Mumbai

There's plenty to see in Mumbai, but it doesn’t have much in the way of the stationary monuments that London, Paris, Delhi, and other major cities possess. The art of experiencing Mumbai lies in eating, shopping, and wandering through the strikingly different neighborhoods and the various markets. Think of Mumbai as a 50-km (30-mile) -long open-air bazaar.

Colaba, headed by Gateway of India, is the tourist district and main drag for visitors, and from the Gateway of India to Colaba Market, along the main road, is a walkable stretch of hotels, pubs, restaurants, and interesting shops. Churchgate and Nariman Point are the business and hotel centers, and major bank and airline headquarters are clustered in skyscrapers on Nariman Point.

The district referred to as Fort—which includes Mumbai's hub, Flora Fountain—is filled with narrow, bustling streets lined with small shops and office buildings, as well as colleges and other educational facilities. Another upscale residential neighborhood, Malabar Hill, north of Churchgate on Marine Drive, is leafy and breezy, with fine, old stone mansions housing wealthy industrialists and government ministers.

Shopping and people-watching are most colorfully combined in Mumbai's chaotic bazaar areas, such as Chor Bazaar, Zaveri (jewelry) Bazaar, and Crawford Market (aka Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market). Many of the city's newest and trendiest shops and restaurants are now out in the suburbs—where more and more people have been moving due to soaring real-estate prices and a lack of space—but South Mumbai still retains some of the very best.

Some travelers opt to stay in the suburbs, either in Bandra, at the end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link; or in Juhu, a popular coastal suburb between Mumbai and the airports (about 20 km [12 miles] north of the city center). Juhu's beaches aren't clean enough for swimming, and the place can be scruffy, but staying out here is a good way to observe everyday Indian life beyond the shadow of Mumbai's skyline. Sunday nights bring families down to the beach for an old-fashioned carnival, complete with small, hand-powered Ferris wheels, and lantern-lit snack stalls hawking sugarcane.

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  • 1. Ajanta Caves

    Ruins

    Set in a wide, steep, horseshoe-shaped gorge above a wild mountain stream, the Ajanta caves reward intrepid travelers—you'd be surprised how...Read More

  • 2. Chowpatty Beach

    Chowpatty | Beach

    Chowpatty Beach and the rest of long, elegantly curved Marine Drive are the essence of the mammoth, cheeky, beautiful seaside beast that is...Read More

  • 3. Babulnath Temple

    Malabar Hill | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    To get the flavor of a large, traditional Indian temple that's nevertheless jammed in the heart of a busy city, a visit to the Babulnath Temple...Read More

  • 4. Banganga Water Tank

    Malabar Hill | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This serene, criminally under-visited temple complex is considered one of the city's holiest sites. It's also the oldest surviving structure...Read More

  • 5. Bibi-ka-Maqbara

    Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    This 17th-century tomb is also known as the mini Taj Mahal; you can usually see it from the plane when you're flying into Aurangabad. A pale...Read More

  • 6. Chor Bazaar

    CST | Market/Bazaar

    This narrow thoroughfare, in the center of classic Muslim Mumbai, is lined with dozens of stores crammed with antiques and general bric-a-brac...Read More

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  • 7. Crawford Market

    CST | Market/Bazaar

    Renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule market decades ago, but still known by its original name, this building was designed in the 1860s by John Lockwood...Read More

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  • 8. CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), aka Victoria Terminus

    CST | Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    Built by the British in 1888, this is one of India's—and probably the world's—busiest train stations, overflowing at rush hour with enormous...Read More

  • 9. Daulatabad Fort

    Military Sight

    The imposing fort, built in 1187 by a Hindu king, is surrounded by seven giant walls more than 5 km (3 miles) long. Daulatabad was once called...Read More

  • 10. Elephanta Caves

    Ruins

    A quick 30-minute ferry ride from bustling South Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves make an ideal half-day trip for anyone who wants a quick glimpse...Read More

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  • 11. Ellora Caves

    Cave

    In the 7th century, the focus of activity shifted from Ajanta to a site 123 km (76 miles) to the southwest—a place known today as Ellora—although...Read More

  • 12. Gateway of India

    Colaba | Notable Building

    Mumbai's signature landmark, this elegant 26-meter (85-foot) stone archway was hastily erected as a symbol of welcome to Queen Mary and King...Read More

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  • 13. Haji Ali Shrine

    Central Mumbai | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Set far out on a thin, rocky jetty in the Arabian Sea, this striking, dilapidated white shrine was built in honor of the Muslim saint Haji Ali...Read More

  • 14. Jain Temple

    Malabar Hill | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    What may be the most impressive temple in Mumbai belongs to the prosperous, strictly vegetarian Jains, the largely Gujarati followers of Lord...Read More

  • 15. Jehangir Art Gallery

    Fort | Museum/Gallery

    Not a far stroll from Trishna and other famous restaurants, Mumbai's chief contemporary-art gallery hosts changing exhibits of well-known Indian...Read More

  • 16. Kamala Nehru Park

    Malabar Hill | City Park

    Children love playing on the "Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" structure here, at this small park on the eastern side of the top of Malabar Hill...Read More

  • 17. Knesseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

    Fort | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The attractive and ornate Knesseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is across from Jehangir Art Gallery and behind Rhythm House, at the southern edge of Fort...Read More

  • 18. Magen Hassidim Synagogue

    Central Mumbai | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This is probably Mumbai's most active synagogue, but being in Byculla, it's not really much of a tourist destination and, as a Hasidic synagogue...Read More

  • 19. Mani Bhavan

    Malabar Hill | Historic Home

    This charming, old-fashioned three-story Gujarati house, painted brown and cream and in a quiet, tree-shaded Parsi neighborhood on Malabar Hill...Read More

  • 20. Marine Drive

    Scenic Drive

    Stretching for 3 km (2 miles) along the Arabian Sea, Marine Drive's promenade offers one of the best walks in Mumbai. After you've had your...Read More

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