Mumbai (Marathi: मुंबई) (state tourism office), a cosmopolitan metropolis, earlier known as Bombay, is the largest city in India and the capital of the state Maharashtra. Mumbai was originally a conglomeration of seven islands on the Konkan coastline which over time were joined to form the island city of Bombay. The island was in turn joined with the neighbouring island of Salsette to form Greater Bombay. The city has an estimated metropolitan population of 21 million (2005), making it one of the world's most populous cities.
Mumbai is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country. Mumbai's nature as the most eclectic and cosmopolitan Indian city is symbolized in the presence of Bollywood within the city, the centre of the globally-influential Hindi film and TV industries. It is also home to India's largest slum population and the iconic Gateway of India built on the waterfront of Mumbai Harbour during the British Raj.
The name Bombay comes from Bom Bahia ("The Good bay" in Portuguese), a name given by explorer Francis Almeida. Mumbai is named after goddess Mumba devi of the Koli community.
|South Mumbai (Fort, Colaba, Malabar Hill, Nariman Point, Marine Lines, Tardeo)|
The oldest areas of Mumbai, and is considered the heart of this commercial capital of India. The richest neighbourhoods in the country are here, which command among the highest property rates in the world. Real estate prices in South Mumbai are comparable to those in Manhattan. This is the primary tourist area of Mumbai and home to most of city’s museums, art galleries, bars, upscale restaurants and the Gateway of India.
|South Central Mumbai (Byculla, Parel, Worli, Prabhadevi, Dadar)|
Used to be Mumbai's industrial heartland, but went into decline when the industries did. Now this area has been revamped into a white-collar office location. Home to Mumbai's only zoo, the Worli sea face, and the temple to what people consider the city's guardian deity. As you move north, it morphs into a nice middle-class locality.
|North Central Mumbai (Dharavi, Matunga, Vadala, Sion, Mahim)|
Primarily an upper middle-class area, except for Dharavi, which contains Asia's second largest slum. This area developed immediately after India's independence, because of a wave of immigration. Part of the migrants were refugees from the partition.
|West Mumbai (Bandra, Khar, Santa Cruz, Juhu, Vile Parle, Andheri, Versova)|
Is home to those rich who want to have a more peaceful surrounding. It has few beaches. Home to a large Christian community and the city's most famous church. This is also where the city's domestic and international airports are.
|East Mumbai (Central Suburbs) (Kurla, Vidyavihar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Kanjur Marg, Bhandup, Mulund, Powai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Dombivli, Kalyan)|
This is a middle class bastion. Mulund and Ghatkopar are home to predominantly middle and upper middle class populace, many from the entrepreneurial Gujarati community. Thane was inhabited with people of the Agri and Koli communities, and their villages still exist today as "Chendani Koliwada", "Kopari Goan", and "Uthalsar". It also includes Majiwade, Balkum, Dhokali, Kolshet, Wadavli, and others. In 1825, when the British explored their newly annexed territories in Bassein, they discovered that Thane was inhabited primarily by Roman Catholics, who are both native and Portuguese, and that the latter was virtually indistinguishable from the former in skin color and custom. The local villagers, like Kolis (fishermen), are converted into indigenous Catholics mostly from villages of Chendani, Koliwada, and Majiwada. The Agri and Koli community people had their own culture. Some of the upper class East Indian families in the Khatri ward of Thane still speak Portuguese.
|Harbour Suburbs (Chembur, Mankhurd, Govandi, Trombay)|
Before the development of Navi Mumbai as a satellite town of Bombay, this area used to be known only for the existence of an atomic research centre. Now this is known for being on the way to Navi Mumbai.
|North Mumbai (Manori, Jogeshwari, Borivali, Gorai, Dahisar)|
Had some beaches that are not dirty. Other than this, it is just another victim of Bombay's vast urban sprawl. Contains the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Mumbai's oldest heritage sites: the Kanheri, Mahakali, Jogeshwari, and Mandapeshwar rock-cut temples dating from the 1st century B.C to the 5th century A.D. The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a notable monument in Gorai. The pagoda is claimed to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. This monument was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, the President of India in 2009. It is in the north of Mumbai in an area called Gorai and is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. Essel world, India's largest amusement park is also found on the Gorai island, beside the global vipassana pagoda.
Western and Central, East and West
Mumbai is a city built in successive waves of migrations. The neighbourhoods acquired their character from the communities that settled there first. These neighbourhoods are too numerous to list and there is no commonly accepted way to group these neighbourhoods into larger districts. But roughly, from the south to the north, this is how the city developed.
Mumbai is a bustling, diverse metropolis with a flair of its own. The entrepreneurial spirit and pulsing pace of life provides a sharp contrast to much of the rest of India.
There has been much debate regarding the original name of the city. Some say the current name of the city Mumbai is the original name; and is an eponym derived from "Mumba", the name of the local Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, and "Aai", meaning "mother" in Marathi. Others claim Bombay was an anglicized version of Bom Bahia, a name given by the Portuguese to mean "Beautiful Bay" and later made popular by the British as the name of the Bombay state.
The name was officially changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995. Although Bombay and Mumbai are both used, people who explicitly use "Bombay" are generally non-Marathi speakers whereas "Mumbai" proponents primarily speak Marathi. In the West, Mumbai has become more commonly accepted in order to avoid controversy. The city is also fondly called आमची मुंबई ("our Mumbai").
Though the seven islands that now make up the city have a long recorded history like any other place in India, their journey to form the city of Mumbai really started in 1498, when the Portuguese took them over from the Sultan of Gujarat. They built a settlement, forts, and churches, (including the strange looking Portuguese Church that stands to this day.) They, however, could not make much of their possession and the seven islands were handed over to England in 1661 as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza when she married Charles II of England. He wasn't very interested in the islands either, and he leased them to the British East India Company for £10 a year in 1668. The East India Company built the docks, the trading posts, and the fort that would form the nerve centre of the city. They also started off the long process of reclaiming land and joining the islands, an activity which went on until the 1960s.
The port attracted industries and the entrepreneurial communities like the Parsis, Gujaratis, and Marwaris (from Rajasthan) migrated and set up trading companies and factories in the late 19th century. Industries attracted migrant labor from different parts of the country. The successive waves of migration shaped the character of the city and its neighborhoods.
The city that owes its existence to the efforts of the British was also the birthplace of the Indian National Congress, which played an overwhelmingly important role in the independence movement. The city whose mills were built by industrialists from across the country is the capital of Maharashtra state, which was carved on linguistic lines for Marathi speakers.
In the 80s, high labour costs and unrest forced the closure of many textile mills and the city went into a decline from which it started recovering only in the late 90s. The high population put a strain on the infrastructure. The rail and road network has been undergoing a steady improvement over the 90s, but because of the magnitude of the task, the roads seem to be perennially under construction. Mumbai has now reinvented itself as a hub for the Service industry.
In January 1993, in the wake of the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, a wave of riots swept the city, with over 1,000 people killed, the vast majority of whom were Muslims. Relations between the city's various ethnic groups have been tense ever since, with several terrorist outrages (see #Stay safe) adding fuel to the fire.
Culture and attitudes
Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan city in India. In comparison with the rest of the country, the city is quite liberal. With a regular influx of immigrants from rest of India, the citizens, popularly known as 'Mumbaikers', have shown remarkable tolerance towards other cultures, making it a true cultural melting pot. However this tolerance has sometimes bowed under external pressures. Between the 60s and 80s, there was resentment about the non-Marathi speakers taking away jobs. The 1991 and 1993 riots between Hindus and Muslims did affect this spirit; however, the city managed to recover from these, once again proudly highlighting true 'spirit of Mumbai'.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Mumbai has three main seasons — summer, monsoon, and winter (milder summer). The best time to visit is during the winter between November and February. Humidity is also less during the winter, when the climate is pleasant; the minimum temperature is 17°C and the maximum is 30-31°C. Summer is from March to May, as well as the month of October with highs in the low to mid 30s (roughly 80-90°F). It is hot and humid during this time. June to September is the monsoon season when the city is lashed by heavy rains. The city gets flooded two or three times and normal life gets disrupted during this season. Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city rests on the coast.
Mumbai has excellent connectivity with most of the major cities around the world, including, New York, London, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur to name a few. If you are flying from Europe it is generally cheaper to fly from London, and there are many frequent flights available. All domestic sectors are linked to Mumbai, making it the second busiest hub in the country next to Delhi.
Mumbai's 1 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM IATA) is one of India's busiest airports and one of the main international gateways to the country. Many international airlines such as British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa & Singapore Airlines fly into Mumbai. Low-cost carriers such as Air Asia also fly to the city.
Numerous travel organizations now offer cruises to Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, etc. Though the cruise industry is still developing, Mumbai can be reached by such cruises. Ferries from Ferry Wharf allow cheap access to islands and beaches in the vicinity of the city and the Elephanta Caves.
- Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in India
Railways in India
The first commercial railway service began on 16th April 1853 at 3:35PM on its first run between VT (now the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus) and Thane.
Trains arrive in Mumbai from all over India. The Central line serves connectivity to Southern India, Eastern India, and parts of North India. The key stations are 1 Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, CST [CSTM] (formerly Victoria Terminus, known just as VT), 2 Dadar Terminus [DR] (for Central Line) and [DDR] (for Western Line), and 3 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus [LTT] (formerly called Kurla Terminus).
The Konkan Railway (which is a separately administered and newly built line) travels through the picturesque Konkan coast of Maharastra and is a good way to travel from Goa and Mangalore, coastal resort areas to the South. The Dadar Terminus is the destination for the line.
For trains to other Indian cities, the main reservation offices are at Churchgate, Mumbai Central, and Bandra on the Western line and CST and Dadar on Central line. There are special ticket windows and quotas for foreign tourists. For bookings and tariffs on train tickets to anywhere in India from Mumbai, visit Indian railway's website. To travel unlimited on the Mumbai you can use [TOURIST TICKET]Mumbai Local Tourist Ticket provided by the Indian Railways.
The Maharajas' Express is a luxury train that will take you to Delhi.
National highway numbers 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 17, and the Mumbai-Pune expressway radiate from the city providing links to all parts of the country. The road conditions are generally better than in the rest of India. The comfortable airconditioned blue cabs are available to Pune and Ahmednagar-Nashik from opposite Asiad Bus Termina in Dadar and Lakhamsi Nappoo Rd near Dadar east railway station respectively. Distances from various cities to Mumbai are:
- From Other States: Ahmedabad (550 km, 12 hrs), Bangalore (998 km), Chennai (1109 km), Cochin (1384 km), Goa (593 km, 11 hrs), Hyderabad (711 km, 24 hrs), Mangalore (713 km), New Delhi (1407 km)
- From Maharashtra State: Amravati (673 km), Ahmednagar (300 km), Nagpur (844 km), Pune (160 km, 2.5/3hrs)
Mumbai is well served by buses from destinations inside India.
- Asiad Bus Service The bus terminal, popularly known as 'Asiad Bus Terminal' on Ambedkar Rd in Dadar east is another hub from where buses travel to Pune at regular frequency of 15 minutes to 1 hour. The fares are in the range of ₹100-₹200 and buses vary in comfort from ordinary to luxury with airconditioning. Other routes available are Mumbai - Satara, Mumbai - Nasik. The easiest way to reach the terminal is to cross over using pedestrian foot bridge to Dadar East from the Dadar Terminus and walk straight all the way (less than 5 mins) to Ambedkar Rd.
- Private Buses There also exist numerous private bus operators who operate a large number of services from/to Mumbai from most major cities like Udaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Indore, Nashik, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Belgaum, Hubli, Bangalore, Mangalore, Trichur and Goa. For Pune, buses depart every 10 minutes. Crawford Market, Dadar T.T, Sion, Chembur and Borivili are the main starting points. Some of the reliable private operators are - National,Neeta, Sharma, VRL, Konduskar, Dolphin, Paulo and Southern Travels.
- ST Buses (MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation)), ☏ (Mumbai Central), (Mumbai Central), (Parel), (Dadar). Operates services to Mumbai from various cities in Maharashtra. Mumbai Central is the most important Terminus in the city. All major cities in Maharashtra and nearby states are connected through Mumbai Central Terminus. The other important ST depots are at Parel, Nehru Nagar-Kurla, and Borivali. You can get buses for all over Maharashtra from these depots. But from Mumbai Central you would get buses any time as well as other State Transport buses. Quality varies.
Most of Mumbai's inhabitants rely on public transport to and from their workplace due to the lack of parking spaces, traffic bottlenecks, and generally poor road conditions, especially in the monsoon. However, do ride in a taxi and auto at least once in the city. If you are not used to Indian roads, an auto-rickshaw ride can be a heart-stopping, death-defying, laws-of-physics-bending. Feel real adventure in a vehicle that feels like it might fall apart at a speed over 30 km/h with a driver who thinks he's Schumacher.
- TMT (Thane Municipal Transport) operates services in the Thane city and areas around it.
- The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation), commonly known as ST, operates services from selected points in the city to the extended suburbs. From Dadar, services to Navi Mumbai and Panvel and from Borivali to Thane being the most prominent. Numerous other important routes are also covered in the MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) by the MSRTC.
- NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) operates services in Navi Mumbai Area, and a few points around. They also have services from Mulund in Greater Mumbai.
- KDMT (Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Transport) operates in the Kalyan-Dombivali Area with a few connections to Navi Mumbai.
Black & Yellow Top Taxi
Taxis are cheap and plentiful ($15–18 should be enough to take you from one end of the city to the other). Most taxis in Mumbai are small-medium sized Fiat cars (non air-conditioned), painted black-and-yellow (black on lower body and yellow on roof). The legal maximum limit on the number of passengers in a taxi is 4, excluding the driver. You can hail a cab off the streets. However, many are quite rickety, dirty, and carry mechanical fare meters that could be tampered at times. However, by Feb 2013 all Taxis are instructed to shift to electronic meters which are somewhat tamper-proof. If you encounter a mechanical meter post that date, you can put up a complaint to the closest traffic police cop. Also, according to law, a black-and-yellow taxi driver cannot refuse a fare. If a driver does refuse, a threat to complain to the nearest cop usually does the trick.
Calculating Taxi Fare
Calculating taxi fares by reading a mechanical meter and converting it to fare using tariff card, may seem like a complicated system. However it's fairly simple. Just read the meter, calculate the fare by matching the meter reading with a tariff card to arrive at the final payable fare. The minimum fare is ₹16. Prepaid plans have the fare collected at the start and thus the meter reading is not applicable. For night charges (midnight to 5AM) mark up the fare by 25%. With large items of luggage add approximately ₹10 per piece. It is quite handy to have your own copy of the taxi meter card issued by the Mumbai Traffic Police. However, going by traffic laws, the tariff card is mandatory and should be made available by the taxi driver to the passengers on request. You can access it online at the Mumbai Traffic Police website. Complaints can also be lodged online using the same site.
One can pre-estimate Taxi and Auto fares using the Taxi Fare or auto fare website. You need to enter the "From" location name and "To" location name and the service will calculate the distance and fare, and also show you a Google map with the route.
If you have extra pieces of luggage, the boot (i.e. trunk) of the taxi will not provide sufficient space - one large suitcase is all that will fit there. Hiring a taxi with a top carrier will be better. Top carriers can accommodate up to three large suitcases. Before starting the journey, ensure that the luggage is securely fastened to the carrier.
Generally, the only way to call for the standard taxi is to hail one on the street. This will not be a problem if you are inside city limits (i.e. North Central Bombay and below). If you are in the suburbs, it will be difficult to find a taxi as they have been out-competed by the cheaper auto-rickshaws.
The maximum number of passengers allowed for a trip officially is four — three in the back seat and one in the front. Seat belts are not mandatory for taxi passengers and most standard black and yellow taxis will not even have them installed, though expect them in the branded ones.
Blue & White Top Taxi
The Blue and White (B/W) Taxis are premium public Taxis which are the air-conditioned version of the Black and Yellow (B/Y) Taxis. All the rules of the B/Y taxis apply to the B/W taxis too, except that the B/W taxis are air-conditioned. Moreover the fare of the B/W taxis is 20% higher than the B/Y taxis. This is the premium expected for the air-conditioned, which is really helpful for tourists and travelers who are not accustomed to the heat and pollution of Mumbai. Moreover, all the B/W taxis ply with electronic meters, unlike the B/Y taxis.
Since the fare of the B/W is at a premium, the common-folks usually do not prefer to travel by the B/W taxis, and is primarily used by tourists or business travelers. For the lack of demand, the lack of supply is also expected. The taxis ply frequently, but are not easily available on all locations. You can always expect them to be available at tourist hot-spots like Railway Stations, Airports, Premium Hotels, Top Tourist Spots, etc. If you are not travelling through either of the above locations, and you need the air-conditioned comfort, but do not want to go look for a taxi, it is suggested that you move to the next section.
If you want a comfortable, air-conditioned ride at a small surcharge of 25 percent over normal taxis it's best to travel by branded cab services that operate at government-approved tariffs. These services operate modern fleets with well trained drivers. You can get them at 30–60 minutes notice, they are clean, air-conditioned, equipped with digital, tamper-proof meters, punctual, honest, and GPS-equipped-monitored, which makes them far secure at any time. If you're using a mobile phone, you receive an SMS with the driver's name, mobile number and car number 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Charges are ₹22 for the first kilometre and ₹15 for subsequent kilometres, with a 25% night surcharge (midnight-5AM). Some can be booked online.
Follow the queue system to board a taxi. Quite frequently, tourists and new visitors are mobbed by unscrupulous taxi drivers. Most drivers are honest, but the dishonest ones tend to cluster around railway stations and airports where they can more easily find suckers. Unless you are taking a prepaid taxi, always ask taxis to go by the meter. At the start of the journey, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down fare/meter reading.
Transportation Network Taxis
Mumbai is also serviced by various Transportation Network Organsations. A lot of tourists and locals alike use services like Uber and Ola Cabs to commute in and around Mumbai. Make sure to read the tariffs in these before you pay. While most of these services do accept cash, a lot of them can also be linked to online wallet services like Paytm etc; as such, overcharging is rarely a risk.
Travelling in Mumbai is generally safe at any time of the day or night. The risks primarily run if you are not aware of the fares and fare calculations (only applicable to non-electronic and non-prepaid meters). If you travel alone, especially in night, then always see the meter by yourself and then pay the fare. If you are alone, it is recommended that you sit in front so that you can see the meter.
The night charges are only applicable if you board the vehicle during the night hours (midnight to 5AM). If you had boarded the vehicle before midnight, and your journey is finishing after midnight, you are not liable to pay night charges. Similarly, if you board the vehicle before 5AM and you finish after 5AM, you are liable to pay night charges.
Unlike other parts of the country, especially Delhi where rape is prevalent, crime is rare, except for possibly common crime like pickpocketing.
One of the common scams is to charge the night fare rate during daytime. You should be careful and read the heading before paying. In some cards, the night fare is red in color and the daytime fare is black in color.
When you pay with a ₹500 note, make sure it does not get swapped with a ₹100 note. The notes look similar.
Sometimes, auto-rickshaw drivers charge the taxi fare and even show you a tariff card which is used for taxi fare computation.
You can download m-indicator app which is available in Play Store and iTunes App Store. This app carries latest taxi fares, auto fares, bus services details and local train time table.
Auto-rickshaws are only allowed to operate beyond Bandra in the western suburbs and beyond Sion in the central suburbs. They are not issued licenses in the downtown areas.
Before departing, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down reading as 1.00 (on a mechanical meter). If the number is higher, insist that the driver flags it down once again. The minimum fare is ₹18. The meter remains at 1.00 for the first 1.6 km and every 0.10 movement indicates approx 200 m (i.e. 1.50 for every 0.2 km). The fare is ₹7 for every km, except for the first 1.6 km for which it is ₹15. Every auto driver is supposed to carry a valid RTO approved meter tariff card. You can check this tariff card before paying. The meter also keeps ticking if you are waiting and/or are stuck in traffic. It's quite handy to have a copy of the meter card issued by The Mumbai Traffic Police. All of this applies to mechanical meters, not digital meters. Newer digital meters have started becoming common from 2012 onwards, and they show the exact fare, so there is no need to convert via the tariff card.
Auto-rickshaws are slower than cars and have terrible suspensions. Pregnant ladies are most strongly advised not to travel by auto-rickshaws since the combination of rash driving, poor suspensions, and horrible road conditions have quite often led to serious complications. The auto-rickshaw is a slow and uncomfortable vehicle and not recommended for very long distances.
- Mumbai Metropolitan Region — The Mumbai Metropolitan Region around Mumbai is fast developing into a major conurbation. If you need to get to the surrounding cities of Thane, Navi Mumbai or Kalyan, bus services are available.
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (known as BEST) provides efficient and comprehensive services connecting up all places of the city and the suburbs. Some services also link the city with the extended suburbs like Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Mira-Bhayandar areas. Seats are almost always occupied. There are bus stops all over the city. There is usually a crowd and queue. You have to get in through the rear entrance and off at the front. Tickets are issued by a uniformed "conductor" after you get in. Special seats are marked for "Ladies", "Senior Citizens", "Handicapped", "Expectant Women", and "Women with infants". They can get in from the front.
Buses run from 5AM to midnight. Selected routes run beyond these timings, but much less often. Average frequency between buses ranges from five to 30 min depending on the route. Fares are reasonable and buses can be travelled during peak hours, unlike trains which are far too crowded. Some trunk routes do get extremely crowded however. Peak hours also have traffic snarls which may depend on the area traversed and the state of the roads.
What connects Electric supply and Transport?
BEST got into transport by starting a tram company. Now, of course, it runs buses that run on diesel & CNG, not electricity. The company is still in charge of electricity distribution for South and Central Mumbai.
Buses are numbered and the final destination is marked on the front in Marathi and on the side in English. Generally, buses around the city and trunk routes would be in the 1-199 series. Buses in the western suburbs would be the 200 series while those plying in the central and eastern suburbs would be in the 300 and 400 series. Services to Navi, Mumbai are in the 500 series and buses to the Mira-Bhayander area are in the 700 series.
BEST has introduced the "Daily Pass" (Cost ₹50, valid on all BEST non-AC buses; Cost ₹60, valid on all BEST buses, including Air-conditioned bus routes).
BEST has launched its app "BEST Prawas" for Android, which contains features like live tracking of buses and ETA of buses.
You can also purchase BEST bus tickets and passes using the ridlr app for Android.
Suburban rail network
Most people travel in Mumbai using the Suburban Rail Network commonly referred to as "Locals". Mumbai has an extensive network, with three lines — the Western Line, the Central Main Line, and the Harbour Line.
- Mumbai is a linear city and the Western Line travels from Churchgate to Dahanu Road via Mumbai's Western Suburbs. The Western line provides North-South connectivity.
- The Central Main Line travels from Mumbai CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), aka VT Victoria Terminus to Kalyan via Mumbai's Central Suburbs and Thane, with some services running beyond to Karjat, Khopoli, and Kasara. The interchange point between the Western Line and the Central Line is Dadar.
- The Harbour Line has a common stretch between Mumbai CST (aka VT Victoria Terminus) and Vadala. The harbour line splits into two spurs, the main one running to Mumbai's Eastern Suburbs and Navi Mumbai, up to Panvel. The Interchange point of this line with the Central Main Line is at Kurla. The other spur of the Harbour Line runs up to Mahim on the Western Line and runs parallel up to Andheri. The interchange stations with the Western line are Bandra and Andheri.
Trains on all lines start operations after 4AM and close operations between midnight and 1AM. Second class travel is very cheap. However, it is advisable to buy first class tickets as the economy class is extremely crowded. First Class can be quite expensive and if four people are travelling together, a taxi might be better. There would always be queues and it would be advisable to buy coupon booklets. Coupon booklets punching machines are available at all stations and the best thing is you will not have to stand in a huge line to buy a booklet. Another option is to buy a Smart card for Railways. It helps you maintain balance like any a gift card with an option to refill it once it goes below the limit. Smart card outlets to buy tickets are available on all stations. They are touch screen based and you can simply follow the instructions to buy a ticket for the right path.
If you are a tourist, you can buy a 'Tourist Ticket'. It costs ₹275 and you can travel in first class compartments of all the three lines during the entire day. Ensure the location of the first class compartment before the train arrives. You may ask fellow passengers or the vendors at the various food stalls. An easier way to spot the location of the First class compartment is to check the station walls painted with red and yellow slant stripes.
Avoid using local trains during rush hour (first class or otherwise). Rush hour is 8:30–10:30AM towards CST and Churchgate and 5:30PM–8:30PM in the opposite direction. If you are traveling during rush hour, don't stand near railway track as you will get swamped by frantic. Take no offense if you are pushed and shoved about, as passengers jostle for a spot. As you near your exit station, ensure that you are as close as possible to the train door, as experienced commuters, will be begin the mad run to be first on, or off, the car before the car comes to a full stop. If you stand any chance of getting on/off before the train depart, you must be equally aggressive in your focus to exit/enter, remember no one will take offense if you make contact with others, as you wriggle by. Last, but not least, exiting/entering a train before it comes to a full stop is not something to be taken lightly, one misstep can send a person onto the rails with an amazing ease! Leave the stunts to the experienced locals.
There are special coaches for women on both classes. These are designated by green and yellow slant stripes, spot these stripes on the station walls and you'll know where the ladies compartment is. These are generally less crowded and safer. But very late at night, it might actually be safer to travel by the general coach than the first-class women's coach, as the latter may be absolutely empty except for you. From 11:15PM-6:30PM the ladies compartment towards the northern end is open to general public. Sometimes they have a cop guarding the coaches, but sometimes they won't. Use your judgment.
The Mumbai Metro connects the western suburbs to the eastern suburbs. Line 1 runs from Versova to Ghatkopar with interchange options available at Andheri (Western Line) And Ghatkopar (Central Line) Railway Station. The travel time is 20 minutes.
You can purchase Mumbai Metro tickets from your smartphone using the ridlr app.
Mumbai has India's first monorail, it has one line and eighteen stations throughout the city. The fare is between ₹5 and ₹11 depends on your destination station.
These are a few intra-city ferry services:
- Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves Fast boats and Catamarans operated by private operators. These are moderately priced. This is only way to get to Elephanta Caves.
- Gorai (Borivali) to Gorai Beach Low cost ferry connecting Gorai Beach/Esselworld.
- Marve Jetty (Malad) to Manori Jetty Cheap ferry (by BEST) connecting Manori and Gorai. Also services for Esselworld (Amusement Park).
- Versova (Andheri) to Madh Jetty Cheap ferry connecting Madh/Erangal/Aksa/Marve.
Travel agents and hotels can arrange private chauffeur driven cars to provide services. Expensive by comparison with taxis, they are the most trusted, secure, and comfortable way to travel around the city. Driving in Mumbai can be difficult, because of poor driver discipline, but chauffeur driven services are very reasonable. These can be arranged by travel companies or online from the countries of origin. Car rental agencies also have services in Mumbai.
Mumbai is India's melting pot — a confluence of people from various parts of India, but dominant are people from the west, then north, and followed by the south. Marathi is the state and city official language used by State Government agencies, municipal authorities, and the local police, and also the first language of most locals.
However, being India's largest city and main commercial centre, Mumbai is now also home to migrants from other parts of India who do not speak Marathi. A local variant of Hindi, with strong Bollywood influence, called Bambaiya Hindi serves as the "lingua franca" and although almost everyone can understand standard Hindi, you may get an interesting reply from some. Most educated locals will be well versed in Marathi, Hindi and English.
English is widely used in the corporate world and in banking and trading. At most places, you will be able to get by with Hindi and English, as most people you will encounter can communicate in broken English at the very least. However expect to hear more regional languages including Gujarati.
The game of names
The names of Mumbai's monuments tell us the story of which way political winds were blowing when they were built. In the late 19th century the British named everything after their Queen, so we had Victoria terminus, Victoria Gardens, and the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute (built in 1887 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty's coronation). In the early 20th century, they named everything after the Prince of Wales.
After independence the colonial names could not be retained of course, so they were renamed. Depending on whether the city was suffering from bouts of nationalistic pride or Marathi pride at that time, they were named after either Jawaharlal Nehru (the first Prime Minister of India) or Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj (King Shivaji, who founded the Maratha empire in the 18th century). Often, they were named after Shivaji's mother, Jijabai. The advantage of this was that using Veermata Jijabai ("Courageous mother Jijabai") for a place that was earlier named for Victoria maintains the same abbreviation, so "Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute" (formerly Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute) is still VJTI.
For a traveller, the practical problem would be that many places have multiple names. Multiple places are named after Nehru, Shivaji, or Jijabai, so you need to be careful about specifying which place you need to get to.
Few important names changes to remember are:
There is a lot to see in Mumbai, but the typical "tourist" sights are concentrated in South Mumbai.
By Indian standards, Mumbai is a young city and much of the land comprising the city did not exist until it was claimed from the sea over three centuries ago. It is therefore, a pleasant surprise to find rock cut caves such as the Elephanta, Kanheri, and Mahakali within city limits.
The British built a magnificent city within the walls of Fort St. George, which lies at the southern extremity of the city. Some fine examples of the Gothic revival, Neo-classical style and Indo-Saracenic style are seen within this area. To get the best [South Mumbai] experience, stroll around the wide streets of the area right from Churchgate to Colaba. These areas are all beautifully planned and have wide and clean pavements unlike the rest of the city. Famous monuments to be seen in this area are the Gateway of India, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) building, the Municipal Corporation and Police Headquarters and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya (formerly, the Prince Of Wales museum). The famous Taj Mahal hotel is opposite the Gateway of India. The Mumbai University buildings and the High Court are also excellent examples of colonial architecture in the city.
There are a lot of other modern structures to look at in this area. The area known as Marine Drive (right from Chowpatty beach to NCPA) is home to a large number of buildings built in the Art Deco style. Mumbai is second only to Miami in the number of Art Deco buildings. some famous buildings in this style are the Eros and Regal cinemas. The Art Deco and Gothic buildings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.
Museums and galleries
Some of the most famous museums and art galleries in India are found here. The Kala Ghoda area in South Mumbai teems with them, particularly the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum), and the National Gallery of Modern Art. Once again, most of them are concentrated in South Mumbai. Also worth planning a visit is Jehangir Art Gallery, also at Kala Ghoda, displays changing exhibits by notable artists. The plaza next to the gallery also regularly displays exhibits of various artists.
In Nehru Complex in Worli is Nehru Centre Art Gallery at Worli is a gallery dedicated to young and promising talent along with established artists. Also within the complex is a permanent exposition, Discovery of India, which attempts to cover every aspect of artistic, intellectual and philosophical attainment of India through ages. The exposition spreads across 14 galleries and reflects true identity of the country. On the other end of the complex, Nehru Science Centre - which has a separate entrance from Mahalaxmi race course road, has a permanent exhibition on 'interactive and exciting' science related exhibits highlighting science principles in fun yet educational way.
Mumbai isn't known for beaches because they have immensely filthy water! Mumbai has a few beaches, including one in the downtown area. But they aren't that great and the water off Mumbai's coast is extraordinarily dirty. The relatively better ones are in the Northwest Mumbai area. However, they are a great place to see how the locals spend their Sunday evenings, with various food and game stalls.
There are other beaches to be found such as the Girgaon Chowpaty(the cleanest one) in South Mumbai, Juhu beach in the western suburbs and Aksa Beach in Malad. The currents don't seem strong, but particularly in the rains, lots of people die from drowning, so avoid getting in the water (especially at Aksa Beach). A word of advice to women: Bombay beaches are not the kind you can wear swimsuits to, particularly two-pieces.
Zoos, parks and gardens
Mumbai has a justified reputation as a concrete jungle, but there are some nice pockets of greenery within the city. It is also one of the rare metropolises to have an entire national park within its borders. (Borivali national park also known as Sanjay Gandhi National Park). You will not visit Mumbai for them, but if you are already here, they make a nice escape from the din and bustle. It also houses the ancient Kanheri Caves crafted out of rocky cliffs, which dates back 2,400 years. Entrance fee: Indians/Foreigns 30/30
The city zoo (Veermata Jijabai Udyan) is in Byculla and is a colonial relic which is surprisingly well-preserved. The animals may look rather emaciated, but the sheer diversity of trees on this lush zoo is worth a trip.
Some city parks are very well-maintained and combine history as well. The "Hanging Gardens" on Malabar Hill offers stunning vistas of the Marine Drive. Opposite the Hanging Gardens, there is another park which is known as Kamla Nehru Park, famous for the striking shoe-shaped structure which has been filmed in various Bollywood movies
Further in South Mumbai, the Mumbai Port Trust Garden, is another hidden gem. This is set off a small side street off the Colaba Causeway 2–3 km south of the main section. Attractive views of the port, the naval yards and sunset.
In central Mumbai, there are the Five Gardens. Mainly used by walkers in the morning, it is a mess in the evenings. But the gardens encircle some historic, art deco residences.
Markets and crowds
Mumbai is probably worth visiting just for its street markets, the hustle of vendors, and the madness of the crowds. Good places are Bandra, Khar and Andheri. If you came to Mumbai and didn't give visit to the highly dense and crowded markets, it means you didn't meet the real Mumbai.
Hawkers and street shoppers don't ask for any legal permission and then set their stalls at the places where they see maximum footfall. From electronics items to fresh food, you can get everything at railway platforms, subway and mains streets.
Modern buildings and malls
Once the British left, the zeal to wipe away the traces of colonial rule was, unfortunately, not matched by the enthusiasm to build a new city that matched the grandeur of the British-era buildings. Now, while the shabbiness of the socialist era is thankfully being replaced by architecture with an eye on aesthetics, the new malls, multiplexes, and office buildings that are coming up are indistinguishable from those anywhere else in the world. Still, they are worth a look, especially if you want to have a look at India's success story. Skyscrapers exceeding 60 stories now dominate the skyline.
For long, Inorbit Mall was the only mall offering a lot of variety for shoppers. Palladium, built within the High Street Phoenix, broke the monopoly of Inorbit Mall. From state of the art interiors to international brands, the Palladium has everything. The new Infiniti Mall (Infinity 2) in Malad also has lots of foreign brands and is one of the biggest malls in the suburbs. Nirmal Lifestyles Mall in Mulund and Metro Junction Mall in Kalyan are two of the largest malls in Mumbai. In the central suburbs, they are quite popular in the city.
Powai is a modern central Mumbai suburb with European looks. Powai houses the Indian Institute of Technology and is built around fabulous lake. Most of the construction is in a township format and is privately built. It houses twenty top of the line restaurants, two large convenience stores, a handful of coffee shops and entertainment areas. Initially built as an upmarket self-contained township, Powai has now grown into a business process outsourcing hub in Mumbai. The township reflects both characteristics; you will often find families shopping and twenty somethings hanging out in tables next to each other.
Mumbai has temples, mosques, churches, Parsi agiaries, and even a few synagogues reflecting the diversity of its citizens. While these are naturally of interest if you are a believer, some, like the Portuguese church at Dadar are worth visiting just for their unique architecture.
Siddhivinayak temple of Mumbai is very famous. It is in Dadar and you can easily get a taxi to go to the temple from the Dadar railway station.
The city also boasts of Jewish places of worship predominantly in the area called Byculla, but also in South Mumbai. In this area the three prominent Jewish groups of Mumbai lived. They were Bagdadi Jews, Bene Israelis and the locals who had conveted over a period of time and lived in the hinterland.
There are two very beautiful Hare Krishna (ISKCON) temples that are significant tourist attractions. One is in Hare Krishna land, Juhu, Andheri and the other in South Mumbai, near Gandhi's house. Both have Govinda's pure vegetarian restaurants at the premises. Most tourists appreciate the peaceful experience in the temple.
The Islamic Research Foundation of Zakir Naik is in South Central Mumbai near Dongri. Is popular with people of all faiths. It hosts a vast library of books from all world religions and is a great place to hangout and know about Islamic culture.
Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most visited places in Mumbai. The Dargah Sharief is built on a tiny islet 500 metres from the coast, in the middle of Worli Bay, in the vicinity of Worli. People from different religion and places visit this places. More than 80,000 people visit dargah every week.
One notable monument in the northwest suburbs of Mumbai is the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai, Mumbai. It is a meditation centre that can seat 8,000 people. Vipassana literally means mediation, and the centre runs 10-day meditation courses and 1 day mega courses on Sundays. The courses are free of cost but you would have to register for them in advance on their website.
There is a lot to do in Mumbai, but lack of space means that for outdoorsy activities, you need to head north, often outside city limits. In the Northwestern suburbs and Thane, you will find opportunities for water sports like H20 at Girgaum Chowpatty. There are two golf courses in the city, the more famous one in Chembur in the Harbour suburbs.
Mumbai has a vibrant theater scene with plays in many languages including English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi. While South Mumbai has frequent performances, the best organized theater effort is at Prithvi theater, Juhu in the Western Suburbs. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Indian classical music and dance. While not a patch on the Sabhas of Chennai, you will find frequent performances of Carnatic music in Shanmukhananda Hall, Matunga in the South Central suburbs.
Mumbai is also usually the first stop for Western pop and rock stars visiting India, which they usually do when they are over 50. The Rock scene is very good in Mumbai. These are very safe to go to and are recommended for rock fans. Most bands cover heavy metal acts like Pantera, Six feet under, and Slipknot. To try to find places with specific music tastes try asking students outside Mumbai's colleges. Western classical music performances are rarer. However most classical music performances along with other art forms are regularly performed at NCPA and Tata Theatre, both next to the narrow strip at Nariman Point.
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park (previously named Borivili National Park), or go for Flamingo watching in Chembur (check with Bombay Natural History Society for further info).
- Chowpati Jayenge Bhel Puri Khayenge; as it says in the lyrics of one of the Bollywood movie song, go to beaches (specially in the evenings) and enjoy local favourite 'Bhel Puri' while the sun sets in the Arabian sea.
- Cruise on a Harbour Cruise; cruises from Gateway of India leave every 30 min daily except during the monsoon season (Jun-Sep). ₹40.
- Dhabba Wallahs are a group of couriers in Mumbai who move two million household lunchboxes everyday in a complicated system of delivery.
- Enjoy theatre & performances; Mumbai offers unlimited opportunities to theatre lovers and there are regular shows in theatres across the city. Check newspapers on latest shows as well as performances at prominent halls such as Prithvi Theatre, NCPA, Tata Theatre.
- Experience Bollywood; plan a trip to Film City in Goregaon and enjoy the first hand experience of Bollywood shooting
- Get crowded, and try catching suburban trains at peak times. You are warned though.
- Join for Heritage walks. organized by two architects, these walks take you around various historic and architecturally significant areas of the city. Walks are organized on the third Sunday of every month (with a break from June through August for the monsoons) and the route varies each time. The walks last around 120 min. ₹2500 minimum for maximum 5 people and ₹500 for every additional person. (Discounted rates for students and the physically challenged).
- Poonawallas Breeders Multimillion; on the last Sunday of February, the glitterati of Mumbai dress up for the Ascot of Mumbai at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. With High Tea, amazing hats, and hundreds of ordinary punters staking their little all on the outside chance, this is the event to attend in Mumbai so try to cage a ticket if you happen to visit around then.
- Pub Hopping, The number and variety of Pubs in the city allow for an enthralling Pub Hopping opportunity.
- Taj private yacht; if you can afford it (at $300/hr, including drinks & meals), rent the Taj's private yacht (has two sun decks and three bedrooms) for a cruise around the Mumbai harbour.
- Take A Dip at Water World
- Take a morning walk on Juhu beach
- Temples; there are so many religious places around in the city (both old and new) that one can plan a day long itinerary on that. Start with Mahalkshmi Temple, Banganga Temple, Siddhi Vinayak, Afghan Church, Mahim Church, Haji Ali... the list will get really long.
- Visit Essel World
- Visit museums and art galleries
- Walk along Marine Drive; also known as Queen's Necklace, this beachside promenade is worth a ride. A walk can be planned from Girgaon Chowpati (Girgaon beach) all the way up to Nariman Point. Be careful and avoid this area during heavy rains.
- Watch a Movie; you are in the land of Bollywood. Expect whistles and clapping by crowd in admiration of their celebrities on the screen, except at multiplexes as this occurs at single-screen movie theatres. Most of the cinema halls run both 'popular and new' Bollywood as well as Hollywood movies and some even screen ones in regional languages. Some of the popular Hollywood screening cinema halls in South Mumbai are Eros opposite Churchgate, Metro on M.G.Road, Regal in Colaba, Sterling next to CST Station, and New Excelsior in Fort. With the rise of malls and multiplexes, the nearest cinema is unlikely to be more than a stone's throw away, even in the suburbs. Check out newspaper listing to get the list of latest screenings.
- Watch Cricket for Free; cricket has a national games stature in India, and Mumbaiites revere that every day of the year. Azad Maidan (Azad ground) near C.S.T. Railway station, ground opposite to Ruia College in Matunga and Shivaji Park in Dadar west are some of the best places to witness the cricket fever for free. You may be even lucky to witness ongoing game of cricket on some of the empty streets of Mumbai.
While many religious festivals are celebrated by people in Mumbai, a few of these are essentially public and social occasions, where the traveller can participate.
Organized festivals & events
- Banganga Festival. (Jan) The musical festival is organized by Maharashtra Tourism (MTDC) annually at Banganga Tank on Malabar Hill.
- Elephanta Festival. (March) Organized by Maharashtra Tourism, the festival of music and dance at Elephanta Caves has in the past festivals have seen performances by renowned artists like Alarmel Valli, Sanjeev Abhyankar, and Ananda Shankar and traditional Koli dances as well as traditional food. 7PM-10PM (Ferries start at 4PM), ₹300 per day (includes to and from journey by ferry from Gateway of India to Elephanta Island)
- Kala Ghoda Festival. The arts and crafts festival is held in the last week of Jan or first week of Feb annually in the historic precinct of Kala ghoda in Mumbai.
- Mumbai Festival (Jan) Sample the vibrant culture of the city. The festival covers theater, sports, fashion, food, and shopping.
- Mumbai Wine Fest (Feb) Wine connoisseurs of the city gather to sample wines, enjoy the culinary delights while soaking in the cultural extravaganza put up at Kala Ghoda.
- Christmas (Dec) This is characterised by midnight (nowadays held around 8-9PM on Christmas Eve due to restrictions on loud speakers) masses in churches and is usually followed by a number of private parties all across the city.
- Diwali (Oct/Nov) Festival of Lights. Start of New Year and opening of new accounts. Worshiping of Goddess Laxmi. Participate in the fireworks and view the bright lights.
- Ganesh Chaturthi (Aug/Sep) is one of Mumbai's most important and colorful festivals. During the 10 day celebration, Lord Ganesh is worshiped in millions of homes. See the colourful processions and participate in them, the biggest of which is on the last day of the celebrations where the largest idol is brought to Chowpatty for immersion in the wee-small hours of the morning and can vary depending on the crowd and pace of travel from Lal Bagh to the beach. The Lalbaug, Parel, Matunga and Dadar areas represent some of the best large scale decorations. On the last day of the festival, processions are carried out to bid bye to the loved deity in the sea. These presentations are colourful and carry a celebration fever. The best places to watch them are Girgaon and Dadar chowpati (beach) or the main roads such as Ambedkar road from where the processions are carried out.
- Janmashtami (Jul/Aug) Birth Anniversary of Lord Krishna. Earthen pots full of curd are strung high up across the streets. Young men stand on top of one another to form a human pyramid and attempt to break the pots.
- Mt. Mary's Feast (Sep) The feast in honor of Our Lady of the Mount is celebrated with great solemnity at St. Mary's Church, Bandra. A week long Bandra fair is held during this time attracting huge crowds.
- Navratri (Sep/Oct) is a 10 day festival, where nine of the nights are spent in worship and entire Mumbai swings to the rhythm of Garba and Raas dances of Gujarati community.
- Ramadan-Eid Muslim festival marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Marked by feasting at many places. Non-Muslims can also join in.
Mumbai inherits the cricket fever justifiably and has 3 of the finest Crickets stadiums namely Brabourne Stadium (Churchgate), Wankhede Stadium (Marine Lines) and D.Y.Patil Stadium (Navi Mumbai). Several of international cricket matches and domestic championships such as IPL have been played in these stadiums. Watch out for upcoming cricket stadium to join the cricket frenzy crowd. Apart from these, Ruia College, Shivaji Park, Azad Maidan, Marine Lines are some of the places where live cricket action can be seen for free. Alternatively if you are a football fan, you may want to visit Cooperage Football ground (Colaba) for a local league match. For swimming enthusiasists, Mahatma Gandhi Swimming Pool (Dadar W) is the place to visit. For horse racing, head straight to Mahalakshmi Race Course (Mahalakshmi). Powai hosts some of the finest Golf fields. For others there are many sport activities including Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton which can be practised at various clubs. Gyms are plenty and can be easily found.
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
- Cricket - As cricket is like religion in India, many youngsters travel to Mumbai from different corners of India to get professional training in Cricket academies and educational institutes.
- Film & TV production - The craze of Bollywood attracts many people to try their luck in Mumbai. The city hosts many big film production houses and studios. Most of the big film producers and directors belong to this city and they have opened several training institutions to attract new talent.
- Indian classical music - The origins of Indian classical music are found in Vedas and the metropolitan city, Mumbai has been continuing the tradition. Most of the die- hard Indian classical music lovers operate training classes to pass on their talent to young generation.
- Indian cooking - Mumbai is real heaven for food lovers as one can get variety of food here. Food lovers not only love tasting variety of food but they also serve food to others by preserving their cooking talent. Many professional and amateur cook lovers offer free as well as paid classes to passionate learners.
- Yoga - Being highly busy city in India, the Mumbai people try to revive their life by taking part in different Yoga activities. In their rush schedule, Mumbaikars try to spend some time doing Yoga as they know role of these activities in their life.
Nariman Point and Fort are the commercial hubs of the city and the most sought after destinations. There is a significant expatriate population working in the banks and financial services industries. Bandra-Kurla region is up-coming, but remains less desirable.
Advertising industry is a prominent industry in Mumbai. Many of the top advertisings companies such as Lintas, O&M, Saatchi & Saatchi, Contract, Trikaya Grey have their offices in the city.
A good idea to make quick money is to work part-time in a BPO or a call centre most of which are concentrated at Mindspace, Malad(W) and Hiranandani Gardens (Powai). A part-time job csn pay around ₹15,000 a month for just six hours a day for five days in a week. Only suitable for English speakers.
Foreigners can also earn a quick buck as extras in Bollywood films. Pay rates average ₹500-₹700 for a full day (8AM-8PM). Bring a book as there is a lot of time spent sitting around, so it's not something do for the money. Normally you won't have to look for them as they will be asking tourists near Leopolds or your hotel manager may ask you when you book in.
Visa, Master cards and Indian RuPay cards are widely accepted in the city shops. Many shopping establishments also accept American Express, Diners and host of other cards. However, some of the small shops or family-run shops may not accept these cards and some handy cash can be of help here. ATMs are widely available and many debit cards accepted as well. If you have an Indian bank account or credit card, you may not need to carry too much of cash. If you are a foreigner, it is a good idea to carry some cash to avoid charges while using your credit or debit card.
Many stores and websites have started accepting payments using mobile wallets and Unified Payment Interface (UPI). Some of the popular payment apps are Paytm, Google Pay (formerly known as Tez), PhonePe, BHIM and Amazon Pay.
In general, costs in Mumbai are higher than the rest of India, though they are still much lower by Western standards.
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
The shopping experience in the city is a study in contrasts. At the lower end of the spectrum are street vendors. Existing at the borderline of legality, entire streets have been given over to these hawkers and in many places it is impossible to walk on the footpaths, because they have blocked the way. On the other hand, these vendors often give you a great bargain though you will have to haggle a lot and be careful about what to buy. There's nothing like taking a local along to shop for you. Some famous shopping streets are:
- Bhuleshwar Market, Kika St, Bhuleshwar (From : Charni Road Railway Station take first road to south "Babasaheb Jaykar Marg" ~1.3km East). for fruits and vegetables
- 1 Chor bazaar (Thief Market), Bhandarwada Ln (Get down at the : Grant Road station on the Western Line. The market is on the east side of the station -). Chor Bazar which literally translates to "Thief Market" is a colloquial term used to refer a place selling stolen items. It consists of number of interconnecting by-lanes with street vendors hawking a wide variety of items from antiques to shoes to car accessories etc. The place can be quite a surprise for the number and type of items on sale. A great place to spot bargains, and bargaining is a must. Shop with a keen eye: look out for fakes or second hand items that are shoddily repaired and can be passed out for a quick buck. Don’t carry too many items like money / jewellery / watches on you when visit the market. Keep it to bare essentials and keep an eye on your belongings. There is a very good chance that you may get robbed since locals are apt at spotting first time shoppers.
- 2 Colaba Causeway, Lala Nigam Rd (It is very close to the Gateway of India about 1 km south). is filled with tourists and locals. It is a place where you will be able to find many authentic Indian souvenirs, antiques, carpets and chandeliers. But foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price. If they refuse a price just walk away and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.
- 3 Crawford Market (Marathi: क्रॉफर्ड मार्केट, officially Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, Marathi: महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले मंडई), Central Line? Lokmanya Tilak Marg, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area (It is within 10 minutes walking distancenorth from the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. - West of the J.J. flyover at a busy intersection.). Earlier it was the major wholesale trading market for fruits & vegetables. Now it houses shops selling imported items such as food, cosmetics, household and gift items. The market was designed by British architect William Emerson, in Norman and Flemish architectural styles. The friezes on the outside entrance depicting Indian farmers, and the stone fountains inside, were designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of novelist Rudyard Kipling. The market covers an area of 22,471 m², of which 5,515 m² is occupied by the building itself. The structure was built using coarse buff coloured Kurla stone, with redstone from Bassein. It has a 15 m high skylight awning designed to allow the sunlight brighten up the marketplace.
- 4 Dadar (W) Flower Market, Gurunanak Marg? Tulsi Pipe Road, (Opposite Dadar Train Station). early morning. Visit early morning to see colourful and wholesale flower market in action
- Family-run shops, Or one could do shopping at family-run shops, where the items are behind the counter and one has to ask the salesperson to get items from the list. The traditional way to buy sarees or jewellery is to go to a shop where you sit on a bedspread laid out on the floor and the salespeople bring out their wares one-by-one until you make a decision. Shops like Bharat Kshetra in Dadar have scaled this model up to such an extent that they have a two-storied complex where you can do the same.
- 5 Fashion Street, Fort district, Mahatma Gandhi Rd? (from : Chruchgate Station start walking towards Flora Fountain make a left turn and its a block down). Popular place buy cheap clothes. Bargaining/haggling skills are a must. Offer to pay 1/4 of the asking price or less and then work upwards.
- 6 Mangaldas Market, Janjikar St (From Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ~0.5km NW). closed on Sundays?. for silk and cloth
- Shopping Malls, Mumbai has been experiencing a boom in malls in the past few years. You can combine your shopping, dining out, and watching movies all in one place.
- 7 Zaveri Bazaar (Marathi: झवेरी बाजार), Bhuleshwar Road, (Just north of Crawford Market, - : Marine Lines station ~1.0km West). Best known jewellery Market, all at one place.
What to buy
- Antiques & second hand items, Visit Chor Bazar for the best options and bargains
- Burlingtons, in the Taj is a tailor specializing in Indian outfits. Buy some material and get some clothes made up by a tailor. It's an incredibly cheap way to get quality made-to-measure clothes. Usually only takes a couple of days.
- Carpets, rugs and shawls
- Cotton clothes, Mumbai is great place to buy quality and cheaper cotton clothes. Amongst many notable shops and brands, Cottonworld is a place to look out for.
- Dhoop, (translates into Sunshine or Incense) A quaint, stylist store where you can find really interesting quality crafts and home accessories. On the corner of Union Park, Near Olive, Off Carter Road in Bandra.
- Indian musical instruments, Indian music has its own set of musical instruments such as Tabla, Harmonium, straight Flute that it relies upon. These can be brought at various music shops scattered across the city. Some well known shops are L.M.Furtado, Ghaisas & Bros.
- Khadi clothing, Khadi is an authentic Indian variety of home spun cotton. Mahatma Gandhi advocated the use of khadi as a form of satyagraha against the use of foreign goods and a form of rural self-employment for India during the pre-independence days. Check out the Khadi Gram Udyog Bhavan at 286, DN Road, Near the Mumbai GPO & Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It is run by the Khadi Gramudyog Vikas Samiti which is an umbrella organization started by the Mahatma himself which today has evolved into a government registered unit promoting the use of khadi. A good place to buy souvenirs including khadi Indian flags. These are similar in type to the ones used during the freedom struggle. It also houses other forms of fabrics like pure cotton wool, and silk. Some of the items make use of natural straw. Also offer a collection of handmade paper products.
- Kurties and tunics', a must have in India. Linkin Laado has a wide range of classy kurties, fushion ethnic wear and exquisite dress materials in most sought after pure fabrics such as muls, cottons, maheshwari and chanderi silk in handblock prints and intrinsic chikankari work. The shop is at Link Square Mall, Shop No. F5, Opposite KFC, Above Croma, Linking Road, Bandra West.
- Leather jackets, go to the main road in Dharavi. You can fit yourself with a leather jacket (they stitch it for you) of leather you pick. Usually takes just one day to get it and it costs around ₹1,000-₹2,000.
- Luxury retail, Mumbai has witnessed a massive boom in luxury retail. All the brands you can buy in any other major city are available there.
- Pashmina, cheap stuff is everywhere and decent shawls in every hue can be purchased at various markups in any hotel arcade. High-quality items in unusual colors and unique designs require more searching. The "pashminas" sold on Colaba Causeway are not anywhere close to pashmina.
- Sarees, the best place to buy them is Dadar (both east and west). The place is buzzing 12 months a year. On Sundays the crowd can be maddening for outsiders. Good shops to buy Sarees are Dadar Emporium, Lazaree, Roop Sangam. On N C Kelkar Road and Ranade Road you can buy almost everything a woman needs. Bargain hard.
- Traditional clothing & handicrafts, State government operated emporiums such as those for Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Jammu & Kashmir. sell state specific items of clothing and handicrafts. These are in places around South Mumbai or the shopping arcades of Five Star Hotels. There is also a Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Emporium near the Gateway of India beside the Tendulkar's restaurant. The items on display include embroidered clothing, carvings, paintings, sculptures etc. and are reasonably priced. Amongst the private labels, Fabindia is a must visit for its variety of kurtas [tunics], salwars, pyjamas, churidars & dupattas. They also offer bedspreads, cushion covers, decorative pillows, quilts, table linens, home furniture etc. Just like the government owned emporiums, Fabindia operates on a cottage industries model where products are hand crafted by artisans and sourced from villages across India. Good quality, smart colours, trendy designs but prices are a bit on the high side. Shops are found across Mumbai.
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
Mumbai has large number of organized bookshops. However it also has number of streetside second hand book shops or displays that give opportunity to come across rare collections. Many of these roadside book shops can be prominently found, among many, near Flora Fountain, Maheshwari Udyyan (former King's Circle) and Dadar west market.
If you are somewhere in the western suburbs (santacruz,juhu etc.) Granth on juhu road could be a good bet to find the book you are looking for.
The Crossword chain of book shops has an outlet in most malls around the city, as well as the main store in Kemp's Corner.
In a place without clearly displayed price tags (and sometimes even in places with), you will get charged about 3-4 times as much as a local if you seem like a tourist. Take a local with you if you're going to local markets to haggle. Haggling is much louder and ruder in India than elsewhere. Don't be afraid to haggle things down to 1/4 of the asking price. And most importantly remember that almost all stores that sell carpets, jewelry, handicrafts, etc. pay huge amounts of commission (25% up to even 50%!) to the cab drivers, hence avoid tourist taxis, cabs, etc. Another thing to remember is not to haggle just for the fun of it. The shopkeepers may take offence if you don't buy an item after they have agreed to your price. One of the places that you can trust is The World Trade Centre (in Cuffe Parade, near Hotel Taj President). Besides being the only World Trade Centre in Mumbai, this place has an amazing range of exquisite carpets, handicrafts, shawls, etc. with reputed government approved stores and state emporiums too. Ask for receipts everywhere, including bars, and check what you have been charged for. Don't ever accept a guide offer or escort of somebody from the street: You will certainly get conned. If some place (including taxis, restaurants, shops, etc.) claims it doesn't have change (this is highly unlikely), insist they get change from a neighbouring shop.
In addition to the local grocery stores which can be found on most of the streets, there are new additions to the city in the form of new big and small supermarkets and hypermarkets where you can get all the food items you need. Some of them are Big Bazaar, Hypercity, DMart, Spinach Local, Apna Bazaar.
If you are looking for exotic fruits and vegetables then try Natures Basket.
The dining experience at an upscale restaurant in Mumbai is more or less the same as anywhere else in the world. You can find cuisine from the Middle East, Western Europe, North America and China easily. But to get a real flavour of what's unique to Mumbai, you will have to go a little lower down the scale and experience the street food and Irani cafes. Since March 2015, beef is banned in Maharashtra, and therefore in Mumbai. Therefore, it is uncommon to find beef served in restaurants. For individual restaurants and other places to eat, go to the individual district pages.
Don't leave Mumbai without trying:
- Alphonso Mangoes during summer season
- As many different kinds of chaat (Bhelpuri, Pav Bhaji etc.) as your stomach can handle
- Bread Maska (Bread & Butter) from an Irani Cafe
- Goan seafood
- Maharashtrian,Gujrati,Managlorean special and Kerala Thali
- Indian Chinese
- Indian sweets- milky, delicious concoctions (try the kulfi falooda at Badshah's in Crawford market)
- Kebab rolls, Pattis, Keema
- Particularly late-night at Bade Miyaan's behind the Taj near Colaba Causeway (also if the lights are off in order to avoid bribing the cops, do still try and approach it as it is likely to still be serving)
- Kingfisher Blue beer (not common in eateries, but only most "wine shops" (liquor stores)
- South Indian food from an Udupi restaurant
- Vada pav (the Indian veg burger): known to be the dish of Mumbai
Popular search engines to find easily restaurants include Justdial, AskLaila and DizyLocal. The search engines shall provide the address, contact details, and user ratings (if available) of the specific eatery (if name is provided), or list of eatery catering to the specialty (e.g. Seafood, Pubs, Chinese Food, etc.) depending on the location suggested (e.g. Worli, Bandra, South Mumbai, etc.).
- Seafood, Apurva (Fort right off Horniman Circle). If you want to eat some authentic Indian (Konkan) sea food you must visit the Bharat Excellensea. It is next to the Horniman Circle and the Reserve Bank of India. It is becoming pretty expensive. In the slightly higher price range, Trishna (at Kala Ghoda in Fort) and Mahesh Lunch Home (also in Fort) are very popular among both locals and tourists.
- Peshawari, Andheri, (at Maratha Sheraton). Its sister restaurant Bukhara in Delhi has been recognised as the best Indian restaurant around the world. Try tandoori jhinga, the kebab platter, sikandari raan (leg of lamb), and mangoes and ice cream (only during summers), Kebab Corner (Hotel Intercontinental), Copper Chimney (Worli) Khyber (Kala Ghoda), and Kareem's Malad Link Road in Malad W.
- Chinese, India Jones, (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Mainland China (Saki Naka), Ling's Pavilion (Colaba), Golden Dragon (Taj Mahal Hotel), Great Wall (Renaissance), Spices (JW Marriott), China Gate (Bandra), China White (Bandra). Bandra offers a range of Chinese Restaurants. Royal China at VT (behind Sterling Cinema serves some of the best DimSum the city has to offer). The new CG83 at Kemps corner is brilliant and the signature restaurant of Nelson Wang. Also new is Henry Thams. The food is brilliant as are the prices, however the bar is much more popular than the restaurant.
- Combination Oriental, India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Pan Asian (at Maratha Sheraton), Seijo, and Soul Dish (Bandra), Joss (Kala Ghoda) has some of the best East Asian food in the country and at moderate prices (compared to hotels). San Qi at the Four Seasons (Worli) combines East Asian and South Asian cuisine quite well.
- Italian, Shatranj Nepoli (Bandra, Union Park), Little Italy (Juhu next to Maneckji Cooper school), Don Giovanni's (Juhu, opposite JW Marriott), Mezzo Mezzo (at the JW Marriott), Vetro (at The Oberoi, Mumbai), Celini (at the Grand Hyatt), Mangi Ferra (Juhu), Taxi(Colaba), Spaghetti Kitchen (Phoenix Mills, Parel).
- Japanese, Wasabi by Morimoto (Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba) is Mumbai's best and most expensive restaurant, but Japanese food is on the menus of most Pan Asian restaurants like Tiffin (The Oberoi, Mumbai), Pan Asian (Maratha Sheraton), India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), and Spices (JW Marriott), Origami (Atria Mall Worli). Also Japengo Cafe at CR2 Mall in Nariman Point serves up some sushi. Tetsuma, adjacent to Prive (probably best nightclub in town) serves an average sushi but other dishes are worth a try. Best to go there for a cocktail and a few starters. 'Tian cafe' at Juhu is also a good place for sushi.
- Lebanese Food, Picadilly, at Colaba Causeway, the only restaurant in the city serving Lebanese food. Cost for a meal for one ₹100-₹200. Alcohol is not served.
- Parsi, Their ancestors originating from Iran, the Parsis are a special community of people that one would associate Mumbai with. Parsi food is based on ancient Persian cooking. Go to Brittania at Ballard Estate or Jimmy Boy close to Horniman Circle.
- Sushi, Sushi Café (Santa Cruz West). A cosy little place. The decor, including the furniture, is all-white. 20 pieces of chunks of white rice rolled with fresh fish and vegetables for ₹600. They also do home delivery all over Mumbai. Sushi Café, Shop No. 1, Ground Floor, Sainara Building, corner of North Avenue and Linking Road, Santa Cruz (West), Tel: 98336-50503, www.sushicafemumbai.com.
- California Pizza Kitchen, 3 North Ave. Maker Maxity, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East).
- Chili's, Central Avenue Road, Powai, Ventura Building, Hiranandani Business Park.
- Cinnabon, (next to Basilico), Pali Naka, Bandra (West).
- Ruby Tuesday, shop No. 20, 2nd Floor, Inorbit mall, Malad (West) or at Shop No. 31, CR 2 Mall, Nariman Point, Mumbai OR Nirmal Lifestyle, Lbs Marg, Mulund West.
- Starbucks Coffee, Behind Taj Hotel, Near Gateway of India.
- T.G.I.F, Palladium mall,Phoenix High Street,Lower Parel or Infiniti Mall,New Link Road,Oshiwara,Andheri(West).
- Bengali, Oh! Calcutta at Tardeo
- 1 Cafe. Leopold and Cafe Mondegar (both near Regal Cinema, Colaba) are great places to while away time, eat cheap, and get a beer. Mocha (chain) is popular with the younger crowd. Deliciae, the dessert cafe which has some of the best desserts in town, next to Olive Restaurant in Khar.
- Fusion, Zenzi (Waterfield Road, Bandra), Out of the Blue ( Pali Hill, Bandra).
- General Indian, Sheetal Bukhara, Great Punjab (both in Bandra). More in Bandra.
- Goan, Coastal, Goa Portuguesa (Mahim) near Hinduja Hospital. New and a must try is Casa Soul Fry (opposite Bombay University in town) which serves up Goan Cuisine.
- Goan Cuisine, Casa Soul Fry opposite to Bombay University in town
- Gujarati Thalis, Chetana at Kala Ghoda, Thacker's at Marine Drive, and Rajdhani (multiple locations)
- Kashmiri, Poush at Andheri
- Lounge, Olive (Bandra), Rain (Juhu), Indigo.
- Mumbai Street Food, To experience the tastes and flavors of typical Mumbai chaat, and yet not expose oneself to the dangers of unhygienic street food, check out Vitthal's Restaurant on one of the lanes opposite Sterling Cinema (C.S.T.), but make sure you have a strong stomach. Vithal Bhelwalla (not the Vithal restaurant which is copycat) near VT station (behind Macdonald's) is a safe option.
- Punjabi, Himalaya Restaurant in Sion(E), Preetam's Dhaba at Dadar(E) and Urban Tadka at Mulund
- Speciality Deli, Indigo Deli (Colaba), Gourmet Shoppe (The Oberoi Shopping Arcade), Moshe's (Cuffe Parade), Cafe Basilico.
- South Indian, Dakshin (Maratha Sheraton) and Woodlands (Juhu)
- 24X7 Coffee Shops, Trattoria (Taj President), Frangipani (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Vista (Taj Land's End, Bandra), Hornby's Pavilion (ITC Grand Central), Lotus Cafe (JW Marriott), basically all the big hotels have one. More coffee shops in Bandra.
- Vegetarian, Swati Snacks (Tardeo, opposite Bhatia Hospital) a gem of a restaurant, it does not take bookings and the waiting during peak meal times is usually 45 minutes every day of the week! Little Italy on Juhu Tara Road (Jugu), Andheri West opp. Fame Adlabs multiplex, Malad (above croma), New Yorkers on Marine Drive Opp chowpatty; Creame Center on Linking Road, Bandra near Shopper's Stop and also on Marine Drive opp chowpatty; Statua at Nariman point opp. Maker Chambers. Relish (Hotel Samrat — Churchgate). Excellent vegetarian cuisine from around the world.
Street food stalls
Songs have been written about Mumbai's street food and you will find that the hype is justified. You will find them at every street corner, but they are concentrated in beaches and around railway stations.
- Bhelpuri stalls, Selling what in the rest of India would be called chaat. In Mumbai itself, the term chaat is rarely used.
- Bhurji, Either Egg bhurji or Paneer bhurji, a mash of eggs and chopped tomato, onion, chili, and lots of oil. Eaten on the side with some pav. Try the Maker Chamber area (near Crossroads 2, Nariman Point).
- Chinese food stalls, You'll find them at many places, but they are particularly concentrated near Dadar railway station. They all have a typical Indian twist added to it, which is why it is frequently called "Indian Chinese". Although it is great tasting, the hygiene of these places leaves a lot to be desired.
- Rolls, Essentially different meat and cheese grilled and served with some Roti and spice, these are cheap and cheerful for anyone with a stomach that can handle it. They are known to be spicy so always ask them to make it mild. Try Ayubs (Kala Ghoda), Bade Miyan (behind Taj and near Colaba Causeway), Khao Gulli (Food Lane, near Mahim Hindu Gymkhana), or Kareems (Bandra). All are particularly busy after a night of heavy drinking.
- Sandwich stands, Uniquely developed in Mumbai, you won't find anything like it anywhere else in India or the world.
- Vada pav stands, Fried potato stuffed in yeasty bread. Developed to provide nourishment to mill-workers in Mumbai's burgeoning mills. Now they are found everywhere, particularly in the railway stations. This is a Mumbai specialty. In Vile Parle (West), try the one off S.V Road near Irla across from Goklibai School. One of the most popular ones are opposite Mithibai College which is about 15 mins walk from Vile Parle Station. Also try the one outside Grant Road Station and Churchgate Station.
Tip: cheap and tasty food stalls are concentrated around the city's colleges.
Street stall food in India is fantastic, and dirt cheap (you can fill yourself up for ₹20). However, do consider well what you are putting in your mouth. Almost certainly the water used is non-potable, street vendors don't seem to understand much about hygiene or hand-washing, and food safety standards are low, with flies buzzing over everything. Even locals steer clear of street food during the monsoons, when diseases run rampant. If the stall seems very clean, and if it clearly states that it is using Aquaguard or mineral water, go for it.
Authentic Marathi cuisine
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
Mumbai, being home to large ethnic Marathi community, has its share of notable restaurants that offer authentic Marathi cuisine. Most offer both snacks and regular dining. Some of the snacks to check out are Sabudana Wada, Batata Wada, Missal, Kanda Poha, Uppit (or Upma), Shira, Alu Wadi, Thalipith, Zunka Bhakari,ghavane (neer dosa) and many more. Two notable appetizer are Kokam Sarbat and Solkadhi which are best enjoyed during hot summers. People say that many of these authentic Marathi restaurants are finding it difficult to survive competitions with other modern or fast food typed restaurants, but you will find Gajali, Malvan Kinara, Sindhudurg and many more have retained their own charm and clientele.
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
Mangalorians(and udupi) forms the highset tourist populations of Mumbai,and both the cities have almost same culture and architecture. "Udupi" restaurants (or "hotels") are everywhere. They bear the name of the town of Udupi in Karnataka, but do not be misled into thinking that they specialize in the cuisine of Udupi. They serve pretty much everything, and that is their specialty.
Usually strictly vegetarian, these restaurants were opened by migrants from the district of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka (of which Udupi is a part), to satisfy the palates of other migrants from the district. Over time, they gained popularity as places to have South Indian food. As the tastes of their customers evolved, so to did their menus, so much that now you can find Mughlai, Indian Chinese, Bhelpuri, and other chaats in addition to South Indian stuff. Amazingly, some places serve imitations of pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches too!
They are fast food joints and sit-down restaurants combined. The reason to visit them is not to experience fine gourmet dining, but to have cheap, passably tasty and fairly hygienic food. There is no easy way to identify an Udupi restaurant; they are not a chain of restaurants and they may not have "Udupi" in their name, so you will have to ask.
Matunga(Central line) has the best south Indian fare in Mumbai. There are few restaurants which could well be heritage sites as they are more than 50 years old and still retain their old world charm(and furniture).
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
Irani cafe's are Persian styled cafes opened by 19th century Persian migrants from Iran. These cafes have a unique lazy atmosphere, display of day-to-day accessories including toothpastes behind the cashier, soaps and what nots(specially targeted at bachelor crowds) and furniture. Most of these cafes were at the corner of the road or building and were chosen spots by commuters to spend time. It was quite a usual sight to find people spending hours reading newspaper over a cup of tea for hours in these places. Sadly the new restaurants and fast food culture has almost removed these cafes from the maps, though few notables like Kyani & Co. and Olympia remain. The joints are best known for their "Irani Chai", "Bun-Maska/Maska Pav" (bread and butter) and Egg Omelette. Also are popular their assorted snacks, like Kheema-na-Patice, samosas, mava-na-cakes, etc. One of the best dish which is almost always on the menu is Kheema (prepared from ground meat) and pav (bread). Don't miss the Mawa Cake at Merwan & Co, a bustling Irani cafe next to Grant Road station and be there before 9AM when the delicious cakes tend to run out.
If you order a thali (translated as "plate"), you get a complete meal arranged on your plate, with a roti or chappati, rice, and many different varieties of curries and curd. Ordering a thali is a popular option when you are hungry and in a hurry as it is usually served blazingly fast. Most mid-level restaurants have a thali on the menu, at least during lunch hours. Occasionally, they are "unlimited", which means that some of the items are all-you-can-eat. The waiters serve them at your table.
Of course, you find many varieties of them, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There is the South Indian thali. The "North Indian" thali translates to Mughlai or Punjabi. Do try Gujarati or Rajasthani thalis if you can find them. They are sinfully filling and tasty. Rajdhani (At Crawford Market) serves up thalis in the Rajasthani style while Aram (near Mahim Church, Mahim), Ramanayak Udipi (At Matunga Station, east) serves up thalis in South Indian style and Shree Thakker Bhojanalaya (off Kalbadevi Road) do filling and fabulous Gujarati thalis.
Fast food chains
Surprisingly, there is no fast-food chain in Mumbai serving Indian cuisine. But Western chains like McDonalds, Subway, Pizza hut, Dominos, Kentucky Fried Chicken etc. have many outlets all over the city. But if you are a weary westerner looking for the taste of the familiar, be warned that all of them have rather heavily Indianized their menus, so you will find the stuff there as exotic as you found Bambaiyya food. However, Barista, Cafe Coffee Day, and Smokin' Joe's are all Indian chains, although they don't serve Indian food. While Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, as there names suggest, serve coffee and pastries, Smokin' Joe's serves decent pizzas and is headquartered in Carmichael Rd, Mumbai. International coffee chains like The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Aromas have outlets in Mumbai.
Naturals is a chain of ice cream stores that serves up tasty and unconventional flavours of ice creams. Try their tender coconut or the coffee walnut ice creams. Its main branch is in Juhu in the Western suburbs (hence the tagline - 'Ice cream of Juhu Scheme'), but it has franchises at many places including Marine Drive, Bandra, Nepean sea road, etc. Naturals is also famous for its seasonal "Sitaphal" or Custard Apple Ice-cream. Baskins-Robbins is an international ice cream chain having its presence throughout the city. Also there are a number of shops in malls anongst other places which serve Italian Gelato icecream.
Try the sumptuous creamy crepes and omelets at Crepe Station, Bandra. Its owned by a famous Bollywood actor, Dino Morea.
What to eat
Asking a local for suggestions is a fun way to try new things. Here are a few suggestions:
- Bhel Puri & sev puri, A classic Mumbai concoction, bhel-puri (or bhel for short) comprises mostly of puffed rice and assorted spices with a few chutneys. You can specify whether you want it spicy or bland and the vendor will make it for you. It is quite tasty and again ought to be had off the streets to get the real flavour. Most people like to flock to Juhu beach to try this out.
- Hapus (Alphonso) mangoes, A must try, if you happen to be in Mumbai in the summers.
- Indian-Chinese, Nothing like regular Chinese. For a typical Bambaiyya flavour, try the Chinese Bhelpuri!.
- Mewad ice cream, If you happen to be in Mumbai, it is recommended you avoid ice creams from the famous and expensive parlors and try out the cheap Mewad ice cream stalls. They are a lovely treat at their price and provide a lot of options. The vendors are found everywhere across the streets, but avoid those who appear unhygienic.
- Pani Puri, The vendor hands you a plate. Next he takes a puri (it looks like a golf ball, but brown in colour), makes a small hole in it, and dips the puri into two jars. These jars contain water, one tangy on a tamarind base and the other spicy on a mint base. He tops it off with some condiments and places the puri on your plate. You pick it with your hand and pop the whole thing into your mouth. To avoid stomach problems only but from vendors usign packaged water.
- Pav Bhaji, Part of the street food culture, this is mashed vegetables cooked in spices, topped with butter and served piping hot with pav. Widely available.
- Vada Pav, the vada is a mashed potato patty. Pav is a kind of bread that has its roots in Mumbai. (The word comes from the Portuguese word "pão", for bread). The potato patty is sandwiched in the bread. Liberal helpings of three kinds of chutneys are added to the sandwich to make a tasty snack. It is widely available on the streets and generally costs around ₹6 a piece. If you feel uncomfortable with the hygiene of a particular stall, avoid it. In that case eating at, Jumbo King Vada Pav outlets, found almost at all train stations in the city, is a hygienic and safer option.
- Variations of world cuisine such as Tandoori Chicken Pizzas, the Bombay Masala Pizza or McAloo Tikki burgers.
Tippiing is not expected, but would be appreciated. However, if a place includes service charges on the bill, you don't need to leave an extra tip. Note the difference between service tax and service charges. Service tax goes to Government and not to the staff.
Pubs & bars
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
Drinking & driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered as a serious offence in India. In the event of an accident the law deals with drink-drive offenders with severity. The punishment is a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months. The driving license is suspended for at least six months.
A police crackdown (June 2012) on many popular bar and clubs is underway, so be cautious when visiting lower to mid range bars. Mumbai is one of the most liberal cities in India when it comes to attitudes to alcohol. Bars exist at virtually every street corner and many of them advertise themselves as "family" bars and restaurants, which indicates that they are primarily restaurants where one can also have a drink. Other places are primarily bars, some of them might be sleazy. In South Mumbai and in the Western suburbs, you are likely to find many places where foreigners hang out.
Mumbai is much more accepting of women drinking than the rest of India. A woman ordering a drink is unlikely to raise eyebrows even in mid-range bars, though if you are alone, you might need to look out for your safety.
Nightlife in Mumbai spans the gamut from performances at five star hotels to discos. Dance bars which involve young, fully clothed women dancing mostly to Hindi film and pop music, have been shut down by the government for "corrupting the morals" of those who frequent those places. While the state high court has ruled that the crackdown was illegal, it will be a while before they open again as there are some technicalities involved to be sorted out.
In Mumbai, alcohol is much more easily available than many cities in India.
There is already a lively late night, if somewhat subterranean, scene for gays, as well as social and political networks. However, you need to do your homework before arriving, as LGBT gathering spaces and organizations are not published or available at local newsstands. However, Bombay Dost (Bombay Friends) the only magazine catering to the community, after 7 years of running was closed and relaunched in 2009. Much of Mumbai's LGBT scene is coordinated using social networking sites and groups. Use extreme caution; robberies, hustlers, and even police entrapment are not unheard of.
There many coffee shops in and around Mumbai. Try the Cafe Coffee Day and Barista chains. Also, three Starbucks stores were opened in Mumbai in late 2012, and more are likely to follow. These are the best around town and also serve some pretty neat coffee for cheap. There's the Cafe Mocha chain of coffee shops which also serve fruit flavoured hookas — South Asian smoking pipes. If a small coffee and cookies place is what you are looking for, try Theobroma, it has an outlet at Cusrow Baug in Colaba. Those looking for a more native form of coffee can try the filter coffee, a milky coffee with origins from South India, from any Udupi restaurant.
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
It is very difficult to find good budget hotels in Mumbai. If you are a tourist or a business traveller, you may have to stay in South Mumbai, which is where both the business district and the touristy areas are. Lack of space means that even the cheapest hotel charges stratospheric tariffs. The state of public transport and traffic means that it is not really a good choice to stay anywhere else. In any case, things aren't much better if you are looking for hotels close to the airport. You should be looking at the Western Suburbs in that case. There are many guest houses at Colaba, where you find most of budget foreign travellers stay. Other budget hotels are found near railway stations, such as Dadar or Santa cruz, but most of them are absolute dumps. One safe and economical place to stay in Mumbai is the YMCA. Reasonably priced accommodations are available at the Colaba, Bombay Central, Andheri, and CBD Belapur Branches.
One inexpensive alternative is to live with a local family as a paying guest. A list of available families can be obtained from the Government of India tourist office (+91 22 2220 7433) opposite Churchgate train station.
On the other hand, if money is of no object, you can stay at the Taj in Colaba (the oldest in India), the Leela Kempinski, the ITC Grand Maratha, or the JW Marriott Mumbai, Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Centre. Hotel listings are in the district pages.
Whether you want to hang around with your close friends, spend some time with your family or wan to get away from concrete jungle, you an find plethora of places nearby Mumbai. You can try out letscampout.com for more options on camping near Mumbai.
Camping can be done safely on spots such as:
- Kaas Lake - on the Kaas Plateau (known for its flowers)
- Lonavala - hill station in Pune District
- Mahableshwar - the source of the Krishna River (Satara District)
- Matheran - hill station (Raigad District)
- Panchgani - small city (Satara District)
- Kashid & Phansad - location of Phansad Bird Sanctuary
- Rajmachi - near Lonavala and two famous forts
- Tungarli Lake - near Lonavala
- Valvan Lake - site of Valvan Dam in Lonavala
The area code for Mumbai is "22" (prefix "+91", if you are calling from outside India). Phone numbers are eight digits long, but on occasion you will find a seven digit number listed. That is probably an old listing. They made the changeover from seven to eight digits a few years back, when they allowed private service providers to offer telephone. Just prefix a "2" to the number and it should work just fine.
Phone booths can be found all over the city. Though they are coin operated, there is usually someone to run the place. (Typically the phones are attached to a roadside shop). You need to keep putting ₹1 coins into the slot to extend the talk time, so keep a change of ₹1 coins handy with you. The person running the booth will usually have them. If you find a booth marked STD/ISD, you can call internationally or anywhere within the country. Fees will be charged according to the time spent and a meter runs to keep track of your time. You pay when you have finished your call. Often it is difficult to find one that is open early in the morning or late at night.
Cell phone coverage in the city is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of plans. Among them are The MTNL, Vodafone, Airtel, Dolphin, Reliance, and Tata Indicom. It might be a good idea to buy a cell phone and use one of those prepaid plans to get yourself connected while you are in the city.
All mobile numbers, are 10 digits long and begin with a "9", "8" or "7". Do not dial the city prefix for mobile numbers. If you don't get through to a mobile number, try adding a "0" before you dial it.
Due to security threats, in order to purchase a SIM card you will need to provide formal identification.
Cybercafes are found on virtually every street corner and the rates are quite low. They have probably not kept pace with advances in hardware or software, so if you find yourself in one of them, don't be surprised if you are stuck with a really small monitor, Windows XP, and Internet Explorer 5.0. Also data security could be an issue. As a caution, change your password after you use it at a cybercafe or do private/incognito browsing.
Finding WiFi will be difficult in many parts of Mumbai, however, nearly all railway stations have been upgraded with 'RailWire' WiFi powered by Google that lets you browse for 45 mins at 5-10 Mbps speeds. RailWire Wi-Fi requires you to authenticate with your mobile number and OTP. WiFi is also available at most hotels and restaurants. Airport WiFi is provided by Vodafone.
Postal & courier services
The Indian Postal service's head office is housed at GPO, a magnificent colonial architecture on its own; next to the C.S.T. railway station. The other main branch office can be found at Dadar (E) on Ambedkar Rd.
Violent crime in Mumbai is more or less like any other large Indian city.
It is best to err on the side of safety and act according to your local environment. Here are a few basic safety tips:
- Keep your money and credit cards safe at all times. Always carry some cash as many places won't take cards.
- Do not openly display ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes in public. The available currency notes are ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹2,000 and the available coins for tender are ₹1, ₹2, ₹5 and ₹10. Beware of someone giving you currency notes of any other denomination (Though it is very unlikely; as they would have to be exchanged with the Reserve Bank of India; the central bank of India). The Indian government demonetized the old ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes in November 2016.
- There have been cases where Kaali-Peeli (Black-Yellow) Taxi drivers con people, mostly tourists, by taking longer routes, charging extra for luggage, tampering with the meter and fooling the passenger by exchanging ₹500 with a ₹100 note within fraction of seconds and making the passenger believe that he/she has handed over a ₹100 note. Thus, in order to avoid getting fooled, prefer app based taxi services like Ola and Uber for commuting.
- Beware of pickpockets on buses and trains. Do not put your wallet or other valuables in outside pockets of your bag, such that someone may be able to slip it out without your noticing.
- Also beware of mobile, chain, or bag snatchers who operate in densely populated places, such as railway stations, busy roads, and traffic signals.
- Women traveling by train, especially on off-peak routes should travel in the second class where at least a few co-passengers are also found.
- Women (especially Westerners) should avoid crowded places, you might well get groped. Cases of men pinching or touching women are common in crowded public places, including nicer nightspots. Create a scene if this does happen to you, there will be enough people around that will come to your defence. In general, in Mumbai, if you are ever worried about your safety, make a loud scene. It is an extremely crowded city, and somebody is always around and willing to help.
- Women should never ever take lifts from strangers. Western women tourists should note that if they visit a disco or pub in Mumbai or India, don't take lifts or even get too friendly with strangers. You will almost certainly get conned, if not worse. Many Indian men presume that if you're foreign you must be easy.
- Don't ever let an auto or taxi you are traveling in pick up any more people, or pull over before your final destination.
- Police can sometimes be almost as shady as criminals in Mumbai. At night, women should ensure if they are ever stopped by police, there needs to be a female police officer present or they are well within their rights in demanding the presence of a woman cop.
- Think twice about eating food that has not been thoroughly heated. This may be especially true if you're eating street food.
- Mumbai Police, ☏ 100 (Mumbai Police Control Room), 1090 (Police Infoline), (D. G. Control).
- Mumbai Police, ☏ (Mumbai Police Head Quarter), (North Control), (East Control), (West Control), (South Div.), (Central Div).
- Traffic Police, ☏ (Traffic Control), (Traffic Helpline).
- Churchgate, ☏ .
- C.S.T, ☏ .
- Central Rly. C.S.T., ☏ .
- Western Rly. Central, ☏ .
- Santacruz Airport, ☏ .
- Sahar Terminal (NIPTC), ☏ .
- Air India Enquiry, ☏ .
- Domestic/International, ☏ .
- Fire Station, ☏ 101, , , , .
- Coast Guard, ☏ , .
- Food As elsewhere in India, be careful with what you eat. Outside of major tourist hotels and restaurants, stay away from raw leafy vegetables, egg-based dressings like mayonnaise and minced meat are particularly risky. In short, stick to boiled, baked, fried, or peeled goods.
- Water Opinions on tap water vary, but most visitors choose to stick to the bottled stuff. Large bottles of water can be purchased at a very low cost. When buying water from street vendors, make sure the lid is sealed, there have been cases of bottles being filled with tap water, and sold as new.
- Fitness Numerous fitness centers exist throughout the city. Many exercise facilities and spas offer 24 hour memberships for visitors, and are a popular way to unwind after a long day of touring in Mumbai.
- Smog can reach unhealthful levels, especially during the dry season. This, coupled with the summer heat and humidity can make spending time outdoors quite unpleasant.
- City Map, Eicher has an excellent city-map of Mumbai with detailed listings. Familiarize yourself with it before you begin, or alternatively trace your route on it. ₹30.
- BEST Route Map, Thanks to the density of bus routes in the city, the map is quite hard to decipher. Although bus routes are listed in the itinerary, you may have to find out about a few others if you plan to mix/match the order of the sights. People are very helpful in general. Check the BEST Route Finder for detailed information on the routes. The map is available at news stands. ₹10. You can also download the BEST Prawas app on Android.
Local newspapapers can be handy and reliable sources for day to day updates about the city. The city has number of newspapers and other publication that list local happenings. The Times of India has a supplement called Bombay Times. There are also other papers like The Asian Age, DNA, Indian Express, Hindustan Times and Free Press Journal. For the business updates, check Economic Times.
There are three very good local city tabloids called Mid-Day, Mumbai Mirror, and Afternoon. These papers are city focused and cover a lot of gossip, local news, and have plenty of entertainment listings. One could refer to these papers for any specific activity. In addition, Time Out now has an excellent Mumbai edition each month which can be picked up on street bookshops. It is a little more eclectic than the others listed here. Most newspapers would not cost more than ₹3. All of these papers have information on arts, dance, eating out, food festivals, events, exhibitions, lectures, movies, theatre listings, concerts, seminars, and workshops.
There are also many local newspapers in regional languages such as Lok Satta (Marathi), Maharashtra Times (Marathi), Saamna (Marathi), Navakal (Marathi), Janmabhoomi (Gujarati), Mumbai Samachar (Gujarati) and Navbharat Times (Hindi) which cater to local and regional interests and tastes.
There are 12 radio stations in Mumbai, with nine broadcasting on the FM band, and three All India Radio stations broadcasting on the AM band. Mumbai also has access to commercial radio providers such as Sirius and XM.
- Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles
- Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals (Locally this hospital is known as 'Bail Ghoda (Bull Horse) Hospital. The Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is also Headquartered there. Their ambulance rushes in answer to any call of distress to animals.) (Parel), ☏ .
List of Major Diagnostic, health care and Polyclinics:
- Soningra Polyclinic, B - Helal Bldg, Dr. Mascarenhas Rd, Mazgaon, ☏ , . Since 1984, catering the nation since last 25 years effectively and efficiently.
- Super Religare Laboratories Limited (formerly Ranbaxy SRL), Plot 113, St 145 MIDC Andheri (E), ☏ , . Largest clinical reference laboratory network in India and in South East Asia.
- Wellspring, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Near A to Z Industrial Estate, Off Worli Naka, Lower Parel(W). Another premier diagnostic laboratory owned by the Piramal group. Along with the above they have other centers as well throughout the city.
24 hour chemist
- Parel Chemist, Opp. Wadia Maternity Hospital, Parel, ☏ , .
- Mumbai Medico, Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo, ☏ .
- Ambernath (55 km NE - take a train to here) — See the Lord Shiva Temple (16th Century)
- Chiplun (290 km S, on Konkan railway route between Khed & Ratnagiri Stns) — Here are the Chiveli Vagheshwari Temple and the Pandavas Caves
- Ratnagiri (300 km S, 6-7 hrs journey in train from Mumbai, same comfortable using a (A/c & Non A/c) bus) — Ratnadurga Sea Fort, Thebaw Pagoda Palace
- Rajapur (directions=350 km S, 8.5hrs) — Visit the Yeshwantgad, an island fortification
- Thane District — to the north of Mumbai; has beaches and mountains
- Badlapur (50 km NE - to get in is by Local Trains (EMU), hourly) — Fort, Water Park
- Dombivli (30 km NE; 40 mins in a fast train from CST to reach 'Kopar Stn.', by bus ~1hr 30 mins)
- Kalyan (60 km NE; by train towards Karjat or Kasara would reach Kalyan in around 45-55 min) - Visit the Fort
- Navi Mumbai — also called New Bombay; go here to the see Belapur Fort ruins
- Thane City (N 40km) — also called Lake City due to the 30 lakes in and around the city
- Raigad — district of Maharashtra lies just south of Mumbai. It is famous for its beaches and forts. You can get there by road or by ferry from Mumbai. The important ferry routes are:
- Ferry Wharf, Mazagaon, Mora (Uran).
- Ferry Wharf, Mazagaon, Rewas (near Mandwa). These are in budget range.
- Gateway of India, Rewas. Fast boats and Catamarans operated by private operators. Service approximately every two hours, suspended during the monsoon season, i.e. May-Oct. From Rewas, take a bus or car to Alibag.
- Hill Stations — following are some of the hill stations that can be weekend gateways from Mumbai:
- Matheran (102 km, 1.5hrs) — can be reached both by road and by train. For train option, take a suburban train to Neral and take hour long toy train to reach Matheran top. Alternatively it can be climbed
- Lonavala (111.5 km, 1.5hrs) — best reached by road. Suburban trains do not ply to Lonavala, and may need to exchange train at Karjat or take en route long long distance train
- Khandala (101 km, 1.5hrs) — check Lonavala
- Dapoli| (200 km S - by bus) -is a popular hill station also beaches, historical temples, caves and forts scattered around
- Mahabaleshwar (242 km, 7hrs) — best reached by road
- Lots of nearby destinations can be reached by short flights: Goa, Ahmedabad, Karachi and Rajkot, to name a few.
|Routes through Mumbai|
|Vadodara ← Surat ←||N S||→ Navi Mumbai → Pune|