4 Reasons why visiting Mumbai needs to be on your bucket list
Whether youre a fan of Bollywood films or not, Mumbai in India will blow your mind. The whole city is a shrine to the multi-billion pound Indian film industry, but this commercial capital is such an important part of the rich cultural vein that runs through Asia, its impossible not to fall in love with it, regardless of your cinematic tastes.
Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is in the west of India, onthe Arabian Sea coast. Its a riot of colourful characters and exciting streetfood that has been heavily influenced by the historical legacy that has shapedit. Youll see ancient cave temples on nearby Elephanta Island and the iconicstone arch in the centre of the city that was built by the British Raj. Otherhuge Mumbai attractions include the Oval Maidan cricket ground, Chowpatty Beach,Marine Drive and Dhabi Ghat.
When you book a holiday to India with Aspen Travel, werenot going to drop you into the crowd and expect you to seek out the highlightsof any given city yourself. Instead, youll be shepherded by a personal tourguide, who will also act as your translator and problem-solver.
With an itinerary that is shaped by both famous sights andinsider knowledge, youll gain an insight into the real Mumbai; what the citymeans to those who live here, and where you need to go to have the very besttime. Lets have a look at why Mumbai continues to be one of the most excitingdestinations on the planet.
Immerse yourself in Bollywood glamour
Hundreds of films are produced in the studios of Mumbaievery year, so if youd like a Bollywood experience, youre in the right place.Film City is a huge complex with indoor studios and outdoor film sets containedwithin it. Youll need to take a guided tour into it, as its not open tomembers of the public walking in from the street. During the tour, youll seethe studios, and possibly even the filming of a TV serial, or dance show. Insome instances, youll be able to have your picture taken with the actors whoare working that day.
For a very cheap slice of the action, taking a trip to thecinema is almost mandatory when visiting Mumbai. There are many modernmultiplexes, as well as the iconic Art Deco landmark that is the Liberty cinema,or the less than salubrious Gaiety Galaxy. It may be a bit dingy, but thishumble picture house is widely regarded as having the power to make or break anew film release.
Visit beautiful, historic temples and museums
The beautiful Prince of Wales Museum was built inpreparation for a visit from the British king, George V. These days, its knownas Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vashu, but its still the main museum of thecity. With architecture influenced by both the Mughal and Indo-Saracenic eras,the exterior is almost as impressive as the treasures that lie within.
The historic artefacts housed here include archeologicalrelics, fine examples of Indian art, and finds which are significant within anatural history context. You can lose yourself for an hour strolling around thegalleries and collections, with each room seemingly more fascinating than thenext. Smaller galleries in the city include the Piramal Museum of Art, the SassonDock Art Project, the Oriental Art Museum and the Jehangir Art Gallery.
The oldest museum is the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbair CityMuseum, which is dedicated to decorative and industrial arts, and the NationalGallery of Modern Art is where you can see contemporary Indian and international works of art.However, if youre more interested in political history, you might prefer theMani Bhavan, which details Gandhis exploits at the early end of the twentiethcentury. In addition to these, the Nehru Science centre has hands-on exhibitsthe kids will love.
As for the temples, youll be spoilt for choice and if youhappen to be visiting the city during one of the important Hindu festivals;Divali or Holi, youll see the festivities in full swing, with even those whoare hard at work bowing to the deities out of their office windows.
The Mumbadevi Temple is visited by thousands of worshippersevery week. Its popular with its regulars, and visitors to the city. It isdedicated to the Goddess Mumbadevi. Siddhivinayak Temple is dedicated to theelephant-headed god, Ganesha and is one of the most important temples here.Its interior and idol are impressive.
One of the best temples, if youre seeking inner peace isIskcon, near the beach. Its made ofwhite marble and is a beautiful place to sit and mediatate. Other notabletemples of Mumbai include the Babulnath Temple, dedicated to Shiva, MahalakshmiTemple, dedicated to Lakshmi, and the Walkeshwar Temple, which is one of theoldest temples in the city.
Explore areas of outstanding natural beauty nearby
If youre prepared to take a small trip just outside thecity, you can see breathtaking scenes of nature. In terms of Indias vastgeographical expanse, the following are just a stones throw away:
The misty hills of the Western Ghats look incredible duringthe monsoon season, particularly when their seasonal waterfalls are in fullflow, while the lush green fields of Karjat in the Ulhas Valley are in suchhuge contrast to the hot, dusty cities.
Nothing, however can prepare you for the majesty of MulshiDam. If you transported the prettiest parts of Loch Ness to India and bathed itin tropical light, you cant even get close to imagining just how impressive itis. As for beaches, if you dont fancy the busy Mumbai city beaches, you couldalways head out to Alibag. This is a great place to feel calm and serene, asyou listen to the waves crashing on the long, perfect shoreline.
Compare and contrast Mumbai with other major Indian cities as part of a luxury escorted tour of the country
Exploring Mumbai is a bucket-list experience all by itself,but what if you were to combine your trip here with an itinerary that took youall around India? Not only would you have the memories of Film City, but youdalso take home the sight of seeing the rose-white marble walls of the Taj Mahalreflected in the lake beside it. You will also have tasted the street food ofDelhi, climbed the pink walls of Jaipur, negotiated the mangroves of Kerala,and possibly even caught sight of the elusive Bengal tiger during a game drivethrough the Rajasthan jungle.
Here at Aspen Travel we partner with internationallyrespected, multi award-winning tour operators, who will provide you with aluxury package holiday to India that will involve you travelling from city tocity with a tour guide. Your all-inclusive trip will include your flights,transfers, overnights, food and drink and entrance tickets, not to mention any equipmentyoull need to take part in local sports, hikes, cycle rides or creativeexperiences.
If youve always wanted to visit India, but you feelunder-confident about negotiating your way around the county on your own, thisis the ideal way to travel. Youll have leisure time built into each destinationin order to explore on your own, as well as a personal guide who will make sureget around and are catered for according to your tour schedule.
To find out more about any of our trips to India, whether youre a solo traveller, travelling with friends, family, as a couple, or for business, please get in touch. We have a knowledgable team of travel advisors based at our office who can provide you with information about our range of packages, answer any questions you may have, and even make suggestions as to the perfect holiday for you given your budget and travel preferences. Once youve made your choice, we can initiate and complete the booking process for you with minimal hassle. By the end of the day, you could be looking forward to your very first trip to India!