This metropolitan city on the western side of Indian peninsula is home to more than 10 million people, Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. The BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) is the icon of Indian stock markets, all major corporate entities in India have their headquarters in Mumbai, Mumbai is also costliest city in terms of cost of real estate (Nariman point is costliest office address in India). There are always so many questions about the places to visit in Mumbai and the things and activities to enjoy.
How did Mumbai get its name?
.The name Mumbai comes from Goddess Mumba Devi, prior to 1995 it was known as Bombay. Mumbai has its own distinctive flavor and charismatic life style which woos millions. Mumbai has been destination for those targeting big in life, here people get ample opportunities to fulfill his/her dreams.This is the city where entrepreneurs like Dhirubhai Ambani created the best success story of Indian entrepreneurship . This is also home to Hindi cinema, the hindi film industry churns out more than 2000 Hindi movies every year. The Hindi cinema buffs beat Holly wood square in terms of the number of tickets sold ( Mumbai cinema sold 3.6 billion tickets while Hollywood sold 2.6 billion) So many Bollywood movies have been made on the theme of Mumbai high flying life style.
Mumbai Local- A Good option for places to visit in Mumbai
Mumbai can never be complete without a mention of its life line the Mumbai suburban local trains .The network of Mumbai suburban railway is spread in an area of 390 kilometers . Mumbai local runs 2342 trains daily ferrying more than 7.5 million passengers.The trains run for almost 21 hours non stop daily(4 am to 1 am). The street food of Mumbai is also worth a mention every where you will get to see the stalls of Mumbai vada paav (similar to burger), Pao bhaaji, Bhel poorie, paani poorie and much more. Mumbai has very large crowds but the city moves on relentlessly on its own pace, There are some of the finest hotels and finest restaurants too in the city, In this blog we will try to enumerate the most visited places in Mumbai which you can include in your itinerary of Mumbai tour.
What are the top Places to visit In Mumbai?
CST Railway station-
Location-The last station on the central railway line (railway line connecting Mumbai with Howrah through Nagpur) and Harbour line sub urban railway line of Mumbai. This is the heart of south Mumbai, the area is known as fort Mumbai. The area is not very far away from the port of Mumbai.
History and Architecture of CST
–The Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj station popularly known as CST is the famous land mark of Mumbai here the two very important railway lines of India end This is also head quarter of the Central Railway zone of Indian railways.The central main line connects Mumbai with Howrah(Kolkatta)through Nagpur and north India , the long haul express trains of central railway originate from this station. Harbor line a railway line of suburban Mumbai local also originates and ends over here. There are total 18 platforms on this very busy railway station .
The railway station building is a world heritage monument. It was built in time span of ten years spanning from 1878-1887.It was designed by a British architect Frederich William Bell The year 1887 commemorated the fifty year rule of British Queen Victoria thus the station was named in her name as Victoria terminus. The building is example of Classic Indo Saracenic Victorian Gothic style of architecture. The lions sitting on the pillars of the station building once reminded of the British rule in India.
The statute of the British queen once adorned the outer facade of the station , the statute was removed after the Independence of India, Ever day millions of railway commuters use the precincts of CST , just stand at corner of the platform of harbor line local-and experience how a Mumbai local train slowly chugs into its destination and how thousands of people get down and start walking out of the station ,see how they move silently and swiftly out of the station to merge into the never ending crowds of Mumbai, It is a sort of human river and watching it is an experience you will never forget. On the ill-fated night of 26-11 two terrorist fired openly and killed hundreds of innocents at CST Station, one of them (Ajmal Kasab) was caught alive. A total of 1641000 Indian Rupees were spend on the construction of this marvel in 1887.
Haji Ali Dargah – One among the most famous places to visit in Mumbai
Location-Haji Ali Dargah is an islet very near to the coast line of Worli in the down town Mumbai city. The islet is connected with mainland by a narrow pathway, this pathway is inaccessible during high tide as water over floods the narrow pathway. The pathway is surrounded by several small stalls selling flowers and Chaddar (sheet of ceremonial cloth) along with other religious items. The Mahalaxmi temple is also a walking distance from Haji Ali Dargarh.
Haji Ali is the dargah (Burial place) of a famous Sufi saint Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who came all the way from Bukhara (Uzbekistan) The Pir came here after completion of his Hajj visit, he settled here in Mumbai more than 500 years ago to spread the tenets of Islam. The dargah was completed in 1431 that was long before the present Mumbai city came into existence. Pir Haji Ali is known to bless everyone who so ever comes to his dargah and fulfils the wishes. The dargah is a small monument surrounded by an open area with high walls the entire compound is built on a small islet amidst the gushing waves of the sea that’s why he is known as king of the sea ( Shah E Samandar). The narrow pathway which connects the islet with mainland is some 600 mtrs long it can be accessed only during low tide as the high tidal waves deluge the pathway. The dargah has been built in Indo Islamic style, Marble has been used as veneer on the outer facade. The dargah inside has ninety nine names of Allah written with pieces of mirror.
Gate way of India-
The history of the Gateway of India
In 1911 King George V AND Queen Mary came on their maiden visit to attend the Delhi darbar. This was the first time the British monarchy was visiting India.They were given a royal welcome on the coast of Mumbai where a cardboard gate was erected. At the same location to commemorate the visit a gate made of basalt rock was constructed it was completed in 1924 taking 11 years to the completion. At the same venue in 1948 the last troops of the British Indian Army left India thus ceremonially ending the British occupation of India. The structure overlooks the Arabian sea and is well known brand icon of India.
Architecture of the Gateway of India
The monuments rises 26 metrers in height and is constructed of local basalt rocks.The style of architecture is Indo Saracenic, the architect of this project was George Wittet. A total of 2100000 Indian Rupees were spent on the construction. The Gateway of India is just a little distance from another Indian landmark the Tajmahal hotel . This hotel was an infamous target during the infamous Mumbai attacks of 26/11, Near the gateway also stands a tall statue of a legendary Martaha warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji this statue was stationed over here in 1961 on the occasion of the Indian republic day. This statue replaced another statue of British emperor King George V . If you are desirous of making a visit to the Elephanta caves , the ferry for the Elephanta excursion starts from Gateway of India. You should combine both the visit of Gateway of India and Elephanta together .
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Where are Elephanta caves located ?
These are rock cut caves. These are only accessible by a ferry ride which starts from the jetty at Gateway of India, You can buy the tickets from the Gateway of India at first come first serve basis .The tour of Elephanta will take around five hours so make the preparations accordingly. The ferry has an open air ride option on the ceiling this option gives you a wonderful view of the Arabian sea with sea gulls flying around. The ride takes 1.5 hours one way from the Gateway of India. The ferries operate from 9:00 am to 2 pm .
History of Elephanta caves
The name elphanta is supposed to be given by the British ,The Portugese used the word elefante for the large elephant statues at this island, with passage of time the name changed to Elephanta. British tried to relocate these statues but in relocation these were accidentally destroyed and broken, the same can be seen at a garden in Mumbai(Jeeja mata Udyan). There are two groups of caves at Elephanta the five caves are of Hindu origins while two are of Buddhist origins. The island is called Gharapuri in local parlance infact there is a village by the same name at the island. After leaving the ferry at the shore you can either walk some 120 steps taking you to the caves or you can ride a small toy train at very nominal fare.
Significance of Elephanta caves
The cave No 1 was used by the local Hindus very recently by the Hindus till the Portugese overtook the island.The caves on eastern hill are all related to lord Shiva there are many breath taking carved statues of Lord Shiva over here. Shiva(Rudra) has been also symbolically picturised and carved with Brahma(God of creation) Vishnu(God of Sustenance) this is the famous trimoorti.The statues are mostly defaced probably the Sultan ruler or the Portugese were responsible for this destruction. You can have refreshments at the local food stalls at Elephanta. The western hills houses the Buddhist stupa amd two caves these date back to 2 century BCE. The Hindu caves probably were constructed by the Rashtrakuta rulers around 550 CE.
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Dhobi Ghat Mahalaxmi-
Location-There are huge laundry pans in down town old Mumbai near the suburban station of Mahalaxmi. Mahalaxmi station falls on the western line of the suburban railway. Very near to Mahalaxmi station are important places like Haji Ali dargah and Mahalaxmi temple.
Why dhobi ghat at mahalaxmi is famous?
This is reminiscence of a bygone era ,an era during the British Raj times when respective jobs were taken care by respective specialised people. This is one amonh the top places to visit in Mumbai. The dhobi wala taking care of laundry and soiled linen. Mumbai has the bygone era walking in step with modern world. When on Mumbai tour book your Mahalaxmi dhodi ghat tour with us and watch the hundreds of washermen manually wash the laundry and soiled linen in tandem at open air laundry pans. The best view is available from the bridge across the Mahalaxmi railway station. See how in unison these dhobies flog the clothes and wipe dirt out. Mostly budget hotels and laundry shop woners send their soiled linen to this dhobi ghat. The washermen who number in hundreds clean the clothes in open air pans. The best time to watch the dhobi ghat is either in morning or in afternoon when these washermen are in full action.
Marine drive, Nariman point and Girgaum Chaupati-
Location –Just a walk of few minutes walk from Church gate railway station of western railway will take you to the Marine drive.
Marine drive- One among the most popular places to visit in Mumbai
This is a 3.6 kilometer long six lane road in shape of a crescent connecting Girgaum chaupati on the north to the Nariman point and Babulnath. On one side of the road are the buildings and on the other side is the long stretch of Arabian sea there is a wide stretch of pavement with proper places for the tourist to sit and enjoy. The sunset here attracts huge crowds and is an amazing sight the crowds enjoy the cool sea breeze as the sun takes a dip into the Arabian sea. Star shaped concrete structures to tackle and split the huge sea waves line the sea front. So many Hindi films have been shot at this famous location, The mela continues into the night as people enjoy the sea breeze along with a sip of masala chaai. On one end of marine drive is the famous business address Nariman point , this is one of the costliest location in Mumbai here top corporates jostle for office space ,There are many high rise buildings in the vicinity .
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This is the famous beach on one end of the marine drive, this place is famous for its street food vends here you can enjoy the typical Mumbai street food like pao bhaji and vada pao and so many other delicacies evenings are very busy as people(mostly locals) get together to enjoy the street food along with flowing sea breeze and some fanfare.
Juhu Beach- considered in the list of famous places to visit inMumbai
Location- Juhu is an upmarket area of Mumbai this is where Hindi movie superstars like Amitabh Bachhan reside. The long stretch of sea side at Juhu near Ville parle is known as Juhu sea beach, this is 3 kms from Ville parle station of suburban Mumbai railway.
Juhu beach is long stretch of sand and shore, the residents of Mumbai enjoy a cool walk at sunrise and sunset on Juhu beach. At one end of the Juhu beach is the famous Juhu chowpaty this where several street food vendors vend delectable Mumbai street food worthspecial mention is the famous Pav bhaji,Bhel poori, paani poori, Vada Pao. Some very fine restaurants and five star deluxe hotels are also situated at the Juhu. If you go for an evening sunset walk on the shore then you might spot some Himdi movie and television celebrity enjoying a walk on the beach. You can also enjoy a sip of fresh coconut water over here. The sea breeze cools and entices in the humid Mumbai weather.
Film city Mumbai-
Location-The film city in Mumbai is located at Aarey colony in Mumbai, this colony lies in the Goregaon east locality of East Mumbai.
Film City- The Hindi movie industry which produces around 2000 hindi movies every year had no proper address there was no proper dedicated film city in mumbai till Mr V Shantaram the godfather of Indian film induatry under the aegis of the state Government of maharashtra built a film city in year 1977 . The film city is built on a 520 acre plot and it has capacity to have 1000 sets for the movies. The film city was named Dada Saheb Falke film city. The film city provides all the facilities and location sets required for easy production and filming of a movie. There are ready made permanent sets of temple, market, forest etc inside the film city. So many famous Hindi movies have been shot over here and the shooting simultaneously goes on at various sets. You can buy a tour of the film city and examine the making of a hindi movie closely you sure will love this experience.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya.
Location-This famous museum is located in Fort area of peninsular mumbai. It is just a walking distance from the CSTM and Church gate railway stations. The Gateway Of India is also not far away.
History and architecture- The people of mumbai decided to make a museum in Mumbai , this was to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Marie visit of India.The design and architecture was done by Mr George Wittet he is the same gentleman who made the designs of the famous Gateway of India. The building was ready in 1915 but due to the ongoing world war 1 it was finally opened in 1920 as a museum. George Wittet amalgamated the Indo Saracenic style of architecture with classic patterns of Mughal architecture . designing cues were also taken from the palaces of Maratha empire in Pune, The dome was inspired from the Gol Gumbaj Bijapur. The building is class 1 heritage building of Mumbai. The museum houses more than 50000 price less artifacts. There are many galleries Art, Architecture, Natural history to name a few. Some very important exhibits are from the excavation of Indus valley civilization. period coins and so many other artifacts are also on display.
Tour Of Dharavi slum area
Location-Very next to the suburban station of Bandra and Mahim lies the Dharavi slum, this encompasses an area of more than 2.1 square kilometers that is approximately around 430 acres(175 hectares), It is next to the peninsular Mumbai in location.
The Dharavi is oldest slum of Mumbi dating back to the nineteenth century when this place was home to the new migrants to Mumbai city. It was also home to some polluting industries relocated from the them Mumbai city.Today this 430 acre plot is home to staggering population of around a million.These people ascribe to various religions predominantly are Hindu (65%)Muslim are also sizeable in number (30%) Christian (6%) Dharavi is biggest slum of India. There are many small scale industries operating from Dharavi. Worth special mention are those operating from a single room setup. Your tour of Dharavi is speacilly designed to show you the inner side of living life in Dharavi how people manage their life living in such a congested set up This is not life story of few people but its a complete city of around 1 million people who live together pray together and enjoy their life together.