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Top 10 Things to Do In Mumbai

Mikhil Rialch

Last updated: Apr 3, 2017

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Do

Stroll past Marine Drive and Worli Sea Face
Board the Mumbai local train from Victoria Terminus to soak in the local flavour
Watch a play at Prithvi Theatre, Laugh Factory or NCPA

Eat

Local food like vada pav, channa chat, sev puri at Shiv Sagar or Aaswad
Cutting chai at Bandstand or Marine Drive
Onion rings with beer at Cafe Mondegar

Click

Souvenir photos outside Mannat (SRK's home), Pratiksha and Jalsa (Big B's homes)
Sunset views of Marine Drive as you dine at Pizza by the Bay
Mario Miranda's wall murals at Cafe Mondegar

Events

Experience an electrifying Mumbai during the 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi (August-September). Be a part of the celebration as you go pandal hopping, indulge in modak preparations and chant Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Filmy

Mumbai is the hub of Bollywood. If you're lucky, you can spot Salman Khan at the Bandstand Cafe Coffee Day or Amitabh Bachchan as he waves to the crowd from Jalsa at 6 pm on every Sunday.
"Amar Akbar Anthony", "Dhoom 3", "Dil Chahta Hai", "Jab We Met" and "Slumdog Millionaire" are among the many movies shot here.

Want To Go ? 
   

Over the years, several epithets have been coined to define Mumbai. ‘The Land of the Great Indian Dream’; ‘The Financial Nerve Centre of India’; ‘Bollywood Land’. But I have a personal favourite to describe this city which is constantly speeding at fifth gear – ‘Maximum City’. Nobody can say they’ve had the complete Mumbai experience. It is hard to make such a claim in a city that changes its hues ever so often – contradicting you every step of the way. So, when you venture to Mumbai this month to attend the Global Citizen India concert on November 19, here is our list of must-do activities to capture the colourful kaleidoscope of Mumbai, seen through the eyes of a frequent visitor. Pssst!..We have also suggested some options to help plan your itinerary in Mumbai on this trip.

Visit Gateway of India and Elephanta Caves

Few landmarks symbolize the spirit of Mumbai more evocatively than the Gateway of India. Built using yellow ballast and reinforced concrete, the building is a convergence of Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture. Located adjacent to the majestic Taj Mahal Palace, the Gateway is also the starting point for ferries heading towards the ancient Elephanta Caves. The 50-minute boat ride amidst the breezy Mumbai winds is an experience in its own right. Once at the Caves, don’t forget to check out Trimurti, a masterpiece sculpture etched on the back walls. 

gateway of india things to do in mumbai
Gateway of India

 

Seafood at Trishna or Gajalee

Returning from a Mumbai trip without binging on its seafood should be criminalized. Several popular restaurants and seafood joints serve fresh catch for their hordes of patrons. No conversation on Mumbai seafood is complete without Trishna and Gajalee. Trishna is a big draw with international travelers and locals alike, thanks mainly to its Garlic-butter crabs and Koliwadi prawns. Gajalee has expanded into a franchise, but you should still find your feet to the mothership at Ville Parle for the sumptuous Tandoori crab served there. As the Global Citizen India concert starts at 4:00 pm, it is a good idea to grab a heavy lunch and then head for a beautiful evening with performances by Coldplay, Jay Z, A R Rahman, Arijit Singh and a number of other performers. 

Take a Behind the Scenes Bollywood Tour

Bollywood differs from its Hollywood counterpart in several respects – it’s more in-your-face, more dhinchak. Which is why it’s always interesting to check out what’s happening behind the camera in Bollywood’s mega studios. In these tours, you’ll be taken to studios like Film City or Mehboob Studio where you can see technicians at work, have a peek at stars’ makeup rooms and get a chance to meet the stars themselves. Post-meal, you’re taken for a drive past the homes of, say a Shahrukh Khan or an Amitabh Bachchan. The tour takes 7-8 hours, so opt for this the day after the concert. 

Catch a Play at Prithvi Theatre

Built in 1978 by Shashi Kapoor in the memory of his father and legendary Bollywood star, Prithviraj Kapoor, the Prithvi Theatre is the most renowned theatre for the performing arts in Mumbai. The Theatre belts out around 550 shows a year, with performances from Tuesday through Sunday. After watching a play, you can chill at the Prithvi Café, whose Irish coffee and mouth-watering samosas come especially recommended.

If you wish to stay near Prithvi Theatre, check out this Mumbai hotel.

prithvi theater things to do in mumbai
Prithvi Theatre | Photo Credit: www.prithvitheater.org

 

Take the Kids to Imagica

Touted as South Asia’s largest amusement theme park, Imagica reminds one of Disneyland somewhat. But that comparison ends once you try some of its quirkier rides, like Mr. India (based on the film), where you chase the evil Mogambo in a car that swerves, dips and soars to make for one heady adventure. Large, topsy-turvy rollercoasters like the Scream Machine do justice to their names, while plenty of eateries are set up across the sprawling 110-acre park. A word to the wise: consider having lunch after the rides to avoid, er, projectile-related mishaps.

Evening Stroll on Marine Drive

marine drive things to do in mumbai
Marine Drive

The casual nightlife of Mumbai comes alive at Marine Drive post 6 pm. Sitting on the slabs, gazing at the glittering Mumbai cityscape looming over the sea is a very memorable affair. Come here to witness the twinkling lights of the city after the GCI concert ends for a stroll. Nip into the Bade Miyan restaurant in Colaba for a delicious tikka or roll, followed by a good night’s sleep at one of these hotels in Colaba. 

Street Shopping: Colaba Causeway, Fashion Street, Linking Road

If there’s a generous mix of shopaholism and bargain-hunting in your blood, street shopping in Mumbai will not disappoint. A great place to start is the Colaba Causeway, where you get literally everything from books and handicrafts to antiques, jewellery and clothes. Hit the Leopold Café afterwards for a well-deserved snack break. Or you could check out Fashion Street, a popular haunt of college students because, well, fashion. Linking Road is where East meets West, hippie meets chique and KFC meets Jai Jawan kebab stall. Plan accordingly and hit them all, I say.

Take a Ride in the Local Train

Carrying up to 8 million passengers per day, the Mumbai local is the city’s major transport artery. Stuffy, noisy and crowded; one has only to board one of these ‘locals’ to watch the city come together. A popular saying goes, “If you haven’t travelled on a local, you haven’t seen Mumbai yet.”

local train things to do in mumbai
Mumbai Local

Watch out for pickpockets though. I was once riding the local when I felt somebody pinch my bottom. Mildly flattered, I disembarked at the station, only to realize my phone was missing. Not a pleasant memory, that.

Visit Haji Ali

Located off the coast of Worli, the Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most visited religious spots in Mumbai. Visitors from all over the world, irrespective of caste, sex and religion come here to pay their respects to the venerable Pir Haji Ali. Numerous myths, legends of miracles and tales of doomed lovers surround this place. Make time to visit the Dargah on Fridays to immerse yourself in the devotional Sufi Qawwali.

haji ali things to do in mumbai
Haji Ali Dargah

 

Have a Vada Pao/Pao Bhaji at Chowpatty

pao bhaji things to do in mumbai
​ Pao Bhaji at Chowpatty | Photo Credit: flickr/Sumayya

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? For how could a list of top 10 things to do in Mumbai not include the famous fares of Chowpatty? One could compose a sonnet about the renowned Pao Bhaji served at Sukh Sagar restaurant near Chowpatty beach. The Vada Pao at the surrounding restaurants is nearly as heavenly. One tip though – forget your diet-related qualms at home/hotel when you come here. There you have it – that’s my list on Mumbai. And yes, I’m sure I’ve missed out on a ton of stuff. Be a good reader and point them out, will you? The comments section below won’t just fill itself. 

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