Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, was once a colony of the Portuguese before it was given to King Charles II as a dowry upon his marriage to the daughter of the King of Portugal. It remained in British hands until Indian independence in 1947. Since then, it’s grown to become the largest and richest city in India, famous for commerce, entertainment (it’s the home of Bollywood) and for its incredible tourist attractions. On a trip to Mumbai there are many wonderful things to see, but these five are places every visitor to Mumbai must visit.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel – The Taj Mahal Palace has always been a major tourist attraction for its gorgeous architecture and because people like The Beatles, The Prince of Wales, and Jackie Kennedy stayed there. But, after 2008, when it was the location of a massive terrorist attack that killed 167 people, even more visitors to Mumbai now want to see the hotel.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was closed for almost two years, as it had to be rebuilt after the terrorists set it on fire, but it reopened in August 2010 and is now one of the top five must visit places in Mumbai.
See and photograph the incredible architecture, then enjoy a drink at the hotel’s Harbour Bar, or lunch or dinner at either Varq, the new Indian restaurant, or Graze, if you’re looking for Asian or Western fare.
Elephanta Caves – Elephanta Caves are one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites Mumbai has to offer. They’re located on a small island in Mumbai Harbour and are made up of five Hindu caves and two Buddhist. The caves are more than 1,500 years old and have carved rooms, intricately designed reliefs and statues and engraved panel.
On the island, you’ll also see monkeys, which are interesting to photograph. Just don’t feed them or you’ll be mobbed by hundreds of hungry rascals. To get to Elephanta Caves take one of the many Mumbai tours.
Crawford Market – If you want to see an authentic traditional Indian market in operation, Crawford Market is the one to visit. The market is located in a 19th century building, part of which was designed by the father of writer Rudyard Kipling. At Crawford Market, you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling everything from fruits, vegetables and spices to cosmetics, gift item, and even pets.
Just make sure you keep an eye on your wallet as, not only is it easy to spend a lot here, but as usual in extremely crowded places, pickpockets are active. Visit early in the morning and don’t forget to buy some of the market’s fresh fruit. It’s superb.
Juhu Beach – Another must visit place in Mumbai, Juhu Beach is the most popular beach in the city. It has a carnival-like atmosphere, that gets crowded on evenings and weekends as people take walks, stop and talk with friends, watch dancing monkeys and acrobats, and partake of the incredible amounts of food available on the beach.
Juhu Beach is famous for its street food and here you’ll find some of Mumbai’s most famous dishes at dirt cheap prices. The street stalls are clean too, so it’s a wonderful place for tourists to try food they might otherwise be nervous about trying at other stalls in Mumbai.
Prince of Wales Museum – Built to celebrate King George V’s visit to Mumbai, while he was still the Prince of Wales, the museum houses a superb collection of art, paintings, sculpture and 2,000 year old Indus Valley artifacts. It’s known as one of the best museums in all of India, and is also fascinating for its weird architecture – a mix of Gothic and Moorish styles, lavish and exotic.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Prince of Wales Museum