Mumbai has grown from its colonial past to become one of the busiest and most important ports in the world. If there is one city that you must visit in India, Mumbai is a top contender for the title, as a mesmerising place that combines chaos and culture, history and religion into one captivating whole.
It would be impossible to explore all that Mumbai has to offer in just a few days, however the city has some unmissable highlights that make it an unforgettable addition to the itinerary of any Asian cruise holiday, or experience Mumbai as part of a World Cruise.
As the name suggests, the Gateway of India is a fitting introduction to Mumbai if you want a place to start when exploring the city. This world-famous monument sits on the waterfront as an imposing guardian over the city that lies beyond. A colonial construction built in 1911; it is just one of the landmarks that reveal Mumbai’s iconic past. A Heritage Walk gives you a chance to explore this and other historic buildings and monuments that nestle their way between the modern urban jungle, to remind you of the city’s rich history. Of these buildings, perhaps the most impressive is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), a UNESCO World Heritage railway station, built as the focal point of Mumbai’s transport in the late 19th century.
Mumbai has always been a melting pot for religion. The various Hindu temples and churches that mark the landscape are testament to this, and important ones such as Shree Siddhivinayak and the beautiful ISKCON Temple are worth a visit. Not only do they reveal the religious and cultural side of Mumbai, but the fantastic architecture of many of the temples makes them popular attractions too. For a modern addition to the architectural charms of Mumbai, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge is an incredible achievement in engineering that looks beautiful at night when illuminated over the waters.
For a chance to absorb the authentic atmosphere of modern Mumbai, you don’t have to look far to find a street market. Although the whole city is permeated with stalls and street vendors, head to Colaba Causeway or Chor Bazaar for a unique experience as you take in the sights, sounds, smells and bustling activity of these markets. It’s wise to visit in the morning when the weather is cooler. A real highlight of any trip to Mumbai, don’t be put off by the chaos, and mingling with the friendly locals is a great way to experience the city. Here you can also try some delightful street food such as aromatic potato patties, a great energy boost when exploring the area!
If your idea of culture lies more in the museums, then escape the crowds to explore the exhibits of Gandhi’s memorial at Mani Bhavan, or the Prince of Wales Museum for ancient Indian history. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is also a great chance place to unwind on a walk through the gardens, and is home to one of the many caves in the city, the Kanheri Caves.
Mumbai is a magical place that is constantly evolving as India becomes an ever more prosperous country. Thankfully, this port city gracefully preserves its past as it modernises, to provide a cruise destination full of history and culture.