A word to the wise: beef up those resilience skills before you visit Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Like so many Indian cities, it teeters on the verge of chaos without ever quite losing its grip, sweeping newcomers and locals along on a tide of enormous energy that catapults you around its vast quarters – regardless of what’s actually on your itinerary. There’s no need for alarm – it never feels unsafe – but be prepared for an assault on the senses. All of your senses. This is, after all, a city of 18 million people. And they all like to talk at once.
Mumbai likes to chat. It also likes to drive (rather recklessly), honk, barter, cook, duck, dive and dream. The sheer noise of the place is off the scale. But serious money-making goes on behind the scenes, as befits its status as financial capital of India, and this is a city where people work hard. Something is always being bought, sold, stirred, served, built or rebuilt, and there’s a collective drive that’s impressive to witness.
It’s no surprise that this place of passion, determination and drama has become the heart of India’s prolific film industry, and those Bollywood lovelies go crazy for the eye-popping fashion labels you’ll find here. Behind the glamour lie the slums – some of the largest in Asia – but the two worlds co-exist in a (mostly) harmonious fashion. Mumbai is a tale of two cities indeed – and not to be missed.
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A lot of people like to use Mumbai’s Gateway of India to kick-off their cultural endeavours, as well they might – it’s a 26m tall impressive arch monument that marries Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture to great effect but Mumbai has a lot more to offer.
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Beloved by locals and visitors to Mumbai alike – the Gateway of India is considered to be Mumbai’s top tourist attractionDiscover more
It’s seems unlikely that a six-lane concrete highway in South Mumbai should have earned its place as one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, but, as the saying goes, it’s a funny old world.Discover more
Elephant Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai Harbour named after the elephant statues that Portuguese settlers found on the island during their early exploration of India.Discover more
It’s the city that has it all – stunning architecture, desperate poverty, tropical forest and a mash-up of cultures. There’s nowhere else like it on earth – and you can read all about it right here.
Flooded with filmmakers, labourers, fishermen, artists and servants, amongst all the chaos, Mumbai knows how to celebrate.
We’ve sifted the best from the rest to bring you a real taste of ‘the door to India’ – say hello to Mumbai’s street-food must-eats.
Forget the bindis, glitter and trudging through heaps of mud at Glastonbury and say hello to Holi!
If the Earth’s the body, then India's the soul - a land of spirituality, contrasts and culture.
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