Mumbai Tourist Attractions
Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the capital of the state of Maharashtra and the most populous city in India with a mix of past, present and future.
The total population of Mumbai is 16 million people with residents from all over India lending diverse cultures to the melting pot. Mumbai consists of seven islands that are connected to the mainland by bridges, and it has always been a trading port, attracting merchants from other parts of India. Many of the merchants were promised religious freedom and land grants by the British.Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment capital of India producing items such as software, textiles and petrochemicals. Mumbai is also home to India's film and television industry, known as Bollywood.The most popular sport in the city of Mumbai is cricket and the city has produced several famous cricketers. There are two international cricket stadiums in Mumbai, the Wankhede Stadium and the Brabourne Stadium.Highlights include Elephanta Island, the colorful bazaars, Bombay University, the Gateway of India and some of the best nightlife in India.The best time to visit Mumbai is from October to March, which is the dry season. The monsoon rains generally hit from June to September.
Elephanta Island is one of the islands in Mumbai Harbor. The name Elephanta, was given by 17th C Portuguese explorers, after seeing a stone sculpture of an elephant near the shore. The rock-cut temple caves are the main and most popular tourist destination on the island, and they are designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site.The caves date back to the 9th through 13th C, with the main cave housing numerous sculpted panels that include Shiva. The famous Trimurti greets visitors at the entrance to the caves; the trinity includes Lord Brahma (the Creator), Lord Vishnu (the preserver) and Lord Shiva (the Destroyer).
Sanjay Gandhi National Park (formerly Borivali National Park)
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located north of Mumbai with virgin forests that have become a bird watcher's paradise. Over 270 species of birds have been recorded such as Jungle owlets, Golden orioles, magpies, robins, hornbills, herons, peacock, and woodpeckers. The best time to see the birds is from October to April.The forest contains two main types of trees South Indian moist deciduous and semi evergreen. There are many types of flowers found in Sanjay Gandhi and during monsoon season the park is a rainbow of colors. One of the most breathtaking sights is the seven-year mass flowering of the Strobilanthes or Karvi. Tourists can watch thousands of these flowers covering the hilltops, turning the whole landscape purple.Wildlife within Sanjay Gandhi National Park includes spotted deer, porcupine, mouse deer, Rhesus macaque, Hanuman langur, Indian flying fox, and sambhar. Leopards are fairly abundant in the park despite being so close to the city.Another attraction within Sanjay Gandhi is the Kanheri Caves. Buddhist monks used the caves from the 2nd to 9th C as monasteries and temples.
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is a monument located on the waterfront in Mumbai. Built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete, the Gateway is designed in Indo-Saracenic architectural style.The Gateway of India was opened in 1924 and the last British troops to leave India passed through the gate in a ceremony in 1948, making the gateway redundant.The Gateway is now a favorite hangout for locals and traditionally the first thing visitors see upon arrival in Mumbai.
Taj Mahal Palace and Tower
The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower is located opposite the Gateway of India in Mumbai. Built in 1903, this landmark faces the harbor and is a striking monument on the waterfront.In 1973, the Tower Wing was added and the Taj Mahal Palace is a member of the 'Leading Hotels of the World'. Leisure activities offered at the Taj Mahal Hotel include swimming, use of the fitness center, golf, badminton, squash, billiards, tennis and table tennis.
Victoria Terminus was opened on January 1st, 1882 as the main railway station of Mumbai. Designed by F.W. Stevens, this Gothic building features carvings of peacocks, gargoyles, monkeys, and lions. Domes, turrets, spires and stained glass windows are other architectural items of note. The style of the Victoria Terminus is more like a cathedral than a railway station.
Prince of Wales Museum
This Indo-Saracenic style building houses the Prince of Wales Museum and a priceless collection of art, sculpture and miniature paintings. This huge domed building was designed by George Wittet to commemorate King George V's visit in 1905.The Prince of Wales Museum is well laid out with a natural history section on the main floor; Indian miniature painting gallery, Nepali art and the Indian miniature painting gallery on the second floor; examples of the 19th C Pahari School of painting include Shiva and Parvati displays; an extensive collection of art objects in glass, jade and porcelain; and other decorative art exhibits in ivory, silver and wood fromthe late 18th and the 19th C.
University of Mumbai
The University of Mumbai (originally known as University of Bombay) was established in 1857 and is one of the oldest universities in India.The convocation hall features an exquisite circular stained-glass window surrounded by the signs of the Zodiac.There are four campuses: the original campus, Fort, is near the southern end of Mumbai with Gothic style architecture and a library with many original manuscripts. The library has a spiral staircases and ornate galleries. Kalina campus is a large campus situated in central suburban Mumbai.
Nehru Center and Nehru Planetarium
One of India's finest architects, J.M. Kadri, designed the landmark Nehru Planetarium. The Planetarium is a large domed building that looks like a UFO.The Nehru Science Center is a science park featuring permanent exhibits. The Discovery of India building is a circular honeycomb and houses interesting historical exhibits. The nine galleries have a section for children and smaller galleries highlighting life sciences and the evolution of man.
St Thomas Cathedral
Construction on St Thomas Cathedral began in 1676 and it was completed in 1718. It was named for St Thomas, who established India's first Christian community.St Thomas was the first Anglican Church in Mumbai, it was built to accommodate the growing British population. Inside the cathedral are the ornate tombstones of British officers and civil servants.
Mani Bhavan was a focal point of Gandhi's political activities in Mumbai between 1917 and 1934. The rooms of Mani Bhavan remain untouched and in the same condition they were when Gandhi visited.Mani Bhavan now houses a research library, a photo exhibit of Mahatma Gandhi's life, and other well preserved memorabilia.
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