Sights of Mumbai – with abundant historical sites, animated markets and endless cultural institutions, Mumbai is a city full of places that will be rewarding for every visitor. To help you navigate the best of what this vibrant city has to offer, Culture Trip has put together a guide of 12 must-see attractions.
Sights in Mumbai – Gateway of India
To commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city, the Gate of India is perhaps the best known of Mumbai’s historical monuments. However, it also happens to be the point from which the last British troops left the country after centuries of their colonial presence. Designed by the Scottish architect George Wittet, who took the Indo-Islamic, Indian and Roman influences, the structure was completed only in 1914, with its first stone laid in 1911.
Sights in Mumbai – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Being the most famous railway station in the country and one of the most iconic monuments in Mumbai, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the best places to witness the past and present of the city. Rich in history and characterized by extraordinary Victorian and Indian Gothic architectural styles, this UNESCO world heritage site is also among the busiest railway stations in the country and an integral part of the daily life of the Mumbaikars lakhs.
Sights in Mumbai – Haji Ali Dargah
The extraordinary Haji Ali Dargah (shrine), which dates back to 1431, is one of Mumbai’s most iconic architectural structures, built in memory of Sayyed Peer Jaji Ali Shah Bukhari, a wealthy Muslim merchant from present-day Uzbekistan who has renounced all of his earthly possessions to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Located on an island off the coast of Worli, the pristine Mughal-style white building connects to the mainland by a narrow path that appears only during low tide.
Sights in Mumbai – Taj Palace
No Mumbai tour is complete without some time spent in the historical and architectural wonder that is the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The iconic dome of the building was the first clear indicator of the port of Bombay until the Gateway of India arrived 20 years later. Built in 1903 under Jamshetji Tata, the hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea is among the most famous in the country.
Located in the port of Mumbai, this lush forest-covered island is about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the Gateway of India. While it is home to only 1,200 inhabitants and prohibits tourists from staying overnight, the island is home to the historic cave temples of Elephanta. Dating back to the fifth century AD, the five Hindu caves and two Buddhist caves served as places of worship until 1500. While some of the structures are now in ruins, the site remains one of the city’s main attractions for sculptures, architecture and exceptional heritage on display.
Sanjay Gandhi Park
Considered the largest park in the world located within the city limits, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is among the most rewarding and popular attractions in Mumbai. The densely wooded park is home to around two million tourists a year, making it one of the most visited parks in Asia. Among the locals, the park is known as the “lungs of the city”, with its lush green cover that contrasts much of the city’s air pollution. Formerly known as the Borival National Park, this historic stretch of nature is home to a rich and diverse flora and fauna, including a population of resident tigers. If you are not already impressed, the park is also home to the ancient Kanheri caves – 109 rock-hewn temples dating back to the 1st century BC. and once considered Buddhist shrines and places of meditation and study.
Gaushala, Cow House
The entrance to Bombay Panjrapole is along a narrow street surrounded by shops selling saris and other fabrics. It’s easy to get lost (and in fact at the beginning we did it). You could spend the day shopping in the area and never meet! Inside there is so much peace, it seems more like being in the country than one of the busiest cities in India.
Bombay Panjrapole was founded in 1834 by businessmen Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and Amichand Shah, with the assistance of the philanthropist Parsi Cowasjee Patel. The intention was to take care of stray dogs and pigs, which the British had ordered to shoot at night. The cows were bred to produce milk to feed the strays and were secondary. However, over time, they have multiplied and become the main attraction. And they’re totally adorable! The little ones, with their gigantic floppy ears, reminded me of dogs rather than calves.