Travel Guide Asia India Maharashtra Mumbai





© WillClo

Mumbai's architectural heritage from the British Raj is the icon of this vibrant city of gold. The origin of the name is obscure, but is often said to come from the Portuguese phrase bom bahia meaning "good bay", changed by the Britts to Bombay.

The early interactions of Bombay - which was one of the nearly 25 islands off the Konkan coast - began with the Portuguese in the Vasco da Gama era, with formal authority of the European power being established in 1534. In 1661 the Portuguese gifted Bombay islands to King Charles 11 of England when he married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza in dowry. Bombay passed on to the British crown in 1655 and was, in turn, handed over to the East India Company for an annual rent of £10. Bombay was a virtual creation of the British and did not have a pre-colonial history. The native population, on the other hand, was left to settle and fill in the gaps to the northwest of the fort area. It was, and still is characterized by overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and haphazard settlements. Less well-known are the small places of religion tucked away inside crowded bazars, or the forgotten mansions of the once rich.

They then developed bazaar areas near the fort for their commercial purposes Eventually the city became too large for the island and they had to reclaim land from the sea, much like many of the other port colonial cities.




  • South Mumbai — Fort, Colaba, Malabar Hill, Nariman Point, Marine Lines, and Tardeo
  • South Central Mumbai — Byculla, Parel, Worli, Prabhadevi, and Dadar
  • North Central Mumbai — Dharavi, Matunga, Vadala, Sion, and Mahim
  • Western Suburbs — Bandra, Khar, Santa cruz, Juhu, Vile Parle, and Andheri
  • Central Suburbs — Kurla, Vidyavihar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Kanjur Marg, Bhandup, Mulund and Powai
  • Harbour Suburbs — Chembur, Mankhurd, Govandi, and Trombay
  • Northwest Mumbai — Manori, Jogeshwari
  • Northwest Mumbai — Mira Road, Bhyander, Naigaon, Vasai, Nala Sopara & Virar



Sights and Activities

Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat

© gonetravelling

Gateway of India

The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of the King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai in 1911 AD and is one of the finest examples of colonial architectural heritage in India. It is often the starting point of many tourist visiting the city. The foundation stone was laid on 31st March 1911 AD. George Wittet designed the splendid gateway and his design was sanctioned in August 1911 AD. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style integrating local style of architecture also and adopting from the Muslims of Gujarat. Between 1915 AD and 1919 AD, the work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Pier for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920.
The construction of the gateway was completed in 1924 AD and the Viceroy, Earl of Reading, opened it on December 4, 1924 AD. When the British rule ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of a memorial. The last British troops that left India, First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the Gateway of India, on 28 February 1948. Today this symbol of colonialism has got Indianised and draws a lot of local tourists and citizens. Behind the arch are the steps leading down to the water. Lot of ferriers operate from here, some go for a short leisure ride in the sea while others take tourists to places like Elephanta Caves and Alibaug.

Prince of Wales Museum

George Wittet also designed the Prince of Wales Museum, now called The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya; the visiting Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone in 1905. The building was completed in 1914, converted to a military hospital during World War I, and finally opened in 1923 by Lady Lloyd, the wife of Sir George Lloyd, the then governor. The dome was designed consciously to add to the variety of the skyline and to provide a landmark at ground level. As one came down the Colaba Causeway, this dome dominated the skyline until the '70s now, the tower of the stock exchange looms high behind it. The museum has a good collection of articles dating back from the ancient Indus Valley civilization to the modern times.

Victoria Terminus

Victoria Terminus is as gorgeous within as it is without in Mumbai now called the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, is one the busiest stations in the world and is known for its Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, built in 1888, similar to St Pancras Station in London. The surreally magnificent architecture breathes of a fusion of Venetian Gothic style and traditional Indian style of architecture. Cast iron rails, Italian marble and the stone carvings of birds and rodents round off its exquisite looks. As a living example of the 19th Century railway architectural marvel, UNESCO nominated the terminus a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004. It is also called the Taj of the Raj. In 1853, Asia's first railway started running the 33 miles between Victoria Terminus and Thane.
The Victoria Terminus, once the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, was the culminating masterpiece of the phase. It was increasingly hybrid in style. The Classical and Baroque style furthered the innovation in architecture.
Its best exponent was Walter Carnville's Calcutta General Post Office. The innovation in colonial architecture did not stop here; in Victoria Memorial, William Emerson tried to emulate the Taj Mahal in material if not in form. This was an indication of 'Indo-Saracenic' hybridization and was being increasingly employed at different places like St. John's College, Agra and the Madras High Court, Chennai.
Among other places of interest around the railway station mention must be made of the classical colonnades of the Mint house and town council dating back to 1820. Church gate, Rajabhai Tower, which resembles Big Ben in London are other examples of colonial architecture in Mumbai

Old Colonial Buildings

Wander past the Bombay University to the Flora Fountain to get a taste of Mumbai's crumbling colonial architecture. Continue through leafy Horniman Circle and the Royal Asiatic Society Library to the grand buildings of Ballard Estate before pulling up at the domed GPO and taking a taxi to Mani Bhavan, once Gandhi's Mumbai base and now a museum (19 Laburnam Road, 00 91 22 380 5864, open 9.30am-6pm, entrance free. The Portuguese buildings inside the Fort are in ruins, although there are enough standing walls to give a good idea of the floor plans of these structures. Some have well-preserved facades. In particular, many of the arches have weathered the years remarkably well. They are usually decorated with carved stones, some weathered beyond recognition, others still displaying sharp chisel marks. Three chapels inside the fort are still recognisable. They have facades typical of 17th century Portuguese churches. The southernmost of these has a well-preserved barrel vaulted ceiling. St Thomas catherdral built in 1725 is apparently the oldest colonial building in Mumbai, stuffed with straight-backed wooden chairs and marble memorials.
Stroll north from Madam Cama Road up Maharshi Karve Road, you'll pass well-preserved Art Deco buildings on your left and the cricket pitches of Oval Maidan on your right (before the land from here to Marine Drive was reclaimed in the 1920s, the Victorian buildings behind the Oval formed the city's shoreline). At Eros cinema, turn left and walk west along Veer Nariman Road. Finally, head north along Marine Drive, Mumbai's sweeping version of a chic Côte d'Azur boulevard, to join the picnicking families on Chowpatty beach. The Art Deco buildings that line Marine Drive sadly don't look as though they'll last much longer, but the views out across the Arabian Sea will lift your spirits.
Some of the other heritage buildings such as the Army & Navy Building, the David Sassoon Library, Mumbai University, the Bombay High Court and the Elphinstone College can be found in the historic Kala Ghoda area and restoration work is going on in some of these buildings

Malabar Hills and Esplanade Mansion

Malabar Hill on the northern promontory of Back Bay is the expensive residential area of Malabar Hill, favoured for its cool breezes and fine views over Back Bay. The colonial bungalows that peppered the hillside in the 18th century have now been replaced by the jerry-built apartment blocks of Mumbai's nouveau riche.
The Esplanade Mansion was the first building in Mumbai to be built completely around a cast-iron frame. It is one of the few examples of such construction surviving in the country and perhaps in the world. "In 1896, this building saw the screening of the Lumiere Brothers' Cinematograph. The first hotel of this city, exclusively for Europeans at that time, catered to guests like Mark Twain. He has written about his stay here and described the quirks of the Bombay Crow as he observed them from his hotel room."

Further afield

Some of the notable excursions that can be done from Mumbai are :

  • Elephanta Caves - These caves are located on the Elephanta Island which are located around 11 kilometres from Mumbai. Regular ferry service is available from Gateway of India to the Elephanta Islands. It usually takes around 50 minutes to reach the islands and the return fare is between 2-3 USD. Once the ferry is docked at the Elephanta Island, you can either walk or take a toy train to the base of the caves. From the base, climb on to around hundred steps before you reach the caves. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has beautiful carvings, sculptures and a temple dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Shiva.
  • Matheran - Matheran is a beautiful hill town and is around 100 kilometres from Mumbai. It can be reached by a narrow gauge toy train. It is usually crowded on the weekends when crowds from the big cities like Mumbai and Pune throng the hills to seek peace and solace.
  • Alibaug - This is again a popular weekend holiday place for people of Mumbai. Alibaug can be reached by taking a ferry from Gateway of India to Mandwa and a bus from Mandwa to Alibaug. There is a beach and a fort in the sea which can be reached on foot only during the low tide. Alibaug is a beautiful place where nature appears at its best.
  • Murud-Janjira - This place is around 165 kilometres from Mumbai and is easily accessible by road or partly by ferry and road. Murud-Janjira was the capital of former Siddhi rulers of Janjira and it is popular today for its alluring beaches, ruined palaces, grooving cocunut trees and an ancient fort. The highlight of this area is the Janjira fort which is built in the sea and is an architechtural marvel as it stands strong against the constant corrosive action of the sea. This fort was never conquered and can be reached by a ferry from Murud.



Events and Festivals

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival of the Hindus, celebrated all over India especially in Mumbai, Pune and other cities of the state of Maharashtra. This festival falls usually falls in the month of August/September according to the Hindu calendar and marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha has the power to remove all obstacles in one’s life, this festival gives an opportunity to millions of devotees offer prayers and seek his divine blessings. Lord Ganesha is one of most loved God for Hindus and is worshipped for success and intelligence and his blessings are also invoked at all religious ceremonies and at the beginning of any new venture. Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are spread across 10 days and lots of sweet and traditional dishes are also prepared during this period. Large numbers of idols of Lord Ganesha are made of clay and metal in all possible sizes and people buy these idols and install at their home and worship them. Cultural festival is also held at various places which showcases the regional dances, music and stage performances. Particularly interesting are the public celebrations where a group of people join to form massive pandals(stage) and install huge Ganesha idol. These idols are then beautifully decorated and worshipped for 10 days before taken in a ceremonious procession through the streets for immersion is sea or river. The street procession to immerse Ganesha idols/images on Ganesh Chaturthi has it its links with India’s struggle for independence when the legendary freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak started such processions in 1893 to use it as a platform to create awareness about the freedom movement amongst the masses.

Kala Ghoda Festival

Kala Ghoda festival is held annually usually during the month of December/ January. It is held in historic area of the city near the Gateway of India and the Jehangir art gallery. Apart being close to all the main attractions of the city, the festival attracts some of the best amateur performers apart from proving to be a good shopping joint to get hold on some traditional clothes and house decor stuff. The Kala Ghoda Association was formed in 1988 to act as a nodal agency for co-ordinating, organizing and promoting this unique festival. During the festival, the area is transformed into a pedestrian zone where one can treat himself to a unique experience. Walk past aesthetically designed kiosks, get you image sketched in a portrait, watch a potter create traditional vessels from clay, sit back patiently and get your palm filled with floral patterns of “Mehndi” or try the various shapes and sizes of the glass and metal bangles on your arms. Books and music shops can be explored, watch a parrot unfold your future and get enchanted by the breathtaking performances of the magician, tightrope walker and the puppeteer. Food stalls are in plenty to suit every taste bud. In the evening, on some days there are performances by well known musicians, singes and dances at the historic Gateway of India. The festival is worth a visit and has enough to keep the visitor enchanted and mesmerised




Mumbai, being a coastal city (in the tropical zone), does not experience distinct seasons regarding summer and winter. Yet, it does have a typical dry and wet season. Average daytime temperatures are between 28 and 32 °C throughout the year with little variation. April to June and October/November are the warmest, around 32 °C, while January and February are the 'coolest' (around 28 °C). Nights average between 19 °C in January and February and 27 °C in May. Mostly it is between 22 and 25 °C. Mumbai experiences heavy rainfall during the months of June-September, with July being the wettest month at over 600mm on average that month. From November to May it's almost completely dry and there is an average of 8-10 hours of sunshine a day, opposed to just a few during the monsoon season. Therefore best time to visit Mumbai is between October and February when it is dry and temperatures are bearable.

Avg Max30.8 °C31.3 °C32.7 °C33.1 °C33.4 °C32.1 °C30.1 °C29.6 °C30.4 °C33.2 °C33.6 °C32.2 °C
Avg Min16.8 °C17.8 °C20.9 °C23.9 °C26.5 °C26.2 °C25.2 °C24.8 °C24.4 °C23.5 °C20.8 °C18.3 °C
Rainfall13.1 mm0.9 mm0.1 mm0.5 mm19.8 mm511.1 mm820.9 mm560.6 mm323.2 mm77.5 mm99.4 mm3.6 mm
Rain Days0.



Getting There

By Plane

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) is the main airport in Mumbai. It has regular and direct air links with the major cities of India, like Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, among dozens of other destiantions. It is also linked by air to many major cities of the world. Destinations include London, Tokyo, Bangkok, Bahrain, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Muscat, Singapore, Tehran, Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, Nairobi, Frankfurt, Munich, Kathmandu, Doha, Brisbane, Colombo, Zürich, Istanbul, Paris, Mauritius, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Addis Ababa, Seoul, Amman, Shanghai, Johannesburg and Sana'a.

The international airport terminal is located in Andheri and is one of the busiest in South Asia. The domestic terminal is located at Santa Cruz and handles flights from all parts of the country. Keeping in view the growing number of flights and India's fast growing economy, a new integrated airport terminal is being planned at Panvel and is scheduled to be completed by 2012-2013.

Taxis, auto rickshaws, the Mumbai Suburban Railway, BEST bus and rental cars are possible ways to get to/from the airport. Free shuttle service between the international and domestic terminals, running every half hour or so. Pre-paid taxi service is also available between the international and domestic terminals.

By Train

Mumbai is well connected by rail to all parts of the country. There are five major terminus stations in Mumbai from where trains originate in different directions and link Mumbai with the rest of the country. The terminus stations are Mumbai CST (formerly Mumbai Victoria Terminus), Mumbai Central, Dadar, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Bandra Terminus. Of these Mumbai CST is the oldest and grandest of them all and it was from here that the first Indian train was flagged off in 1853 between Mumbai CST and Thane. For details on schedules and prices check the Indian Railways website.
There are three lines serving Mumbai:

  • The Central line serves Southern India, Eastern India, and parts of North India. The key stations are Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus, known just as VT), Dadar Terminus, and Kurla Terminus.
  • The Western line connects to the Western states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and some parts of North India. The main termini are Mumbai Central and Bandra.
  • The Konkan Railway has trains along the coast of Maharastra and is a good way to travel to Goa and Mangalore.

By Car

Mumbai is well connected by good quality roads from all parts of the country. With the construction of Expressway between Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Ahmedabad, travel between these two cities has become much more comfortable. Golden Quadilateral project linking the four major metros of India (Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai) initiated by the Government of India is nearing completion and will usher in a new era of road transportation in India. Some distances from Mumbai include:

  • Mangalore 713 kilometres
  • Chennai 1109 kilometres
  • Bangalore 998 kilometres
  • Cochin 1384 kilometres
  • Goa 593 kilometres
  • Hyderabad 711 kilometres
  • New Delhi 1407 kilometres
  • Pune 160 kilometres

By Bus

Government and private bus services are available from other important cities to Mumbai. Some of the overnight buses have sleeper berths, while others have reclining seats. Privates buses are often more comfortable as many of them are air-conditioned and excellant suspension. Availibility of bus tickets can be seen at Red Bus
The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) offers regional buses between Maharashtra places and Mumbai.

By Boat

Although it has a harbor, there are no regular international passenger services. The best way would be to get a berth on a cargoship. There are also some organisations that can arrange a place on a cruiseship, mainly to other Asian cities.



Getting Around

By Car

Don't drive yourself! Instead, take a taxi and choose from:

Auto-rickshaws are a cheaper option for transport but these are banned in the downtown and are only available beyond Dadar and Sion on the western and central suburbs respectively.

By Public Transport

Mumbai has an extensive Suburban railway system with train departing every 2-3 minutes during peak hours and 5-7 minutes during off peak times. Mumbai CST and Churchgate are the major hubs for suburban services, with Western line originating from Churchgate and Central and Harbour lines originating from Mumbai CST. Suburban services are very cheap but the trains are overcrowded most of the times, it is not uncommon to see people travelling even on the roof of the train. Besides the suburban trains, Mumbai has extensive city bus network and one can also see the red double decker buses as seen on the streets of London. Apart from buses and trains, the other modes of transport within the city are auto-rickshaws and taxis which are usually metered. Recently construction work has started on the Metro and Monorail routes which are expected to be operational in a few years time.
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport provides services throughout the city and its suburbs.

These are also a few ferry services within Mumbai:

  • Gateway of India - Elephanta caves - Fast boats and Catamarans operated by private operators
  • Marve Jetty (Malad) - Manori Jetty - Connecting Manori and Gorai. Also services for Esselworld (Amusement Park)
  • Versova (Andheri) — Madh Jetty — Connecting Madh/Erangal/Aksa/Marve.
  • Gorai (Borivali) — Connecting Gorai Beach/Esselworld.





You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Keep Connected


There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.


India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 19.017656
  • Longitude: 72.856178

Accommodation in Mumbai

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