>Mumbai is a city that will blow even the most expecting of minds. Its evident by the spectacular Victorian architecture of structures like The Gateway to India and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus that this was once a city of wealth and glamour at the hands of the prestigious British ruling.

Nowadays travellers can observe mammoth buildings, some of which have been lovingly maintained and others which are little more than soot strewn time capsules; the result of 18 million people residing in one place.

Perhaps not the city a traveller chooses to spend long periods of time within, but there are plenty of places to visit in Mumbai in 1 or 2 days before heading South to Goa or North toward Delhi. We’ve got your guide of Mumbai Best Places to Visit, plus an additional ‘Places to Visit in Mumbai in 1 Day’.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Built in the 19th century and the subject of terrorist attacks in 2018, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a stunning example of colonial architecture. The first truly public building in what was then known as Bombay, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (a name change in 1996 from Victoria Terminus) was where the first passenger train services started. Allowing the central business district to adjoin the cities residential suburbs, CST was built over 10 years duration as one of a larger group of public buildings that came to define the city of Bombay.

What you will observe now is a grandiose structure lovingly maintained. Painstaking detail through the turrets and window framing leave little wonder at just how long this building took to complete.  Inside the terminus high domes ceilings draw your eye upward to the extensive paneling craft work which is now an art of days gone by. For an insight into the daily commute of locals, witness the bustle of activity that disembarks carriages before the train even stops.

Walking distance from The Gateway of India and Colaba market, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is undoubtedly one of the key Mumbai attractions.

The Gateway of India

Taking 5 years to build, The Gateway of India was completed in 1924 at a total cost of just 2.1million rupees. Standing on the waters edge at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg, The Gateway of India is a reminder of the rich colonial history of Bombay and a structure considered to be a welcoming landmark for visitors arriving from the sea. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Mumbai, The Gateway of India and adjoining promenade offer views of the waterfront and the located where tourists take boats from, to the famous Elephant Caves.

mumbai best places to visit

The Gateway of India was originally built to honour King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to India in 1911 and now stands as one of cities icons. What you will observe to is a Mumbai attraction that presents in every way as bold as the day it was completed in 1924. Using locally sourced yellow basalt stones, the structure is essentially an arch built with a British style and combining Hindu and Muslim goth elements throughout the domes, spire and stained glass.

What makes this structure significant is more than just the statement it makes at Mumbai’s entrance by sea. The Gateway of India is the location of the passing of the first battalion that symbolised the British exit from India in 1948.

The Taj Mahal Palace

What was originally built to offer guests a royal experience in Bombay, the Taj Mahal Palace has become as much of n icon as it’s neighbour, The Gateway of India.

In 1898 the foundation was laid and in 1902 the first guests were greeted at what is colloquially known as “Diamond by the Sea”. The building comprises of 6 stories centred around a Moorish dome and showcases the Indonesian Saracenic style of the time. Victorian Gothic detail is elegantly carved throughout the building along with Edwardian influences. Along with other firsts such as German elevators and American fans, the Taj Mahal was the first building to be lit by electricity. Each and every detail created to add to the experience that guests would not find elsewhere.

A grand lobby and ballroom remain grand focal points today despite the 2008 terrorist attacks here where 31 people were killed. The hotel was closed for just two years at the time before President Barack Obama famously delivered a speech outlining the strength and resilience of the building to the Indian people. Today the Taj Mahal Hotel remains a building of magnificent luxury to be adorned.

Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya

(Mahutma Ghandi Museum)

Mostly known by historians nowadays, Mahatma Gandhi played at integral role in India’s freedom from British ruling. His famous forms of protest such as wearing a loin cloth to identify with the poor were marks of his plight to create equality and peace for the Indian people.

For 17 years Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya was the place where Mahatma Gandhi’s hive of activities came from. The modest and unassuming two story building is now a museum which is open to the public daily as well as offering an extensive library.

Elephanta Caves

Located on an island that takes an hour boat ride to reach from The gateway of India, Elephanta Caves are some of the most historical points of interest in the country. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, some of the archeological remains date back to the 2nd century B.C.

What you find on the island are two hillocks divided by a valley whereby numerous remains are available for exploration. The most interesting are the 5th – 6th century AD elephants caves that were created as a gift to the Hindu god Shiva. Cave 1 delivers the most visual impact, featureing a 7 metre high masterpiece at the entrance. Covering 39 metres in its entirety the cave also houses 6 supporting columns and uses a layout that was a noble development in rock architecture of the time.

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

This enormous open air laundry offers a true insight into the lifestyle of many Mumbai residents who do not have the housing to accomodate electric washing machines or space to launder. Originally formed in 1890, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

Is now owned by the municipal council and houses workers, many of whom have lived here with their families for generations.

A fascinating site, standing on the bridge of Mahalaxmi station with allow you to observe row upon row of connects trough where washer men stands for hours, knee deep in water and chemicals, laundering. The manual labour an insight into the life of the 200 families who live here. Arguably the largest laundry in the world, visitors can be escorted through for an up close look at the daily work at around 200 rupees per person.

Dharavi Slum

Asia’s largest slum can be considered an eye sore to some or a place to steer clear of, but if your morals allow, a walking tour can be insightful. What you’ll discover is the small scale industry created as a result of a thriving estate. A walking tour offers an opportunity to better understand the Dharavi Slum residents, buy local products from manufacturers, and observe every day life that is a contrast to a world the vast majority of travellers come from. Not a Mumbai attraction for all but for some this will one a Mumbai best place to visit.

Mumbai Places to Visit in 1 Day

Many Mumbai attractions can be visited in just 1 day as their proximity to one another is advantageous to the time precious traveller. Begin early in the morning at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus where you can explore the bustle of commuting locals and an insight into everyday local life while enjoying the remarkable structure that you find yourself in. Make sure you don’t become caught up in the rush of locals whizzing by which can cause even the most cautious traveller to become disorientated.

Next stop is a 10 minute walk toward the waterfront for sightings of The Taj Mahal Palace and The Gateway of India. Begin at the Taj mahal Palace, with a stroll around the exterior noticing the thoughtfully detailed architecture and paying respects to the 31 people killed in the lobby during the2008 terrorist attacks. Next door is your next attraction; The Gateway of India. You won’t need much time here as the structure doesn’t take a lot of room but this is the perfect place to catch your breath, witness the early 19th century icon and purchase ferry tickets for The Elephanta Caves. Ferry’s depart in this area and take just an hour to reach Elephanta Caves. This will be your last attraction for the day before enjoying authentic India cuisine.

On your return from The Elephanta Caves choose from either an exquisite modern Indian dining experience (for surprisingly low cost) at The Taj Mahal Palace restaurant or any of the nearby hotel restaurants. In India; hotel restaurants are where you find the very best India cuisine, chefs and hospitality.