It is estimated that more than ten thousand strugglers from all over the world land every day in Mumbai, with big dreams in their eyes to set their mark in Bollywood, the largest film industry of the world. Mumbai, one of the largest and densely populated cities of India is also rhetorically famous as the 'city of dreams' and is a fantasy dream visit to anyone who is a big fan of Bollywood films and the film stars. But Mumbai is not just that. This financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India has a lot to offer for people of every walk of life.
With an array of enchanting historic and cultural sites intermingled with unique and fascinating local culture to explore; Mumbai is one of the top vacation destinations for anyone visiting India. Here is the list of the must visit places in Mumbai.
- Gateway of India
This exquisitely built architecture overlooking the magnificent Arabian Sea was constructed during the 20th century during the British rule in India to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Also famously known as the 'Taj Mahal of Mumbai', Gateway of India is one of the top tourist destinations in Mumbai. While one can spend hours marveling at the historic gate, this iconic place is also best for spending a relaxing evening watching the beautiful sunset over the ocean or taking a short ferry ride to explore Mumbai. It is also a gateway to Alibaugh, a popular vacation destination.
- Haji Ali Dargah
Residing majestically like a beautiful floating cruise in the midst of the sea, this Indo- Islamic Mosque situated in Worli, the southern part of Mumbai is not only a famous religious landmark but also a visual treat, thanks to its outstanding architecture. It was built as a tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, one of the greatest Muslim saints. This Dargah is also famous for magically withstanding many storms and Tsunamis that took place in Mumbai, without causing even a single damage to the heritage. After a visit to the Dargah, one can stroll around the nearby Muslim street food market which is famous for its authentic and tasty Muslim delicacies.
- Marine Drive
Marine Drive, also famously known as the 'Queen's Necklace' is a 3.6 km long stretched boulevard overlooking the splendid ocean. Situated in the heart of Mumbai, Marine Drive is a famous tourist destination that offers a relaxing experience beneath the beautiful Palm trees with an enthralling view of the sunset in the ocean. At night, the street lights create an illusionary horizon of beautiful string of pearls. This place is crowded by locals at nights. One can spend hours here lazing and relaxing while watching the majestic view of the Mumbai city. The best time to visit this place is the monsoons, where the giant waves crashing on the massive rocks create a splendid rainy experience, similar to the Niagara Falls.
- Juhu Choupati Beach
Juhu Chaupati Beach is the most famous beach of Mumbai and also the most overcrowded. With a long stretched shoreline, this beach can be most enjoyed for a long walk during the evenings. While spending a relaxing evening by the beach, one can also savor delicious foods in the variety of food stalls selling local foods like pani puri, chaat, dosa, sweet corns and golgappa (an authentic Indian ice-cream). Mumbai's one of the most famous five star hotel, The Novotel is situated just beside the beach which has an amazing café that overlooks the splendid ocean.
- Film City
If you are a fan of Bollywood films and serials, a tour to a film city is a must. With huge sets of many ongoing films and serials, Film City is situated near Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and houses all types of locations for a film shoot like lake, jungles, temple, mountains, prison etc. It is a primary location for many Bollywood films, and if you are lucky, you can also get an opportunity to meet your favorite film stars and watch the film shoots. It was built in 1978 A.D by the Maharashtra state government to provide necessary facilities for the Bollywood film industry. The best way of touring the Film City is hiring a tour guide.
- Mount Mary Church
Mount Mary Church, also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is the most famous Roman Catholic Church in Mumbai. It is situated in a serene hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea at Bandra, the western side of Mumbai. Apart from its religious importance, the Church is an architectural marvel and has a fascinating history to tell. The best time to visit the Church is during September where a week long feast takes place to celebrate the birthday of Virgin Mary. During the feast, the church is decorated like a newly-wed bride and is filled with various local food and entertainment stalls.
- Dharavi Slum
Mumbai's largest and Asia's second largest slum, Dharavi slum got its worldwide popularity after the Oscar winning movie, "Slumdog Millionaire" which was shot here. Founded in the British colonial era, Dharavi Slum boasts of around one million inhabitants residing here. With schools, private local factories, small hospitals and shops running by the people living in slums; Dharavi slum is a quaint world on its own and is a frequently visited tourist spot.
- Colaba Fashion Street Market
If you want to shop cheap but still want designer wears that you would find in the expensive shops inside the malls, Colaba Fashion Street Market situated just near The Gateway of India is the perfect place to visit. This place is a heaven for shopaholics and with hundreds of street shops selling a variety of products; one can buy anything under the sun, in such a minimal price that will first shock you and then enthrall you. The place also boasts of amazing cafes that serve multi-cuisine dishes. But nothing will beat the small food stalls that sell extremely delicious authentic Indian food at a very cheap price.
- Chor Bazaar
Mumbai's famous Chor Bazaar, also known as the Thieves Market got its name during the British rule where stolen goods were sold in the market in extremely cheap prices. Today the place is famous for antique and vintage items, especially if you are looking for home decors. The area filled with crowded streets and crumbling old buildings is a delight to stroll; especially if you want to have a local experience of the Muslim culture. This place is a must visit to try out delicious Muslim cuisines sold by the street vendors.
- Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)
The busiest railway station in Mumbai, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the most important landmarks of the city. Built in a Gothic styled architecture, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004 A.D. During the rush hours, it is an adventurous sight to stand in a corner and watch thousands of locals swarmed like ferocious bees as they push each other and run to catch their trains. This place is also where the infamous 'Mumbai terrorist attack' of November 2008 started.
- Global Vipassana Pagoda
Global Vipassana Pagoda, the largest meditation centre in India is also Asia's one of the biggest stone monuments of Lord Buddha and houses the sacred bone relics of Lord Buddha in the main dome. The magnificent architecture with artistically crafted Myanmar Gate and gigantic statue of Lord Buddha is a feast to the eyes. Situated in the banks of the sea, this Pagoda is a perfect place for a silent recreation from the chaotic life of Mumbai city.