Mumbai has a wide variety of tourist attractions that are touted as being a “must-see” but having lived in India and traveled to Mumbai many times, I found that there were really only a few things really worth going to see and I have listed them down below. I have chosen the below primarily for their historical, religious, and cultural significance, and please note they are in no particular order.
- Ghandi Museum: The museum is actually his old house. There is a large collection of his books and his weaving machine.
2. Botanical Gardens and the Queen’s Necklace (AKA Marine Drive): From Ghandi’s Museum we went to the Botanical Gardens. It was really more like a park than a Garden, but they do have a random boot, yes boot that is quite a popular tourist attraction. The gardens are actually located on the highest elevation of the city, and there is a pretty decent view of the city and what is known as the “Queen’s Necklace.” The Queen’s Necklace is ultimately the bay on which downtown Mumbai encompasses.
3. Dhoby Ghat. After walking around the gardens for about 20 minutes we headed to the famous Dhoby Ghaut laundry service in India. You can’t really walk down in the facility, but from the picture below you can see that the men wash the clothes in the morning and hang the laundry anywhere possible to dry. This laundry service is used by all kinds of local businesses, including hotels…I was seriously hoping that the hotel I was staying in did not employ this service because the chemicals the humans are subjected to during the cleaning cannot be healthy, but who knows.
4. Chhatrapati Shivaji (Victoria Station): We then moved down the colonial area of Mumbai, which I found to be the “prettiest” area of the city. You could really see the British influence in this area of the city. Below is Queen Victoria’s Train station. This is India’s most beautiful railway station known as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with stained-glass windows, towering spires, domed arches and and pillars with animal images carved into them.
5. Gateway of India: And of course, the tour guide also took me to see arguably the most notable tourist attraction in India, the Gateway of India. The gateway overlooks a harbor where you can get a carriage ride along the waterfront (pictured below). The carriage ride wasn’t something that was a part of the tour but I figured I take a picture anyway. Haha.
6. The Taj Hotel: Just steps away from the Gateway of India, is the famous Taj hotel. This is a famous stop for tourists to grab a drink a the bar or go for their famous afternoon tea.
7. Dhavari Slums: check out my in-depth post on the Dhavari slums
8. The Elephanta Caves: Elephanta Caves are situated on Elephanta Island about 7 kms from Mumbai’s mainland shore. The caves can be reached by an approx. 1-hour boat ride from Gateway of India. The experience takes about 2-3 hours.
9. Colaba Causeway: is known for street shopping for both locals and tourists. A great place to grab a bite to eat as well as pick up some souvenirs for friends and family back home.
10. Global Vipassana Pagoda: The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The center of the Global Vipassana Pagoda contains the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. The aim of the pagoda complex is, among others, to express gratitude to Gautama Buddha for dispensing what followers believe is universal teaching for the eradication of suffering, to educate the public about the life and teaching of the Buddha, and to provide a place for the practice of meditation. 10-day vipassana meditation courses are held free of charge at the meditation center that is part of the Global Vipassana Pagoda complex.
11. Shree Siddhivinayak Temple: Located in Mumbai’s central area, Prabhadevi, this temple is the most revered Lord Ganesh temple not only of Maharashtra but also of India.