The city of Mumbai is a spectacular city in its own right. Colonial architecture sits by side with swanky new buildings to create an atmosphere that brings in millions of tourists each year. But with so many landmarks and attractions where does one begin?
So, I decided to go on a mission and interview Mumbaikars of all ages to create a panel of 8 persons and give you the top 20 places you must go to when you visit Mumbai.
This panel consists of people who know Mumbai inside out. They are taxi driver Rajiv Prasad who has been driving his taxi for the past 18 years in Mumbai, college student Jonathan Fernandes, tour guide Allaf Shaik, senior citizen George Almeda, Mumbai lover Ariti Desai, her mother Smita Desai, 9 year-old Sean Fernandes and Mumbai resident and teacher Lily D’sa.
1. Gateway of India
According to tour guide Allaf Shaik and taxi driver Rajiv Prasad the Gateway of India is the #1 tourist point in Mumbai.
• This amazing monument was designed by Mr. George Wittet in 1914. The structure is a basalt arch, 26 meters (85 feet) high.
• Many people don’t know but the place where the Gateway stands was formerly a crude jetty used by the fishing community which was later renovated and used as an arrival point for the British officers
• According to Mumbaikars ‘ it is the ‘shaan’ of Mumbai (top tourist attraction).
• Rajiv Prasad said that this monument is so amazing is that when ever I get a ‘bhara’ (fare) to come here I start telling my customers about the history of this beautiful monument. According to him it is the Taj Mahal of Mumbai.
2. Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Taxi driver Rajiv Prasad starts his day at this majestic station.
• It is the most busiest station in India as it has long distance as well as short distance trains
• C.S.T is a UNESCO world heritage site and a historic railway station in Mumbai.
• It was designed by Mr. Frederick William Stevens and Mr. Alex Haig with Victorian Italianate Gothic revival architecture and a Mughal influence.
• It was built-in May 1878 and completed in May 1888. It was built-in the Bori Bunder area of Mumbai to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.
• The original name of this station was ‘Victoria Terminus’ but later changed to its current name in March 1996.
• The structure was built at a cost of ₹ 1,16,4000( US$24,000) at that time.
The posh locality in South Mumbai is alive with tourists from all over the world indulging in the sights and sounds of the suburb. Ariti Desai comes here every weekend.
• During the Portuguese rule in the 16th century Colaba was known as ‘Candil’ and later when the British took over in the late 17th century it was known as ‘Colio’.
• Bade Miya, Leopold, Food-Inn and Delhi Darbar are restaurants you can’t miss out on.
4. Nariman Point
Nariman point is a main business district and one of the priciest pieces of real estate in the world.
• Nariman point was built on land reclaimed from the sea. It was named after Khursheed Framji Nariman, a municipal corporator who had initiated the areas of development as an extension to the Back Bay reclamation.
5. Marine Drive
Marine drive is one of Mumbai’s most famous roads which it acts as a link from Nariman Point to Babulnath and Malabar hills. Marine drive is 3.5 km long.
• Marine drive is known as the Queen’s necklace because, if viewed at night from an elevated point anywhere along the drive, the street lights reassemble a string of pearls in a necklace.
• The official name of this road, though rarely used is ‘Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’ Road.
• The promenade of this road is lined with palm trees and is one of best places to go for a walk on.
6. Mount Mary Church
George Almeda and Jonathan Fernandes say that ut is a church which is worshiped by Roman Catholics and prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mostly people come here to pray to mother Mary. This church is located Bandra.
• The ‘Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount’ more commonly known as the ‘Mount Mary Church’ is a Roman Catholic Basilica.
• One must visit this church during the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is celebrated on the first Sunday after 8th September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary.
• The feast is followed by a week-long celebration commonly known as the Bandra Fair where thousands of people come every year to purchase various toys for their children and various sweets.
This temple in Juhu is dedicated to the worship and teachings of Lord Krishna.
• ISKON temple, Mumbai is usually known as Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari ji Temple.
• The Hare Krishna Movement) inspired the construction of India’s most beautiful temple of lord Krishna in Mumbai
• The presiding deities at the temple , Sri Sri Gaura- Natia, Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari and Sri Sri Sita Rama Laxman Hanuman were personally installed by the founders.
• The temple is visited by thousands of people and devotees during religious festivals says Smita Desai.
8. Shree Siddhivinayak Temple
This is a Shree Siddhivinayak Ganpati temple at Prabhadevi in Mumbai . it is a two century old temple that fulfills the desires of its worshipers.
• The temple was first constructed on Thursday 19th November 1801.
• The temple then was a small structure housing the black stone idol of Shree Siddhivinayak which was two and half feet wide
• The outstanding features of this deity is the tilt of the trunk to the right side. The idol has four hands,which contains a lotus in the upper right hand , a small axe in the upper left hand , holy beads in the lower right hand and a bowl full of modaks.
• Flanking the deity on both sides are Riddhi and Siddhi , goddesses signifying fulfillment, prosperity and riches.
• Etched on the forehead is an eye which resembles the third eye of Lord Shiva.
9. Babulnath Temple
Babulnath is an ancient Shiva temple in Mumbai , India. Situated on a small hillock in Girgaum Chowpatty. It is one if the oldest temples in the city.
• Shiva in the form of the Lord of the babul trees is the main deity in his temple.
• The faithful devotes climb up to the temple to obtain ‘darshan’ of the shivling and obtain blessings of the lord. It is also possible to take an elevator to the top to the temple.
• The temple is visited by lakhs of devotees during the annual Mahashivratri festival.
10. Mahalaxmi Temple
Mahalaxmi temple is one of the most famous temples of Mumbai situated on Bhulabhai Desai road in Mahalaxmi area.
• It is dedicated to Mahalaxmi the central deity of Devi Mahatmaya.
• The temple was built in 1831 by Dhakji Dadaji, a Hindu merchant.
11. Prithvi Theatre
Prthvi theatre is one of Mumbai’s best known theatres and stages plays on a variety of subjects. It was built by Shashi Kapoor for his beloved father Prithviraj Kapoor.
• The theatre belongs to the Kapoor family, one of the most influential families in Bollywood.
• In 1978, Prithvi theater opened in Juhu, Mumbai.
• The theater is open on all days of the year (closed on Monday).
12. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalya
The Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalya is a museum located at Mahatma Gandhi road, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
• Formerly known as Prince of Wales Museum, it was founded in the early years of the 20th century and houses many priceless artefacts.
13. Mani Bhavan
The museum is located at 19 Laburnum Road in Gamdevi in Mumbai.
• It served as Mahatma Gandhi’s base in Mumbai between 1917 and 1934.
• It was a mansion that belonged to Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, Gandhiji’s friend.
• This museum houses several of Gandhi’s prized possessions.
14. Bandra Worli Sea Link
Bandra Worli sea link is one of Mumbai’s most magnificent and longest bridges with a length of 5.6 km. The official name of this bridge is Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link and connects the suburbs of Bandra to Worli
• The bridge was designed by ‘Seshadri Srinivasan’. Construction started in the 2000 and commenced on 24 March 2010. It was opened to the public on 30 June 2009
• The bridge was built at a cost of ₹60 billion (US$240Million).
• The Sea Link was constructed so that the working class people can reach work fast usually it take about 80-90 minutes to reach Bandra from Worli but now with the construction of this beautiful bridge one can reach Bandra within 20-30 minutes
• Thousands of people visit Worli so that they can see this bridge and click amazing photos.
(Stopping on the bridge for photography is banned by the Government of Maharashtra)
15. Kanheri Caves
Kanheri Caves is located to the north of Borivali in the Western outskirts of Mumbai.
• The Kanheri Caves are located within the forest area of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
• Allaf Shaik says the Kanheri Caves are 6km from the main gate and 7km from Borivali station.
• The caves demonstrate the Buddhist influence on the art and culture of India.
• The name Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Krishnagiri’ which means black mountain.
• Tourists can enter the caves only after 9 am.
16. Juhu Beach
Juhu beach is thronged by families and tourists every day of the year. One can experience bliss among the sound of the waves, play a game of football or just hang out and have some delicious snacks from the numerous food stalls.
17. Essel World
Essel World is located at Gorai ,Mumbai it was opened in 1989. It is owned by Pan India Paryatan P.V.T L.T.D. It is spread over a 64 acres of land.
• Essel World is an amusement park located in Gorai, Mumbai established in 1989.
• Essel World is recognized as India’s largest amusement and water park as well as Asia’s largest theme water park.
• It is the largest amusement park in the country and draws 1.8million visitors annually out of which 300,000 are students.
Sean Fernandes says that he loves KidZania and would like to stay there if got a chance.
• It is located at R-city mall, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai.
• It is open to people of all ages. it is open from morning 10am to 3pm and 4-9pm.
• KidZania Mumbai is a global indoor theme park for families. It emulates the working of a real city that is built-to-scale for kids.
19. Crawford Market
According to Ariti Desai, this market is South Mumbai’s most famous market where many things can be purchased. Crawford market is located to the north of C.S.T opposite Mumbai Police Headquarters
• The official name of Crawford market is Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai which is rarely used.
• The market got its name ‘Crawford market ‘ from the first municipal commissioner Mr. Arthur Crawford.
• One side of the market is a pet market and sells all types of house hold pets while the other side of the market sell’s food stuff, sweets , cosmetics, household goods and gift items.
• The market is closed on Sundays and is open from 11:00 am to 8:00pm.
20. Dhobi Ghat
Dhobi Ghat (Mahalaxmi) is a place where dhobhis (people who wash clothes) congregate and wash the city’s clothes,
• There are rows of open air concrete wash pens each with its own flogging stone. It is the world’s largest outdoor laundry.
• Dhobhi Ghat is a very popular attraction among foreign tourists.
• It is located next to Mahalaxmi railway station.