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City Information

Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is a commercial hotspot that attracts people from all over India. Best known for embracing a cosmopolitan crowd, Mumbai is marked by stately skyscrapers towering over slums. Mushrooming nightclubs, swanky restaurants and the hub of glamour and fashion coexist with grinding poverty in this fast-paced, lively city.

This is the financial capital of the country. Interspersed with crowded walkways, roads packed with the inimitable black and yellow taxis and a mass of people rushing around purposefully, the city is a vibrant hub of activity. In the centre of this organised chaos—amid the rich pool of art and entertainment—the intricate layers of life unfold.

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Sightseeing

Mumbai is an eclectic mix of the old and the new. From iconic heritage structures to amusement parks there is plenty to see and do for the tourist.


The Gateway of India overlooking the Arabian Sea is usually the first stop for most tourists. A ferry ride to Elephanta Caves leads to ancient Hindu caves with rock stone sculptures of Lord Shiva now a World Heritage site. Other popular places to visit include the Haji Ali dargah, a famous 15th- century mosque and dargah (tomb), Hanging Gardens known for its terraced gardens or Sanjay Gandhi National Park which is a protected forest area and home to many species of flora and fauna. Tigers and lions can also be spotted here while on safari. Mumbai is also home to Bollywood where you can spot stars jogging on Juhu Beach or in the coffee-shops of luxury hotels. Intrincic to Mumbai are the ‘Dabbawaalas’ who deliver lunch tiffins to 200,000 office-goers. Watch them in action at Churchgate around noon where tiffins are sorted and dispatched.


A few hours’ drive from Mumbai will take you to the sea-side town of Alibaug or to hill-stations like Khandala or Lonavala.

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Art and Culture

Food, festivals and fun are an intrinsic aspect of the city. Euphoric celebrations like Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas or Eid tap the pulse of the city. Thanks to Bollywood, the second largest film industry in the world, Mumbai is also known as ‘film city of India’.

 

Whether it is the Marathi tribal ‘Koli’ songs, Indi-pop, Western Classical or Bollywood music, Mumbaikars are passionate about music, dance and theatre. Check out National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) for exhibitions, Cheer—the comedy festival, Bandish— an Indian music festival, Pratibimb Marathi Natya Utsav.

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Cuisine

Mumbai is an amalgam of various cultures. Expectedly, the myriad flavours show up in the food served on the streets and in restaurants. A must-have here is the chaat, a quick-fix sweet and savoury snack.


Like most coastal preparations, the traditional dishes here use coconut. Pack some local peanuts and cashew nut for snacking at home. Try not to miss local dishes like Moong Dal Khichdi, Kanda-Batata Poha and Mumbai Tawa Pulao. Non-vegetarian favourites are Bombay duck curry, Andaa Bhurji and Kheema Pav. You may even ask the chef at The Leela Mumbai to whip up the flavours of the coast for your palate.

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