Hotels in Mumbai (Maharashtra, India)
Hotels in Mumbai
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Make magical memories in the melting pot mayhem of Mumbai
Make no mistake; Mumbai is enormous. Sustaining more than 20 million industrious residents, this commercial powerhouse city constructed on reclaimed land on India’s west coast crackles with such energy that rush hour occasionally becomes indistinguishable from other times of day. Previously known as Bombay, eclectic Mumbai boasts fantastic architecture, amazing food, great shopping and World Heritage Sites. Moreover, it is home to India’s prolific Bollywood film industry. Amidst the organized chaos and contrasting economic fortunes on display in sweltering Mumbai, there are numerous hotels, including several near the international airport.
Eat like a local
Cosmopolitan Mumbai is renowned for its mouth-watering food. Curry is well-liked by Mumbaikar locals, but many lip-smacking surprises remain in store for foodies who reckon they already know their Indian cuisine. Near your hotel you can usually taste some of Mumbai’s best food at the ubiquitous street stalls. These reassuringly popular eateries loved by locals from all walks of life are where social, religious and economic divisions in Mumbai melt away. Indeed, the sight of labourers snacking beside millionaires is not uncommon.
The stalls assault the senses, selling refreshing mango lassi yoghurt-based drinks and hot tea plus kulfi ice cream and kebabs featuring meat or freshly-caught fish. Vegetarian Mumbai street snacks include vada pav potato burgers, deep-fried panipuri breads with delicate flavourings and dosa pancakes with chutney. Although most of Mumbai’s beaches are unsuitable for bathing, their fresh air makes them fashionable haunts for evening strolls and admiring sunsets over the Arabian Sea. The curved seafront promenade of Marine Drive plus the Chowpatty and Juhu beaches are routinely abuzz with food vendors celebrated for their bhel puri, comprising puffed rice, vegetables and tamarind sauce. Mumbai’s street eateries also exist in clusters or khau gallis, meaning “food streets” in the local Marathi language. Examples include Carter Road off Bandra promenade, Ghatkopar, Mahim and Nariman Point. Additionally, Mumbai possesses some of India’s finest high-end eateries located near the international airport or in posh hotels and commercial districts.
Urban parks and ancient sites
For outdoor recreation, leave behind the hubbub of downtown Mumbai and head north to the sprawling tropical forest at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. This hilly suburban landscape rich in rare birds, butterflies and flowers is a haven for macaque monkeys and deer. There are crocodile and tiger enclosures, waterfalls and lakes, walking trails and even a narrow gauge railway. Don’t miss the park’s astonishing Kanheri Caves, dating back to the 1st century BC. Painstakingly chiselled out of rock, they were once a centre of learning for Buddhist monks. Located on Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour are some even more impressive rock-hewn caves that originated in the 5th century. The World Heritage Site Elephanta Caves feature an unforgettable temple complex of shrines, courtyards and ornately carved stone statues honouring the Hindu god Shiva. Ferries to the island operate from the Gateway of India.
Discover architectural gems and remarkable museums
Remarkable Mumbai overflows with historic landmarks, interesting museums, religious sites and wonderful architecture. In the hectic Bori Bunder district sits the striking World Heritage Site Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which was completed during British rule in the 1880s. This massive colonial-era building showcasing Victorian Gothic Revival, Hindu and Islamic styles remains among India’s busiest railway stations. It is adorned with amazing details like domes, gargoyles, spires and stained glass. Cinema buffs might even recognize it as the location used for filming the Jai Ho song sequence in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. Another architectural gem in the neighbouring Apollo Bunder district is the beautiful Gateway of India arch, a favourite spot for waterside selfies. Meanwhile, the nearby Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which was built in 1903, grandly combines Renaissance and Islamic elements. As a multi-faith metropolis, Mumbai hosts many places of worship. Perhaps the most impressive is the whitewashed Haji Ali Dargah mosque sitting in a bay in Mahalakshmi. Accessible by causeway at low tide, it contains a venerated tomb and attracts visitors of all faiths and none.
Museumgoers will love the 1872-built Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum in Byculla East. This superbly restored landmark displays artefacts about Mumbai’s history. At Mumbai’s biggest museum, the domed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, there are exhibits detailing the fascinating history of India, including sculptures, paintings and weaponry. Another favourite Mumbai attraction is Khotachiwadi village in Girgaum. This heritage area characterized by historic Portuguese-style homes evokes a bygone era in Mumbai.
A city of contrasts
Mumbai’s juxtaposition of rich and poor can startle newcomers. Both sides of Maharashtra State’s pulsating capital can be explored independently or on organized tours. Popular tours include trips to Bollywood filming locations or the vast Dharavi slum, which also featured prominently in Slumdog Millionaire. To see Mumbai’s sights independently, try using the improving public transport system of trains, ferries, buses, rickshaws, taxis and a monorail.
Upmarket areas of Mumbai brim with boutiques, modern shopping malls, fancy restaurants and glitzy nightspots where the city’s elite are entertained by Indian songs, live music and DJs. Cuffe Parade and Malabar Hill are two such districts. Indeed, Malabar Hill boasts the luscious Hanging Garden hilltop park plus one of the planet’s priciest homes - the soaring Antilia in Altamount Road. Across town, shopaholics can lose themselves in bustling street bazaars selling textiles, flowers, jewellery, fashion, antiques and spices. Much-loved examples include Bhuleshwar Market, Crawford Market, Chor Bazaar and the vibrant Colaba Causeway area.