he was refused entry into a European hotel because he was a “native.” It boasts of offering a perfect view of the harbor and also hosts one of the largest collections of contemporary art. One of its most popular artworks is the M.F. Hussain creation that covers the entire wall behind the check-in desk.
The Taj Mahal Palace is also considered to be the first option that most celebrities and international stars look at while traveling to Mumbai. From kings and presidents to stars and actors, the hotel has always been the first choice for the rich and the famous. The Taj Mahal Palace was a victim of terrorist attacks in the year 2008, and the Taj culture was perhaps best described by Ratan Tata after the attacks when he said the words “We will prevail”. True to his word, the hotel was fully restored in the year 2010.
8. Clue Hunt
Clue Hunt is the first Live Escape Game of India. This exciting game room offers a beautiful mix of problem solving, searching for clues and Sherlock Homes type investigative work. The game locks you in a room and makes you solve an exciting theme-based mystery. The main objective is to solve the problem within 60 minutes and figure a way to get out.
Although there are no skeletons in the closet or any tunnels that you need to dig, the game promises an exciting 60 minutes and reminds you that the mind can be an extremely powerful weapon. So put away your Smartphones and get back to relying on your intuitions and brains. Ignore the social media and have faith in yourself as well as your friends. Uncover the secret of the room and have a blast in doing so.
9. Street Food Tour
One of the richest dining experiences of India can be found in its delicious street food. Like most major cities, Mumbai is known to offer a vast variety of street food that tantalize your taste buds unlike any other. One of the perfect ways of enjoying the street food of Mumbai is through a Street Food Tour. This tour takes you through the nostalgic lanes of Mumbai and introduces you to stories that often date back centuries. Enjoy the rich culinary experience offered by some of the top street food stalls of the city and also visit its unique vegetable and spice markets.
10. Global Pagoda
Global Pagoda is a breathtaking golden stupa that rises to a height of 96m. The pagoda has been inspired by the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma and its dome is known to be built using an ancient technique of interlocking stones without any support whatsoever. The site is home to an interesting museum that has been dedicated to the life of Buddha and his teachings are also taught on site.
11. Marine Drive and Girgaum Chowpatty
The Marine Drive has been constructed on the land that was reclaimed from Back Bay in the year 1920. It arcs along the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill. Marine Drive is considered to be one of the hottest sunset-watching spots in Mumbai and it is an ideal place to people watch while in Mumbai. The nighttime lights resemble a necklace, which gave Marine Drive its nickname – The Queen’s Necklace. Girgaum Chowpatty, or Chowpatty, is another popular evening hotspot for families, couples, teenagers and office goers. It offers all sorts of street food stalls and is considered to be a must visit while in Mumbai.
12. Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum, or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, is the largest and best museum of Mumbai that is famous for hosting exhibits from all over the country. The museum was constructed in the year 1923 to commemorate King George V’s visit to India. Some of the biggest highlights of the museum include an outdoor cafeteria, a miniature-painting gallery, a gallery of contemporary art, terracotta figures from the Indus Valley, Hindu sculptures and ancient weaponry.
This article was published in collaboration with Bookmundi. If you’re looking to explore destinations and cities around the world, please do check the Bookmundi Travel Blog for more input!