Comprising the neighborhoods of Dharavi, Matunga, Vadala, Sion, and Mahim, the northern boundary of this district is where the city ends and the suburbs start. But this distinction has been steadily blurring since 1945 when the city and suburbs were merged into an entity called "Greater Bombay" (The official preferred term is Brihanmumbai, which means the same thing.) The only remnant of this distinction is the fact that autorickshaws cannot enter the "city" limits.
This is a solidly middle-class district, which developed due to immigration after independence (in 1947). The Sindhis and Punjabis were refugees from the partition. They settled in Sion and parts of Matunga. Another prominent community to settle here were the South Indians, especially Tamils. They settled in Matunga and Vadala areas. The poorer migrants from Tamil Nadu settled in Dharavi, which was essentially a drained out swamp. So Dharavi turned into Asia's largest slum.
The district is not a tourist haunt, but if you want a slice of Chennai in the city, you could visit King's Circle, Matunga and explore some of the bylanes. This is one rare district where the roads are actually walkable, as the footpaths in the Sion Circle and King's Circle area are well-maintained and free of hawkers and other encroachments.
This district is very well-connected with the rest of Mumbai. All three of Mumbai's local railway lines pass through this area. The Central railway stations are Sion and Matunga. The Western railway stations are Matunga Road (not to be confused with the Matunga station on the Central line) and Mahim. The Harbour line stations of Vadala, Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar and Chunna Bhatti also lie in this region. In addition, the Western-Harbour link runs through this region and there has a stop at King's Circle.
The Eastern express highway runs as far as Sion and runs into a perennial traffic jam at one point. Then it changes over to the Dr. Ambedkar road that runs all the way to South Mumbai. Road connectivity with the Central line is not that good. The roads exist, but are very crowded. BEST buses in the series 1-199 that serve South Mumbai also serve this area and are very frequent.
- 1 Astika Samaj Ram Temple (Matunga Khocu Guruyauor Temple, Astika Samaj Kochu Guruvayoorappan Temple), Bhandarkar Marg, (Matunga Stn.).
- 2 Don Bosco Church and School, Nathalal Parekh Marg ? Matunga East, Mumbai 19 (Kings Circle Station). A very special and tranquil church. This is probably the most prominent landmark in this area.
- 3 Mahim Fort remains (Marathi: माहीम किल्ला), Mahim Causeway (from Mahim Junction Stn. 0.7 km west). Strategically located in the Mahim Bay, the fort overlooks Worli to the south, Bandra to the north, and Mahim to the east. The origins of the fort are unclear, but it occupies a strategic location that has been frequently contested. The fort is in disrepair, suffering from administrative neglect, encroachment of slums, and exposure to tidal erosion. Large boulders are strewn on the sand and crevices as high as 3 metres (15 feet) are visible.
- 4 St. Michael Church, Mori Road, Mahim (from Mahim Junction Stn. 0.5 km west), ☏ .
- 5 Shree Marubai Gavdevi Mandir (Marubai Gaondevi Temple), Dr. Ambedkar Marg (Matunga Stn.). Around 1700s this area was called Marubai Tekdi Gaon, which is said was shortened to MaTunGa (Matunga). Marubai is the traditional Gaondevi (village Goddess) of Matunga whose small temple existed under a peepal tree at King's Circle.
- 6 Sitladevi Temple, Mahim West, Mahim. (from Mahim Junction Stn. 0.5 km SW - near Lady Jamshedji Rd and Sitladevi Road corner). A very old temple and a must-see.
- Jesuit chapel (Near to Sion railway station). In 1543, the Portuguese took possession of the islands of Bombay by force, naming it Sião. The Portuguese gave the Jesuit priests the sole ownership of some of these islands. The Jesuits then built a chapel on the hill near the present-day and named it after Mount Zion (Sion) in Jerusalem.
- 7 Sion Hillock Fort (Sion Killa), Sion East, Air Force Quarters, Sion (Jawaharlal Nehru Garden (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Udyan) - Sion Stn. 300 m). It was built by the British Governor of Bombay Gerard Aungier atop a conical hillock. The hillock is a few metres from the Sion railway station. Sion was the boundary between British-held Parel island and Portuguese held Salsette Island and the castle marked the northeast boundary of their possession. The fort was built between 1669 and 1677. The fort is dilapidated and a collection of broken stone steps, scattered walls and ruins, overrun by trees and ground cover. The fort wall has a small room on top. A series of pathways lead to it. The fort offers a panoramic view, overlooking the salt pans in the Thane Creek. However vandalism and apathy have taken toll on the structure.
Wadala (also spelled Vadala, formerly spelt Wuddala) is a locality of the city of Mumbai. Wadala Road is a station on the Harbour Line of Mumbai's railway network. In clockwise order connected: Sion (North), SaltPans, Thane Creek (East), Sewri (South), Parel (Southwest), Dadar (West) last two are part of South Central Mumbai and Matunga (Northwest).
- 8 Bahá'í Cemetery (Bohri Cemetery), Bhoiwada Samshan Bhoomi Rd, New Police Lines, Wadala (between Wadala and Sewri Stn.).
- 9 Balaji Temple, Nandkarni Park, Antop Hill, Wadala (Wadala Stn). It celebrates the Jatra festival each year in the month of January.
- 10 Barkat Ali Dargah, Nandkarni Park, Antop Hill (on a hill where the bridge connecting Wadala East to Wadala West ends). Landmark.
- BEST Transport Museum (at Wadala’s Anik bus depot). It features amateur mini models of BEST buses and the ancient trams.
- 11 Chinese Cemetery (Sewri Cemetery?), Jerbai Wadia Rd, MHADA Colony, Wadala.
- 12 Devi Mandir (Pimpaleshwar Mahadev Mandir), Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Azad Nagar, Wadala.
- Gurudwara near Wadala station..
- 13 Hanuman temple (Albela Hanuman Mandir), Katrak Road, Parsi Colony, Wadala (~Tilak Road).
- 14 IMAX dome theater, Bit outskirts on Eastern Express Highway, Near wadala truck terminus (Bakhti Park Station). The world's largest IMAX dome theater, in 2008.
- 15 Krishna Temple, David S. Baretto Road, Wadala or Balkrishna Sule Marg, Wadla Village, Wadala.
- 16 Lord Ram temple (Ram Mandir), Nr. Signal, Wadala (West). Founded in the 15th century.
- 17 Our Lady of Dolours Church (St. Joseph Church), DS Baretto Road, Matunga East (Wadala Road Stn).
- 18 Pathan Mosque, Sewri Cross Road, Madhav Nagar, Wadala (From Wadala Stn South).
- St. Dominic Savio Church, Wadala East. This church, built in 1981, was the first of Mumbai churches to be on the first floor.
- 19 Shiv Temple, Sewri Wadala Road, Wadla Village, Wadala (From Wadala Stn North 0.8km).
- 20 Vidyalankar Educational Campus, Vidyalankar College Marg, Wadala (East) (~15 minute walk from the Wadala Railway Station, - Dadar Railway station is also very near to the college and can be reached to by bus 110 in approximately ~25 minute), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. The area of it is ~4.5 ha. The campus comprises 3 buildings, 2 gardens, a football field, a volleyball ground and also a cricket pitch. A canteen and a cafe both offer a wide range of food and beverages. There is a library with a reading hall which is open 6 days a week and on Sundays when exams are approaching. Vidyalankar has won the Honour Award from Designshare, New York, USA for its innovative design. The structure boasts of gateless campus, a man-size chess board, an amphitheatre and a multi purpose zone for students to chill
- Vitthal Temple (Vitthal Mandir) (near the Wadala station). This is a 400-year-old Temple built by Sant Tukaram who brought the idol from Pandharpur, home of the original temple of Lord Vithal. The temple is known as Prati Pandharpur (Pandharpur temple’s replica). One of the many one day festivals in Mumbai has been held in this temple to devote Lord Vitthal on Ashadhi Ekadashi (According to Hindu Calendar) in June/July.
- 1 RA Poddar college of commerce, Matunga Central.
- 2 Ramnarain Ruia College of Arts and Science, Matunga Central.
- 3 University Institute of Chemical Technology (UICT).
- 4 Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute — Premier Engineering Institute, H R Mahajani Marg, Matunga East, Wadala (Matunga Station 0.5 km), ☏ .
- Welingkar Institute of Management, Matunga Central (opp Matunga Gymkhana (Club)).
- 1 Five Gardens (between Matunga and Dadar.). Take a walk in the mornings.
- 2 Slum tours (Be The Local Tours and Travel), Shop No: 5, Ground floor, 154 Dharavi Main Road, Dharavi, Mumbai-17. (from Sion Railway Station 0.8 km west), ☏ . Three times daily, tours range from 1-3½ hours. The Dharavi slum is a breathtaking, overwhelming experience at the heart of this part of Mumbai, with a massive recycling industry, ultra-dense housing, and both poverty and wealth existing in close proximity. Seeing the slum firsthand is safer and easier under the auspices of a professional guide such as Fahim Vora, based in Dharavi. The longer tours are only slightly more expensive and worth the extra time, traveling through the slum's factories, bakeries, dwellings and schools, and interacting with local residents. Call to book or book online. ₹350 for a short tour, ₹500 for a 3½ hour tour.
- 1 Matunga Market (Matunga Stn. 50m).
- 2 Secondhand books, streets of King's circle, Matunga. Dirt cheap prices, but many of them are pirated and the quality of paper is not very good.
- Guru kripa (Supplier of samosas to almost all the cinema theatres in the city) (off Sion Circle).
- Peninsula (near Sion circle).
- Classic (Decent Pav Bhaji and Masala pav) (opposite Don Bosco School).
- Chinaman (near Ruia College, Matunga). Great Chinese resto at a purely reasonable rate.
- Garnish (near Arora Theatre, Matunga). New place with Chinese, South Indian food.
- Anand Bhavan (near Maheshwari Udyan).
- Amba Bhavan (near the Asthika Samaj Temple).
- Cafe Mysore (The Oldest Udupi restaurant in Mumbai, serving South Indian food) (near Maheshwari Udyaan, Matunga).
- Cafe Madras (near Maheshwari Udyaan, Matunga).
- Manis Lunch Home (Great South Indian Snacks) (near Ruia College, Matunga).
- 'Rama Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding (Lip-smacking South Indian thali served on a banana leaf) (near Matunga railway station). ₹80.
- Sarada Bhavan (opposite Matunga railway station).
- Cafe Coffee Day, Matunga. For the coffee lovers.
- Hotel Ashray International, Plot - 12, Road, No 1 Sion, ☏ , , . Check-in: 260708, check-out: 280708. This is a two-star hotel close to Sion railway station. ₹2879/night (as of Feb 2012).