Before being renamed Mumbai, after the goddess of the fishing community, Mumbadevi, the islands that formed Bombay were Isle of Bombay, Colaba, Old Woman’s Island (Little Colaba), Mahim, Mazagaon, Parel, and Worli. It took over five centuries to unite them to form an emotion called Bombay. Hence, it is no surprise that it is a culmination of various communities coming together in the most beautiful way possible. From famous tourism spots like the Gateway of India, The Taj Hotel, etc., to the old buildings in the Fort area, you learn to find beauty in everything. But there are certain things that one must try when they visit the Mumbai to enjoy the complete enriching experience. Or at least something that comes close to it because Mumbai will always have unexplored corners of beauty somewhere in this chaos. So, here is a list to help you give one of the best memories of your life:
See the Sea:
Mumbai is served by two major ports- Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. The city is also the headquarters of the Western Naval Command and is also an important base for the Indian Navy. Being a coastal area, Mumbai gives you continuous interaction with the Arabian Sea. Beaches are a major tourist attraction in Mumbai. There is nothing like finding your own little spot to dip your feet in the water at the Juhu or Chowpatty beach. The latter is based at the northern tip of the famous Marine Drive, which offers the perfect moment of introspection against the sea for people who aren’t fond of getting their feet sticky with sand. It is open at all times unless an adverse situation like a high tide alert persists. You can watch the sunrise or sunset against the backdrop of the city’s skyline or see the Queen’s Necklace (named because of the C-shaped road) light up at night. Quite a popular tourist attraction,
Gateway of India is also set against the city’s waterfront- with the Taj Hotel visible from there. The monument was built to commemorate the visit of George V, the then Emperor of India. It is often referred to as the symbol of conquest and colonization. But today, the gateway is ironically synonymous with the city of Mumbai. Since its construction was finished in 1924, the gateway has remained amongst the first structures visible to visitors arriving at Bombay by sea. The location also offers jetty services for spending some time to view the stillness of this chaotic place from the sea or to visit nearby destinations like the Elephanta Caves or cities like Alibaug.
Heaven for Architecture Aficionados:
The architectural splendour of Mumbai blends Gothic Revival, Indo-Saracenic, Art Deco, and other contemporary styles. South Bombay or SoBo houses most of the old British era buildings while the suburbs have modern contemporary styles. So, the walk through the streets is an aesthetic experience of its own. The architectural features of the older buildings include a variety of European influences such as German gables, Dutch roofs, Swiss timbering, Romance arches, Tudor casements, and traditional Indian features. There are also a few Indo-Saracenic styled buildings such as the Gateway of India.
Art Deco styled landmarks can be found along the Marine Drive, and a walk through the Oval Maidan provides an excellent view of some of these buildings. Mumbai has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world after Miami. It is also a proud home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites- the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (VT), the Elephanta Caves, and the Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble which includes buildings in the Fort area.
Find Your Corner:
The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment, and nightlife, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other world capitals. Mumbai’s history as a major trading center has led to a diverse range of cultures, religions, and cuisines coexisting in the city. The foundation of Bollywood was laid here by Dadasaheb Phalke, and there are many cinema halls all around the place. So, you can catch a movie anytime you want! There are innumerable malls and brands all around the city- both Indian and International. In fact, a Zara store is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Mumbai. There is also something for all the bibliophiles! Constructed in 1833, the Asiatic Society of Bombay is one of the oldest public libraries in the city. The city has many such places like Kitab Khana, which stores thousands and thousands of books and even offers a small cafe for a quiet hour or two. If you are an art lover, Jehangir Art gallery and the National Gallery for Modern art could always be your place to be.
Food for Life:
The street food in Mumbai is very famous and rightly so. The streets are filled with Pani Puri stalls that are never empty, and the smell of Vada Pav, which is pretty much the go-to dish here, is forever lingering in the air. Because the city is a culmination of a variety of cultures, it offers the best of all. From restaurants like Britannia in the Fort area that serves Parsi dishes to the Sev Puri or Bhel Puri in almost every stall- the place gives you a myriad of options to choose from. It is the perfect place to explore and experiment with both local and international cuisines.
The best thing about the city is that it has a place for every kind of connoisseur. If you are a foodie wanting to appeal not just your taste buds but your Instagram profile too, this is where you will find your peace. If you are an art lover, the city is home to budding and well-established artists. So, there couldn’t be a better place for people who want to give it a try themselves or those who are just here to appreciate it. If travel and nature are what sends the adrenaline rushing through you, the city is all about those moments of introspection looking at the sea amidst all the hustle and bustle of life. So, the city awaits you because it is always ready to welcome a new passionate heart.