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Home » Maharastra » Mumbai  

Mumbai

The city that never sleeps
Gateway of India Mumbai Tours & TravelsOnce a cluster of seven islands, Mumbai was presented to King Charles II in 1661 as part of the dowry when he married Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal. Over the years, as colonialism gave way to independence, Mumbai has transformed itself into an entity with thriving markets, business houses and many different communities reflecting a cosmopolitan and trendy atmosphere rarely seen elsewhere. On the surface, it represents the ever-changing face of today's India -- the old coupled with the dynamic new, and yet at its very core, the heart of the city is steeped in Indian customs and values. It is the capital of Maharashtra state, and its official language is Marathi although English and Hindi are widely spoken and understood. The fast-paced life has given rise to hordes of "fast-food outlets" on almost every road, offering lip-smacking choices of Mumbai's very own pau bhaji, bhel puri and kababs. There is no dearth, though, of multi-culinary delicacies dished out in posh restaurants by expert chefs. Mumbai is a shopper's delight with bargain buys, exclusive boutiques, ethnic markets and mini bazaars. This busy city is also the hub of a thriving cultural life, with a constant stream of performances in music, dance and drama. The seat of the Hindi film industry, known locally as Bollywood, it produces the largest number of films in the world. Mumbai caters to the adventurous and the romantic through its sporting activities, nightclubs, pubs, theaters, beaches and restaurants.


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Prime Attractions of Mumbai

» Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market (Crawford Market)
A busy market area, this is best visited early on in the day. The fruits and vegetable section offers the best of produce. Depending on when you visit, the fruit/s of the season are always a good buy.

» Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus)
This is a magnificent building, and considered to be architecturally one of the finest stations in the world. Built by the British in 1888, it has exquisite ornamentation on its façade along with beautifully executed panels and friezes. It holds the statue of Queen Victoria on its dome.

» Flora Fountain and the Gothic/Victorian buildings of the Fort Area
The Flora Fountain stands on the site of the old church gate of the Bombay Fort, now a major crossroad named Hutatma Chowk. It was erected to honor Sir Bartle Frere, a former governor of Bombay and named after the Greek goddess Flora. Other buildings to see in the Fountain or Fort area are the University of Mumbai buildings including the imposing Rajabhai Tower, the Mumbai High Court, the Old Secretariat, and the Institute of Science on one end. Close by are situated St Thomas Cathedral, the Asiatic Society of Bombay or Town Hall, the Office of the Director General of Police, the General Post Office and the Thomas Cook building. The Western Railway Headquarters is also quite near, across the street from the Churchgate Station. These buildings are fine examples of the Gothic and Indo-Saracenic style. Many are illuminated by night. An unusual way of seeing these sights would be by the MTDC open-air bus or by the few surviving Victorias or buggy rides. Close by to Flora Fountain is the Kala Ghoda area which holds a once a week fair (every Sunday) from November to January.

» Jehangir Art Gallery
Close by to the Prince of Wales Museum, this gallery is the showcase for contemporary art. The displays change regularly. Outside is the Artist's Plaza with more paintings on display and sale. Open daily from 11 am to 7 pm.

» Prince of Wales Museum
This is one of Mumbai's finest example of Victorian architecture. Built to commemorate King George V's visit to Mumbai (while still Prince of Wales), it was designed by George Wittet and completed in 1923. It is undoubtedly one of India's finest museums and houses treasures, artifacts, paintings and sculpture from the many periods covering India's history, including the Indus Valley Civilization. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30 am to 6 PM.

» National Gallery of Modern Art
This is the former Cowasji Jehangir Hall, of the Institute of Science. It has been renovated to serve as a four-storey exhibition hall, displaying the best of Indian contemporary art. Open daily except Monday, from 10 am to 5 PM.

» Gateway of India
Mumbai's most striking monument, this too was designed by George Wittet. It has an imposing gateway arch in the Indo-Saracenic style with Gujarati and Islamic elements such as wooden carvings. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. This area is also the departing point for ferries plying to Elephanta Island and other beaches across the port. Behind it is the beautiful old (and new) structure of the Taj Mahal Hotel.

» Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach
This is the stretch now known as Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Road with Nariman Point on one end to Babulnath, at the foot of Walkeshwar on the other. For the most part, a pleasant promenade continues along the beach with the Chowpatty area situated Marine Drive Mumbai Tour Operatorsomewhat in the middle. Chowpatty Beach is a teeming mass of people, vendors, masseurs and roadside restaurants with its specialties being bhelpuri and kulfi. Across the Chowpatty Beach area is the Taraporewala Aquarium. Marine Drive is also referred to as the Queen's Necklace because of the dramatic line of street lamps lit up at night.

» Malabar Hill
This is essentially an up-market residential area with some spectacular views of the city surroundings. On the road climbing up, is a Jain temple dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankara. At one end, on the top are the Hanging Gardens (Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens) and the Kamala Nehru Park. Both provide relaxing atmospheres of greenery. Beside the Hanging Gardens are the Parsi Towers of Silence. But these are off-limits to all except those who have come to dispose and pay respect to the dead. Towards the other end is the Banganga temple complex at Walkeshwar, considered to be one of Mumbai's holiest sites. Local legend has it that the Hindu god Rama rested here on his way to rescue Sita (his wife) from Lanka. The Banganga Tank is supposedly the spot where Rama shot his bow or bana. Further away is the British built Raj Bhavan, the residence of the governor of Maharashtra. The Banganga Festival of Music is a yearly highlight, and is in the month of January usually.

» Mani Bhavan
This simple and charming museum was where Mahatma Gandhi lived on his visits to Mumbai between 1917 and 1934. Gandhi's room and belongings including his books are on display. Mani Bhavan is situated on Laburnam Road, near the August Kranti Maidan, where the 'Quit India' movement was launched in 1942. Open daily from 9.30 am to 6 PM.

» Mahalaxmi Temple
The Mahalaxmi Temple is a popular holy site as Mahalaxmi is the goddess of wealth. It is situated at one end of Breach Candy -- a trendy residential and shopping area, now known as B. Desai Road.

» Haji Ali Shrine
Further along the seashore, at the end of a long pathway surrounded by sea water is the shrine dedicated to Haji Ali, a Muslim saint. Access is only at low tide via the pathway.

» Siddhivinayak Temple
Located in the Prabha Devi area of Mumbai, this popular temple dedicated to Ganesh was rebuilt on the site of a 200-year old temple. Built of black stone, the idol of Ganesh is two and a half feet in height and two feet in width. An unusual feature of the statue is that the trunk turns to the right, not often found on Ganesh idols. Tuesday is the main day of darshan and puja, but this temple is frequented by hundreds of devotees everyday.

» Juhu Beach
This suburban beach is great favorite with Mumbaites, and has plenty to offer everyone. Like Marine Drive's Chowpatty, Juhu 'Chowpatty' is a vendor's delight with innumerable food counters. It is a wonderful place to bring kids, as it doubles up as an amusement park, play ground, and open-air restaurant. An unusual sight at this beach is the camel ride, which is both fun and popular.


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How to Get there

» By Air
Mumbai is an international airport. Many international airlines operate flights to Mumbai from various parts of the world. Indian Airlines and many private airlines connect Mumbai with all major tourist centres in India.

» By Rail
Mumbai is the headquarters of the Central and Western Railways. Regular trains connect it with all major cities like Ahamedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Calcutta, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Madras, Nagapur and Trivandrum.

» By Road
Mumbai is connected by good motorable roads with all major tourist centres.

Shopping

Shopping in Mumbai is a memorable experience as you wander through its Bazaars with striking names like Chor Bazar, Mutton Street and Zaveri Bazar. At Chor Bazar you'll find a phenomenal collection of antiques, jewellery, wooden articles, leatherware and general bric-a-brac. Crawford market, famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish, is certainly place worth capturing on your camera. Zaveri Bazar offers excellent range of jewellery items. For colourful and innovative carpets one should head for Mereweather Road behind Taj Mahal Hotel. Here the range is extensive, exclusive and the prices slightly higher. To be on the safer side, one could, however check at the Jammu and Kashmir Emporium first. Several state emporia in the World Trade Centre, at Cuffe Parade are an ideal place to buy souvenir, a rare artifact or textiles. The Central Cottage Industries Emporium (Apollo Bunder) and Khadi Village Industries Emporium (D.N.Road) with their fixed price tags, are genuine and of superb quality.

Colaba and Flora Fountain (Hutatama Chowk) in the heart of South Mumbai and walking distance from Bombay V.T and Churchgate Railwa Stations are full of shopping of all kinds, mainly ethnic artifacts and departmental stores.

Walk into Fashion Street and shop for your new summer wardrobe. The street is close to the famous Metro Cinema and Dhobi Talao.

Chor Bazar Mumbai Holiday PackagesFor those who look for the glamorous the ideal place to shell out some money would be Kemps Corner, Warden Road, Breach Candy and Napean Sea Road.

Bandra, the so-called Queen of Suburbs is the residential abode of the's who of Mumbai, film stars, industrialists and the likes. Linking Road joins Bandra to Khar and is lined up on both sides with showrooms for the elite. But the striking contest here is the pavement selling which adds to the thrill while you walk out of a posh showroom.

The famous essence of perfume industry in India had its prime ingredient called Itar. Although the Itar is now only concentrated towards Kanuj in U.P. , right here in Mumbai you could get a sample of it the way it used to be. Yes, walk into the famous Mohammed Ali Road and shop to your heart's content for Itar, embroidery and Zari work besides artefacts and souvenirs


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Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

One is often very surprised at the amount of enjoyment Bombay (Mumbai) has to offer a tourist, especially in the evenings. Once you are out to travel to Bombay (Mumbai), the nights are the best times to let down your hair and party. The entire Mumbai comes to life in the evenings and the vigour continues through out the nights till the wee-hours of the morning starts knocking.

The Gateway of India is a favourite hangout among the tourist when they are out on a travel to Bombay. One can simply sit and feed the pigeons or watch the waves. You seriously wont realize how fast the time has moved. From the Gateway of India you will be able to board the launch for a short cruise to the Elephanta Island.

When you are out on a travel to Bombay, the Chowpatty beach is definitely a must-visit. This place has always been a favourite haunt for people in love - irrespective of their age. You might spot teenagers in love or grandparents lovingly holding hands and looking back at the past.

The next place you can visit when you are on a travel to Mumbai is the Juhu beach, which never fails to enchant anyone. The buggy rides, the cool breezes, the food stalls offering spicy food add to the fun. The beach belts are the perfect family sites in Mumbai.

Besides this, when you are out on a travel to Mumbai, you can also visit the numerous pubs and discos and dance away your nights to vibrant rhythms and music.

Events In Mumbai

If you are wondering which would be the best time to make a trip to Mumbai (Bombay), it can be any time because Mumbai tourism is always on, 365 days a year. A tour of Mumbai can be welcomed any time of the year.

But there are certain periods when the excitement of Mumbai touches a feverish pitch especially during the months of October and November when Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival, is celebrated for 11 days. This festival in Mumbai brings with it lots of joy and fun as processions are taken out. In fact, during this time, the entire state reels in celebration.

Another occasion when you make a trip to Mumbai to feel the excitement seep through you is during Diwali. Diwali, the moonless night turns out to be the brightest night of the year with all the homes being lit with lamps and lights.

This is the best time to visit the marine Drive also which offers a magnificent view with a backdrop fully lit with lights and crackers. Many dance festivals also take place during this time and it indeed is a wonderful time to be in Mumbai. The dance with sticks and drums- the Dandiya Raas- is one traditional dance that has promoted Mumbai tourism to a great extent. People from everywhere flock to take part in this dance ceremony which is usually held during the Navratri. Traditionally attired people of all ages dance away to glory. The devotees swirl and twirl to the tunes of the music and the disco beats.

Then there is the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna (Janmashtami) which is another occasion that is eagerly awaited in Mumbai. This festival includes culture programs by renowned performers. The various pandals decorated with flowers and lights are indeed sights to be watched.

Apart from this, Mumbai plays host to the International Film Festival in February once in every two years. During this festival, documentaries, short films, animation films, etc are played at the Nehru Auditorium.

So, if you are planning a tour to Mumbai, ensure that you are there to celebrate all these occasions.


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