Mumbai, once known as Bombay, is the city of dreamers and glamour. Best eminent as the financial capital of India, Mumbai is the prime domicile of celebs. One of the busiest cities in India, the capital of Maharashtra is laid out plenty of leading attractions to offer. Starting from its exotic architectures to the biggest slums, animated beaches to religious sites, the city boasts some tempting destinations for outsiders as well as for Mumbaikars. Out of many, here’s is the top 10 places to visit in Mumbai:
1.Victoria Terminus / Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Victoria Terminus (VT), also prominent as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the headquarters of the Central Railways in Mumbai. Being one of the busiest railway stations in the country, CST houses 18 platforms for both local and long distance trains. Everyday thousands of commuters experience the bustling side of this railhead. Apart from being an eminent railway linkage to rest of the country, CST is also known for its majestic architectural brilliance. Constructed way back in 1888, a blend of Italian and Gothic architectural style is the prime attraction of this bustling railway station. Moving ahead in 1996, Victoria Terminus was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in the reverence of Maratha Empire Chhatrapati Shivaji. Today, the iconic architecture of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is undoubtedly one amongst the most popular places to see in Mumbai.
2.Gateway of India
Located in Apollo Bunder area, nearly 2.5Kms away from CST, Gateway of India is one more iconic monument in Mumbai. Flanking the Arabian Sea, the spectacular architecture of this exotic site leaves you completely spellbound in no time. This eye-catching landmark was built dates back in 1924 to honour the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay (formerly). Before independence this basalt arch used to be the entrance and exit point to India through watercourse. Today, the yellow basalt and solid concrete of this historic monument makes its majestic existence more electrifying near the Arabian Sea and the famous Taj Mahal Palace. When in Gateway of India, don’t forget to try some of the local platters sold by various vendors here. Besides, number of photographers and balloon sellers can also be spotted near Gateway of India. After dusk, the picturesque visa of the Arabian Sea from Gateway of India is as arresting as witnessing the Queen’s Necklace from Marine Drive.
Taking a ride towards Marine Drive is always enticing; especially at night. Nestled in the midst of north of Nariman Point and Chowpatty beach, the 3kms long semicircle shaped road is one of the favourite hangout spots for Mumbaikers. Roaring waves of the sea along the bustling road aside is an absolute delight for walkers and lovebirds in the city of Mumbai. People also flock here to witness the breathtaking sunset in Mumbai. Besides, presence of plush hotels and bars near Marine Drive makes this location more intoxicating for a thrilling nightlife. After dusk the arc shaped drive gets completely illuminated giving it a look of glitzy necklace. This is why Marine Drive is also referred as the Queen’s Necklace. So when in Mumbai, make sure you don’t skip exploring this popular destination and heart of Mumbai.
4. Juhu Beach
Located in Ville Parle, nearly 18Kms from the main city of Mumbai, Juhu beach needs no figurative introduction of its age old existence. Two things that make this beach more alluring to a visitor here are jogging of Bollywood celebrities on the seashore and immersion of Ganpati idols during Ganesh Chaturthi. So don’t get surprised observing any of your favourite Bollywood stars walking near the shore. Juhu beach is an all season place to see in Mumbai. However, if you want to feel the actual vibe, visit here on the eve of Ganpati Visarjan. Apart from festivity, Juhu beach also offers you a magnificent sunset with a blend of gentle breeze and soothing view. It is true that with mounting number of tourist’s footfalls and effluents from nearby factories made this seashore quite dirty. However, Juhu beach is still reckoned as one of the must visit places in Mumbai.
5.Haji Ali Dargah
You might have witnessed this place in many Hindi movies, but getting there in person is something amazing. One of the most famous pilgrimage sites for Muslims, Haji Ali Dargah is sprawled in the middle of the Arabian Sea. Built way back in 1431, Haji Ali is basically known for boasting the tomb of Muslim Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and a Masjid, which was designed in Indo-Islamic style of architecture. A blend of eye-catching mirror work on the marble pillars and colourful chips of glasses give this Masjid a stunning look. There are various praying rooms separately meant for male and female devotees. The marble pillars in the main hall showcase some wonderful decor of glasses and Arabic patterns that spells the 99 names of Allah. Haji Ali Dargah can be visited all round the week from 5.30AM to 10PM. Two nearest railway stations to reach Haji Ali Dargah are Mahalakshmi and Byculla railway station.
Best place for a serene hideout from the hustle-bustle of Mumbai. Stands close to Kamala Nehru Park and atop the Malabar Hill, Hanging Garden is one of the popular attractions for tourists and kids in Mumbai. This garden is known for housing various animal shaped hedges and refreshing greeneries. The popular Hanging Gardens of Mumbai came into existence in 1880, which was dedicated to barrister Pherozeshah Mehta. Hence, this garden is also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens. Apart from hosting various animal shaped hedges, this garden is equally popular for Yoga, photography and sunset view. You can enjoy visiting there all round the week from 5AM to 9PM. No entry fee is required. The nearest railway station to reach Hanging Garden is Grand Road Railway Station. So if you visit Mumbai with your family, Hanging Garden is going to be a sheer pleasurable site to stop around.
7.Kamala Nehru Park
Located adjacent to Hanging Gardens, Kamala Nehru Park is one more amazing place that one should visit in Mumbai. Sprawled over 4000 sq. feet area, the park is positioned atop the Malabar Hill. Named after the wife of Jawaharlal Nehru, Kamala Nehru Park is quite popular for its iconic Boot House, colourful flora and fresh green meadows offering you a tranquil ambience altogether. For Mumbaikars, this park is idyllic for picnicking with family and kids. Reaching atop the garden gives you beautiful vista of Mumbai skyline and Chowpatty beach.
Located to the north of the Malabar Hills, the holy shrine of Mahalaxmi is reckoned as one of the oldest temples in Mumbai. The temple is devoted to trio of Goddesses Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati. The idols of Goddesses inside the temple are adorned with gold ornaments. Apart from this trio, idols of Lord Ganpati and Vithal-Rukmini can also be spotted outside the Garbhagriha. On the way to temple, you will find various vendors selling useful items for puja. The overall ambience inside the temple drives you to a new height of spirituality. Worshipers flock here from different parts of the country to pay their reverence to the Goddess. After exploring the beaches, gardens and monuments, stepping into Mahalaxmi Temple is altogether an offbeat experience.
Sprawled at Byculla, Mumbai Zoo was earlier popular as Ranichi Bagh. Being the only zoo in the city of Mumbai, this is a must visit for tourists. The original name of this zoo was Victoria Gardens, which is known today as Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan or Jijamata Udyan. Established in 1861, this zoo houses a diverse range of animals including monkey, deer, hippopotamus, porcupines, crocodile penguins and much more. Apart from animals, Jijamata Udyaan also inhabits various endangered species of birds. People who wish to visit here with their kids, a separate playing area for children is also provided in the zoo premises. You can get there all day a week except Wednesdays. However, with summer, monsoon and winter the entry time keeps varying. The best visiting hour to the zoo is from 9AM to 5.30PM. Accessing Mumbai zoo incurs a nominal entry fee.
The unique six storied construction of Siddhivinayak Temple is one of the most religious and frequented sites in Mumbai. There is a golden dome atop the temple. Siddhivinayak Temple is situated in Prabhadevi. To enter the temple, two separate gates Siddhi Gate and Riddhi Gate are provided there for pilgrims. The wooden doors inside the holy shrine are carved with images of the lord and the inner roof is plated with gold. Visitors rush here on daily basis to pay their highest reverence to Lord Ganesha, but maximum number of devotees can be spotted on Tuesdays who stands here in long queue for 2-3 hours before entering the temple.
There is an interesting story that goes with this religious site. It is said that Siddhivinayak Temple was constructed in 1801 by a rich woman called Deubai Patil. She was childless for long. In order to fulfil the wishes of other barren women, Deubai Patil took this initiative with this faith that Lord Ganesha will listen to their prayers and grant them children. Since then numerous barren women have started enjoying their motherhood. Today not only from Mumbai, visitors come here from various states as well to fulfil their wishes. To reach the temple, nearest railway station is Dadar Railway Station. From here, Siddhivinayak Temple is 15 minutes walk away.
So these are the top ten places to see in Mumbai. However, there are many other places as well that we’ll cover in our upcoming posts on Mumbai.
For local visitors, reaching the above cited destinations is quite convenient. They may hire a cab, auto-rickshaw or take a bus to reach there. However, tourists coming here outside Mumbai need to keep a tab on the means of commutation. Here’s how you can reach Mumbai and commute within the city:
By Air: The financial capital of India is visited by both domestic as well as international travellers. Located nearly 30Kms from the main city, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the nearest airport for global fliers. On the other hand, located nearly 4.5Kms from the international airport Santa Cruz is convenient for domestic flyers. From airport, one can easily hire a cab or taxi to commute further within the city. The distance from airport to reach its nearby locations CST and Churchgate is nearly 25Kms, which can be travelled in 30-40 minutes time (may differ as per traffic/route).
By Train: Thanks to the Central Railways for boasting two prominent rail stations Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus and Bombay Central Station. These two rail stations connect Mumbai to various major cities of the country. Some of the popular trains to reach Mumbai are New Delhi Mumbai Rajdhani, Porbandar Saurashtra Express, Indore Avantika Express, Bhusaval surat Mumbai Central Passenger, Bct Duronto Express, Indore Duronto and Jaipur Mumbai Central Superfast. From these railway stations you will get many taxis and cabs to travel further.
Apart from the above cited trains for distant travellers, one can also experience the Life Line of Mumbai i.e. the local trains, which connects various parts of the city through Western Line, Central Line and Harbour Line. By local trains the connectivity to reach some of the frequented places like CST, Andheri, Dadar, Ville Parle, Byculla, Kurla, Mahalaxmi etc. are quite convenient.
By Road: Akin to air and railway services, Mumbai is well accessible by road as well. For local commutation, public transport of the city BEST is considered to be very effectual. Not only this, various private transport facilities are also available in Mumbai to reach Pune, Nashik, Goa, Gujarat, Vadodara, Ahmadabad, Mahabaleshwar and Andhra Pradesh. For commuting within the city, one can easily hire a cab/taxi or get into an auto-rickshaw. However, don’t forget to bargain before hiring a prepaid vehicle.
Places to Stay in Mumbai:
Being one of the popular tourist cities in India, Mumbai is visited by numerous travellers from all over the world. Hence, one can expect galore of luxury and budget hotels in Mumbai. However, based on the amenities and type of hotel one avails, the charges will differ.
Some of the comfy hotels are listed here for you within the price range from INR 1200 to INR 5000:
#Hotel Sanjary Palace
U.P. Compound, Near Equinox Business Park L.B.S. Marg,
Kurla (W) Mumbai-400070
New Chakala Link Road, Near Solitaire Corporate Park,
Near J B Nagar Gurudwara, Chakala,
Andheri(East), Mumbai, India 400093
#Hotel Royal Garden
Juhu Tara Road, Juhu,
Mumbai, India 400049
#Ramada Powai Hotel and Convention Centre
Near The Residence Hotel and Apartments, Before Vihar Lake,
Powai, Saki Vihar Road,
Mumbai, India 400087
#Hotel Avon Ruby
87, Naigam Cross Road Dadar (E),
Mumbai, India 400014
#Hotel Ace Residency
Opp. N.G. Complex, Ashok Nagar, Military Road,
Marol, Andheri (East),
Mumbai, India 400072