Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Two
This is the second instalment in the ongoing series on tourist attractions in Mumbai. South Mumbai has many more tourist spots so in this article too, we will be looking at more places to visit in Mumbai. These tourist attractions offer the visitor not only a glimpse into the culture and history of India but provide him with a place where he can relax and enjoy some greenery within the maddening rush of the city of Mumbai.
In this hub, I will take the reader on a virtual journey to some of these very attractions that I hope he/she will enjoy reading about as I enjoyed writing about, and visiting in my younger years, innumerable times.
Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of the travel stuff, I would request you to please spare a few moments to cast your votes in the poll. Thanks.
Note: You can read Instalment - One at the link given at the end of the article.
In this instalment, I list 10 places to visit in Mumbai which I consider among the top tourist attractions in Mumbai.
Nariman PointClick thumbnail to view full-size
We start off with Nariman Point, an area at the southern tip of Marine Drive. This is the place which is not only Mumbai's leading business centre but also India's first central business district.
It is named after a Parsi visionary, who envisaged that land could be reclaimed from the sea. His name was Khursheed Framji Nariman. Prior to 1940, the area that is Nariman point today was part of the Arabian sea.
Debris from different areas of the city was dumped to fill up the shallow sea coast at this point. Then, reinforced concrete was used along with imported steel purchased from the black market due to world war II.
Nariman Point is looked upon as the 'Manhattan' of Mumbai. It has a spectacular skyline Most of the leading national and international industrial and business houses are headquartered here. Many consulates, high commissions, and airline offices of foreign countries are also located here. There are some exclusive residential accommodations too that are amongst the most expensive, with real estate at Nariman Point being the priciest in Mumbai.
A visit to Nariman Point should be on the itinerary of every tourist to Mumbai.
Town Hall/Asiatic Society Of MumbaiClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Town Hall is located in Fort area of South Mumbai. It is home to the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, the largest library in Mumbai having over 100,000 books. The Town Hall was constructed in the 1830s and the architecture is predominantly influenced by Greek and Roman styles.
A flight of 30 steps leads up to this magnificent monument that has been declared a heritage structure. The Town Hall has a portico with 8 massive pillars, wooden floors, spiral staircases, marble statues and wrought iron loggias.
The Asiatic Society has about 15000 rare books, about 3000 ancient manuscripts; some even on palm leaves, over 10000 rare ancient coins including a gold coin of King Akbar, the Muslim King and some coins issued by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire. Special permission is needed to view these ancient treasures.
The steps of the Town Hall leading to the library are a favourite hangout of people in the evenings who prefer to sit there watching the world go by.
Town Hall is a place not to be missed by the tourist.
Rajabai TowerClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rajabai Tower is a clock tower located in the University of Mumbai's campus. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott an English architect. The clock tower is about 280 feet high and took 9 years to construct. It was modelled on the Big Ben of London. It cost Rs 200,000 when the construction was finished in 1878.
The entire cost of construction of Rajabai Tower was borne by Premchand Raychand, a successful stockbroker who also founded the Bombay Stock Exchange, under the express condition that the tower is named after his mother Rajabai who was blind.
Rajabai was a staunch Jain by caste. Jains have dinner before sunset. After the construction of the tower, following the time was not difficult for her and inspite of her handicap the chiming of the time by the clock enabled her to have dinner at the appropriate time.
Rajabai Tower is made of Kurla stone and has beautiful stained glass windows, one of the best not only in the city but in the whole of Asia. The spiral staircase of the tower has been closed now due to some cases of attempted suicide.
However, it is a structure that is worth visiting.
BangangaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Banganga, a shortened form of the Banganga tank, is a very old water tank located in the Malabar Hill area. It has a historical significance and a mythological legend behind its presence.
Though it was built in 1127 AD, by a donation from Rama Kamath. A part of the Walkeshwar temple complex and the main temple has also been reconstructed.
Legend has it that about 5000 years back while searching for his kidnapped wife Sita, Lord Rama happened to stop here. The people here faced great difficulty as potable water was not available as the sea is surrounding this.
To quench the thirst of these people, Lord Rama shot an arrow into the ground and a spring burst forth causing a tributary of the Ganga river located about 1000 miles away. Banganga hence derives its name from Ban meaning arrow and Ganga, which is the Ganges river whose tributary erupted here as a water spring.
Today the tank is a rectangular structure with cemented steps on all sides. The entrance has 2 pillars in which oil lamps were lit back then. Even though the sea is located some hundred meters from Banganga, the spring water is surprisingly sweet, even today.
People worship Banganga with great reverence and come here to have a holy dip in the tank water and offer prayers at the temple during religious events.
Mani BhavanClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mani Bhavan is a 2 storied mansion that Mahatma Gandhi used to live in for 17 years from 1917 to 1934 when he was in Mumbai during India's freedom struggle. This residence belonged to the Mahatma's friend, Revashankar Jhaveri and before him, it belonged to the Mani family
It served as Mahatma Gandhi's headquarters. It is from here that Mahatma Gandhi launched several of his freedom movements like the salt satyagraha, the non-co-operation movement, Khilafat movement, Khadi movement etc.
In 1955, this mansion came under the control of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and it was developed into a memorial to the Mahatma.
Mani Bhavan has a library of more than 20000 books. The entrance has a statue of Mahatma Gandhi while his pictures, press clippings, the room which he occupied along with his spinning wheels (charkha), the floor bed, a book and other things are still preserved as they were then.
Barack Obama, the US president, visited Mani Bhavan in November 2010. This was more than 50 years after Martin Luther King visited Mani Bhavan in the 1950s.
Hanging GardensClick thumbnail to view full-size
Also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Garden, Hanging Gardens rests atop the Malabar hill just opposite Kamla Nehru Park. Here one can see terraced gardens on the sloping hill. The view of the city that lies at the foothill is spectacular, especially at night.
Hedges have been fashioned into the shapes of several animals. This is a distinctive feature of this garden. The view of the sun setting over the Arabian sea from here is an absolute delight to watch.
Hanging Gardens were developed in 1881 and laid over the main water reservoir supplying water to the city of Mumbai back then. In the middle of the garden is a very striking flower clock. With all the greenery and the fountains, it is a great place for an early morning or a late evening stroll and to feel the gentle soothing breeze. Hanging Gardens is a calm and quiet retreat where one can spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Mumbai.
Do make it a point to visit this green retreat.
Kamla Nehru ParkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kamla Nehru Park
Kamla Nehru Park is situated right across the road and opposite to the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill.
It has been developed in an area of about 3300 square meters and has been named after Kamla Nehru, the wife of the first Prime minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Though the park has green lawns and foliage all around, it doesn't have much to offer in terms of amusements for children, except for the lone shoe-shaped structure which has also been a part of many Bollywood movies of yesteryears.
Kamla Nehru Park is frequented by school children who enjoy playing in and around the shoe structure.
The park is open from 5 AM to 9 PM. Enjoy the greenery and the enchanting views of the Chowpatty Beach, Marine Drive and The Queens Necklace from this vantage point.
Nehru PlanetariumClick thumbnail to view full-size
There are 5 Nehru Planetariums located in India, named after the first Prime Minister of India - Jawaharlal Nehru. The Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai was established in 1977. It is a centre for studies of the cosmos and space science. It is located in Worli, Mumbai. The planetarium is frequented by amateur astronomers of the city as also by students of various schools regularly. Various contents and programmes aiming to inspire and develop an interest in students in astronomy and space science are held here.
It is the only astronomical centre to have both concert and movie auditoriums. Daily shows are held for the general public that helps them understand the mysteries of the universe.
One interesting feature is the presence of several cubicles inside where one can guess estimate one's weight on each of the 9 planets. Nehru planetarium has a cultural centre, an art gallery, library and an exhibit called 'Discovery of India' in the Nehru Center in whose precincts the Nehru Planetarium is located.
Prince Of Wales MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
Prince Of Wales Museum
Also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, it is the main museum in Mumbai. It is located in South Mumbai close to the Gateway of India and was established to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. It was inaugurated in 1922. The foundation stone was laid by George V, the Prince of Wales himself, while on a visit to India.
Though the building was completed in 1915, it was used as a military hospital and child welfare centre during the 1st World war.
The museum is located in an area of 3 acres of land. Palm trees and flower beds surround the three-storied building. The building has a mix of Mughal and Indian architecture.
The museum has 3 separate sections; art, archaeology and natural history. About 50000 artefacts are in the museum's collection. It also has a forestry section with specimens of timber grown during British India and some collection of geological rocks, minerals and fossils and also another gallery of objects relating to navigation.
Two new galleries installed some years back display artworks related to Lord Krishna and a textile gallery showcasing traditional Indian costumes and different techniques of textile manufacture.
The Prince of Wales Museum is an important cultural and educational centre not only for students but for the general public as well.
A must-see for the tourists to get the cultural feel of India.
Taraporewala AquariumClick thumbnail to view full-size
Taraporewala Aquarium is the lone aquarium in Mumbai city. It houses both marine and freshwater fish. It is located on the famous Marine Drive.
Built at a cost of Rs 800,000 in 1951, it was named after a Parsi gentleman who donated Rs 200,000 for its construction. 100 species of various marine and freshwater fish and animals find their way here including, sharks, turtles, rays, eels, sea turtles, starfish. Marine life from both the Arabian sea and the Indian Ocean are hosted here.
Some preserved fish, rare seashells and fossils are also kept in a room.
A visit to the Taraporewala Aquarium will surely be enjoyed by adults and of course children.
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Some of my other hubs on Tourist Attractions In Mumbai
- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Four
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- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Three
This is the third instalment in the series on top tourist attactions in Mumbai. To know the best tourist attractions, read on...
- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment One
Mumbai, the city of dreams has innumerable tourist attractions for visitors to the city. This article series gives you an insight into these tourist spots with photos as well as the history behind them. Read on...
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly