Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay during British colonial rule, has welcomed travelers from around the world for centuries. Located by its natural harbor, this bustling port city has many facets – primarily as a cultural melting pot where people of all fortunes reside. Energetic, colorful and resilient, Mumbai is both the financial and entertainment capital of India, and is home to many billionaires and millionaires. Yet it’s also a booming metropolis of about 20 million people and India’s most populated city! You will never be bored as Mumbai is a city that never sleeps, with its fascinating colonial heritage, plethora of shopping avenues, vibrant nightlife, and some of the country’s oldest restaurants.

Interests

  • Heritage
  • Landscape

Highlights

  • Gateway of India
  • Marine Drive or Queen’s Necklace
  • Dhobi Ghat
  • Crawford Market

Places to Stay

Swimming pool at Marine Plaza in Mumbai, Central/ West India
Marine Plaza

Style: International

The Marine Plaza Mumbai, is certainly enviable with it's prime location at the junction where Marine Drive meets Mumbai's bustling business district.

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The Leela Mumbai

Style: International

The rich culture and mystique of India blend with the traditional hospitality of the Leela group to give you one of India's finest business hotels - the Leela Kempinski.

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The Queen's Necklace - Marine Drive in Mumbai, India
The Oberoi, Mumbai

Style: International

Contemporarily and adroitly luxurious, the Oberoi Mumbai is an elegant luxury hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea.

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The Taj Mahal Palace

Style: Heritage

The original pioneer of luxury, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower is an architectural marvel showcasing contemporary Indian designs along with beautiful vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, a magnificent art collection and a dramatic cantilever stairway.

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The Trident Nariman Point

Style: International

The Trident is an ultra-modern high-rise 5 star hotel with its own shopping arcade.

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Vivanta by Taj – President

Style: International

Vivanta by Taj - President, Mumbai Cuff Parade is located amidst the buzz of Mumbai’s business district of Colaba, in the posh neighborhood of South Bombay or SoBo, as the local crowds call it.

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Activities in Mumbai

Half day visit to Banganga Tank

Banganga or Banganga Tankis, is an ancient sacred water tank..part of the Walkeshwar Temple Complex in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai, surrounded by 400-yr old temples..a Heritage amidst a concrete jungle! Visit Banganga to see the Sacred Tank, believed to contain water from the Holy Ganges and the oldest surviving structure in the city. Observe the way of life beside a temple in nearby villages and settlements. Ritual bathers believe the pool’s mossy waters have holy significance and contain healing powers. Banganga continues to function as a timeless devotional hub..the paradox of traditional life coexisting with unrestrained modernization!

Half Day Architecture Tour of Mumbai

Mumbai is a treasure trove of unique architecture and buildings with some of the most interesting ones being closed to the public. In this experience, a senior expert will take you inside these ‘closed to public’ buildings, including the magnificent Victoria Terminus and the beautifully restored Bombay University Library. You will be introduced to the history and architectural features of these monuments and hear fascinating stories about the people who envisioned and built them.

City Highlights of Mumbai

Explore Mumbai (formerly Bombay).. the most populous Indian city..a veritable cultural potpourri! See the Gateway of India..a historic landmark; Drive past High Court, Mumbai University, scenic Marine Drive (Pearl’s Necklace), Flora Fountain, Asiatic Libray, Prince of Wales Museum; Pass by Victoria Terminus Railway Station, Municipal Corporation Building; Visit Hanging Gardens, Kamala Nehru Park, Mani Bhavan, Horniman Circle; Partially glimpse the Parsi Tower of Silence from afar while driving past. Explore vibrant Markets and Bazaars.

Half day Mumbai Temple Tour

A spiritual tour of Mumbai’s temples will not disappoint..seek blessings of the many Hindu Gods/Goddesses..Ganesha, Shiva, Hanuman, Riddhi and Siddhi, Mumba Devi, etc. Experience Hinduism, see people pray and what they offer to appease God’s. Visit Babulnath Temple (Lord Shiva Temple)..feel the peace and tranquility here; Mahalaxmi Temple (one of Mumbai oldest temples)..located in scenic Breach Candy, at the foot of Malabar Hills; Siddhivinayak Temple..a famous shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha..the ‘elephant headed god’ said to be the destroyer of obstacles..see the idol carved from a single black stone (750m high – 600m wide)..devout Hindus walk here barefoot from their homes. End at Mumba Devi Temple (Shakti Temple), the patron ‘goddess of the city’..’Mumbai’ is named after her. After this, you will also understand why the cow is revered and can be seen outside most Indian temples!

Kanheri Caves & National Park Visit

Kanheri Caves..a group of caves lying within the magnificent Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali..are perphaps the easiest to access among all caves. Drive about 1-2hrs..arrive at Sanjay Gandhi Natl. Park; a 15mins drive inside brings you to Kanheri Caves – Buddhist University – 1st Cent BC – 9th Cent AD. 100’s of caves are divided into ‘Chaityas’ (temples) and ‘Viharas’ (monastery-living quarters for monks); see exquisite statues, art; visit the National Park..a treasury of wildlife and greenery; visit the Jain Temple – if lucky, get blessings from Jain digambar (naked) monks. Driving up the hill, you will notice several water channels..a testimony to the ancient rainwater harvesting systems. Drive back to the hotel by lunchtime.

Half Day Jewish Legacy Tour

Mumbai has no shortage of Jewish sights..see at least 7 synagogues, each having its distinct design and history. Start with a brief overview of the city’s tiny Jewish population and India’s Jewish communities..their history of arrival (2000yrs ago), the 3 distinct sects – Bene Israel (sons of Israel), the Malabar Jews and the Iraqi Jews, geographic spread and their preserved traditions – keeping Kosher, while also learning to speak Marathi, eating mangos and playing cricket. Drive to Gateway of India..see Fort Heritage Distt. and Kala Ghoda Art Distt. Visit Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue with high ceilings, stained-glass windows, light blue walls; David Sassoon Library; Sha’ar HarRahamim or Gate of Mercy Synagogue..India’s oldest Bene Israel synagogue; Drive to Magen David Synagogue, a towering blue building with Gothic touches; visit the Sassoon Children’s school; Drive to Dhobi Ghat, a unique open-air human laundromat; nearby visit the Bene Israeli Tifereth Israel Synagogue..this 1-floor synagogue boasts a collection of 9 Sefer Torahs kept in wooden cases with silver ornamental scroll-handles…see wooden benches surrounding a red velvet tebah. See Haji Ali, the city’s landmark mosque built into the sea; time permitting, visit Magen Hassidim Synagogue.

Heritage Walking Tour in Mumbai

Take a Heritage Walking Tour to the Gateway of India; Photograph the grand Taj Mahal Hotel facing the Gateway; Pass the Royal Yacht Club, Maharashtra Police H.Q., Regal Theatre, Wellington Fountain, a Parsi Fire Temple; See the National Gallery of Modern Art (Cowasjee Hall), the Prince of Wales Museum, Sassoon Library, the Watson Hotel, Session Court, Bombay University, High Court, Flora Fountain, Pettit’s Library, Victoria Terminus, City Hall, Jehangir Art Gallery; return to your Hotel.

Half Day Elephanta Caves Visit

Visit the Elephanta Caves, a complex of ancient rock-cut cave temples on Elephanta Island, dating back to 600 AD, an hours ferry ride off Mumbai. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, explore this quiet and picturesque island teeming with light-green foliage and scampering monkeys. Stroll the caves; see the enormous Mahesamurti statue depicting Shiva’s 3 faces – an enigmatic image of Trimurthi Sadasiva; see a 20 pillared hall, an enshrined Shivalingam and lots more.

Half Day Dharavi Slum Tour in Mumbai

Mumbai’s Dharavi slum has the dubious honor of being the largest slum in Asia, and India’s largest too..home to almost a million people, an area bustling with activity and alive with small scale industries..having an economy worth an estimated US $500 million. Dharavi’s original inhabitants were fisher folk (kolis), living on the Arabian Sea’s creek’s edge. Explore here on foot..see the locals, their homes, their work places, feel their high community spirit; notice artisans..makers of savouries and sweets, embroidery workers, potters, leather tanners, garment makers, poppadom makers, etc. Migrants from all parts of India settled here, and refer to the slum as the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Winding through its narrow alleyways makes for quite an adventure..despite the grime and squalor, but don’t expect to see extreme poverty and despair..quite the contrary!

Morning Dabbawalla Tour

The famed ‘Dabbawalla’s’ are persons who collect freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from homes and deliver to workplaces..lliterally translated it means ‘one who carries a box’ (dabba/box+’walla/carrier). About 5,000 dabbawalla’s deliver tiffins to over 160,000 locations daily, using a system dependent on teamwork and careful timing..awarded the ‘Six Sigma’ by Forbes. Start by 0930hrs..reach lower Parel station..watch the Dabbawalla’s arranging the tiffins and boarding a train to Churchgate Station; drive to Churchgate..here see them sorting the tiffins area wise; have a brief introduction with them, get an overview of their system, how tiffins are coded and then distributed. Experience a local train ride from Churchgate to Mahalaxmi station..alight. Visit Dhobi Ghat..the world’s largest open-air laundromat, where Mumbai’s ‘human washing machines’ or ‘dhobi’s’ wash soiled linen/garments in open air. See rows of open-air concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging stone..clothes are soaked in sudsy water, thrashed on the flogging stones, tossed into large vats of boiling starch, hung out to dry, pressed and delivered.

Half Day Bollywood Tour of Mumbai

Be fetched from your hotel; drive past ‘star homes’ to reach a Studio and enjoy a scintillating Bollywood Tour. Watch on-going shoots of Films/Television Serials/Ad-Films..glimpse the mechanics; be privy to behind-the-sets happenings and to the glamour associated with the nation’s dream-factory. Highlights – Sound Post Production…enjoy a short session of dubbing your own voice; a Studio Tour with live shooting mostly for TV serials and Ad-films; a Bollywood Gallery; VFX – Special Effects; visit a Bollywood Cafe along with a professional guide.

Half Day Bhuleshwar Market Tour

Take a walking tour through the native bazaar areas and crowded shops of Bhuleshwar..literally meaning ‘where even God forgets’. Coined from the word ‘bhoolna’ meaning to ‘forget’, the 100’s of bylanes and alleys make even the most seasoned veterans forget their way! Notice a myriad of bewildering colors splashed with shops of sarees, glass bangles, sweets, etc. Visit Crawford Market, Jama Masjid, Mirchi Galli (Spice market), Mangaldas Market (Cloth market), Zaveri Bazaar (Jeweler’s Market), Phool Galli (Flower Street), Mumbadevi Temple (where the city gets its name from).

Full Day Seva Yatra Social Work

Seva Yatra, meaning ‘Journey of Services’, offers Enchanting India travelers to work half/full day in a Mumbai associate, implementing best educational practices for under-privileged kids to overcome the digital and linguistic divide between poor and middle classes. This NGO creates a platform for children to learn Mathematics, Sciences, English and Computers in good classrooms. You can engage kids to learn PowerPoint or create a forum for them to practice conversational English.

Tonga Ride - 1 hour

Enjoy an enchanting sunset Tonga ride also nicknamed ‘Heritage Ride’, through Mumbai, via the historic and vibrant beauty of this city; pass Heritage structures illuminated by nightfall – Elphinstone College, Bombay University, High Court, Flora fountain, D.N road, Victoria Terminus Railway Station (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Queens Necklace (Marine Drive).

Map

Other Interesting Places in Central & West India

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