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Explore Mumbai - An Exclusive Guide

A perfect day in... Mumbai, India

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Squashed onto a strip of islands and reclaimed land by the Arabian Sea, and home to over 20 million people, Mumbai is a frenetic, colorful whirlwind of a city. The financial powerhouse of India is a marvelous mix of Raj and modern Indian architecture, with trendy neighborhoods, cutting-edge museums, fabulous food – and, of course, Bollywood.

What to see in Mumbai

Your first stop should be Colaba in the south, where you’ll find many of the city’s most iconic sites, including the grand arch of the Gateway to India, standing proudly at the waterfront facing the Arabian Sea. Built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911, it represents a pleasingly grand mash-up of architectural styles.

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For an insight to the city’s history, pop into the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, nearby, topped by an imposing Mughal-style dome and surrounded by palm trees and gardens. Also near here is Kala Ghoda, known as the arts district and filled with contemporary art galleries, chic cafés, restaurants and the National Gallery of Modern Art.

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You might not necessarily think of a railway station as a visitors’ attraction, but the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, formerly the Victoria Terminus, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great example of grand Victorian gothic architecture. With a riot of ornate turrets, domes, minarets and stained glass windows, the station sees a staggering three million commuters pass through every day.

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What to do in Mumbai

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Directly opposite the Gateway of India is the celebrated Taj Mahal Palace, an extraordinary luxury hotel that also happens to be India’s second-most photographed attraction. Pop in for a drink or afternoon tea and soak up the atmosphere. Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, leaves from the Gateway just outside, and is worth a visit for its fascinating series of Hindu and Buddhist carved cave temples created between AD 450 and 750.

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The grand avenue of Marine Drive, known as the Queen’s Necklace, makes for a pleasant stroll at any time of day, but it comes into its own at dusk, when it is lit up and the nickname rings true. Equally popular at sunset are the beaches of busy Chowpatty and upmarket Juhu (the latter is home to many of the city’s movie stars).

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To experience a slice of contemporary Mumbai, head to Bandra in the north, linked to the south by the impressive Bandra-Worli Sea Link causeway. Bandra is the heartland of Mumbai’s movie and media worlds, with cool shops, restaurants and night spots. Linking Road and Hill Road offer excellent stalls and shops selling clothes, accessories and homewares.

What to eat in Mumbai

Mumbai is positively crammed with fantastic places to eat, from stylish rooftop fine dining and trendy cafés, to cooked-while-you-watch street food. You’ll probably spend most of your time in Colaba in the south, which is filled with a huge choice of restaurants. Don't miss bhel puri, a crunchy mix of puffed rice, fried vermicelli, tamarind and fresh coriander, and vada pav, a spicy vegetable fritter served in a bun. For a modern take on traditional regional dishes, head to the celebrated Bombay Canteen.

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For more information, go to incredibleindia.org

This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.

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