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Your guide to Mumbai
All About Mumbai
Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra, is an eclectic port megacity in western India that bridges modern and traditional ways of living. The streets of this financial hub are lined with colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers, high-end restaurants and street food hawkers, designer boutiques and traditional markets, and countless sacred temples. Formerly known as Bombay, the fourth most populated city in the world is India’s entertainment capital, home to a vibrant nightlife and Bollywood — the world-famous film and TV industry.
In the artsy neighborhood of Kala Ghoda, you’ll find 1860s heritage buildings housing galleries, cafes, and some of the city’s best shopping. Bandra’s Bandstand Promenade is lined with fine dining restaurants and bars and features views of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the city’s impressive 3.5-mile-long bridge. Marine Drive is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with historic Art Deco buildings set against the shores of the Arabian Sea. Its curved beachfront promenade offers excellent ocean views, and at night, the streetlights resemble pearls, hence its local nickname of the Queen’s Necklace.
Mumbai is India’s street food capital, with hawkers selling chaat (savory snacks) almost everywhere you look. Head to Chowpatty Beach, where you’ll find one of the city’s biggest collections of vendors selling an array of local favorites like pani-puri (fried puff-pastry balls filled with spiced mashed potato) and pav bhaji (spicy vegetables served with buns).
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Mumbai
The most pleasant time to stay in a vacation rental in Mumbai is from October to March, when you can expect warm and sunny days and cooler nights for exploring all that the city has to offer. It’s also when many of the city’s biggest festivals are held, including the Hindu religious celebration of Dussehra and the Diwali festival of lights, as well as the popular Kala Ghoda festival in February — India’s largest cross-cultural street art festival featuring nine days of music, dance, and art.
June through September is monsoon season, with high levels of humidity and rain almost every day, making sightseeing less pleasant. The shoulder months of April and May, just before the wet season, are filled with hot and humid days but without the extreme rain of the monsoons. On May 1, Maharashtra Day marks the formation of the state of Maharashtra in 1960 with a parade and festivities throughout the city.
Top things to do in Mumbai
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is a huge colonial-era arch that faces out to Mumbai Harbour. This is a popular meeting spot populated by giant-balloon sellers, food vendors, and street performers. For a different perspective of the gateway, approach it via boat or yacht on an organized tour; a sunset or sunrise visit will offer spectacular views across the harbor.
The Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Island, an hour-long ferry ride from Mumbai in the city harbor, houses impressive rock-cut Hindu and Buddhist temples dating from the 5th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features basalt columns that have been carved out of the hillside and act as the entrance to a series of caves full of courtyards, shrines, halls, and an enormous 20-foot-high statue. You can enjoy the view of the Mumbai skyline from the island.
One of the largest flea markets in the world, Chor Bazaar has been operating for more than 150 years. You’ll be able to rummage and haggle for every kind of antique, trinket, vintage clothing, furniture, used books, and handicrafts here. The market is located along Mutton Street in South Mumbai and is open every day except Friday.