Attractions in and around Mumbai
A city that never sleeps, Pulse of India, Vibrant and happening place, Home of Indian Bollywood, a city on the move and a fun place to live are few of the adages used for Mumbai which was formerly known as Bombay. Once a cluster of seven islands gifted to British by the Portuguese, now is the most modern city of India and captures the changing pace set by modernisation and liberalisation.
The seat of the Hindi film industry, known locally as Bollywood, it produces the largest number of films in the world. Mumbai caters to the adventurous and the romantic through its sporting activities, nightclubs, pubs, theaters, beaches and restaurants. Old and new, rich and poor, classical and modern — its all here for you to savour and enjoy!
Gate way of India
Mumbai’s most striking monument, this was designed by George Wittet. It has an imposing gateway arch in the Indo-Saracenic style with Gujarati and Islamic elements such as wooden carvings. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. This area is also the departing point for ferries plying to Elephanta Island and other beaches across the port. Behind it is the beautiful old (and new) structure of the Taj Mahal Hotel.
This is the stretch which is very well known as Queen’s necklace is a long curving stretch along the sea starting from Nariman Point and ending at walkeshwar temple with Chowpatty beach on the way. During night time it is a sight to watch and a walk along the necklace has a calming effect in an otherwise busy city life.
Jehangir Art gallery
For the connoisseurs of art, close by to the Prince of Wales Museum, this gallery is the showcase for contemporary art. The displays change regularly. Outside is the Artist’s Plaza with more paintings on display and sale. Open daily from 11 am to 7 pm. You can also have a walk around Flora fountain, University and Railway terminus to have a look at the old British architecture in Mumbai.
National Gallery of Modern Art
This is the Cowasji Jehangir Hall, of the Institute of Science. It has been renovated to serve as a four-storey exhibition hall, displaying the best of Indian contemporary art. Open daily except Monday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Prince of Wales Museum
This is one of Mumbai’s finest example of Victorian architecture. Built to commemorate King George V’s visit to Mumbai (while still Prince of Wales), it was designed by George Wittet and completed in 1923. It is undoubtedly one of India’s finest museums and houses treasures, artefacts, paintings and sculpture from the many periods covering India’s history, including the Indus Valley Civilization. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30 am to 6 pm.
Across the Mumbai Harbour, lie the seventh-century rock-cut temples of Elephanta. Once known as Gharapuri, or the Fortress City, the Caves are now designated as a World Heritage Site and visited by hundreds of tourists both for their art historical and scenic value. The Portuguese renamed this island Elephanta after a large stone elephant found near the shore ( the elephant sculpture collapsed in 1814, when the British relocated it to the Victoria Gardens now Mumbai’s zoo, where it still stands). Boat rides from Gateway of India take you to these caves.
Mumbai by night just needs to be experienced as Mumbai never sleeps!