Day trips from Mumbai

“Mumbai may not be my city. But it’s my kind of city.” -Vikas Swarup

Once you are done exploring the urban landscape of Mumbai, you may be ready to head out on an adventure out of town.  As you can imagine, there are lots of options for day trips in and around the city.  The state of Maharashtra has amazing culture, history, and wildlife within a one day drive.  Below are a few ideas to get you started on some out-of-town excursions.

  1. Sula & other vineyards
    1. Did you know that not too far from Mumbai you can actually rosé all day? Believe it or not, nearby Nashik – the wine capital of India – is now home to a budding vineyard industry. Plus, you can get the full Napa experience of scenic views, delicious reds and whites, and a day or weekend full of activities. Located about three hours outside of Mumbai in Nashik is Sula Vineyards, which is home to three restaurants, a spa, a wine store, and much more. If you only have a day, check out the engaging winemaking tour, during which you can learn about the whole wine production process from vine to bottle. Or maybe try the wine tasting, where you’ll get a sample of six of Sula’s best wines. The vineyard is also an ideal spot for a picnic with family or friends, in the fresh air of the countryside. If you have a whole weekend, Sula is also a great getaway option from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. The vineyard offers guests luxury resort accomodations at Beyond by Sula and The Source by Sula, where you can spend a cozy weekend full of pampering, relaxation, and of course, wine. Even if you don’t particularly love the drink, you’ll be glad you went, if only for the idyllic views of rolling green acres as far as the eye can see. And in February, the vineyard hosts a well-known music festival with international and local acts. If you’re planning on making a trip to Sula, we recommend going on a weekday as Sula can get quite crowded on weekends. Other nearby vineyards outside of Mumbai worth a visit include Grover Zampa (3h drive from Mumbai), York Winery (3h45m from Mumbai), Soma (3h45m from Mumbai), Vallonne Vineyards (3h from Mumbai), Four Seasons Winery (5h from Mumbai), and Fratelli Vineyards (6h from Mumbai).
  1. Lonavala and Khandala
    1. About an hour and forty-five minutes drive from Mumbai are the stunning hills of Lonavala and Khandala (just 4km apart) in Pune, famous for their natural beauty, lush scenery, magnificent waterfalls, scenic lakes, and ancient caves. Out in the fresh air of the two hill stations, you’ll slowly get reacquainted with nature as you drive through the rolling hills and valleys, or hike the many paths available to trekkers. If you’re renting a car and driving, some points of attraction to check off your list include Bhushi Dam (full of waterfalls), Lohgad and Korigad forts (timeworn hill forts), the Bhaja and Karla caves (ancient Buddhist caves), Nagphani (also known as the Duke’s Nose; a scenic hike for a jaw-dropping bird’s eye view), and Lion’s Point (for other excellent views of the valleys). In Lonavala, you can stop for the town’s famous chikki candy (similar to peanut brittle). We recommend you leave early in the morning from Mumbai to maximize your experience and see as much as possible. Though the two hill stations are at their greenest during monsoon season (June and September; and arguably their most photogenic time of the year) it may be a bit wet and slippery, so best to go when conditions are more favorable (April-June).

       3. Elephanta Caves

    1. The surrounding areas of Mumbai are famous for their beautiful and ancient Hindu and Buddhist caves. One of the most famous cave complexes is right outside of the city, and you don’t even need a car to visit. The famous Elephanta Caves, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a great option for those who don’t want to venture out too far from Mumbai. Accessible by ferry from the Gateway of India, the trip takes about an hour to reach the rock-cut caves. Though much about the seven caves still remains unknown, the caves’ art and archeological remains point to the cult of Shiva. Researchers estimate the caves were built between the 5th-6th centuries AD, though much of the rest of its history remains lost to us today. The largest cave (Cave 1) hosts a seven-meter-tall sculpture representing the three aspects of Shiva: creator, preserver, and destroyer. You’ll be captivated by the intricate carvings, sculptures, and engravings across the five accessible caves in the complex. When you arrive at the site, you can pay a small fee for a train to take you to the top, or if you’re feeling a little more athletic, feel free to walk the fifteen minutes up 120 steep steps to the cave entrance, but be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes. We suggest you explore the caves on your own, as you don’t necessarily need a guide to enjoy their magnificence. The first ferry leaves the Gateway of India jetty at 9:00am and costs Rs 150, with subsequent ferries leaving every 30 minutes until 2:00pm. The Elephanta Caves are open from 9:30am-5:30 pm and cost Rs 40 for locals, Rs 600 for foreigners. The ferry does not operate/the caves are closed on Mondays.
  1. Alibaug
    1. Want a break from history? Maybe you’re craving some fun in the sun instead. A little over two hours from Mumbai lies Alibaug, a beachfront town where you can unwind, relax, and soak up some rays. Though the eponymous Alibaug beach is the city’s most popular destination, there are many other beautiful beaches nearby if you just want to take it easy on the sand. And if you’re really craving some outdoor time, you can now even camp on the beach overnight. Perhaps you would prefer to rev up your adrenaline with water sports? If so, the town has plenty of options including parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, and wakeboarding. Either way, the city offers a variety of activities for all kinds of visitors. The city is also well-known for its fresh seafood, so make sure to indulge for lunch or dinner by trying some freshly caught fare at a local restaurant (enhanced by the local flavors of spices). In case you are indeed missing your daily dose of history on this particular day trip, the nearby Kolaba Fort is a great option to dive back into the past. Built 300 years ago, it was a historic military fortress built by the Maratha kings. Another 20 minutes away lies the Revdanda Fort, which the Portuguse built in the 16th century. Farther out at sea you can find the Murud Janjira Fort – but you’ll need to catch one of the local boats to get there!
  1. Matheran
    1. Another green oasis outside of Mumbai is the scenic Matheran – a hill station 90km away, devoid of vehicles. Visitors are able to breathe some of the freshest air outside of Mumbai and catch some of the most stunning sunrises and sunsets. Since cars are not allowed, visitors must head to Neral Station, from which they can take the toy train which runs to Matheran four times daily. Because tickets sell out fast, we recommend arriving as early as you can to claim your spot. Another option is driving and parking at the Dasturi car point, and taking a mini bus shuttle from Karjat or Neral railway stations upto Dasturi (from where you will need to take a horseback or rickshaw ride to Matheran). Throughout Matheran, visitors can hike on the various trails – enjoying some spectacular panoramic views from the nearly three dozen viewpoints (including Echo Point and Panorama Point). Sportier visitors even try out rock climbing and rappelling. The peaceful Lake Charlotte is another popular tourist spot with a beautiful waterfall, and surrounded by forest. One of the best times to visit is right after monsoon season as the blossoming flowers will attract masses of butterflies. There are plenty of food options in Matheran as well, in case you get hungry after all your walks in the wild, as well as a range of accommodation options if you prefer to stay overnight.
  1. Raigad Fort
    1. Only 100km outside of Mumbai, you can find the Raigad Fort – a perfect spot for a day trip, and opportunity to go back in time. The hill fort was once the capital city of the Maratha Kingdom in the 17th century. Today, its remaining ruins have somewhat been overtaken by nature, but the fort remains an incredible historical site worth visiting. During monsoon season in particular, the whole fort turns green with the lush vegetation of the surrounding area coming back to life, making for some excellent photo opps and panoramic views. To get to the top, you’ll need to hike up over 1500 steps, so make sure you bring some comfortable shoes for the two hour climb up! But once you ascend to the top, you’ll soon realize that the breathtaking views from the top were definitely worth all the effort. For those a little less willing to break a sweat, a cable car is also available – but be sure to arrive early; the wait on weekends can be quite long (sometimes up to three or four hours). Once up at the fort, some excellent guides are available to help you make your way around the fort and dive deeper into the history.
  1. Harishchandragad
    1. Starting to notice a theme about getting out of Mumbai? You got it – luscious and green landscapes abound when you leave the city. Another such option to explore on a day trip out of Mumbai is Harishchandragad, an ancient hill fort reaching over 1400 meters, located about three hours from the city. Though historical details are scarce, the fort is estimated to have been built in the sixth century, with its caves being carved out nearly five centuries later. If you’re taking public transportation from Mumbai, take the bus headed to Malshej Ghat and get off at Khubi Phata village, where the trek to the hill station starts. If you arrive sans guide or map, don’t fret – you’ll easily be able to find a local guide in the village. Not the strongest hiker? Don’t worry either. Harishchandragad has hikes for all ability and endurance levels – from a few hours to a few days (and everything in between). While hiking, you’ll want to be sure you get to see the Temple of Lord Shiva (in the Kedareshwar Cave) on your hike, which is partly emerged in water during most of the year (though visitors should note that the cave is not accessible during monsoon season). Moreover, the cave appears to be held up by one solitary and remaining pillar (the other three have since crumbled). Legend says that the end of time will come when the last pillar falls. Let’s see… For some picturesque panoramas and heaps of history, be sure to add Harishchandragad to your day trip list.

  1. Kanheri Caves
    1. Located in Sanjay Gandhi National Park right on the edge of Mumbai, the Kanheri Caves are another stunning set of Buddhist caves that attract visitors from all over India. Possibly dating back to the first century BC, the well-maintained Kanheri Cave complex comprises over 100 caves and once served as a Buddhist monastery. The caves (which require a bit of walking so bring good shoes) will stun visitors with the detail of their paintings, carvings, and sculptures – including massive stupas, Buddha statues, majestic pillars, and great halls. Given the sheer number of caves, we recommend hiring a tour guide to accompany you through the accessible caves to make the most of your experience. If you do decide to explore on your own, we recommend visiting caves 1-6, 11, 34, 41, and 67, as well as doing a little research on your own first to get the most out of your visit. As a bonus, don’t forget to climb to the uppermost part of the caves to catch a beautiful panoramic view of the forest and the outskirts of Mumbai. We recommend coming on a weekday if possible and arriving early to beat the crowds. And be careful with your snacks! The local monkeys are known to take them right out of your hands. The entrance to the caves is located approximately seven kilometers from the park entrance. You can drive, bus, cycle, or walk up to the caves (which are closed on Mondays).
  1. Pawna Lake/Rajmachi Fort
    1. The beautiful and secluded Pawna Lake (also known as Pavana Lake) is located just over 100km (3 hours) from Mumbai, and is surrounded by the majestic Sahyadri Ranges. The former dam has become extremely popular in recent years with Mumbai and Pune residents for both picnicking and camping. The massive reservoir offers a scenic and serene retreat to those looking to escape the noise of Mumbai for a day, or even a night or two. Over the past several years, numerous camping companies have also sprung up, offering visitors plenty of package options for all budget levels. Visitors to the lake can also easily partake in parasailing, boating, kayaking, and various other water sports, while taking in the incredible scenery all around them (and especially all the greenery post-monsoon season). The site is perfect for a day or weekend trip with friends or family, and is an excellent place to catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset, away from the smog and the noise of the city.
  1. Kamshet
    1. Kamshet – India’s capital of paragliding – attracts thrill seekers far and wide to soar over the region’s rolling hills. Only two hours away from Mumbai, visitors come mostly for the paragliding, taking off from the scenic Shinde Wadi hills. The village has plenty of reputable tour operators to choose from, so you can be sure to have a great experience while you’re flying through the skies. However, the village actually has way more to offer than just paragliding. Other outdoor activities including rock climbing and water sports are also available.The village is located just under 20km from Pawna Lake, so both trips can easily be combined into one. Treks to the nearby Visapur and Tikona Forts are also great options for those wanting to keep their heart rates up after a morning of paragliding. The Visapur Fort in particular offers an incredible trek up stairs submerged in a waterfall. You almost won’t believe your eyes. The nearby Bedse Caves – dating back to the first century – are another excellent option for history buffs, and can be visited along with the Bhaja and Karla caves. Though requiring quite a few steps uphill, the Bedse Caves’ intricate carvings are well worth the trip. Or if you’re feeling a little more spiritual, make a stop over at the Shri Durga Parameshwari or Kondeshwar Temples, for some peace, quiet, and meditation.

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Food in Mumbai

“You can’t live in this city, this city lives in you.” -Anonymous

 

Mumbai is home to a dizzying array of dishes, delicacies and dining establishments that will satisfy your every craving, and certainly have you coming back for seconds. Known especially for its cheap and delicious street food, Mumbai is every foodie’s dream. What makes Mumbai’s food scene especially unique however, is that it is truly a melting pot where the diverse culinary traditions and heritages from across India come together, thanks to decades of immgration into the city. From homegrown Mumbai staples like bhel puri to the Maharashtrain pav bhaji, the Parsi akuri to the Gujarati dhokla, and the Udupi kadubbu to the Punjabi chhole bhature, Mumbai has everything your stomach desires. Let’s talk about food!

  • Pav Bhaji
    • If you haven’t tried Pav Bhaji, then you probably haven’t been to Mumbai. Originating in the Maharashtra state and initially intended for workers, the thick and scrumptious curry is an incredibly popular dish for both locals and tourists in Mumbai. The pav in Pav Bhaji are the bread rolls, while bhavi means vegetables or a vegetable based dish. The rolls are heated on a large butter-coated griddle, while onions, garlic and ginger paste, chili powder, and tomatoes (and a special Pav Bhaji masala) are sauteed in butter. Add in an assortment of vegetables such as cauliflower, beans, potatoes, carrots, and peas, and there you have it. Some of the best places to find it in Mumbai include Canon Pav Bhaji, Shri Krishna Fast Food, or Sardar Pav Bhaji. Bon appetit!
  • Bhel Puri, Sev Puri, and Dahi Puri
    • Chaat describes a whole category of savory Mumbai street food, to include Bhel Puri, Sev Puri and Dahi Puri. Though recipes can differ depending on where you go, Bhel Puri typically consists of puffed rice, sev (tiny crunchy noodles), veggies (such as potatoes and onions), chat masala, and tamarind chutney. Depending on the venue, you might end up eating Bhel Puri on a plate, on flatbread, or even in a paper cone. You can find its cousin Sev Puri in both street stalls and sit-down restaurants. Although similar to Bhel Puri, Sev Puri typically begins with puri (deep-fried round bread) which is topped with potatoes, onions, and tamarind, chili, and garlic (or mint) chutneys. Of course, much like bhel puri, it is finally topped with sev. Dahi Puri is served in tiny puri shells which are stuffed with either chickpeas or potato, and topped with dahi (yogurt), typically one of three chutneys (mint, sweet, or chili), and of course you guessed it – sev. When it’s time to dig in, head over to Chowpatty and Juhu beaches to find some of the best options in town.
  • Misal Pav
    • Do you like your food on the hotter and spicier side? And do you like meals that can be eaten morning, noon, or night? Perfect! Look no further than the finger-licking delight of the Mumbai street food scene – Misal Pav. Also from Pune in the Maharashtra state, the dish can vary depending on where you order it from, but traditionally it mixes lentils, potato bhaji (potatoes with ginger, garlic, curry leaves), onions, tomato, and spices, topped off with a side of pav. Best place to try it in Mumbai? Check out Aaswad in Dadar, Aram (numerous locations) or Mamledar Misal (numerous locations).
  • Vada Pav
    • You certainly can’t forget to try Vada Pav while in Mumbai – and if you do forget, you’ll surely regret it! You can imagine Vada Pav like Mumbai’s version of the veggie burger – but deep fried, and even more delicious. What’s inside, you ask? The patty is made up of mashed potatoes and spices. After being deep fried, it’s sandwiched between a bun and topped with chutneys, coriander, chili, and other spices. Make sure to hit up Ashok Vada Pav for a taste experience you won’t soon forget. Khidki Vada and Aaram Vada Pav are also worth checking out too if you can’t make it to Ashok.
  • Akuri
    • Bored of your typical scrambled eggs for breakfast? Then it’s time to spice up your morning routine ASAP! Make sure you try Akuri while in Mumbai – a spicy scrambled egg Parsi dish that will start your day off right. The eggs are mixed with coriander, tomatoes, chilies, black pepper, and onions, and are usually served on toast. Though simple, the flavor combination has made Akuri one of the most well-known Parsi dishes in Mumbai, and a must-eat for both locals and visitors alike. Head over ASAP to Jimmy Boy to get your fill.
  • Frankie
    • Though native to Mumbai, the Frankie was actually inspired by Lebanese style shawarma wraps. Of course, Mumbai’s Frankie has taken on its own character and local flavors, becoming a popular and filling street snack. Made up of a chicken or mutton filling with potatoes, eggs, onions, and sauces, all this goodness is wrapped up into a hearty naan, rolled up for your convenience. Easy to eat on the go, the wrap is a convenient and popular option if you’re in a rush (or just don’t want to sit down to eat). Your best bet for the best Frankies in town is Tibbs (various locations in Mumbai). And if you’re vegetarian, don’t dismay – both Tibbs and Breadkraft offer delicious veggie alternatives.
  • Kheema Pav
    • Craving some more pav (bread rolls) in your diet? Maybe you loved the Pav Bhaji and the Misal Pav, but want to branch out and try something new. If that’s the case, it’s time to explore Kheema Pav – another delectable breakfast dish that can also be eaten for lunch or dinner. Sensing a trend here? (Yes – you can eat nearly everything whenever you want!) The parsi dish is made up of minced meat simmered in spices, served with a side of lemon, onions, and green chilis. Olympia Coffee House, Hotel Grant House, Prithvi Cafe, or Good Luck Bandra are all great options to try some Kheema Pav on your trip.
  • Dhokla
    • You must make sure to find your nearest Dhokla shop before leaving Mumbai. With over a dozen different varieties, gujarati Dhoklas are an essential part of many meals. In fact, they are so versatile that they can be eaten at breakfast, as an addition to your main course, as a side, or as an on-the-go snack. The rectangular and bite-size Dhoklas are made by steaming fermented chickpea batter and adding chilies, ginger, mustard seed, and other spices. Usually these delicious bites are served with a coriander chutney on the side. Without a doubt, your absolute best bet for the most authentic dhoklas in Mumbai is Rajubhai Dhoklawala.
  • Dosa
    • Though Dosa is native to southern India, it’s found a home among the locals of Mumbai. With a variety of different flavor combinations, you’ll have a hard time getting bored of this dish. The Dosa itself is a thin crepe-like wrap made of fermented rice, and is then stuffed or smeared with whatever tickles your fancy (and of course topped off with chutney). These days you can get anything from a Pizza Dosa, Chinese Dosa, Italian Dosa, or a Jini Dosa (Mumbai’s take on the classic). Juhu’s Nandu Dosa, Cafe Madras, and Anand Dosa Stall are excellent options to take care of your Dosa fix.
  • Batata Vada
    • Itching for more deep-fried goodness? Then Batata Vada is calling your name. These balls of mashed potato patties are smothered in chickpea flour and deep-fried, then topped with spices (including salt, chili powder, turmeric, ginger, and coriander) and served with green chutney or green chilies. Ubiquitous in the city, the crispy goodness on the outside is perfectly accompanied by the toasty, soft filling on the inside. Be sure to grab them right after they come out of the deep-fryer though…that’s when they taste their best. A great place to try these fritters is Trushna Batata Wada. But if you can’t make it there don’t worry – you can find these just about anywhere in Mumbai.
  • Falooda & Chai
    • We certainly can’t forget about beverages when talking about the best food in Mumbai. Inspired by the Iranian beverage of nearly the same name, Falooda is the Indian twist on a refreshing drink that will keep you cool in the Mumbai heat. The drink is made with vermicelli, rose syrup, sweet basil, milk, and sometimes served with ice cream. Variations include kulfi-topped Faloodas, fruity Faloodas, and bubble-tea style tapioca pearls. The best versions of this perfect summer drink (which is so rich it can basically be a meal on its own) can be found at Baba Falooda, the Haji Ali Juice Center, and Badshah Falooda.
    • Though not native, per se, to Mumbai, you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone drinking Chai. Milk is added to the strongly brewed tea, and then some masala or cardamom is usually mixed in as well. Cheap (5-15 rupees), warm, and relaxing, you simply can’t go wrong taking a few minutes to enjoy a nice cup of chai while exploring the city of dreams.

 

 

 

Art in Mumbai

“The thing about Mumbai is you go five yards and all of human existence is revealed. It’s an incredible cavalcade of life.” – Julian Sands

 

Mumbai – the city of dreams. The city with thousands of years of history. The city where all parts of India collide – young and old, traditional and contemporary, east and west, north and south. It’s no wonder then that the city is home to a thriving and flourishing arts scene that attracts visitors from across India and beyond. From eye-catching street art to landmark historical institutions, and experimental collaborative art spaces to high-brow galleries, Mumbai offers art lovers of all persuasions a chance to get lost in the creativity, colors, and currents of its many creators and creations.

Galleries

  • Mumbai Art Room
    • Founded in 2011, the small but innovative Mumbai Art Room exists as an experimental space for contemporary art, design, and visual exhibits from around the world. It also serves as a dynamic and accessible training center for future curators from both India and abroad, and aspires to inspire and mold the next generation of art curators as they launch their careers and bring art to the world. Exhibits at the Mumbai Art Room rotate periodically, so you’ll always have a chance to catch a new piece.
  • Chemould
    • Gallery Chemould – one of the oldest commercial galleries in India – traces its roots back to 1963, but this doesn’t mean its offerings are stuck in the past. With a rotating selection of contemporary pieces, the small but spacious gallery offers exhibitions, artist talks, and much more. Across its history, the gallery has been a key part of the success of numerous notable modern and contemporary artists in India, so if you’re lucky you might even get to see the work of India’s next big name on display. Guests are often taken by the gallery’s architectural charm, as it’s housed in an old heritage building. A particularly helpful and friendly curatorial staff also awaits you when you visit!
  • NGMA
    • If you’re looking for a more institutional experience with which to explore modern art in Mumbai, the National Gallery of Modern Art is the spot for you, especially if you have a bit more time on your hands. Just like with all large museums, you can visit the NGMA multiple times and still not see all the paintings and sculptures on display. Luckily, the museum has free guided walks to help you make your way through all the treasures it has to offer (though the museum is well-organized and well-labeled, so feel free to stroll around on your own too!). In addition to the galleries, the NGMA also offers workshops, talks, film screenings, childrens’ events, and performances.
  • Jehangir
    • Visitors love to flock to the Jehangir art gallery, where entry is free and you get a unique chance to meet some of the artists whose work you’re seeing. The gallery has been an important hub for the development of India’s contemporary art scene since its inception in 1952. Presently, it hosts over 300 shows every year. Though cozy, the gallery has an excellent collection of exhibitions and artists (both more traditional and modern), and rotates frequently – meaning every visit feels like the first time. From installations, to photography, and paintings to mixed media, the Jehangir gallery truly caters to every taste. But perhaps the best part of this gallery is that you can actually buy some of the pieces exhibited if you so desire. So make sure you bring your pocket book, and head over soon to one of Mumbai’s most storied galleries.
  • Project 88
    • Housed in a former metal printing press, Project 88 is one of Mumbai’s most dynamic and visually engaging art spaces today. Some have gone as far as to say the space is “the future of contemporary art in South Asia.” Opened in 2006, the must-visit gallery hosts mostly experimental works across all media forms, simultaneously championing emerging artists and engaging with respected mid-career artists. Exhibitions rotate periodically, and the gallery regularly participates in the city’s art fairs and gallery weekends.

  • Bhau Daji Lad Museum
    • The Bhau Daji Lad Museum, one of the oldest museums in the city, is another institutional must-visit for art lovers coming to Mumbai, and particularly those interested in learning more about the history of the city. Built in 1872, the stunning landmark houses over 15,000 pieces (including photography, books, maps, textiles, and more) focusing on Mumbai’s long history. A visit to the museum is even worth it for the architecture alone. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the scale of it all? Not to worry – the museum offers free public tours in English every Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am. The museum, which also houses a cafe and a shop, often features contemporary exhibitions, as well as musical, dance, and theater performances.
  • Jhaveri Contemporary
    • Opened in 2010 by the Jhaveri sisters, the seafront Jhaveri Contemporary gallery has already featured the likes of the world-renowned Anish Kapoor, so you know you’re in for a treat. The premier art gallery, which is nestled in a 130-year-old mansion, combines old and new. It explores cross-generational artistry, typically featuring four modern artists prominent and 12 contemporary artists at once. The gallery also engages in original scholarship to further discussions around contemporary art, South Asia, psychology, and other subjects intertwined with the work displayed.
  • Chatterjee & Lal
    • The Chatterjee & Lal gallery is another must-see in Mumbai. Founded in 2003, it was originally opened to provide a platform for emerging artists – something that did not yet exist in Mumbai. However, with the dramatic growth of Mumbai’s contemporary arts scene, the gallery has been able to help shape the development, and grow to accommodate both emerging and more established artists. Since its opening, the gallery has weaved in more historical pieces and artists to help capture and document the development of the city’s contemporary art scene, while still focusing primarily on exhibiting art being produced today. Featuring performance art, photography, sculpture, video installations, paintings, and drawings, the space is an amalgamation of the impressive array of Indian and South Asian artists that are making names for themselves today. The owners – husband and wife team Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal – hope to continue adding more international artists as the gallery continues to evolve and grow along with the city’s contemporary art scene.

Mumbai Art Room – Pipewala Building, Fourth Pasta Lane, Colaba; Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-7pm

Chemould – 3rd Floor, Queens Mansion  G Talwatkar Marg, Fort Mumbai

NGMA – Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai; Open Tuesday-Friday, 11am to 6pm, Saturday & Sunday: 11am-8pm (Closed on Mondays)

Jehangir – 161- Kala Ghoda, Mumbai; Open daily, 11am-7pm

Project 88 – BMP Building, Ground Floor N.A. Sawant Marg  Colaba, Mumbai; Open Monday-Saturday, 11am-6:30pm

Bhau Daji Lad Museum – Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan (Rani Baug),  91/A, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road Byculla East; Open Thursday to Tuesday, 10am-6pm (closed Wednesdays)

Jhaveri Contemporary – 3rd Floor Devidas Mansion 4 Mereweather road Apollo Bandar Colaba; Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-7pm

Chatterjee & Lal – 01/18 Kamal Mansion Floor 1 Arthur Bunder Road Colaba; Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-7pm

Artists to check out

  • Shilpa Gupta
    • You’ll find it hard to look away from the work’s of one of Mumbai’s most unique contemporary artists, Shilpa Gupta. Born in 1976 in Mumbai, Gupta has exhibited her work in prestigious galleries around the world, and has received numerous international accolades and awards. She is perhaps best known for her animated light installation project, “My East is Your West” – a two-person joint India-Pakistan exhibition which was featured at the 56th Venice Biennale. Gupta is also a published author and her works of art can be seen in numerous galleries across Mumbai.
  • Jitish Kallat
    • Jitish Kallat, born in Mumbai in 1974, is another local artist to check out during your visit to the city. Kallat works across a variety of mediums – including painting, photography, drawing, video, and sculpture – and has had his pieces exhibited around the world including at the Tate Modern, Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, and the Kunst Museum. His work is deeply shaped by the city of his birth and residence, and in it he explores topics such as the city’s socioeconomic divide and political development. His pieces have also been featured locally at the CSMVS and Bhau Daji Lad Museums in Mumbai.
  • Nandan Ghiya
    • Born in 1980 in Rajasthan, Nandan Ghiya received no formal art training, but continues to impress audiences with eye-catching mixed media works in which he digitally manipulates studio portraits to create a set of contemporary images that seem to crisscross time. In his works, Ghiya explores India’s colonial past, cultural identities, and the idea of the individual, and how technology can dramatically shape our perception and understanding of these concepts.
  • Reena Saini Kallat
    • Reena Saini Kallat, a Mumbai-based multimedia artist known for her drawing, photography, sculpture, and video pieces, focuses on the past and our understanding of it. Born in New Delhi in 1973, her sometimes (literally) larger-than-life works also explore topics of migration and cultural identity, bureaucracy, the individual vis-a-vis the state, cultural amnesia, climate change and the environment. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is currently being shown in the United States, Paraguay, and Switzerland.
  • Atul Dodiya
    • One of the pioneers of contemporary Indian art, Atul Dodiya, makes his home in Mumbai where he explores popular culture, literature, cinema, socioeconomics, and globalization to inform his multimedia work. Born in 1959, Dodiya is perhaps most famous for his 1999 artistic series on Mahatma Gandhi. His works have been featured internationally, and also locally at venues such as the Chemould Gallery and Bodhi Art.

Things to do in Mumbai

Colors whirling past you in a flurry. A panoply of scents wafting through the air with every step. A warm breeze enveloping you all year long. Cheap and delicious eats on every corner, at whatever hour you want. Car horns blaring, people yelling, towering buildings, and bustling slums. Millions of people jostling to get around you. Over twenty million to be precise. Move over New York; Mumbai is the city of cities – the true city that never sleeps. The cosmopolitan hub is a melting pot of India, with residents hailing from all over the country and all religions practiced here. Mumbai offers nightlife and nature; sea and skyscrapers. Home to both the country’s financial capital and Bollywood, Mumbai is the perfect juxtaposition of business and fun. The city will excite you with its lively spirit and all it has to offer, and watch out – you may just fall in love at first sight.

 

Top 10 things to do in Mumbai

“People say there is so much to learn from a sea, waves, sunset, sky and people. And so Marine Drive is my favorite place.”

– Prajakta Mhadnak

1. Take a walking tour of Colaba, Victoria Terminus, Marine Drive, and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Kala Ghoda

Mumbai can certainly be a lot to handle for a first-time visitor to the city. To help get your bearings, why not kick off your trip with some of the main attractions to help orient yourself and get acquainted with the city of dreams. If you just landed and are still feeling a little jetlagged we suggest a half-day tour to get your feet wet, so to speak (from the comfort of a car with a private tour). But if you’re ready and raring to go, we recommend a full-day city walking tour to get the fullest possible introduction to the city and see sites like the the gorgeous Victoria Terminus, take a walk down the scenic Marine Drive, enjoy a high tea at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, get lost in the Kala Ghoda art district, or snap some shots of the Gateway of India in Colaba. Nervous about getting around and looking to go with a guide? No Footprints, Raconteur Walks, and Khaki Tours all have a wide range of options for half and full-day guided tours to cater to your needs (walking or private car) and specific interests (history, heritage, culture, art, food, and more). We recommend group or private tour experiences in Mumbai as they are relatively well-priced, more intimate and more manageable given how busy the streets already are.

2. Discover some of Mumbai’s best street eats

Mumbai is home to a plethora of amazing street eateries to satisfy your every craving, whether sweet, salty, spicy – or everything in one. While there is a place to try on nearly every corner, we have a few favorites including: Bademiya (Colaba), Sardar’s (Tulsiwadi), Shrikrishna or Anand Stall (Dadar Market), Ashok Vada Pav (near Dadar Beach), Crawford Market, the food stalls across from the Victoria Terminus/BMC Headquarters, the stalls at Chowpatty and Juhu beaches, Zaveri Bazaar Street, and Mohammed Ali Road. Not sure what to try? We recommend bhelpuri (puffed rice and sev (crunchy noodles), with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and chutney), pani puri (a crunchy puri stuffed with potatoes, chickpeas, spices, chutney, and flavored water), batata vada (mashed potato patty topped with deep-fried chickpea flour, mixed with spices and served with chutney), vada pav (a delicious deep fried potato patty topped with chutneys and spices), kebabs (for the non-vegetarians), sev puri (puri – a kind of chip – with onions, coriander, mashed potatoes, sev, tamarind, garlic, and chili), pav bhaji (a mix of vegetables and spices potatoes and tomatoes, alongside some buttery toasted bread), and a nice chai or lassi (a classic!) to wash everything down.

3. Dive into the art scene with the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Jehangir Art Gallery, Crawford Market, and Chor Bazaar

 Though most wouldn’t necessarily think of Mumbai as a go-to arts destination, a budding arts scene celebrating both contemporary and more traditional artistry is starting to attract visitors from across India and around the world. Luckily, most of the city’s main art galleries are clustered in the south of the city in Colaba, the unofficial art district, making it easy to explore the art scene in depth. If you’re interested in Mumbai’s heritage and history, we recommend first checking out the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, which has free public tours in English every Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am. Or check out the National Gallery of Modern Art, which has free guided walks daily at 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm. Closer to central Colaba you can find the Jehangir Art Gallery, which has been promoting contemporary Indian art since 1952 across its four exhibition rooms. Other great galleries to check out in Colaba include Project 88, Chemould, and Tarq. Have a penchant for architecture? Check out the historic Crawford Market, which features Norman, Flemish, and Victorian styles and an impressive clock tower. Or perhaps you’re looking for some handmade pieces within your budget to bring home? Look no further than the Chor Bazaar, where you’ll be able to find colorful handicrafts, antiques, bronze statues, and much more.

Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Indian nationals: Adults – Rs 10, Children – Rs 5; International visitors: Adult – Rs 100, Children – Rs 50; closed on Wednesdays; Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan (Rani Baug),  91/A, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road Byculla East)

National Gallery of Modern Art (Children – free, Indian nationals Rs 20, International visitors Rs 500; closed Mondays;Jaipur House, India Gate)

Jehangir Art Gallery (Free entry; 161B, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda)

4. Visit Mumbai’s most famous restaurants

You can’t say you’ve been to Mumbai if you’ve never set foot in Britannia or Swati Snacks. Described as “iconic,” “just wow,” “worth the hype,” “excellent,” and “must visit,” it’s no wonder these restaurants have hungry fans lining up at their doors. Britannia & Co., founded in 1923, is a staple of the Mumbai food scene that serves both traditional Parsi food (Iranian-influenced) and typical Indian dishes. The family-run business – now in its third-generation – is one of the few remaining relics of Parsi café culture in Mumbai, stuffing the bellies of its patrons with sizeable portions and home cooked feel. Swati Snacks was founded in 1963, at which time it only served a few home-made chaats and hand-churned ice cream. Still aspiring to recreate traditional dishes and authentic, homemade food, Swati Snacks has grown to three hugely popular restaurants today, with two in Mumbai. Though the menu is vegetarian, meat eaters won’t even notice given how tasty every item on the menu is. Other great options include Cafe Madras, Bombay Canteen, Soham, and Trishna. Bon appetit!

 

Britannia & Co.

Wakefield House, 16, 11, Sport Rd, opp. New Custom House, Ballard Estate; Opening Hours: 12:00pm to 4:00pm, Saturdays until 10:00pm, closed Sundays; +91 22 2261 5264

 

Swati Snacks (http://swatisnacks.com)

Tardeo Branch (248 Karai Estate, Opp. Bhatia Hospital); Opening Hours: 12:00pm to 10:45pm daily; +91 9029891205 / 6 / 7

Nariman Point (Dalamal Tower, Free Press Journal Marg Nariman Point); Opening Hours: 12:00pm to 10:45pm daily; +91 22 6666-6880

5. Make your way to Bandra – an up and coming neighborhood in Mumbai 

Bandra has come to be known as one of the coolest suburbs of Mumbai, and for good reason. The neighborhood features the Castella De Aguada (otherwise known as the Bandra fort) – one of many relics from the Portuguese, eye-catching street art in Ranwar, the Bandstand promenade where you can take a scenic walk at sunset, and plenty of great food stalls, restaurants, bars, and pubs which have helped to make Bandra a happening food scene in Mumbai. The neighborhood is full of hotspots including Bonobo (food & cocktails), Pali Bhavan (food), Ferry Wharf (food), Veranda (food), House of Nomad (cocktails), Toast and Tonic (cocktails), The Daily (cocktails), and Toto’s Garage (bar food & drinks). Continue the party after hours at Bandra Base for live music or Bonobo for a mix of live music and electronic. Try to rub elbows with celebrities at House of Nomad, head over to Bora Bora or Drop to dance all night long, or chill at Escobar with its open rooftop and relaxed vibe. If you’re not in the mood for some nightlife, check out The Cuckoo Club instead for some stand-up comedy shows that will have you laughing all night long.

 

Some of the city’s best street art is found in Bandra, which has become known across Mumbai for its eye-catching murals and painting-lined streets such as Waroda, Bazaar, Chapel, and Saint Veronica Roads. The neighborhood is also a shopping paradise, with Linking Road (Bandra West) lined with stall after stall selling everything your heart desires. Hill Road is another great option to get in your shopping fix, but don’t forget to bargain!

Looking for a little more peace and quiet? Bandra is home to the Mount Mary Church (also known as Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount), which hosts the famous Bandra fair in September. Not too far away, you’ll find St. Andrew’s Church – which was built in 1575, making it one of Mumbai’s oldest buildings. If you’re thirsty after your walk up to the basilica, stop into the charming and well-loved Taj Mahal Tea House to enjoy some delicious local blends and light snacks, and if you’re lucky, a chance to catch some live music.

6. Unleash your inner foodie in the city

Mumbai is known for its incredible food scene, and you can find options for all budgets. Eating in this city is truly an experience for all the senses; while you’re chowing down on a delicious snack, you can enjoy all the sights and sounds and smells of the city around you. If you’re trying to stay budget-friendly, check out Mumbai’s vibrant and wallet-friendly array of street food, Mumbai’s beaches (such as Juhu or Girgaon Chaupati) are a great option to find some of the city’s best snacks or head over to the Dadar or Crawford Markets to get your fix of some of the city’s best street food. Want to dish out on a slightly more upscale experience? Though Mumbai has yet to receive its own Michelin stars yet, head over to Wasabi, San:Qi, Hakkasan, or Ziya for a high-dining experience you won’t soon forget. Or maybe you want to venture out and explore Mumbai’s food offerings through a more interactive experience. If so, check out Reality Tours and Travels’s Mumbai Street Food Tour, No Footprints’ Street Food Walk, or Khaki Tours’s #ChowpattyChat or #MohallaMunch walking food tours.

7. Lights, Camera, Action!

If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of Bollywood, now is your chance. Mumbai is the epicenter of high-energy dance sequences, beautiful starlets, handsome hunks (hello, Shah Rukh Khan!), epic love stories, and drama galore. What better way to immerse yourself in the magic of Bollywood than with a tour of the famed studios that produced worldwide hits. We strongly recommend taking a guided tour as access to studios may be limited otherwise. Hop on over to Film City Studio in Goregaon for a guided tour, or check out Khaki Tours’s behind-the-scenes #BollywoodBlast tour of the industry. Perhaps you’d like to catch a screening instead. If you’re itching to see a Bollywood movie in a beautiful venue, check out Regal Cinema (Colaba Causeway).


8. See Mumbai on two wheels (bike tours)

Feeling full after all that street food? Sounds like some exercise is in order, so hop on a bike and explore the streets of Mumbai on two wheels while you digest all those pani puris. Several operators, including No Footprints and Raconteur Walks, offer excellent and fun bike tour options that will show you even more of the city than what you could have covered on foot alone. Whether it’s exploring the Gateway of India (the iconic monument at the foot of the Arabian sea), the beautiful avenues of Ballard Estate, the gorgeous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station (Victoria Terminus), the breezy sea promenade of Marine Drive, or the shady streets of the Kala Ghoda art district, you’ll be sure to get a kick out of Mumbai if you take these tours out for a spin (and maybe burn a few calories too).

9. Take a drive through Mumbai (scenic drives)

          Want to really feel like you’re part of the hustle and bustle of Mumbai and cover the most ground possible, but from the comfort of a car? Check out #urbansafari by Khaki Tours for an open-air jeep ride through the city’s most scenic locales (available in both 2.5 and 4h options). Raconteur Walks also offers half and full day tours that will take you by attractions such as the heritage district, Crawford Market, and Mani Bhavan (Gandhi’s Mumbai home), Dhobi Ghat (the largest open air laundry), and the posh Malabar Hill. Alternatively for the more adventurous, car rentals are available for relatively cheap through providers such as Zoomcar, Avis, Hertz, and Europcar. If you’re driving yourself, be sure to check out Marine Drive with your windows down to feel the sea breeze, or if you have some more time and are in the mood for a road trip, head a little out of the city to check out the beautiful hills of Lonavala and Khandala (80km from Mumbai)), the quiet mount of Matheran (80km from Mumbai), or the incredible vistas at the Raigad Fort Natural Reserve (170km from Mumbai).

 

 10. Enjoy diverse concerts and performances

There is always something exciting going on in Mumbai when it comes to entertainment. If you’re a music or theater lover, or want to hit up a show, you’ll never run out of options from which to choose. From having a few laughs at a standup comedy show at the Tata Theater or The Comedy Store, to singing along with your favorite musical hits at the Royal Opera House Theater, and or taking in a theater performance at the intimate Prithvi or the Odeum theaters – Mumbai has a show for everyone. Want something on a larger-scale? The DY Patil Stadium (which has seen the likes of Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, U2, and Katy Perry perform) and the Jiogarden(which has hosted Ed Sheeran, Skrillex, Bryan Adams, and David Guetta) continue to draw big names to the city of dreams for some of the most fun mega-concerts around.

You can enjoy Mumbai rich, and you can enjoy Mumbai poor. The beauty of the “city of dreams” is that there is something to do on every budget. For those looking to explore the bustling city on a shoestring budget, Mumbai offers a host of activities that will keep you more than entertained (and none the poorer). Whether it’s getting lost in the charming and historic villages in Bandra, visiting the city’s innumerable temples, window shopping at the markets and bazaars, or taking a leisurely walk down the coast, Mumbai offers plenty to do without having to spend a cent.