The financial and entertainment capital of India, Mumbai is the country’s largest and the most affluent city. Originally a fishing village, Mumbai is now a unique melting pot where starlets and day laborers jostle down busy streets. The mega-city is also a cross of old and new: ancient traditions rub against skyscrapers, while Bollywood shares the stage with Victorian architecture from British rule. Most of all, Mumbai is a city of dramatic contrasts – a place where the yesterday meets today, creating an exciting tomorrow.
Places to Eat (3)
Masala Library makes a promise: “We serve memories, not just food." Famed chef Jiggs Kalra takes diners on an edible adventure that follows the centuries of Indian cuisine seasoned with modern cooking techniques. Dishes from different provinces are proudly represented, including an impressive vegetarian menu which is sure to delight guests.
Earning a Michelin restaurant rating is an impressive accomplishment, and Yauatcha is a member of this select group. The famous dim sum always lures diners, and then chef Chong Chee Loong draws even larger crowds with dishes like sliced lamb in kamheyong sauce and golden fried pumpkin prawns.
Dhobi Ghat is one of those neighborhoods that time has forgotten. Stroll its narrow lines, and you’ll see clothing laundered the way it has been for centuries. Be sure to wander the winding streets and enjoy the sights and sounds of the merchants and shop keepers. Also enjoy the changing neighborhoods that are home to Parsis, Catholics, Muslims, and Hindus.
Kala Ghoda Fair
Every year, around the end of January, the arts descend on the Kala Ghoda district of South Mumbai. For nine days, musicians, dancers, actors, and writers share their talent at this free street fair. Street art installations, lively lectures, and endless food stalls turn Rampart Row into a spectacle that delights the eye and palate. As the fair has grown in popularity, so have the number of attractions and venues, so you’re sure to find something that delights.
Essel World is India’s largest amusement park – an impressive fact that should lure the thrill seeker. Adults can get their hearts pumping with the Shot-N-Drop and Top Spin. Youngsters will love the Big Apple and Caterpillar. Cool fun waits at the Water Kingdom, which is Asia’s largest water park. All the attractions and rides will leave you wanting more.
Mumbai is home to Bollywood, and many of its memorable movies have been made at Film City – a sprawling complex on the edge of the city. Come for a visit, and you can see the sets of your favorite films. You can also stroll the grounds, which are dotted with enchanting gardens, lakes, and buildings. Most of all, you’ll get to marvel at the magic that happens in this creative enclave.
The finest Hindi theater waits for you at Prithvi Theatre – Mumbai’s acclaimed arts center. Noted celebrities often play starring roles in its productions. There’s also a bookshop, arts gallery, and café. Poetry recitals are also on the calendar. It is said that the Irish Coffee and Cutting Chai are every bit as memorable as the productions.
Things to See (6)
Mumbai is a place of non-stop activity. Horniman Circle is a refuge from it. A historic, 10-square-mile park, Horniman Circle is an escape from the commotion of the city. Stroll tree-lined paths, admire the blossoming flowers, and make your way to the bubbling fountain in its center. Legend has it that an ancient Banyan tree in the park was the first home of India’s Stock Exchange. When you’re done exploring, appreciate the elegant colonial buildings that ring the park.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park owns a rare distinction: it is one of the few wildlife parks in the world that is surrounded by a city. Located in Northern Mumbai, the park sprawls for 40 square miles – and is home to leopards, deer, a fabled Bengal tiger, and 172 species of butterflies. Bird watchers will delight in watching robins, magpies, herons, and sunbirds take flight. The park becomes a riot of colors after the monsoons; large mammals take center stage in April and May.
Jehangir Art Gallery
If you love modern art, head to Jehangir Art Gallery. Adorning its walls are paintings and photographs by acclaimed contemporary Indian artists. With four galleries, you’re likely to spend a better part of the day enjoying the art. The Monsoon Art Show is a yearly highlight and a must-see event. Take some time to explore the other galleries and boutiques surrounding Jehangir.
Nehru Science Centre
Head to the Nehru Science Center for some hands-on fun with more than 500 exhibits. Topics include things like energy, mechanics, and sound. The Lazy Sea Saw, Planetary Motion, and Energy Model are some of the more popular ones. Also look for special events, which promise additional opportunities for educational entertainment. The sprawling campus gardens also are home to many thought-provoking exhibits.
Named a world heritage site in 1987 by UNESCO for "representing a masterpiece of human creative genius," the Elephanta Caves are a complex of chambers of unknown date and origin. Five caves honor Hinduism and two caves honor Buddhism. Elaborate sculptures of gods, demons, and heroes decorate the chambers. Be prepared for a fascinating day of history, art history, and religion.