Mumbai! The Bollywood capital of India and the city that never sleeps are the common phrases used to describe this city that goes beyond description. A little over 20 million people call this city their home. Despite its huge population and pollution, the city has its own charm.
For the adventurous travellers who are set to explore My City – Mumbai, here’s an itinerary to help you plan your trip. But remember, to take a detour and create your own memories in this very special city.
Day 1 – Explore the Down Town South of Mumbai
- Start your day with a visit to the Gateway of India, which is a prominent symbol of the city. The monument was built in 1924 and overlooks the Arabian Sea at one end and the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel at the other.
- Walk down the road from the Gateway of India and you will find yourself at Colaba Causeway, the city’s best location for cheap steals. Rows and rows of stalls selling everything from accessories, scarves, souvenirs, bags, shoes, books and clothes flank the arched sidewalk. Bargaining here is an absolute must 😉 This is also the sight for the famous Leopold Café, where you can take a coffee break. (Not halal certified, but loads of vegetarian options.)
Credit: Reid Mac Donald on Flickr
- No trip to Mumbai is considered complete without a peak at the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Unless you plan to stay a night here, take the time off to admire this superlative abode of grandeur! For decades the hotel has catered to global dignitaries and continues to do so even today. Get a taste of the Taj hospitality by enjoying a cuppa at their sea facing café.
Credit: Justin Gaurav Murgai on Flickr
- As the evening begins to set in, make your way further up toward Nariman Point and take a walk around Mumbai’s commercial district including distinct landmarks such Wankhede Stadium where many International cricket matches have been held. Before you end your day, make a stop at Marine Drive, Mumbai’s most loved sea facing promenade stretching over 3.5 km and ending straight at Chowpaty beach – famous for its street food stalls.
Credit: Parth Maniar on Flickr
Day 2 – Let’s go to London today 😉
- Begin your second day by taking a ferry ride to the Elephanta Caves. The Elephanta Caves are a UNESCO world heritage site and are located 10km away from the coast of Mumbai, surrounded on all sides by the Arabian Sea. The caves span an area of 60,000 sq. feet and are considered to be the Abode of the Hindu God, Lord Shiva.
Credit: Christian Croft on Flickr
- After lunch, take a walking tour of Fort district. The area is rich in Victorian architecture and will really take you to the London of early 80s’.The main attractions would include:-
- Prince of Wales Museum and Kala Ghoda district and – Every art lovers dream come true
- Mumbai University – A sprawling Victorian building that houses the Rajabai Clock Tower
- Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) – A UNESCO world heritage site, this building is a revival of Gothic architecture and is also among the busiest train terminals in the city. The site attracts many tourists each year and is a representation of the true spirit of Mumbai
Credit: GPS on Flickr
- A 10 min cab ride from CST will take to the Jyotiba Phule Market or Crawford Market as the locals call it. Covering an area of 24,000 sq. feet, the market sells everything from shampoos, skin care products, nuts, leather goods, luggage bags etc and is the liveliest markets of all.
Credit: Gioconda Beekman on Flickr
- Head over to the beautiful Jama Masjid for evening prayers. The mosque is located very close to Crawford market and is a double storied structure built in classical Islamic style, with high rise ceilings, plush carpeting and an indoor pond.
Credit: Carol Mitchell on Flickr
- Head to Bademiya’s street food stall, located behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (can’t get enough of that place) for kebabs and briyani (Halal) for a scrumptious dinner.
Credit:- CishoreTM on Flickr
Day 3 – A day to experience Mumbai’s rich cultural diversity
- Give an early start to your day and start off by visiting the Haji Ali Dargah, which is constructed in memory of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukahri and is located on an islet off the coast of Worli.
#HHWT Tip: The mosque is connected to the mainland by a stone pathway, which makes low tide the best time to visit the mosque.
Credit: Timothy Neesam on Flickr
- Hail a cab and go via the magnificent Bandra- Worli Sea Link bridge to take a trip around Mumbai’s suburb; Bandra (3- 4 hours).
Credit: Andrew Moore on Flickr
- Home to the famous Bollywood superstar, Shahrukh Khan <3, Bandra is one of the most happening and youth dominated neighbourhoods of Mumbai filled with boutique shops, themed cafés, street shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories and more. While you are here, check out some of these famous attractions;
- Mount Mary Church which is a Roman Catholic Basilica devoted to virgin Mother Mary and attracts millions of pilgrims every year.
- Linking road and Hill road for the amazing street shopping
Credit: Sudhamshu Hebbar on Flickr
- Head over to Carter road once you are done for the view of the Arabian Sea and wide array of food shops and restaurants.
Credit: Satish Krishnamurthy on Flickr
DAY 4 – Get into the underbelly of Mumbai
- Have you ever witnessed a laundry with over 200 washers? Featured in many documentaries, Dhobi Ghat is Mumbai’s largest open man-powered laundry where thousands of kilograms of soiled linens from hotels and hospitals are washed, ironed and fended for.
- If you are curious traveller, then this is peculiar culture you must experience whilst in Mumbai and early mornings are the best time to visit.
Credit: Dennis Jarvis on Flickr
- Make your way further downtown till you find yourself standing in the lanes of ‘Chor Bazaar’ or thieves market. This is one India’s largest flea markets famous for selling vintage and antique artefacts including glass lamps, metal statues, posters and several trinkets you will be happy to take back home.
#HHWT Tip: You can head over to the nearby Minara Masjid for afternoon prayers and grab lunch in the many Halal restaurants in the vicinity.
Credit: Mathanki Kodavasal on Flickr
- On your last day in Mumbai, take a high end shopping trip at High Street Phoenix, which is one of the largest luxurious shopping mall in India. From Mango, Zara, Aldo, Burberry and Gucci, you will find your way lost in the maze of designer shops and well adorned divas.
Credit: Rakesh on Flickr
- Probably the best way to end your trip would be by capturing some panoramic views of the city’s dynamic skyline at the Hanging Gardens, located at Malabar Hill. The gardens remain open from 9am to 9 pm, but a stop here post sunset is the best time to say your Goodbyes to the city in some serenity and peace.
#HHWT Tip: Malabar Hill is a very posh and quiet neighbourhood of the city and if you have extra time on your hands, take a little walk around to get a sneak peak of this swanky stretch.
Credit: Yohaan Daaruwala on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: If your adventure quotients feel particularly fine, then do try a ride on Mumbai’s local trains! They are the cheapest and fastest way to move around in the city, but the trains are very crowded, especially during peak office hours. Getting in and out of the trains at the desired stops takes a bit of determination and is not recommended for the faint-hearted! 😋
Credit: Madhav Pai on Flickr
Encompassing Mumbai in just four days is perhaps a difficult travelling challenge. While there is so much the city offers, what makes the city special is the spirit of its people. It is the city, that teaches you to hope and hope is what keep us all bound together!