Introducing Mumbai (Bombay)
Measure out: one part Hollywood; six parts traffic; a bunch of rich power-moguls; stir in half a dozen colonial relics (use big ones); pour in six heaped cups of poverty; add a smattering of swish bars and restaurants (don’t skimp on quality here for best results); equal parts of mayhem and order; as many ancient bazaars as you have lying around; a handful of Hinduism; a dash of Islam; fold in your mixture with equal parts India; throw it all in a blender on high (adding generous helpings of pollution to taste) and presto: Mumbai.
An inebriating mix of all the above and more, this mass of humanity is a frantic melange of India’s extremes. It is the country’s financial powerhouse and its vogue centre of fashion, film and after-dark frolics. Glistening skyscrapers and malls mushroom amid slums and grinding poverty, and Mumbai slowly marches towards a brave new (air-conditioned) world. But not everyone made the guest list: more than half of the population lives in slums, and religious-based social unrest tugs at the skirt of Mumbai’s financial excess.
Only once the initial shell shock of Mumbai’s chaos subsides, can one start to appreciate the city’s allure: a wealth of Art Deco and grand colonial relics; cacophonic temples; warrens of bazaars; and the odd spiritual bastion of tranquillity. In Mumbai you can dine at some of the finest restaurants in the country, and work off the appetite gyrating at ultrachic bars alongside Bollywood starlets and wannabes. With a pinch of gumption, a dash of adventure, an open wallet and a running start, there’s no excuse not to dive into the Mumbai madness head-first.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Mumbai (Bombay)
Goa & Mumbai travel guide
Colourful and colliding, spiritual and soothing, crammed with deserted beaches, yogic bliss and heady nightlife. Goa is many things to many people, but everyone agrees there’s nowhere on earth quite like it.
24 hours in Mumbai
Be prepared to be jostled, hurried and incessantly chatted to as you soak in the trendy yet traditional vibe of Mumbai...
Nightlife in Mumbai
Mumbai's best architecture
South India & Kerala travel guide
South India’s long coastline frames fertile plains and curvaceous hills: thick coconut groves, luminescent rice paddies, fragrant spice gardens and picturesque tea plantations all kept glisteningly green by the double-barrelled monsoon.
In the middle of Mumbai Harbour, 9km northeast of the Gateway of India, the rock-cut temples on Elephanta Island (Indian/foreigner Rs 10/250; caves 9am-5.30pm Tue-Sun) are a spectacle worth crossing the waters for. Home to a labyrinth of cave-temples carved into the basalt rock of the island, the artwork represents some of the most impressive temple carving in all India.
Around Mumbai in 7 faiths
Holy is not a word usually used to describe Mumbai. With its slums, Bollywood divas, Bombay mafia, and extremes of poverty and decadence, the city’s often made out to be one hot mess. But Mumbai has a complex personality, and the former fishing village is also a traditional place that takes its spiritual paths seriously...
Best places to eat in Mumbai
South India & Kerala - Maharashtra (Chapter)
Maharashtra is an expansive canvas showcasing many of India’s iconic attractions. There are palm-fringed beaches; lofty, cool-green mountains; World Heritage historical sites; and bustling cosmopolitan cities. Inland are the extraordinary cave...
Delhi to Goa
Kick off this two-week tour among the clamour and commotion of the streets of Delhi city. Walk through the winding alleyways of Old Delhi, pick up a memento in Connaught Place then make tracks for the Mughal city of Agra. Home to the ‘teardrop on the face of eternity’ - the Taj Mahal - and the imposing Red Fort, Agra will impress with its iconic attractions.
Real Food Adventure - India
Spend two fabulous weeks discovering the sights, sounds and flavours of India.
Mumbai for sweet-toothed travellers
Unknown to many travellers, South Asia has a whole genre – a large one – of food known as mithai, which literally translates as 'sweets'. Some of them have roots in ancient palace kitchens, or travelled long ago across vast distances in the pouches of princes or armies...
South India & Kerala - Andhra Pradesh (Chapter)
Andhra Pradesh doesn’t have the flashiness of Rajasthan, but be prepared to dig for the jew-els; to wend through paddy fields and 500-year-old urban markets, to climb towering smooth-granite hills, and to feel the liberating uncertainty of...