Situated on the Arabian Sea, at the very western edge of India’s subcontinent, lies the country’s most populous and prosperous metropolis. Mumbai, formerly Bombay until 1995, is a massive island city bursting with life at every turn. Mumbai is home to the Hindi film and television industry, also known as Bollywood, and offers hundreds of movie houses including the largest IMAX dome in Asia.
Travelers to Mumbai may find themselves struck by the incredible disparity in wealth and lifestyle among the island’s inhabitants; however, most travelers will also notice a general friendly cheer during their daily excursions. Almost all of Mumbai’s population is not native to the island, which creates an eclectic mix of ethnicities, beliefs, cuisine and culture that has encouraged acceptance among most of the people.
Mumbai from the Outside
Mumbai has one of the most heavily traveled ports in India, making the large Bombay metropolis India’s commercial and financial capital. Visit the spectacular Gateway of India, the magnificent basalt structure built for King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 that greets nearly all travelers arriving in Mumbai by boat. From here you can catch a ferry to Elephanta Island to witness the most famous and intricate cave temples of Maharashtra. For people watching, head down to the Marine Drive Chowpatty and enjoy the beach breezes, shop the street-side vendors and get yourself a relaxing head massage.
Within the city limits lies Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which serves as a necessary sanctuary for breathable air in the north of Mumbai. Make sure to catch Bombay’s famous prowling leopards during your visit. There are also many walking and boating tours available as a means to experience the city. This is the best way to get your initial bearings and learn the general history and architectural background of Mumbai/Bombay.
A Bombay Treasure Island
The Mumbai municipality is a literal treasure hunt for the adventurous explorer. Centuries of history are written in the architecture, museums, bazaars and personal accounts littered all about the lively neighborhoods. St. Thomas’ Cathedral is a reminder of the British rule in Bombay and also the oldest English building in the city. The remarkable contrast of the whitewashed church against the detailed and ornate backdrop of Mumbai is a noteworthy sight. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, and discover ancient remnants of Maharashtra while inside an architectural landmark set among splendid gardens.
Mumbai, and certainly all of India, is the place to be your adventurous self. The first step is finding airfare to Bombay right here on cFares. Once you touch down on the tarmac in Mumbai, indulge your senses in the flavors of curry, the treats of street vendors, and the delicacy of fresh sweet pastry. Expand your senses and stretch your mind in a yoga class or meditation session, many of which are open to the public. This is your opportunity to discover the most unique and welcoming city in India, dive in!