Experience India in the most authentic way through Mumbai. Being India’s most metropolitan city, Mumbai offers a wide range of things to do and see for its visitors. Besides being the country’s Commercial Capital, it is the home of more than 20 million residents. The fancy part of the city is the place of residency of many Bollywood megastars.
The city encompasses three UNESCO Heritage Sites, making it a Mecca for history buffs. However, no matter what your interests are, Mumbai would definitely have something to offer you. From nature reserves to various religious edifices and museums, Mumbai is packed with diverse attractions. Thus, the list of things to do in Mumbai is such a long one.
Unique Things to do in Mumbai
While there are many things to do in Mumbai, many tourists have a hard time choosing the activities to do and sites to visit during their stay. We are here to help you put together the best itinerary for visiting the city of dreams. Here is a list of the most important sites to visit and things to do in Mumbai:
- Admire Gateway of India
- Explore Elephanta Caves
- Experience Tranquility at Haji Ali Dargah
- Enjoy Food and More at Juhu Beach
- Make a Wish at Siddhivinayak Temple
- Go on a Picnic at The Hanging Gardens
- Tour Bollywood at Film City
- Admire Nature at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
- Appreciate Art and History at Prince of Wales Museum
- Chill at Kamla Nehru Park
Admire Gateway of India
Start your visit with admiring the astounding Gateway of India. It is one of Mumbai’s most popular landmarks. The foundation was laid out in 1913. The construction of the building was completed in 1924. The Gateway was built to commemorate King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to Mumbai.
Nowadays, the Gateway of India is a defining monument of the metropolitan city of Mumbai. It is one of the most popular sightseeing places in the whole country of India. The design is influenced by Roman and Islamic architecture in addition to Roman triumphal arches. The building is 26 meters high and contains a mixture of religious symbols of both Hinduism and Islam, expressing India’s unity.
Yellow basalt and concrete were used to build the Gateway. Two large hallways are situated on the sides of the arch. They can accommodate around 600 people. The central dome is inspired by Islamic architecture. The steps behind the archway have a bedazzling view of the Arabian Sea.
Gateway of India is located on the Apollo Bunder waterfront facing the Arabian Sea. It is the starting point of ferries that go to the historic site of Elephanta Caves. Watching the Yachts and ferries that take off to the Arabian sea is one of the most interesting things to do in Mumbai.
The location is a gathering spot for residents and tourists alike. This makes it the perfect spot for people watching. The area is packed with street food vendors that sell both sweets and traditional savory dishes. The monument is open 24/7 for all visitors. There is no entry fee to get into the place.
Explore Elephanta Caves
One of the main things to do in Mumbai is to explore Elephanta Caves. From the Gateway of India, take the ferry to Elephanta Island. The ferries leave every 30 minutes. They take around an hour to arrive on the island. Upon your arrival, you will wander freely around the peaceful island.
Being the home of the medieval Elephanta Caves, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves are of two groups. The first is a large group of five Hindu caves and the second one is a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. These are rock-cut cave temples that date back to the 5th century. The temples are around 1,600 years old.
The temples are laid out in a maze-like mandala pattern. These Hindu temples were dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the god of destruction. Inside the Hindu temples, you can explore carvings that tell the story of different Hindu myths. The main temple has a 6-meter high Shiva statue, depicting him as the destroyer, creator, and preserver of the universe.
You can visit the island from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is an entry fee of 600 INR ($7.97), and children under four can enter for free. You can hire one of the onsite guides or walk around freely with the assistance of guidebook pamphlets or an app. Wandering on the island is one of the most peaceful things to do in Mumbai.
Experience Tranquility at Haji Ali Dargah
Located on an islet off the coast of Worli, Haji Ali Dargah is a tranquil destination for anyone that needs a break from the busy city. Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and a dargah built in the 15th century. The dargah is dedicated to Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a wealthy merchant who gave up his worldly belongings and embraced Sufism.
Even though the Dargah is a Muslim monument, people from different religions still visit it to ask for blessings. The building has a beautiful Indo-Islamic style architecture. In the center of a marble courtyard is the glass tomb of the late Haji Ali. The top of the tomb is covered by a decorated red and green cloth that is supported by marble columns and a fascinating silver frame.
Marble pillars fill the main hall of the mosque. On them are engraved the 99 names of Allah. The pillars are engraved with creative mirror work; blue, green, yellow chips of glass are arranged in varied designs and Arabic patterns.
While you are at the dargah make sure to check the Qawallis hall and attend one of the sessions. This is a hall where Qawallis, melodious invocations to the Almighty, are sung and. The Qawalls, Qawallis performers, usually sit on the floor of the hall with their instruments and begin their prayer. Observers sit around them mesmerized as they enjoy tranquility and spirituality.
The Dargah is open for all visitors, regardless of their religion, daily from 5:30 am to 10:00 pm. This is a religious site, so make sure to dress modestly. You are also supposed to cover your head before entering the shrine. Due to being surrounded by water from all directions, the dargah can be accessed only when the tide is low.
Haji Ali Dargah is the most prominent religious attraction in Mumbai. Visiting it must be on top of the list of your things to do in Mumbai.
Enjoy Food and More at Juhu Beach
Looking for a day full of activities? Head to Juhu beach in Mumbai’s suburbs. Juhu beach is one of the biggest and most famous beaches in Mumbai. It stretches for 6 km on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The beach is known for its street food and beautiful sunsets.
The beach is a heaven for street food lovers. It poses as a witness to the richness of Indian cuisine. Food stalls and carts are scattered along Juhu beach. They sell different traditional dishes, such as bhel puri, sev puri, paani puri, vada pao, batata vada, and misal pao. Trying out the different dishes should be on your itinerary for things to do in Mumbai.
Besides being rich in street food, Juhu Beach is a great location for physical activities. From simple jogging to camel and horseback riding, Juhu beach is suitable for different activities. There are many that come to do yoga by the seaside. You can participate or just watch the groups exercise in tranquility.
The beach is mostly crowded in the evening as individuals come to enjoy the bedazzling view of sunset on the sea horizon. However, it is open 24/7 for all visitors. Even though Juhu beach is in a posh area of the city, it does not charge any entry fees. Visiting Juhu Beach and enjoying the tasty Indian dishes must be included in the things to do in Mumbai.
Make a Wish at Siddhivinayak Temple
The temple of granted hopes and blessings, the Siddhivinayak Temple is devoted to Ganesha, the god of removing obstacles. Hindu devotees who favor the elephant headed god go on pilgrimages to the temple. They believe that god Ganesha grants their wishes.
The temple was built in 1801 by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil, a couple who did not have children of their own. They built the Siddhivinayak Temple so other infertile women can have their wish of having children granted. The temple is the richest in Mumbai. It gets around INR 100 million in donations annually.
A two and a half feet wide idol of Shri Ganesha. The idol is placed in a small sanctuary and is made of only one piece of black stone. Besides the main sanctum, the old part of the temple also includes a hall, a verandah and a water tank.
In 1990, a decision for renovating the temple was made. The architect who was responsible for the renovation studied the temples of Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu thoroughly before finalizing the design of the temple. The renovation took three years to be completed. The outcome of the renovations is the temple as we know it today.
Nowadays, the temple has 37 gold plated domes that embellish its main complex. A multi angular structure of six stories is built over the gilded domes. Three main entrances lead to the temple interior. The popularity of the Siddhivinayak temple is not owed solely to the belief that Ganesha grants wishes. It is only due to the fact that the temple is popular among movie stars.
Allow yourself two hours to take your shoes off and enter this magnificent temple. Stop there to relax and maybe have one of your wishes granted. A visit to the temple must be one of your things to do in Mumbai.
The temple is open daily from 5:30 am to 10:00 pm. However, the best time to visit is in the afternoon. During that time the temple is not as crowded. The temple does not collect entry fees.
Go on a Picnic at The Hanging Gardens
Every busy city needs a quiet place. That place in Mumbai is the Hanging Gardens. The 140-year-old gardens offer Mumbaikars a break from the hustle and bustle of their lively city. The Hanging Gardens were built in 1881 on the western part of the city. Trees, bushes and colorful flowers cover the whole garden.
The Hanging Gardens have their name due to the fact that they are built on stone terraces of multiple levels. The structure of the gardens is not their only fascinating aspect. The gardens include a number of hedges carved as different animal shapes. Owing to their location on a hillside, the gardens have amazing views of South Mumbai.
The gardens open their doors to visitors as early as 5:00 am. So, visitors can have a bird eye view of the city before the morning fog wears off. As the day progresses, a magnificent view of the sun setting behind the Arabian Sea can be observed from the gardens.
The Hanging Gardens are perfect for a relaxing afternoon or a morning full of physical activities. If you want to go for a walk, jog, do some yoga or even go for a picnic, the gardens are the destination for you.
A picnic at the Hanging Gardens is one of the best things to do in Mumbai. It is suitable for the whole family. During your visit to Mumbai, dedicate half a day to explore the gardens. The official opening time extends from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm, with no entry fees.
Tour Bollywood at Film City
A Bollywood fan? Add Film City visit to your things to do in Mumbai. The attraction is the home of Bollywood. Stretching over 520 acre, the place is huge. About a thousand sets can be built at the place. The city offers great insights of the work behind the magical movies of Bollywood.
Famous movies have been shot at this location. Choose a guided tour and prepare yourself to be amazed by the details you will hear. Your guide will explain the different methods of filmmaking that distinguishes Bollywood movies from others. You can visit this location on any day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The visit would cost you between INR 599 – INR 1699 ($7.98 – $22.64) depending on the package you select. While you might prefer touring without a guide, guides are important in the Bollywood tour. They are so informative and will make your visit more enjoyable with their interesting facts.
Admire Nature at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Get a break from modernity to see nature and wildlife at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The Park stretches over 104 square kilometers, making it the world’s largest park within city limits. With 2 million visitors annually, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is one of the most visited parks in the whole of Asia.
The park is widely known as the green lung of Mumbai. It covers around 20% of the city’s geographical area. The park is home to hundreds of species of floras and faunas. Wild animals, such as Leopards, Lions, Tigers and flying foxes, roam around the park. Thousands of visitors throng together to spot these animals and see them in their natural habitat.
The park is popular for its evergreen forests. It also includes two artificial lakes; the Vihar Lake and the Tulsi Lake. They lend the park a jaw dropping view, especially during cloudy days. Stand on the bridge over the lake and enjoy the dream-like view of the clouds and water becoming a part of one entity.
One of the main attractions in the park is the popular Kanheri Caves. There are more than a hundred Buddhist caves snuggled in the quietness of the park. These caves offer insight into the evolution of Buddhism and its rises and falls during 15 centuries. The attraction also includes a prayer hall, a number of Buddhist stupas, and most interesting of all, water channels that are carved of stones.
An interesting activity to do in the park is to go on a safari to watch the lions and tigers in their natural habitat. The safari is around 20 minutes. It is a ride that goes through a fenced area of the forest to give you a close view of the wild animals. The safari is so affordable. The cost is INR 64 ($0.86) and INR 25 ($0.33) per child.
The park also includes a vintage toy train, the Jungle Queen. The train ride lasts for around 15 minutes. It goes along the foothills of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial on Pavilion Hill. The Jungle Queen also passes over the Dear Park.
As you read, the Sanjay Gandhi National park has everything anyone could ask for. A visit to the park can never be missing from your list of things to do in Mumbai. The park is open Tuesday to Sunday from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. So, plan your visit accordingly. The park’s entry fee is INR 48 ($0.64) per person.
Appreciate Art and History at Prince of Wales Museum
With a collection exceeding 70,000 items, the Prince of Wales Museum is one of the most prominent museums in India. The cornerstone of the building was laid by the Prince of Wales in 1905. Then, in 1922, the building was turned into a museum, named the Prince of Wales Museum. Nowadays, however, the museum is officially named the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum.
Visiting the Prince of Wales Museum is on the list of the top things to do in Mumbai. The museum is one of India’s key art and history attractions in the whole of India. It displays an innumerable collection of historical artefacts, statues, and artworks. The collection gives great insights into India’s great past.
Indian history is not the only thing the museum exhibits. The Prince of Wales Museum preserves numerous antiques from different countries like Nepal, Tibet, and other countries. The museum is decorated by several artworks made out of wood, metal, jade, and ivory.
Allow yourself from 3 to 5 hours on one of the days you are in Mumbai. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:15 am to 5:00 pm. There is an entry fee of INR 30 ($0.40) per person. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum is a great addition to your list of things to do in Mumbai.
Chill at Kamla Nehru Park
Relive your childhood and enjoy peacefulness at Kamla Nehru Park. The park is a part of the Hanging Park. Kamla Nehru Park is a recreational park that covers around 4 acres of land. The park is very popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Squeeze a visit to the Kamla Nehru Park on your list of things to do in Mumbai.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is a shoe-like structure. This remarkable shoe grabs the attention of children. The structure was inspired by a nursery rhyme titled ‘There was an old woman who lived in a shoe’. Many people do not know this fact, however, the attraction still draws their attention.
The park is the perfect place for kids. There are many activities they can do and things to see in the park. Children aged 10 and younger can climb the attractive boot house. Furthermore, children of different ages can enter the house.
The park also features a rainbow colored amphitheater. It attracts children with its cheerful colors. Various cultural programs are held at the amphitheater from time to time. Children can participate in the programs being held. The park also has a great playground at which children can have a good time.
In addition to the man made attractions, the park has great natural views. The Kamla Nehru Park snuggles an array of trees and flowers. The park is perfect for a picnic during the day or a relaxing time at night. There are a number of street vendors that sell traditional dishes to park visitors. Treat yourself to some of those delicious dishes and make your picnic even more enjoyable.
A visit to the Kamla Nehru Park is a must. Add it to the things to do in Mumbai. The park opens Tuesday to Sunday from as early as 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. You need to dedicate around 2 to 3 hours of your time to the park visit to be able to check its key attractions. There are no entry fees to the park.
As you’ve seen in the article, there is an abundance of things to do in Mumbai. The city is truly cosmopolitan and encompasses various sites and activities that are worth trying. Plan your trip carefully and make sure to select the most interesting attractions in the city. We hope our article makes that job an easy one!
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