Mumbai (Bombay), India

Mumbai (the new name for Bombay) is
perhaps India’s most fun, exciting and charismatic city.  With many good
sights, an almost European feel and a mix of cultures and religions.  Mumbai is definitely
worth a stop if you are heading north or south through
India. Mumbai is India’s financial powerhouse with major industry but also Asia’s largest
slums.

The British and Portuguese both played
major parts in Mumbai’s history.  The city’s old name of Bombay
comes from the Portuguese ‘Bom Bahia’. Since 1996 the city has been know as
Mumbai.

Almost everything of interest is
in southern Mumbai.  The leafy, water lined district of Colaba is the rightful travelers
centre.

Essential Mumbai

  • Elephanta Island

    – incredible Hindu temples and statues carved in rock on a remote
    island

  • Architecture
    – marvel
    at the colonial architecture of CST train station, Bombay University and the High
    Court.
  • Chowpatty Beach

    – watch the sunset whilst eating tasty Indian
    snacks

  • Gateway of India

    – The glorious and now redundant British
    archway

  • Mani Bhavan

    – Gandi’s house whilst in Mumbai, now a wonderful
    museum

  • Cricket

    – watch endless games on the many
    maidens

  • Bazaars

    – Mumbai’s old quarters are an incredible series of market
    streets

Sights in
Mumbai

Elephanta
Island

Elephant Island is a 1 hour ferry ride from Mumbai. The island is home to
magnificent rock-cut temples depicting many Hindu gods. Little is known about
their origins, but they are thought to have been created between AD450 and
750.

Gateway of
India

A grand archway of 16th century Islamic styles faces out
to Mumbai Harbor.  Opened in 1924 to celebrate the arrival of King George VI.  24 years later it was redundant as
the last British regiment departed India through the archway.  A popular
meeting spot for locals, and the place to catch a ferry to Elephanta
Island.

Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus

An incredible Gothic building that is actually a railway station, formerly
knows as Victoria Terminus.  Built by the British in 1887.  It
is beautifully decorated and worth stopping by before you have to catch a
train.

University of Bombay and the High
Court

Two incredible neighboring buildings overlooking the many cricket
maidens.

Chowpatty Beach & Marine
Drive

Take a long walk up Marine Drive to Chowpatty beach.  The popular spot
where locals watch the sunset every night.  There are lots of
people selling chai and snacks.  Don’t be tempted by the water, it is
filthy.

Mani
Bhavan

Gandi’s house whilst in Mumbai is now preserved as a
beautiful museum in his honor.  With various pictures and models, and the
letters Gandi wrote to Hitler and President Roosevelt.  His upstairs room has been restored with the few
possessions he every owner.  It’s a beautiful building that now stands
out from the rest of the street.  A few minutes walk from Chowpatty
Beach.

Accommodation in
Mumbai

Mumbai is India’s most expensive city in
terms of accommodation.  Colaba is the travelers centre.  It’s a leafy suburb with
parking.

Colaba

Bentleys Hotel
17 Oliver Road
t:
22841474
www.bentleyshotel.com
The most
colorful of Colaba’s budget hotels.  There are two main buildings on Oliver
Road and a less appealing but adequate building on Henry Road.  Rooms have
cable TV.  The more expensive rooms are of midrange standard – huge,
spotless rooms and good value, with colonial furniture and balconies. 
Rooms 31 and 21 overlooking a garden are among the
best.  AC costs INR200 more.  Rooms have ceiling fans and towels
are provided. Reservations are recommended and credit cards are accepted.  Included basic breakfast. 
INR900+

Eating and drinking in
Mumbai

There are lots of restaurants provided great food in Mumbai.  In Colaba there are
lots of cheap simple restaurants providing Indian fare, as well as
more upmarket places.  There are also several European style bars which are always
packed.

Getting to and from
Mumbai

Mumbai is a major transport hub.  There
are trains to just about everywhere.  In particular there is an
overnight train to Goa, but book a couple of days in advance around
Christmas.

Cheap flights are now possible to most parts of
India.

Getting around
Mumbai

Southern Mumbai can be seen on foot, although Colaba to Chowpatty beach is a fair walk.  Taxis are everywhere.  Insist that
they use the meter or agree a price before getting in. 
The airport is a fair way across the city, so expect to pay
INR450.

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