India is the second largest country in the world in terms of population. After China, the maximum number of people live in India. India is a peninsula and also the seventh largest country in the world when it comes to area. India is a very attractive destination for travelers because of the rich and varied range of sights and experiences it offers. It seems to have everything from nature, history, culture, archaeology, to entice the traveler. On the one hand its bustling and vibrant cities offer great experiences while the diverse landscapes of the countryside relax and rejuvenate the travellers.
India is home to some historic cities which include its Capital Delhi which has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. If Delhi is the political Capital of India, then Mumbai is the financial Capital of the country and is also ranked among the top ten centres of commerce in the world. Mumbai is also the home of Bollywood, the Indian film industry and is dubbed as the city of dreams.
Mumbai lies on the western coast of India at a distance of about 1400 Kilometres from Delhi in the western state of Maharashtra, India. One can conveniently and quickly get to Mumbai from Delhi considering the frequency and availability of Delhi Mumbai flights. A flight from Delhi to Mumbai takes about two hours.
Top Experiences in Mumbai
Mumbai is the melting pot of India. It is a city where millions flock from all corners of the country to make their fortune. The city’s culture embraces all and sundry and into its fold. If you are in Mumbai, apart from being swept away by its vibrant and pulsating nature these are some top experiences that you must have.
Visit the Gateway of India
Any visit to Mumbai would be incomplete without seeing the iconic Gateway of India which is so synonymous with the city. The massive structure of the Gateway of India stands on the edge of the Arabian Sea. The Gateway of India was built as a symbolic gesture for welcoming King George V and Queen Mary to India in the year 1911. Though the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid in 1911 it was completed in 1924. The Gateway of India is an architectural wonder built in a style that combines the best of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The Gateway of India is a great place for photography. A walk along the promenade enjoying the cool breeze from the Arabian Sea in the evening is a pleasant experience.
Visit the Haji Ali Dargah
The Haji Ali Dargah is a unique mosque as well as a tomb. It lies about 500 metres away from the coast on a small islet in the Arabian Sea. The place can be accessed during low tide as the footpath leading to it gets submerged during high tide. The Haji Ali Dargah was built in the 15th century in memory of a Muslim merchant by the name of Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. The Muslim merchant who was originally from a place called Bukhara, now referred to as Uzbekistan had settled in Mumbai and was living the life of a saint and spreading the tenets of Islam in the region. Today millions of visitors from all religions visit the Haji Ali Dargah. The structure of the Haji Ali Dargah which is built in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture stands like a white pearl in the midst of the blue sea, beckoning visitors to its fold.
Take an Evening Stroll on Juhu Beach
Juhu beach is a six kilometre stretch of beach in Mumbai that is very popular with tourists and locals alike. It is abuzz with activity in the evenings and a great place to head with the family for some fun times. Horse carriage rides and camel rides along the sandy beach lure children while adults can simply laze on the beach or walk along the shore looking at the waves of the Arabian Sea crashing on the beach. There is a food court which is famous and serves a delectable variety of spicy snacks. The beach is situated in one of the more affluent areas of Mumbai where many of the stars of Bollywood, the Indian Film Industry, have made their homes.
Take a Bite of Vada Pav
If you are in Mumbai, there is no way that you can miss savouring the Vada Pav. Vada Pav is a fast food dish which is vegetarian in nature and its ubiquitous presence is felt everywhere in Mumbai. From the streets of Mumbai to railway stations, bus stands, and airports, the Vada Pav is available everywhere. Vada Pav is a street food which consists of deep fried potato dumplings known as Vada which is sandwiched between a slit bun known as Pav. The Vada Pav is eaten with spicy sauce known as Chutney and a green chilly. The Vada Pav is to Mumbai as the Pizza is to Italy.
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Elephanta Caves
The Elephanta Caves are situated on an island known as Elephanta Island which is about two kilometres away from the Gateway of India. One can reach Elephanta caves by taking a ride on a ferry steamer from the Gateway of India. The caves consist of rock cut sculptures that feature Hindu Gods as well as Buddhist motifs. One of the notable sculptures is a 20 feet monolithic rock sculpture that depicts a three headed Shiva, a popular deity and part of the trinity of Gods in Hinduism. The part of the caves that are dedicated to Buddhism have Stupas, which are rock edicts. The Elephanta caves which are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites date back to somewhere between the 5th and 8th century AD. If you have half a day in Mumbai it is indeed worthwhile visiting the Elephanta caves which are a window to the glorious past of the region.
These are just a few glimpses of the fascinating city of Mumbai in India but enough reason to categorize it as a must visit city in India.