Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos And Videos : Instalment One
There are a variety of tourist attractions in Mumbai - the city of dreams - for tourists who throng this cosmopolitan, entertainment and financial capital of India. Tourists from within and from all parts of the globe visit Mumbai throughout the year.
Mumbai is the most glamorous and happening city of India. It is also the commercial capital of India. It is a fact that Mumbai never sleeps and those who visit this city will testify to this. The tourist attractions are not only exciting but also offer an insight into the legacy of Mumbai.
To make it manageable to cover all the tourist attractions that Mumbai offers and that includes keeping the length of this hub within reasonable limits, the list of tourist attractions has been divided into instalments. Links to the previous and/or next instalments will be given at the end of the hub so that the reader can read the entire series at one go, if he/she reader so wishes.
In this, the first instalment, I list below 10 must see places to visit in Mumbai that I consider among the top tourist attractions in Mumbai.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
Gateway Of India
It will be in the fitness of things if I list Gateway of India as topping the list of the many tourist attractions in Mumbai. The Gateway of India is a landmark tourist attraction not because majority of the tourists start their Mumbai venture from this landmark but because it became the port of ceremonial entry for the British Governors and Viceroys, to India, once it was completed. And when the British left India, the troops made their exit from the Gateway of India.
Gateway of India is located in South Mumbai. It was inaugurated in 1924. Kissing the Arabian sea, this monument offers a breathtaking view. The Gateway is made into the shape of an arch that has an height of 26 meters. An excellent architectural marvel, it is made of yellow basalt and reinforced concrete.
The Gateway of India commemorates the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. The foundation stone was laid that very year.
The famous Taj Mahal hotel stands opposite this landmark. The Gateway of India is a major tourist attraction and a spot which even the local people throng. You can encounter many photographers and vendors of various types of stuff when you visit the place.
A ferry ride can be hired from one of the jetties, for a ride into the Arabian sea. Tours to Elephanta Caves, another tourist attraction, also commence from here.
Trip to Elephanta Caves Mumbai
Elephanta CavesClick thumbnail to view full-size
They have been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO and are located about 10 kilometers off the eastern coast of Mumbai.
Elephanta Caves are located on Elephanta island, which was formerly known as Gharapuri. The caves can be reached by motor boats taken from Apollo Bunder, near the Gateway of India.
The Elephanta island has 2 groups of caves, having 7 caves in all.
- A large group of 5 Hindu caves
- A small group of 2 Buddhist caves
The caves were made sometime between the 5th and 8th centuries. They have been cut from solid basalt rock. The most significant cave is the Mahesha Murti Cave where huge stone figures of doorkeepers welcome the visitors at the entrance. Inside is a huge hall that has massive stone pillars supporting the roof.
The Elephants caves are dedicated to Lord Shiva and one sees Lord Shiva in both his forms - the shiv ling form as well as in statue form.
A massive 20 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva can be seen in the main chamber as the Trimurthi Sadashiva (Three headed Shiva), in the form of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer - the 3 facets of his personality.
Unique and creative architecture and architectural designs can be seen in these caves.These are sculptures of very high quality and architectural excellence. Considering the times the caves were created, it seems an almost superhuman effort carving out these caves from solid rock. It can only be said that they must have been far industrious than us to have been able to create such marvels when technology was not so advanced or they had technology that was far advanced than what we have today but it somehow was lost for future generations.
These caves were Hindu places of worship before the Portuguese rule. When the Portuguese landed here there was a huge elephant statue at the entrance to the caves. This statue is now housed at the Jijamata Udyan, in Mumbai.
Jijamata Udyan was known as Victoria Gardens earlier.
The caves complex or temple complex is spread over 60000 square feet. There is one main chamber, two lateral chambers, a courtyard and some more shrines in the temple complex.
Every year in the month of February, the Elephanta festival - a musical festival - is held. A visit to Elephanta Caves gives tourists an insight into some of the religious and cultural aspects of India. These caves depict several forms and acts of Lord Shiva.
It would be benefit the visitors to know that the caves are closed on Mondays.
Time Lapse Film City Mumbai
Film city is a film studio complex located in Goregaon East near Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is the place where many Bollywood movies are shot.
Mumbai is the Film city of India very much like what Hollywood is to USA. Mumbai has always attracted thousands of people wanting to try their luck in movies and become famous and rich. The Indian film industry is the largest in the world. thousands of movies are made each year.In technical expertise, Bollywood stands at No 2, after Hollywood.
The first silent movie in India was made in 1911. It is a dream world inside the film city, with modern day technology at its beck and call to produce movie masterpieces.
Inside, one can find lakes, gardens, helipads, real like buildings, fountains, grounds, several recording and editing rooms etc as many movies are being shot simultaneously here.
Film city was built by the state government for the benefit of the film industry.
To honor Dadasaheb Phalke, the renowned cine figure and father of the Indian film industry, whose dream endeavor this was, film city has been renamed as Dada Saheb Phalke Nagar.
Flash Mob Mumbai - CST Official Video
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus/victoria TerminusClick thumbnail to view full-size
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), is a historic railway station that was formely known as Victoria Terminus (VT). A beautiful specimen of Victorian Gothic style of architecture it has been declared a world heritage site. It is the last station on the Central railway, in South Mumbai.CST is also the headquarters of the Central Railways of India.
It was completed in 1888 to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria and named Victoria Terminus in her honor. The busiest railway station in India it is a terminal for long distance as well as surburban commuter trains, for the Central railway in Mumbai.
The CST has marvellous stone domes, turrets, pointed arches and a unique ground plan. With the interiors comprising of wood carvings, tiles, ornamental brass and iron railings, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is an excellent fusion of 2 cultures.
It took 10 years to construct and cost 260,000 pounds when completed, the most expensive structure ever built in Mumbai till then.
Mumbai (Bombay) Chowpatty Beach India
Chowpatty BeachClick thumbnail to view full-size
Chowpatty beach runs along Marine drive, in the South of Mumabai. It is one of the most famous and popular of public beaches in Mumbai.
Also called Girgaum chowpatty or simply chowpatty, in local lingo, it is the venue of Ganpati visarjan (immersion) during Ganesh chaturti celebrations. Thousands of people converge on chowpatty beach to immerse and many more to just watch the spectacle.
It is also one of the venues where stage performances of Ram Lila are held yearly during Dussehra. The effigy of Ravana is also burnt here on the conclusion of the 9 day navratri festival.
One can find people from all walks of life and of all ages throng the beach every evening not only to get some fresh air but also to enjoy the variety of the famous Mumbai street food that vendors sell here as also to enjoy the various ferry rides, pony rides etc.
Chowpatty beach almost wears the look of a carnival every evening as visitors come in hordes to have a taste of the amusements like beachside astrologers, professional masseurs, snake charmers, monkey shows, beebee gun shooting galleries, contortionists and a variety of other attractions.
Local delicacies like kulfi, corn on the cob, chana seeng, pav bhaji, ragda patties, pani puri, bhel puri, dahi wada, pav bhaji etc are sold by various beach side food stalls and mobile food vendors.
No visit to Mumbai can be called complete without a visit to the famous chowpatty beach as also the other famous beach - the Juhu beach which is situated further up in Central Mumbai.
Other beautiful and famous beaches are the Versova beach and the Madh Island beach. The Versova beach is known for its proximity to the local fisherfolk community. The Madh island beach is far from the main city so it is much less frequented and has a cleaner and more peaceful atmosphere.
Sunbathing and swimming is not allowed on these beaches.
Marine Drive, Mumbai
Marine DriveClick thumbnail to view full-size
Marine drive is a beautifully laid out boulevard in South Mumbai connecting Malabar hills with Nariman Point. It is a six lane C- shaped 3 kilometer long concrete road that has chowpatty beach at one of its proximal end just at the base of the Malabar hills.
Running all along Marine drive along the sea line is the beautiful esplanade that is sought after by numerous visitors to have a stroll, some fresh breeze and view the sunset over the distant horizon.
Marine drive is officially called Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road. With palm trees lined up all along the road on one side while numerous hotels, celebrity homes and rows of art deco buildings line the other side of Marine drive all along.
Come nighttime and Marine drive takes on a stunning appearance with the lights along the road appearing like a necklace with stringed pearls, when seen from an elevated point around the place.
It is for this reason that Marine Drive is also called Queen's Necklace. Roadside kiosks adorn this road at some places dishing out tasty local fare. A recent addition is the Nana-Nani park for senior citizens.
For visitors a walk and drive along Marine drive at night is a must do,
Flora fountain Hutatma chowk Mumbai Bombay Maharashtra
Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain)
Hutatma Chowk was formerly known as Flora Fountain or simply Fountain especially when asking for a bus ticket to the last bus stop, in the state operated BEST buses.
Flora Fountain is an exquisitely carved stone fountain in South Mumbai erected in 1864 at a cost of 9000 pounds or rupees 47000, then. The fountain is named after the Roman Goddess of flowers, Flora and is located in the Fort area, which is a thriving and bustling business hub in the heart of Mumbai city. The fountain is made of imported Portland stone.
In 1960, the square where Flora Fountain is located was formally named Hutatma Chowk or the Martyr's Square by which name it is now known. It has been declared a heritage stucture.
During a hot and sultry day, the cooling and soothing spray of water from the fountain is much relished by those who happen to walk past it.
Even today, the Imperial colonial structures that surround the Flora Fountain square give it a royal look. Flora Fountain is within walking distance of CST. Churhgate railway station and the Gateway of India.
Flora fountain is a landmark and one of the tourist attractions in Mumbai that should not be missed.
Kamala Nehru Park Malabar hill Mumbai Bombay Maharashtra
Hanging garden Malabar hill Mumbai Bombay Maharashtra
Malabar HillClick thumbnail to view full-size
Malabar hill is touted as the most expensive residential are in the world. It is a small hill in South Mumbai that is home to the famous Hanging Gardens, Kamala Nehru Park and the Walkeshwar Temple.
Malabar hill is the highest point in the city at a height of 50 meters. While up on the hill one can get a spectacular view of the city all around and it gives a breathtaking view of the Queens Necklace on Marine drive at night with the Chowpatty beach in the forefront and the Nariman Point skyline skyline in the backdrop.
Many business tycoons and film celebrities live here and it is also the home to the official residences of the Governor of Mumbai and the Chief Minister of the Maharastra state.
Malabar hill derives its name from the Malabar coast in Kerala state of India, as in the early days when Mumbai was developing, pirates from the Malabar coast entered Mumbai by way of the sea. Being at a strategic location to spot these entries via the sea, a sentinel was built on the hill in those days.
Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai Bombay Maharashtra
Haji AliClick thumbnail to view full-size
Haji Ali is a durgah or tomb as well as a mosque. It is a shrine very much venerated by Muslims and is located on an island in the Worli area in Mumbai. It was built in 1431.
People from all over India come to pay homage to Haji Ali, a rich merchant-saint, who gave up all wordly possessions before proceeding to Hajj in Mecca. It was built in his memory.
Legend has it that he died during this pilgrimage and the coffin carrying his body, which was cast in the sea waters as per his last wish, floated back to this place. Another legend has it that he drowned at this place.
Irrespective of one's faith thousands of visitors flock Haji Ali durgah to get his blessings and it is estimated that about 40000 visitors make their way to this shrine every Thursday and Friday.
The shrine is about 500 meters from the shore and is connected by a narrow walkway almost a kilometer long in the sea; surprisingly it has no railings (see picture) on either side. During high tide the sea water submerges this walkway and access to the durgah is only during low tides.
It is a lifetime experience walking this walkway with sea on either side and the cool breeze blowing on one's body. The entire durgah is built on a 4500 square meters area.
The tomb is always covered in a red and green brocade sheet that is supported on a silver frame supported by marble pillars. These pillars host a multitude of colored mirrors and also bear in Arabic the 99 names of Allah. Separate praying rooms for men and women are provided as per Islamic traditions.
The highlight of the durgah is the 26 meter high tower inside the durgah complex.
Colorful Crawford Market in Mumbai - India Travel
Crawford MarketClick thumbnail to view full-size
Crawford Market is a marvel of Architecture and one of the most prominent markets of Mumbai located down South Mumbai. It was named after the first municipal commissioner of Mumbai city, Arthur Crawford. Today, it is known as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market. The old name though, is still a favorite and on everyone's lips.
Construction of Crawford Market was completed in 1869. The market houses vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry produce. It also has a pet store. Imported cosmetics, food and gift items and home needs are also sold in its premises.
Crawford Market is built in an area of 72000 square feet. Coarse kurla stone and red stone was used for the building structure. The building has an impressive clock tower with lovely Victorian carvings. The main entrance is especially a feast for the eyes and the market itself, an architectural wonder.
Till 1966, it was Mumbai's main wholesale market. Later that year it was shifted to Navi Mumbai (New Mumbai).
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Some of my other hubs on Tourist Attractions In Mumbai
- Top Tourist Attractions In Mumbai With Photos : Instalment Two
There are numerous tourist attractions in Mumbai for visitors. This article lists the top tourist attractions that are a must see when in Mumbai. To know more, read on...
- 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 Four
Here is a list of top tourist attractions in Mumbai. Mumbai city has a big number of tourist attractions. Read, the fourth instalment of this series here...
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© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly