Gateway of India
Mumbai’s landmark number one is this 26 meter high portal on Cobala’s seafront, built on the occasion of King George of England’s visit to India in 1911. The gate is meant to be the first sight of India when arriving by sea and is Mumbai’s most photographed edifice.
The Hanging Gardens
Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens, locally called Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens, are a green and beautiful park area on Malabar Hill, just above Kamala Nehru Park. The park is popular for its perfect view of the sunset in the Arabian Sea. It was built in the 1880s over the city’s main reservoir.
Mumbai’s architectural masterpiece is Victoria Terminus, also known as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Here is the Indian Railway headquarters. The building from 1888 is Gothic and was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2004.
Prince of Wales Museum
This attraction has also been renamed after its release from England and is now called Chatrapati Shivaji Museum. The building dates from the early 1900s and houses, among other things, Chinese porcelain and Tibetan art as well as exhibits with artifacts from ancient Indian history. The museum is not far from the Gateway of India in southern Mumbai. It is open daily except Mondays from 2pm. 1015 to 7 p.m. 1845.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Not all places are as rare as a national park within the boundaries of a million town. Sanjay Gandhi National Park is named after Indira Gandhi’s son, Sanjay, who died in a plane crash in 1980. In the park you will find caves with archaeological finds dating back to 400 BC, as well as a rich flora and a bustling wildlife. The park has over two million visitors annually. If you have the fitness to follow the Highest Point Trail, you will finally get a panoramic view of Mumbai from 400 meters above sea level.
Mumbai’s funniest tourist attraction is the Mahalaxmi area, also called Dhobi Ghat, where the city’s laundry services gather to do their typical Indian job. A dhobi is a man (always a man) who goes door-to-door and collects dirty clothes that he washes for the families. The laundry service attracts hundreds of curious tourists daily.
This huge fountain was built in 1869 in honor of Mumbai’s then Governor Bartle Frere, the man who has been honored for designing much of today’s modern Mumbai. The fountain is dominated by a large statue of the Roman goddess Flora, after which the attraction is named. Nearby is a memorial to Indian martyrs, who have given the fountain the local name of Hutatma (Martyrs) Chawk.
The Afghan Church
This church, also known as St John’s Church, was built in 1847 to commemorate the British soldiers who fell during the Afghanistan campaign in 1838 and 1843.
In the Worli district is the Nehru Center, named after India’s first prime minister, Nehru. This cylindrical tall building has several attractions, including a permanent audio-visual presentation of India’s history. Here you will also find a planetarium, where you can recreate the view of the starry sky from anywhere in the world at any time in world history. It is open daily except Mondays from 2pm. 1030 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1700, and it’s free admission.
Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sanghralaya
Mani Bhavan was Mahatma Gandhi’s residence periodically between 1917 and 1934 and is now a national memorial to the pacifist country father. The museum has a photo gallery, library and audio and film archive in addition to some of Gandhi’s personal belongings. It is open daily from 7 am 9 am to 2 pm 1800. It costs three rupees (about 50 øre) to get in.
Queen Victoria Gardens
In Byculla, in southern Mumbai, this park is also called Rani Jijimata Udyan. The entrance is adorned by a bell tower inspired by Italian Renaissance style. Further inside you will find the huge stone elephant that has given Elephanta Island its name. Here is also the Mumbai Zoo, which has lions and tigers, elephants, bears and monkeys. It is open daily from 7 am 1000 to 6 p.m. 1700 except Wednesdays.
Mumbai has a number of operators who can take you on a guided tour in and around the city. You can get tours in most price ranges. The reception at your hotel can certainly help you, or you can book online when you wish. A reasonably priced alternative is Heritage Bus Ride, which provides you with an hour-guided tour of southern Mumbai from a double-deck open-roof bus. Telephone. is 2202 6713.
Of course, it is possible to visit all the attractions on your own, and it is also affordable, but a skilled guide can supplement with fascinating background stories about the buildings and places you visit.
In the area around the Gateway of India, you will certainly be contacted by people who offer to drive you on a 3-4 hour tour to most attractions, with English speaking guide. You may want to test the guide’s knowledge level before you pay. Several of the “guides” hardly know when India became independent.
Day 1 in Mumbai
If you, like most others, have chosen to live in the Colaba district, Mumbai’s own triumphal arch, the 25-meter-high Gateway of India, is a natural starting point for taking southern Mumbai in closer view. The boardwalk south takes you past the over 100-year-old revered Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which has had guests such as Bill Clinton, Mick Jagger and Prince Charles. You pass the Yacht Club before taking a U-turn into the Colaba Causeway shopping street with its ten similar quarter buildings from the 1930s.
Continue up and past the Electric House and Methodist Church towards the Prince of Wales Museum, a 1914 Indo-Sarasan building in yellow and blue stone with crescent-shaped gardens all around. On the sidewalks around, street vendors are constantly calling out their offerings on peanuts, blankets, DVDs, rubber chickens and coins, while cartoonists and handymen try to make eye contact with you.
In the Kala Ghoda district, artists, writers and students have lived for a lifetime. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy taking a closer look at Elphinstone College, the Esplanade Mansion, the Army And Navy Building and the strictly guarded David Sassoon Library from 1870. Also bring with you the old 1930s Eros movie theater, which offers great views towards the building where the Western Railway Office is headquartered. With its bulbous domes and oriental minarets, it sets in its own architectural class.
Turning west towards Churchgate Station, you pass the massive fortress where the Supreme Court is located. Walk up the wide staircase to the entrance hall, check out the views from the galleries and feel the vibe of tiled corridors with old paintings by Moorish judges of the last century. Right next door is the University Library with its roof tops, hand-painted stained glass windows and peaceful back gardens, as well as the impressive 90-meter-high bell tower Rajabai.
If you are now getting tired, hungry and thirsty, you hardly need to go far to find a place to sit down for lunch. Mumbai has literally thousands of eateries in all price ranges. For example, you can buy a freshly made samosa and a soda on a street grill for a few bucks or sit down at an upscale restaurant with air conditioning, white tablecloths and life-dressed headmasters.
In the Fort area are the grand, Gothic Victoria Terminus and Gandhi’s ancient Mani Bhavan residence. The impact of 300 years of British rule is clear; at times the buildings are more like Cambridge than India. You now come to several markets where you can bargain and shop for gold, perfume or spices. Zaveri bazaar, Bhendi bazaar and Princess street all have their specialties.
You have now approached Malabar Hill, the Walkeshwar Temple and the Banganga Tank pilgrimage, an artificial freshwater lake where the Hindu god Ram must have stopped five thousand years ago. On the west side of the lake is an ancient temple built for the Silhara kings. After relaxing a bit on the hilltop and contemplating the view of the Arabian Sea from southern Mumbai’s highest point, you are probably ready for a taxi back to a cool hotel room for a refreshing shower and a much needed change of clothes.
When it’s time for dinner, for example, stroll down to the slightly legendary Café Leopold, which has been in the Colaba Causeway since 1871. The food is cheap and varied. The atmosphere is exotic. Here you will find both backpackers, Arabs, suit-dressed businessmen and merry-go-rounds. If you’re still up and ready for more, you can stroll a few blocks further north, where you’ll find Café Mondegar. Here there is always life and a high level of noise from a cheerful clientele, made up of Indian, young men and western tourists. The music on the jukebox ranges from REM, Oasis and Iron Maiden to Hindudisco and the remixed reggae.
Day 2 in Mumbai
After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, stroll down to the docks behind Gateway of India. Every hour the boat goes to Elephanta Island, which is about ten kilometers out in the Gulf of Mumbai. A return ticket costs around 15 kroner, and the boat trip, which is a small attraction in itself, takes up to a meager hour each way. Avoid the boat trip on a weekend. Then you let go of the huge congestion on the deck.
From the jetty on Elephanta Island you will find a footpath that leads to the long stairs up to the island’s famous caves, where four temples are carved into the island’s bedrock. They are believed to date from the period 810-1250 AD. In the main cave you will find several carved panels describing the life of the god Shiva. Here you will also find a six meter high statue called Trimurti, which depicts Shiva in the three traditional roles of creator, creator and destroyer in one. It is considered one of the main works of Indian sculpture tradition. The cave temples are on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.
From the top you have great views of Mumbai. On the island there are several eateries, and souvenir sellers proclaim their offer of postcards, fresh fruits, drinks, sunglasses, etc. Beware of the many small, naughty monkeys that are still ahead and catching on what you do not hold well. It is nice to relax in the sun on the beaches here, but the polluted water does not invite swimming specifically.
When you’re back at Gateway of India, maybe you’re ready for lunch? Not far away, in Colaba Causeway, is one of Mumbai’s institutions on the restaurant front, Delhi Durbar. The building is in red sandstone and is an unsuccessful replica of the Red Fort in Delhi. The interior is supposed to look like the muggle emperors’ court, and of course it’s great. The food is highly curated and the prices are very pleasant to be such an apparently exclusive restaurant. It is likely that the bill will end up at around NOK 30-50. person.
After the late lunch, take a rickshaw to the south end of Marine Drive and from here take a long walk along the harbor promenade in the direction of Chowpatty Beach. Here you can sit down for a while, eat a kulfi ice cream and watch the waves crash over the beach. Walk to the nearby Flora Fountain and Martyrs Square and St Thomas Cathedral, which is well worth a visit. Take a rickshaw on to Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sanghralaya, who used to be Mahathma Gandhi’s residence for a while; now it’s the museum that shows his life.
Back in the hotel awaits a cool shower, clean clothes and some peace and quiet before it’s time to think about dinner. Although Mumbai has a very good selection of Italian, French, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Greek restaurants, it is first and foremost the Indian cuisine that is interesting when you are in India. At one of Mumbai’s oldest restaurants, Gaylords at Churchgate, you can choose both Indian and Continental dishes from the menu, and the price will normally be around $ 40- $ 50. person. For example, try roganjosh, which is tender pieces of lamb cooked with herbs, saffron and yogurt. If you are going further in India, it may be a long time for the next time you taste something other than chicken meat.