Mumbai

Mubai Destination Guide

Mumbai, a group of seven islands, has the vibrant city of Mumbia, which was named for the goddess Maumba Aai. It lies on India’s western coast at the mouth of the Ulhas River and has popular golden sand beaches.

The fascinating background is that there were Hindu rulers who were conquered by Sultans and later by the Portuguese. The islands were a dowry when Charles II of Britain married Catherine of Braganza. The East India Company leased the islands from the British, and a President of that company invited Parsi and Hindu merchants to come and develop the city, which became a major trading centre. The city of Mumbai is cosmopolitan but also has traditional festivals, theaters, and music. There is a variety of cuisine, night life, and entertainment.

The Gateway of India is beautifully located right on the Arabian Sea and is the main port when visitors come to India by ship. Notable visitors in the past were King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.

The white spectacular Haji Ali Mosque is on a jetty 500 meters out in the Arabian Sea. It was built to house the remains of the Muslim saint Haji Ali. There is usually a line of visitors walking out the cement walkway even though during high tide it is covered with water. At low tide you can walk on rocks. All along the walkway are stalls selling things including kebabs for those who are hungry, and there are also many beggars. Men and women have separate entrances, and many bring an offering. You will also find many people having a picnic outside the shrine.

The Elephanta Caves were built in the 7th century, and an hour launch trip takes you to the cave temple. There is a festival of dance and music celebrated each year in February on the caves’ backdrops with classical Indian music and dance. The small Taraporewala Aquarium has over 100 species of fresh water and marine fish and underwater creatures such as sharks, turtles, and varieties of coral fish.

The Nehru Science Center has three to four stories with different science themes, and kids enjoy this as much as their parents do. Mani Bhavan is the house where Mahatma Gandhi lived, which is now a museum.

There are also amusement parks, Asia’s largest water park (Water Kingdom), cinema halls, and entertainment centers to enjoy in Mumbai. It is the birthplace of Indian cinema going back to silent movies and has the world’s largest IMAX dome theater. There is an International Film Festival and the oldest prominent Filmfare Awards held here.

Contemporary art is featured in government-funded art spaces as well as private galleries. The government also funds the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Jehangir Art Gallery.

Mumbai (India) has the second largest amount of Art Deco buildings in the world after Miami, Florida. There are also many Gothic Revival buildings and other architecture from around the world. Mumbai also has Indian’s largest number of skyscrapers with 272 under construction in 2009 added to the 956 existing buildings.