Bombay, India’s New York, the City that never sleeps or the City of Dreams. Mumbai is known by many names. With a population of over 1.2 crores, Mumbai is one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world.
Mumbai, the heartbeat of Maharashtra and even India, is the financial capital of the country and the capital city of the state of Maharashtra. Seven islands came together in the Arabian Sea and formed this great mass of land. The city is the commercial and entertainment centre of the country and is home to the globally acclaimed ‘Bollywood’ movies.
Western Railways, the backbone of this busy city is a sight to see. With people spilling out of doors, one can only fathom the extent of individuals travelling every day to work and colleges. The local trains are what methodically divide this great city into smaller areas and towns.
There are many sightseeing places in Mumbai. People with any and all requirements can come here and leave a happy man. Mumbai can be both cheap and expensive. Maybe that is why one can find all sorts of income group living harmoniously here.
There are many reasons why Mumbai should be your next travel destination. Here are 10 of them.
1. Mumbai beaches
Mumbai, a peninsula that stretches out into the Arabian Sea, has an extensive coastline. Coastlines mean beaches and Mumbai sure has a lot of them. While Mumbai beaches are not necessarily known for their cleanliness, the sight is a must see.
Starting from the very beginning of Mumbai City, one can find well-kept beaches stretching out into the sea. Some of the famous beaches here would be the Juhu beach, Girgaon Chowpatty beach, and the Uran Beach. The Versova beach near to Andheri is also worth a visit. Beaches in Mumbai even go up to the quieter suburbs of Vasai and Virar. Rajodi Beach, Bhuigaon beach, and Suruchi beach are some of the quieter ones.
The best part of Mumbai beaches are the various hawkers that walk up and down the coast. One can find the sweetest of coconut water, tea, and even coffee stalls. People also walk by with horses and camels for you to ride on. Individuals with an affinity to enjoy nature and the beauty of the sunset glow should make a trip to one of the beaches in Mumbai.
2. Street shopping
What is a metropolis without the option to shop? Mumbai is every shopper’s dream. With varieties ranging from cheaper street clothes up to branded designer wear, Mumbai has everything to fit a person’s need. While malls in Mumbai do have a pleasant atmosphere, a place to sit and sip on your coffee or even just window shop with your friends, it is the streets that truly make Mumbai.
Street shopping is a thriving business in the city. Hundreds of people are seen picking out clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories at the cheapest of rates possible. But be warned, bargaining is an art, and no one does it better than a Mumbaikar.
One can find the best of current fashion in places like Linking Road and Hill Road in Bandra, Fashion Street and Colaba Causeway in Colaba and much more. Crawford Market in Churchgate is another sought-after place for almost every type of shopping.
The oldest of streets known for shopping with a history of over 150 years is the infamous ‘Chor Bazaar’. From electronics to antiques, there is nothing you can’t find in this throbbing part of South Bombay.
3. Street foods
Mumbai is called ‘fast-paced’ in many respects, and the food is one of them. With thousands of people on the streets rushing to go to their respective 9 to 5 jobs, it is hard for everyone to take time out of their busy days to sit in an air-conditioned restaurant and enjoy a well-presented meal.
So people turn towards the more reliable, quick and cheap alternative, street food. Street food in Mumbai is like no other. You can spot stalls after stalls selling you varieties of foods at every corner. A ‘cutting chai’ in one hand and a ‘vada pav’ in the other is how most Mumbaikars start their day.
Vada pav, also humorously known as the Indian burger, is the staple food of people living in Mumbai. It is as cheap as it was delicious. Some of the well-appreciated street food here are samosas, dhoklas, Chinese bells, pav bhaji, kebabs, PaniPuri and other chaats. Walk around this multi-cultural city with a plate of delicious hot food in your hands.
4. National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park located in the Mumbai Suburbs was previously called the Borivali National Park. Covering more than 100 sq km, this huge park is cited to be one of the most visited national parks in the world. More than 2 million people visit this natural habitation every year.
The national park proudly houses the unique plant Karvi, which flowers every seven years. Besides this, one can also see rich forests of teak, shisam, and the flame of the woods. Many small shrubs and flowering plants are found here. Most of the species are rare, and some even are on the verge of extinction.
The fauna here too has abundant variety. Animals like deer, hyena, leopards and even monkeys of various kinds are seen here. There are also many species of snakes in the park, and one might even come across crocodiles near the Tulsi lake within the park. More than 170 species of butterflies are reportedly seen here. Ornithologists visit this park every year to observe birds like owls, robins, hornbills, peacocks and others.
Another unique feature of this National Park is the 2400 years old Kaneri Caves carved atop a hill. The climb is very rewarding, and one can get a deeper insight into the life of Gautama Buddha.
5. The city that never sleeps
It is believed that Mumbai gets more beautiful at night. And that belief is true. Anyone who had the good fortune of walking along the streets of Mumbai will agree. Mumbai is the real personification of ‘the city that never sleeps.’ Transport facilities like taxis, buses, and autos are always playing even at 3 in the morning. So if you have an early morning flight, you know not to worry.
Major buildings, gardens, and even the airports are lit up all through the night. One can see the great monument, Gate of India shining till the wee hours of the morning. Lives never actually slow down at night in Mumbai. With hundreds of people going out to get their evening started either with their friends or family, people getting back from work or some even leaving for a job, one can always find motion on the streets.
The city is a magnificent sight with its millions of shining lights twinkling at you. You could walk around your neighborhood or jog down the breathtaking Marine Drive, but you will always see someone about. The Mumbai skyline at night is one of the most picturesque sights to behold. Mumbai, you know, never stops pulsing.
6. Maratha Mandir
‘Bollywood’ or Hindi movies are a major part of life in Mumbai. Several films break the box office, and some remain a part of history forever as renowned classics. In Mumbai, it is not just the movie that shoots to fame; it is also the theatre that screens it.
Maratha Mandir is one such great Cinema Hall located in Mumbai Central that holds the record for maximum screening. When an acclaimed Bollywood movie stole millions of hearts in 1995, no one imagined any video running beyond a few weeks.
But Maratha Mandir broke all such beliefs when the theatre played this famous movie for 1009 weeks. This show is forever etched into the history of Mumbai and even India as a whole. The place is a huge landmark and is a fixed sight to see. With 1000 seats, this theatre is the most valued one for Mumbai’s Box Office.
7. The city that appreciates art & Theatre
Having so many cultures all in one big city brings with it equal complexity and variety in the entertainment sector. Mumbai is believed to be the birthplace of Indian Cinema. Silent movies slowly grew into feature films that one sees today. Another prominent form of entertainment still widely prevalent in Mumbai is theatre.
Theatres like Rangshila Theatre Group, Prithvi Theatre, and Om Natya Gandhi Mandir Theatre are all performing arts theatre, and they still conduct dramas even today. Talented artists put up heart-wrenching plays about life and other things. These plays are mainly in Marathi, but some are in Hindi, English, and a few regional languages as well.
Fine art is another form of visual art that is greatly celebrated in Mumbai. Several art galleries exhibit works of some of the best and upcoming artists. Galleries like the Jehangir Art Gallery, National Gallery of Modern Art, Tao Art Gallery and Studio3 Art Gallery are some of the best examples that are open to the public.
They exhibit not only canvas paintings but also many sketches the artists must have done regarding inspiration. They also have areas where they show photographs. Some galleries even have art and light shows. Theatres and art are well-appreciated phenomena in Mumbai.
8. Festival celebrations
If there is one thing Mumbaikars do well, then it is celebrated. With the myriad of culture that resides here and the wonderful harmony that exists within, it is not surprising to see the number of festivals people here celebrate. And everyone gets down together to celebrate any and all festivals regardless of their religion or culture.
The sheer amount of enthusiasm with which people celebrate festivals is daunting. Starting from New Years, festivals just keep coming almost all months. Some of the special days that are particularly close to their hearts are Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Navratri, Christmas, Ganesh Chathurthi, Id, Durga Puja and everyone’s favourite, Diwali.
All government institutions shut down on these days, and everyone is in the festive mood. One can see the many colourful sweets floating between houses and the bursting of firecrackers at night. People also get their favourite excuse to shop what with added discounts and more choices in all stores.
If one has the opportunity to visit this amazing city during festivals, do not miss out on a great chance. Seeing the whole town lit up with twinkling light is the most breathtaking sight to see.
Lakes form a primary source of water to the city. Besides being a natural habitat for many species from the animal kingdom, lakes serve the need for water in this densely populated city. Almost 3.4 billion liters of water is pumped to Mumbai city daily.
All this water is delivered from rivers that have dams constructed on them. Vaitarna lakes, Tansa Lake, Vihar Lake and Tulsi Lake, are some of the lakes that supply the most amount of water. These lakes and rivers are full because of the heavy monsoons the city experiences during the months of July to September. The water that is pumped out of these lakes are treated in plants and then transported to cities.
Alongside with meeting the water needs of the people, lakes form a major component of the environment. Vihar Lake in Mumbai, the largest lake in the city, is a beautiful sight to see. This freshwater body is located in Bhandup. People sometimes also enjoy boating in these lakes, and they often take a dip in the cool waters. The Powai lake situated just south of Vihar Lake is a beautiful sight to see in Mumbai.
10. World’s largest Laundromat
Mumbai proudly houses the world’s largest Laundromat, or as the locals call it, the Dhobi Ghat. Set in Mahalaxmi, this extensive area is full of washers or dhobis. One can find hundreds of concrete washing areas each with a pile of clothes stashed in a corner.
This open-air laundry area is a popular site for foreigners to see when in Mumbai. Watch as hundreds of washers methodically beat clothes against concrete and wash them. The rhythm they work in is something to be awed at. A large number of people are thus employed in this primary sector of washing clothes.
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