Mumbai, the Gateway to India
Mumbai is a city teeming with life and energy. It’s India’s financial center, the home of the Bollywood film industry, and is commonly referred to as India’s “gateway city.” Indeed, the presence of a famous monument on the waterfront – the Gateway of India – serves as a reminder. Built in 1924, the elaborately carved, looming stone archway stands at the edge of Mumbai Harbor.
Since Mumbai is most a city of contrasts, alongside its ancient temples, remnants of colonialism, and 20th-century marvels, you’ll also find the modern world edging in. For instance, the northern neighborhoods of the city are slowly being filled with skyscrapers as tall as 300 meters – almost 1,000 feet.
And, while the city has some of the largest slums in Asia, it also has some of the most affluent areas, too. Fashionable neighborhoods like Bandra boast countless cafes, tearooms, trendy restaurants, and lots and lots of shopping.
High fashion label lovers will find opportunities all over the city. The largest high-end shopping complex in Mumbai, High Street Phoenix, boasts luxury from world renowned brands as well as the hottest local designers.
Mumbai’s cultural offerings don’t end with fashion, either. There are art galleries, museums, live music venues, and historic landmarks galore. See prime examples of Gothic and Neo-Gothic architecture at the giant train station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus; the High Court, a hub of government; or the University of Mumbai. You’ll see plenty of architecture in various styles throughout the city, from temples to colonial buildings to modern marvels.
Mumbai’s Ancient Roots
A trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some of its thousand-year-old cultural sights. One must-see is the ancient Hindu cave temples on Elephanta Island. Take a ferry from the mainland and see awe-inspiring carvings, pillars, shrines, and statues dedicated to Shiva.
Best Times to Travel
In general, the ideal time to travel to Mumbai is when temperatures are cooler and the humidity is lower – usually December or January. Mumbai has a tropical climate, however, so temperatures are consistently warm. June to September is monsoon season, which is best avoided, as roads can become waterlogged and travel tricky.