The city of Mumbai, whose attractions are known not only in India, but throughout the world, is remembered for its beauty and diversity. That is why tourists who came here only for a few days can not even imagine what places to get to know first. To facilitate your choice, we have compiled a review of the TOP-10 places that can be viewed both independently and as part of an excursion group.
Gateway to India
The Triumphal Arch, erected in honor of George V and Queen Mary, who visited Mumbai in 1911, combines elements of several architectural styles at once – Indian, European and Muslim. Despite the huge desire of local residents to finish work on the monument as quickly as possible, the construction lasted more than 10 years.
The walls of the Gateway of India, whose height together with the central dome is 41 m, are made of reinforced concrete and yellow basalt. The foundation of the arch literally touches the edge of the water – for its construction, the workers had to not only strengthen the coastline, but also almost completely rebuild the old marina. The facade of the gate is decorated with openwork carvings and numerous pilasters, and the roof is crowned with 4 pointed turrets. Spacious corridors are located on both sides of the structure, each of which seats up to 600 people. The arch is especially beautiful in the morning, when the rising sun paints it in golden tones.
- Location: Apollo Bandar, Colaba.
- Official website: https://goo.su/02r1.
When thinking about what to see in Mumbai in 2 days, do not forget to visit Kolaba, the most tourist area of the city, stretching along the entire Marine Drive. Once upon a time, when Colaba was still a separate island, wealthy European colonizers settled here. Now they only have left old pseudo-Gothic mansions, contrasting with huge skyscrapers, which housed the best hotel complexes, luxurious restaurants and cozy cafes.
Currently, Colaba is considered the most respectable and, perhaps, the greenest corner of Mumbaev. With the onset of the evening, its streets are filled with stalls with clothes, souvenirs and jewelry, among which many tourists like to walk. In addition, it is here that the most famous city attractions are located – the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the Rajibay Clock Tower, the Secretariat Building, the Prince of Wales Museum, the famous Leopold Cafe, mentioned in the Shantaram novel, and many others.
The promenade Marine Drive, which stretches along Back Bay for 4 km, is one of the most visited city attractions. Passing through Chowpatty beach, not intended for swimming, but ideal for leisurely walks, she goes to Malabar hill, populated by the most prosperous residents of Mumbaev.
Among other things, there is Raj Bhawan, the current residence of the state governor, a monument to Bal Gangadhar, erected at the beginning of the last century in honor of the famous national leader, and the Taraporevala aquarium, containing more than 100 species of fish and bearing the title of the best oceanarium of India since 1961.
Here you can stroll through the Nana-Nani park, created for the older generation. In addition to newsstands and shops with special awnings, there are many shops, cafes and restaurants on its territory. As the sun sets on Marine Drive, also called the Queen’s Necklace, thousands of lights are lit, reminiscent of the radiance of a real pearl.
Looking at the photos and descriptions of Mumbai sights in the tourist catalogs, you will probably notice the Elephants or, as they are also called Elephant caves, located in the middle of a small island of the same name. Created more than 1.5 thousand years ago, they are considered the oldest and most revered monument of the Hindu religion.
The sacred temple complex, carved by monks in a solid rock, contains a huge number of cave paintings and carved stone sculptures dedicated to the god Shiva. At the same time, in each of them, the deity appears in a completely new image, so it is better for an uninitiated person to get a good audio guide or a professional guide. The main of these figures is a massive five-meter bust depicting the supreme deity immediately in 3 of his guises – the Creator, Destroyer and Guardian.
In order to see the cave city with your own eyes, you need to catch a ferry that runs between the island of Elephant (the old name is Gharapuri) and the city pier throughout the day (there – from 09:00 to 15:00, back – from 12:00 to 17 :thirty). The journey takes about an hour. Tickets are sold right at the marina. One coupon can be driven in both directions. It is customary to move around the island not only on foot, but also in a small train or in a special chair (as they used to wear rajas).
- Where to find: Maharashtra State, District Kolaba (Island of Elephanta). Coordinates: N18 58 0.012 E72 56 8.988
- Entrance to the island: about $ 4.
- Official website: https://goo.su/02tD.
Talking about the sights of Mumbai in India that can be seen in a couple of days, one cannot help but recall the World Vipassana Pagoda, a symbolic monument of peace and harmony, located almost on the outskirts of the city. The foundation stone of this temple, which is an exact copy of the Shwedagon stupa from Myanmar, was laid in 1997, and construction, which lasted almost 11 years, was carried out exclusively on human donations. Interestingly, during the work, particles of Buddha’s relics donated by the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka were walled up in the walls of the structure.
Initially, the pagoda was built so that it stood for more than one millennium. Because of this, there is not a single supporting column in its design – their place was taken by stones with grooves, made with truly jewelry accuracy. For reliability, both the base of the pagoda and the entire lower level were covered with black basalt, so there is a great chance that after many thousands of years our great-great-grandchildren will admire this marvelous building.
Global Vipassana Pagoda itself consists of 3 domes built on top of each other. Both the diameter and the total height of this building reach a kilometer, and about 8 thousand parishioners can simultaneously meditate in the central hall. In addition, the pagoda has an art gallery, a library and classrooms for lectures.
- Location: Close to Essel World, Gorai Village, India.
- Opening hours: daily from 09:00 to 19:00 (admission is only until 18:30).
- Official website: https://www.globalpagoda.org.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, named after the deceased son of Indira Gandhi, is a huge conservation area in which grows, flies, runs, walks and crawls a huge amount of all kinds of animals. At the same time, the most famous inhabitants of the park are sika deer, pythons, porcupines, cobras, macaques, hyenas, antelopes and a small population of African leopards. The entire reserve is covered with rather dense vegetation, in the shade of which you can hide even on the hottest day.
Among the demanded attractions of this park are rock climbing, boat trips along the river, tiger safari and visits to Kanheri caves. The latter are a temple-monastery complex, carved into a volcanic rock in another 3 tbsp. BC e. For centuries, Buddhist hermit monks lived here, now Kanheri Caves is considered one of the most unique sights of Mumbai.
The scale of this complex is truly impressive. To date, archaeologists have managed to find 109 grottoes, interconnected, but having different purposes (temporary rooms for pilgrims, monastic cells, halls for prayers, etc.). On the walls of most of them, Buddha images and scenes telling about the life of the Great Teacher are engraved. Kanheri also has its own cemetery, consisting of several thousand ballot boxes, as well as a unique tank system designed to collect rainwater.
- Caves are open daily from 07:30 to 17:30. It’s unlikely that you will be able to look at all 109, so it’s better to use the services of professional guides – they will lead you to the most interesting places.
- Location: Borivali East, 400066.
Looking at the map of Mumbai with sights, one can not help but notice the main railway station, the prototype of which was the station of British St. Pancras. The construction of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus lasted about 10 years and was completed only in 1888. The result of such painstaking work was a magnificent building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Initially, the station was named after Queen Victoria, but a few years later it was successfully renamed. Since then, his name, associated with the name of another national hero, has never changed. Today, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which accepts both commuter trains and long-distance trains, is the busiest station in Mumbayev. At the same time, the building itself, made in the style of Victorian architecture, does not much resemble a traditional station. It looks more like a palace or some exotic castle, decorated with a huge number of arches, spiers, domes, columns and carved borders. The central vault of the building is crowned with a female figure symbolizing progress, and the pilasters at the main entrance are the tiger and lion statues representing India and Great Britain.
- Location: DN Road, Mumbai CST Area.
- Official website: https://goo.su/02r2.
Gandhi Museum in Mani Bhavan
If you don’t know what to see in Mumbai, head to the museum of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who forever changed the course of Indian history. The house, which houses a unique museum collection, belonged to a friend whose politician stayed with every visit to the city.
At first glance, this museum, which occupies an ordinary wooden building, does not represent anything interesting. Not distinguished by any architectural excesses, it fully characterizes the ideology of Gandhi himself, who never aspired to wealth and did not want to stand out among the common people. But it is worth going inside, and you find yourself in an atmosphere of bygone years, permeated by a passionate desire to win back from Britain the right to own independence.
The museum building includes 2 floors. The first of them contains clippings from old newspapers, elements of the interior of the study, as well as writing materials and manuscripts written by the leader in different years. Here you can see a collection of photographs telling about the life of a famous politician. On the second floor of the house, which managed to preserve the original interior, is Gandhi’s bedroom and an open terrace, on which the great Indian leader was arrested.
Currently, the Gandhi Museum in Mani Bhawan is included in the list of cult city attractions, the most famous visitors of which were the Obama couple.
- Address: 19 Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum Laburnam Rd, Gamdevi, 400007.
- Opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 17:30.
- Official website: https://goo.su/02R2.
Laundry Dhobi Ghat, located on an area of 10 hectares and consisting of several levels, can without exaggeration be called the most unusual attraction not only of Mumbaev, but also of all India. There are several hundred hereditary dhobis, male laundresses belonging to the untouchable caste.
The washing process in Dhobi Ghat, serving the entire city, takes up to 3 days. At first, the clothes are soaked and carefully beaten on narrow concrete baths, then they are hung on ropes or laid out on the roofs, and after that they are smoothed out with old coal irons. A narrow specialist is responsible for each stage of the washing, and either soap or soap nuts are used as detergents. This hard physical labor is paid more than modestly, however, for the Dhobi – this is the only way out, they have not been given another.
Tourists in Dhobi Ghat are not welcomed, so taking a photo is only from a distance (for example, from a nearby railway bridge). But you can look at the laundries both independently and accompanied by local residents. In this case, a voluntary fee will have to be paid for entry – approximately 100-200 rupees ($ 1.5 – $ 3).
- Location: Dr. E. Moses Rd., Near Mahalakshmi Station.
- Official website: https://goo.su/02r3.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mountain
Mumbai, the sights of which can only be very difficult to see in 1 day, will delight you with another cult place. We are talking about the Gothic Basilica of Our Lady, built by the Jesuits in 1579. Having traveled a long way from an ordinary house of worship to one of the main city sanctuaries, she pleases the eye with the elaborate decoration present both in the exterior and interior design.
So, on the facade of a beautiful four-story building, you can see the initial letters of the greeting phrase “Ave Maria”, uttered by the archangel Michael at a meeting with the Virgin Mary on the Annunciation Day. The third level of the temple is complemented by a chiseled date of its foundation, and the main entrance is “guarded” by two huge towers with openwork windows. The walls of the sanctuary are decorated with wooden panels depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin, between which there are narrow wrought-iron balconies.
Well, the greatest pride of Mount Mary Basilica is the statue of the Virgin herself, adorning the main altar. Over the long years of its existence, the sculpture, brought from Portugal at the very beginning of construction, managed to lose the right hand, which was later replaced by the marble Jesus Christ.
- Where to find: Mount Mary Road, Bandra West, 400050.
- Site attractions: https://goo.su/02R3.
All the sights of Mumbai described in the article are marked on the map in Russian.
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Posted by: Olga Sheyko