17 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Mumbai
India is a nation of incredible diversity, not least of which is its culture. India's complex culture and history can be seen in both its impressive ancient ruins and its lively and exciting urban centers, and a visit is definitely recommended.
Mumbai is India's commercial and financial center, and is a lively metropolis with a very modern and clean feel. The city offers a lively shopping scene and a busy cultural calendar, but is relatively low-key compared to other major Indian cities like Delhi and Kolkata.
When to go: Mumbai's festivals and celebrations—like the Hindu festival of Shivaratri—provide a busy atmosphere from October through March. Summer temperatures can be quite hot, and crowds thin out considerably from November through February, however.
How to get there: You can fly into Mumbai from many of the world's major cities. The flight time is about six to seven hours, depending on where you're departing from.
Where to stay: You'll find a huge range of hotels in Mumbai, from budget to luxury, from budget to business, and from youth hostels to five-star hotels.
Where to eat: Be sure to try one of the wonderful seafood delicacies, like the Mumbai fish head curry. You can get good Indian food at many international restaurants, and in recent years, there are also a fair number of European restaurants in the city.
You can plan your trip with this list of the top things to do in Mumbai, India.
Located in Mumbai, India, Elephanta Caves has been considered as one of the world's best caves. Each visit to this site offers new surprises and challenges. The entrance to the caves offers a glimpse of what lies inside, and you will notice all kinds of mystical symbols, or "chakras" on the walls. It's been described as a pilgrimage site, and you might have the chance to see the rare giant Indian python that roams these caves. Although the cave is off limits during the day, it is opened at night when the entrance is lit up like a giant marquee. It's possible to stay overnight in the caves, although you are advised to book months in advance. A walk to the top of the mountain (1,500 meters), and down the steep trail will take about two hours.
The Gateway of India
The Gateway of India, built in 1924 by the British government, is a fairytale wonder, standing 9.5 meters tall and stretching 89 meters along the waterline, almost as long as India's most famous sight: the Taj Mahal. With over 400 arches, the gateway is said to be the largest sea-level arch bridge in the world, making it one of the world's greatest feats of art and engineering. To reach this wonder, visitors can take an elevator to the top of the arch, also known as the Observation Deck, and get a close look at the stunning view over the east coast of India. Located on one of the highest points of South Bombay, also the northern tip of the city's beautiful waterfront, The Gateway of India can be reached by bus, train, or boat, and is in a central location so you can easily walk around the entire sight on foot. At the base of the arch are eight cafes, souvenir shops, and restaurants serving delicious Indian and international cuisine.
Mumbai Zoo is the world's largest zoo. Located 10 kilometers outside the city center in the suburb of Thane, it is one of the world's biggest enclosed cities. Also, it is a rather controversial place to be, as the city itself is notoriously polluted and has several slums adjacent to it. Nevertheless, it is a major tourist attraction, especially in summer. It's one of the best places to visit in Mumbai, with hundreds of animals representing more than 150 species. Besides typical birds and reptiles, there are hippopotamuses and elephants in the water. The best part of the zoo is its orangutan park, which is enclosed by a 2,000 square meter rainforest.
Marine Drive is a splendid promenade overlooking the sea in Mumbai, India's largest city. The sea-facing promenade along the Marina is a stretch of beautiful white sand and a favorite spot for couples, families, and anyone wanting to enjoy the warm Indian sun or feel the cool Indian breeze. In the days before the city's emergence as a tourism powerhouse, the promenade was a busy meeting place and home to an arts colony, thanks to the presence of fine architecture. It is home to a large aquarium with two giant coral reefs, with tropical fish, eels, and other marine animals.
With the Arabian Sea lapping at the shoreline, Juhu Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the city. To the west lies the shore of Vakola Lake, which is about 20 km from the city centre. The beach itself is small and covered in shallow water up to a little more than 3 m deep. Juhu Beach is mostly frequented by local people from the residential areas in the western side of the city. The water is usually warm. There are no major restaurants, but there are several shacks and bars selling snacks and drinks. This is Mumbai's answer to the British concept of 'beach bar'. There are also beach shacks selling more expensive foods and snacks.
Malabar Hill is one of the most attractive and historic parts of Mumbai, home to many of Mumbai's old wooden homes, some of which have been preserved as grand colonial mansions and can be explored in great detail. Nearby are the Bhendi Bazaar, a popular traditional market where you can watch artisans craft everything from unique miniature jewelry to handcrafted wooden furniture. Although travel to the city center takes much longer than from other parts of the city, Malabar Hill is well connected by several bus routes, as well as by taxis and the M-Taxi network. Buses leave regularly from the nearby Churchgate railway station, where there are also a number of railway ticket counters.
India Gate (New Delhi)
India Gate (Indira Gandhi Memorial), also called the Rajpath Gate, was built in 1922 as a tribute to the leaders of the British Raj. These include Queen Victoria, the King of England, the Queen of England and the viceroy of India. At some point, however, it became the name of the Indian capital of New Delhi. The first road to cross was built in 1836, and the memorial is adjacent to the junction of Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Desh Marg and Lodhi Road. Today, it's a cultural center and one of the busiest intersections in the city. The Gate has been featured in countless movies, documentaries and paintings, including Oliver Stone's film Alexander.
Bandra Sea Link
Bandra Sea Link is one of Mumbai's newest attractions. Connecting the beaches of Bandra West and Bandra East, it runs along the 17 km shore of the Arabian Sea from Thakurdwar to Girgaum. The first section was finished in 2010 and then the second phase was opened in 2012. It's not open to public traffic but it can be accessed by boat and cars or on the Metro line, running through a tunnel near the marine-facing hotels of Versova.
Akshardham Temple, in the Mira Road area of south Mumbai, is the country's most prominent religious building, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. With its golden spire, it towers above the other buildings and is an architectural masterpiece by acclaimed Indian architect Le Corbusier. Akshardham Temple is open daily except for the following holidays: New Year's Day, Independence Day, Diwali, Christmas, and Good Friday.
It's the capital of Jammu and Kashmir state and is the summer capital of India. It sits at a height of 2,742 meters. At a brisk 20 minutes from the airport, Srinagar is now in a better state. The city has decent infrastructure, including excellent public transport. Its glimmering Dal Lake, situated along the outskirts, makes a pretty destination for a day's sightseeing. Other good areas of interest include Ram Bagh, built by the British and later named the Lalee Bagh after the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruling ruler of Kashmir.
Haji Ali Dargah
Loved and revered by people across religions, Haji Ali Dargah is a Hindu shrine in the Arabian Sea at Colaba. The dargah is the resting place of Sheikh Baha'uddin, one of the nine Sufi saints who lived in Maharashtra during the 14th century. His tomb consists of a mosque-like structure with a domed octagonal tomb, situated in a small palm grove facing the sea.
The sun rises high over Mumbai's vast coastline and the golden sand bars below. Views down this magnificent expanse of India's most populous city are truly impressive. One of the most popular places to visit is Bandra Beach. Once part of Mumbai's ancient harbor, it is home to an attractive cluster of white shacks (the old fishermen's huts), although the majority of its buildings are from the 1970s and '80s. Despite being near some of the city's most expensive real estate, Bandra has a relaxed atmosphere and is generally safe for children. Close to the beach is the beachfront Madh Island, home to a beautiful ruined Jesuit college built in 1662. Mumbai's tourist office is next to the Bandra railway station.
Mumbai's historic monoliths, Ellora Caves, are located on the Vaitarna River. They were carved from the surrounding mountains in over 40 years (300 AD to 800 AD) by a confederation of about 40 artisan, and builders that carved out the cave monoliths, inscriptions, temples and forts. At present, the monument, with a series of four karst terraces, covers an area of 16.25 square kilometers. Of the three great sites at Ellora, they are Aurangabad, Kailashnath and Mamallapuram, that are located about 20 kms from the city. Here you find an opportunity to admire the splendid architecture, terracotta designs and inscriptions.
Dharavi is one of Mumbai's original slums, now becoming a centre of fashionable young Indians wanting a glimpse of the uber-rich and enjoying the smart European-influenced living of an emerging upper class. It's a combination of old dilapidated buildings, warehouses and shops stacked one on top of the other and a cluster of blue and yellow canvas huts, full of domestic refuse, chicken coops and heaps of batiks and saris. Stories of the underworld are written on the buildings, with graffiti on the walls as young children draw trains and ballerinas. The streets are busy, dusty and cramped and so it's best to stroll quietly and explore on foot. There are no buses that service the area, so the nearest train station is at Dharavi.
A tourist destination in India, Matheran Fort is a hill town located in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Matheran boasts of a winding cobbled street as well as lush gardens. Part of the Queen's Park, Matheran is steeped in history as it was the summer retreat of the British between the 1920's and the 1950's. When the queen was in the UK she would return to Matheran and stay in her cool garden house. Nowadays, the whole town is a site of historical tourism. Travel to Matheran is done by city buses and taxis. Buses to Mumbai are available at the nearby Girgaum Bus Terminus.
Chor Bazaar is a central shopping area in the financial capital of India, Mumbai. It is popular with tourists, and contains a variety of local clothing boutiques, department stores and some small hotels. Chor Bazaar is noted for its lively bazaars, with many traditional stores catering for Indian men, women, children, and the elderly. The main shopping mall on this street is on Vijay Chowk and the stores at Anand Nagar.
Taj Mahal (literally 'great marble) is the magnificent mausoleum of the emperor of India's former Mughal Empire, Shah Jahan (1592-1666), and it has stood for centuries as a monument to the glory of the Mughal world. Its massive white marble construction, spectacular mosques, and ancient-looking cypresses stand proudly in the searing heat of the Indian summer, surrounded by acres of grassland. It is the world's most famous monument to love and marriage. The construction of the mausoleum was begun in 1631, and it is believed that some of its central columns are based on the seven chauri (palaces) of Mughal emperors, while an outer section of the palace was supposedly modelled on the palace in heaven, Shambhala. Although today you can't enter the building, you can visit the mausoleum's exquisite gardens and beautiful pavilions and ponds from the outside. In its present form, the mausoleum was built between 1631 and 1648, by cutting through the rock and building a vaulted arcade with a solid marble surface, which surrounded a simple, domed structure. The original plan was to bury the mausoleum in the ground, but as time went by, water seeped into the rock and caused the mausoleum to subsist. The depth of the water seepage can still be seen today, and the garden and mausoleum in the form of a sarcophagus. Today, the mausoleum is an architectural marvel and a must-see for all tourists to India.