What are the best things about Mumbai
Mumbai: the best sights
India's metropolis Mumbai is an exciting travel destination. Whether Gateway of India, Chowpatty Beach, Taj Mahal Hotel or the Elephanta Caves. Here you can find all information and addresses about the most popular highlights.
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“Tradition meets modernity” is a common travel guide phrase that is used in pretty much every major city in an emerging country. But here it really does come true.
As a city, Mumbai embodies pretty much everything that India generally stands for: Hinduism, Bollywood, colonial history and traditions on the one hand - utter chaos, bitter poverty and an emerging economy on the other.
All these facets can be found in the countless sights that make Mumbai an indispensable stopover on a trip to India. You can find a selection of the most beautiful highlights here.
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In advance: Tips for a relaxed journey
Many travelers to India start their vacation in Mumbai because of the flight connections. It is not uncommon for the first culture shock to be waiting there.
In the metropolis of millions, it is usually hot, loud and stuffy and there are people everywhere. In addition, most flights land in Mumbai at night. Some who have just arrived from the European winter feel overwhelmed.
Therefore, you should book a hotel in advance, at least for the first night. Because looking for a hotel in an unknown city at night is no fun, especially since the accommodations there are rarely close together.
Also take a look on the map to see which part of town your hotel is in so that you can explain it to the taxi driver.
The drive from the airport to the areas popular with tourists takes a while, but you get to see a lot along the way.
Everything will be easier for you if you are not totally overtired. You can sleep better on a plane with a travel pillow. You can find a neck pillow like this for under ten euros - it is also a pleasant companion on seemingly endless journeys on the Indian railroad.
Gateway of India
Let's start with the most famous place in Mumbai: The Gateway of India. Today's landmark of the city was built from 1911 to 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. The function of the gateway was to give arriving ships a proper welcome and to give the mostly noble visitors a befitting reception. The Gateway of India is located on the southern tip of the mega-metropolis and is well attended at any time of the day, but especially in the evening. You can reach the Gateway of India by bus, taxi or train.
Address: Gateway of India, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Right next to the Gateway of India is the world-famous luxury hotel Taj Pahal Palace, where everything from politicians to rock stars stays overnight. And why is a hotel now a sight?
Well, for one, you can't miss it anyway, because its sheer size is imposing. On the other hand, the architecture with its Victorian and Islamic influences is worth seeing.
Of course you can also stay here if you don't have a problem with 300 euros per night. Incidentally, an urban legend has it that the Taj Mahal Palace is a pure act of revenge. It was built by the entrepreneur Jamshedji Tata after he was denied entry to “Watson's Hotel” due to the color of his skin.
So it was clear to him that what was then Bombay needed a luxury hotel that was open to all (wealthy) guests - and the rest is history.
The Taj Hotel Group is one of the most famous and respected luxury hotel groups today. And what about Watson's? That has been crumbling since it was closed in the 1960s.
Address: Taj Mahal Palace, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was carved into the rock more than 1400 years ago: The Elephanta Caves. The caves are located on a 2 km² island in the port of Mumbai, which can be reached by small boats from the Gateway of India.
The Elephanta Caves are dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva and are overall a real masterpiece of sculpture. You can visit the caves every day except Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Entry is 250 rupees and is available at the counters at the Gateway of India.
Address: Elephanta Caves, Gharapuri, Maharashtra 400094
If we are already at the port and the Gateway of India: The rest of the Colaba district is also worth experiencing. On the one hand, there is the Colaba Causeway, a huge shopping street where you can get everything from souvenir kitsch to international brands.
Of course, this area is not the most authentic shopping experience, that should be clear, but you can still recommend a stroll. The consumption frenzy traditionally culminates at the Colaba Market, just a short distance from the Colaba Causeway and thus an extension of the shopping street, so to speak.
Of course, there is utter chaos here, the market and the shopping street are a single tangle of colors, smells and neon signs.
Chapeau, who remains master of his senses here. But the offer is huge and the prices are low. In the southern part of Colaba it is relatively relaxed again, there are many small parks and countless different churches and temples to discover.
The city beach Chowpatty Beach is not so much a classic beach for which you pack your bathing suit. This is more about socializing. Since the beach is both a local recreation area and a popular setting for Bollywood films, it is very popular with the locals.
Especially in the evening, when the food stalls are sizzling, life is raging here, and the residents of Mumbai come here to eat, chat and stroll. People also like to swim here, but we would rather not recommend it in view of the water quality.
Address: Girgaum Chowpatty, Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, as its official name has been since 1996, is a railway station operated by the state Indian Railways is operated.
So far, so boring? Not at all! The size of this station alone knocks every traveler off their feet, and its neo-Gothic architecture is just beautiful.
It is probably the most beautiful train station in India, if not one of the most beautiful of all. To top it all off, it is also illuminated very atmospherically in the evening.
Incidentally, the Victoria Terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you don't travel on from Mumbai by train anyway, a visit to the station is still a must.
It should also be mentioned that this is one of the most frequented train stations in the world - so it may not be as magical on the inside as it is on the outside.
Address: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
General Post Office
The General Post Office of Mumbai is located directly behind the Victoria Terminus train station - also an absolutely imposing and beautiful structure, which is worth a visit if you are in the area anyway.
The main post office was built in 1913 in the Indo-Saracen style, i.e. in the traditional Indian style with colonial influences - like the Gateway of India, by the way.
Address: General Post Office, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Art galleries and museums
What many are not aware of: Mumbai is a city of the arts and an absolute cultural center. In addition to a large music scene, the city offers an incredible number of good art galleries and museums, some of which are world-class.
First of all, here is that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum to be mentioned, which houses an impressive collection of around 50,000 exhibits (art, archeology and natural history). The magnificent building of the museum alone is a highlight.
You can find information about current exhibitions on the website.
Admission is 500 rupees and the museum is open every day from 10:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Audio guides are also available in English and German.
Address: 159-161, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400023
Another great museum is this Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum.
Address: 91 A, Rani Baug, Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Rd, Byculla East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400027
That is also interestingMani Bhavan Gandhi Sagrahalaya is dedicated to the life and remembrance of Mahatma Ghandis.
Address: 19, Laburnum Rd, near Police Station, Babulnath, Gamdevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400007
Mumbai's contemporary art scene also enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide, including the excellent National Gallery of Modern Art is to be owed. Well-known artists from India and around the world have been exhibited here since 1996.
You can find more information about your visit on the website. The gallery is open to visitors every day except Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can find them right across from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum.
Address: Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400032
Crawford Market (Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market)
The Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market, better known as Crawford Market among travelers, is a real Mumbai instance - after all, it has been around since 1871.
It can be found near the Victoria Terminus, under the roof of a huge historic building. In the middle of the market there is a stone fountain and, as is common with buildings from this era, a clock tower.
The market is very popular not only with tourists but also with the locals. Everything is offered here, and by that we mean: really everything. From clothing and jewelry to groceries to toys, housewares and auto parts, everything can be found here.
Unfortunately, this also includes living animals, some of which are endangered. Always have the Washington Convention on Endangered Species in mind for anything that arouses your interest in buying.
A visit should still be a must for every traveler - if only because of the food stalls. In fact, the market also has its own website. It is open every day except Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Address: Crawford Building, CST Building, Dhobi Talao, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
The Oval Maidan is a large park in the middle of Mumbai, also a popular meeting place for families, friends and sports teams.
If you want to watch a game of cricket with no obligation, this is the right place.
To the east of the park there are impressive historical buildings such as the University of Mumbai and the Rajabai Clock Tower.
Address: Oval Maidan, 140, महर्षी कर्वे, रोड, Mantralaya, Churchgate, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400032
You have to admit: The name of the Hanging Gardens promises more than they deliver. It's a garden or a park, but first of all there is nothing hanging here and secondly, the area is not as neatly maintained as you might expect.
Nevertheless, a visit is worthwhile, because if you want to experience something similar to tranquility in Mumbai, this is it. Due to its location on Malabar Hill, you can also enjoy beautiful views of the city.
Address: Hanging Gardens, Ridge Rd, Simla Nagar, Malabar Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400006
Another fact that many are probably not aware of: Mumbai is one of the most expensive streets in the world when it comes to housing.
We are talking about Altamount Road, home to India's Bollywood stars and top entrepreneurs, and which, like no other, represents India's violent contrasts.
Antilia is particularly eye-catching, a large residential building that would initially be labeled as an apartment complex in the luxury version. But far from it. This is nothing less than the largest and most expensive single-family home in the world.
The construction costs are estimated to be up to 70 million US dollars. There is also someone at home here, namely the richest man in India, entrepreneur Mukesh Ambani - which at this point is no longer shocking, but seems somehow logical.
Address: Altamount Road
Haji Ali Dargah
The Haji Ali Dargah is a mausoleum on the one hand and a mosque on the other. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful in all of India and is accordingly well attended.
Its location in the sea is also unusual, the Haji Ali Dargah can only be reached via a long causeway from the mainland.
It was built in 1431 in honor of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a Muslim saint who found his final resting place in this Mausloeum.
A visit to the Haji Ali Dargah is, it was almost feared, only possible when the tide is out. You can find detailed information and more details about their history on the website.
Address: Haji Ali Dargah, Dargah Rd, Haji Ali, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Dhobi Ghat Laundry
A laundromat as a sight? Yes, if it's the largest open-air laundromat in the world, kind of.
If we were already at the immeasurable wealth of Mumbai, we come here to the bitter reality of absolute poverty - and perhaps get an overall feeling for how much the famous gap between rich and poor really exists here.
Dhobi Ghat is of course interesting because we Europeans have probably never seen anything like it before. Since 1890, laundry from major customers, such as hospitals and hotels, has been washed in the basins. It costs around four to five cents to clean a bed sheet, and around 5,000 men work on over 800 pools.
Laundry as far as you can see. A worker earns the equivalent of around 130 euros a month, and the pools, which are owned by the city, have to be rented in order to work there.
You have to decide for yourself whether you want to see things like Dhobi Ghat or take part in the slum tours that are offered everywhere. The important thing to know is that all of this is a reality in Mumbai and all of India.
Sometimes you have to see reality with your own eyes to understand it, but of course we do not want to call for poverty tourism.
Address: G.E. Road, 490025 BMY Charoda
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Street stalls in Colaba from FiledIMAGE / Shutterstock.com
Chowpatty Beach from WorldStockStudio / Shutterstock.com
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by paul prescott / Shutterstock.com
General Post Office by RAMNIKLAL MODI / Shutterstock.com
Crawford Market by Emmanuel Nalli / Shutterstock.com
Oval maidan from CRS PHOTO / Shutterstock.com
Hanging Gardens, Mumbai Skyline and Haji Ali Dargah Mosque from Shutterstock.com
Antilia Mumbai by Juraj Kamenicky / Shutterstock.com
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About the author
Josie lives in Hamburg and lost her heart to Southeast Asia many years ago. Her main job is in the office, but whenever time permits, she takes the plane eastwards. In addition to her great loves Cambodia and Myanmar, to which she returns again and again, she and her camera also enjoy discovering new places, markets and food. You can find more pictures and stories from Josie on Instagram.
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