What constitutes the Mumbai experience? Colourful markets, stately Victorian architecture, and delectable dishes in world-class restaurants. And when your belly’s full and your mind racing with the wonder of it all, an evening stroll on the Colaba foreshore.
Mumbai is the Hollywood of India. It has its own distinct sense of hope and history. The quintessential day here starts when your train pulls into the iconic CST: your first taste of Mumbai’s grand and imposing Victorian-fusion architecture. Exiting the busy station the streets are wider and cleaner than other Indian capitals. Stately 1950s cabs and bright red buses await your custom: observe the colour and energy of the city through the window on the way to your hotel.
Throw yourself back into it at Crawford market. Another icon of British Bombay, the Norman-Gothic exterior here covers a magical selection of stalls. Sample a sweet mango in the fruit and veg section and admire the quirky antiques in Chor Bazaar and the reams of silk in Mangaldas Market. Then cross the road to Rajdhani for a mouthwatering Rajasthani thali.
After lunch, stroll around Maidan Oval. Here India’s cricket obsession is played out in a uniquely Mumbai setting: palm trees, blocks of flats and grandiose colonial buildings. The High Court, inspired by a German castle, and the University of Mumbai, resembling a 15th-century French-Gothic triumph, are the stars of this setting. Go inside the High Court to see the pageantry of the court proceedings. You’re allowed and you should.
Finish the day with another gorgeous meal and a stroll along the Colaba foreshore. You’ll pass the Gateway of India arch and the Taj Mahal Palace, still impressive and a testament to Mumbai’s resilience following the 2008 attacks by gunmen.
Want to see more? Check out this video of our author’s top tips including Bollywood, Elephanta Island and clubbing.