Mumbai doesn't have as many historical attractions as some places in India, but its multitude of unique and interesting sights more than compensates. You'll find everything from beaches to Bollywood. Don't miss these top 10 Mumbai attractions for a memorable visit.
If these attractions aren't enough for you, check out these 101 Places to Visit in Mumbai!
1. Gateway of India
Mumbai's most recognized monument, the Gateway of India, was constructed to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city. It was completed in 1924 and remains as a striking symbol of the British Raj era. After this era ended in 1947, the last of the British troops departed through the Gateway of India. The looming Gateway is designed to be the first thing that visitors see when approaching Mumbai by boat. It's also a popular place to start exploring Mumbai. These days the atmosphere around the monument resembles a circus at times, with numerous vendors peddling everything from balloons to Indian tea.
- Location: On the waterfront in Colaba, south Mumbai. Opposite the Taj Palace and Tower Hotel.
2. Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat
- Location: Next to Mahalaxmi railway station (the 6th station on the Western Line from Churchgate), central Mumbai. Walk out of the station and turn left on the bridge.
3. Haji Ali
- Location: Central Mumbai, just off the coast of Worli, not far from Mahalaxmi railway station.
- Location: Film City is in Goregaon, in the western suburbs of Mumbai.
Kala Ghoda, meaning "Black Horse" in reference to a statue that was once located there, is Mumbai's cultural center. This crescent-shaped stretch is home to Mumbai's best art galleries and museums. It's also filled with cultural spaces, including some wonderful pavement galleries. Stroll around at leisure, but be sure to visit the acclaimed Jehangir Art Gallery. Every year in February, the Kala Ghoda Association hosts a nine day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, which is interesting.
- Location: Between the Fort and Colaba, in south Mumbai.
Mumbai has some captivating heritage buildings where you can marvel over staggering examples of intricate colonial architecture. Some of the best are the Gothic looking Prince of Wales Museum in the Kala Ghoda art precinct, Victoria Terminus railway station, the Bombay High Court (wander inside and be entertained by a trial) and the buildings of Horniman Circle in the Fort area. The feature of Horniman Circle is its huge gardens, which provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also have a wander past the historic 18th century homes in Khotachiwadi village.
- Location: In and around south Mumbai.
In contrast to its millions of inhabitants and sprawling development, Mumbai surprisingly also has a national park located within its limits. It's worth a visit just to see the many ancient Buddhist caves, which have been hand carved into volcanic rock there. More caves, dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva, can also be found on Elephanta Island.
- Location: Sanjay Gandhi National Park, in the suburb of Borivali, is 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mumbai city center. Elephanta Island is 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Mumbai.
8. Mumbai Dabbawalas
- Location: Railway stations around Mumbai, particularly at Churchgate terminus in south Mumbai.
From the multitude of colorful pavement vendors that line Colaba Causeway, to the fascinating Chor Bazaar Thieves Market, Mumbai is full of interesting places to go street shopping. Stock up on attractive souvenirs at Colaba Causeway, delight in cheap shoes and clothes at Linking Road, scour the narrow alleyways of Chor Bazaar for antiques, and sample the fresh food while marveling at the architecture of Crawford Market.
- Location: Colaba Causeway, Linking Road in Bandra, Crawford Market near Churchgate, and Chor Bazaar on Mutton street (opposite Shafi Masjid).
- See Mumbai Markets photo gallery.
10. Juhu and Marine Drive Chowpatty Beaches
At the end of a tiring day of sightseeing, relax with the locals on the beaches of Juhu and Marine Drive, and watch the sunset. If you're feeling adventurous, you'll also be able to feast on tasty snacks offered by the multitude of food stalls and mobile food vendors. Favorites include roasted corn on the cob, bhel puri, pani puri and pav bhaji.
- Location: Exclusive Juhu is around 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the city centre, while Marine Drive Chowpatty is in central Mumbai, a short drive from the Gateway of India.