Taj Mahal Hotel & Gateway of India, © Can Stock / mkistryn
Visit Mumbai – Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is the most popular attraction for those who visit Mumbai. The Gateway of India commemorates the visit of King George V. It’s located on the Colaba waterfront in the heart of the city, directly beside the famous Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. When Britain granted India independence in 1947, British soldiers departed through this gate. Just behind the hotel is Leopold Cafe and Bar, which was the site of the 2008 terrorist bombings.
Dhobi Ghat Outdoor Laundry, © Can Stock / johnnydevil
Visit Mumbai – Dhobi Ghat Outdoor Laundry
On the peninsula just south of the Gateway of India is an area of contrasts. The skyscrapers along the waterfront in the area known as Cuffe Parade are very close to the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat outdoor laundry, where hundreds of families wash laundry. At the Dhobit Ghat outdoor laundry, the laundry is done by hand for a few dollars a day in rows of concrete troughs. Tourist come to take pictures of poverty that they can barely comprehend. The Mumbai Port Trust Botanical Garden is nearby on the peninsula here too.
Museum Mumbai, © Can Stock / johnnydevil
Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) Art Precinct
The Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) Art Precinct is immediately to the north of the Gateway of India. Among the galleries in the Kala Ghoda are the Jehangir Art Gallery and the Museum Mumbai (CSMVS), which was formerly called the Prince of Wales Museum. The multi-day Kala Ghoda Festival is held here in early February.
Visit Mumbai – Colaba
The larger area north of the Gateway of India is still part of the peninsula known as Colaba, the Fort or Colaba Fort. A military installation was here previously, which gives rise to the name. In the northern section of Colaba, see the Rajabai Clock Tower, which is Mumbai’s version of Big Ben. Watch a trial at the Bombay High Court. Check out the Flora Fountain in Martyr’s Square and St Thomas Cathedral at Horniman Circle.
On the fringes of this area you will find the cruise ship terminal to the east and a bit farther north is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), which is an historic train station recognized as a World Heritage Site.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, © Can Stock / SHAILESHNANAL
Marine Drive – The Queen’s Necklace
Marine Drive is a popular road and waterfront promenade on Back Bay in the heart of downtown Mumbai. Back Bay extends in a sweeping semi-circle which starts at Nariman Point in the downtown area. Chowpatty Beach is just past the halfway point around the semi-circular drive. Inland from Chowpatty Beach is the Khotachiwadi area with its Portuguese architecture. Marine Drive is known for its art Deco buildings and for being a great place to watch the sunset. At night, the arc of the beach and the city lights create the Queen’s Necklace.
Visit Mumbai – Banganga Tank
At the farthest end of Marine Drive, you will find the Banganga Tank Water Reservoir and the impressive Jain Temple. The Banganga Tank is a large rectangular sacred pool built in the early 1100s. It’s part of the Walkershwar Temple complex at Malabar Hill. Observe the ancient Indian tradition of entering the holy waters of Banganga Tank or catch a festival held at the location.
Chowpatty Beach, © Can Stock / Sapsiwai
Churchgate Station Lunch Boxes
A few blocks in from the waterfront Marine Drive, visit Churchgate Station. Watch the Churchgate Station lunch boxes being unloaded at the railway station just before noon and handed to Mumbai Dabbawalas. The dabbawalas deliver several hundred thousand hot lunch boxes around the city each day. The British aristocracy started the lunch box tradition, but it has been taken over by the businessmen of Mumbai.
Haji Ali Dargah Mosque, © Can Stock / micropix
Visit Mumbai – Haji Ali Dargah
Haji Ali Dargah Mosque and Tomb have been around since 1431. The Haji Ali Dargah has a white dome and white minarets. This mosque is on a small island just off the coast, north of downtown. A causeway helps people get to the site without worrying about the tides. During heavy monsoons, access to the mosque can be cut off.
The Haji Ali Dargah Mosque is enormously popular. It’s very busy with pilgrimages on Thursdays and Fridays. Tours will drive through the wealthy Breach Candy residential area to reach the mosque.
Visit Mumbai – Hotels
- Trident Nariman Point
- Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
- Hotel Sahara Star-Mumbai Airport