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Places to Visit in Mumbai | Top Things to Do & Shopping Spots in Bombay

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The Bollywood film industry may have put Mumbai in the modern-day spotlight, but this magical port city had a lot going for it long before it shimmied its way to global fame. In fact, some of the best places to visit in Mumbai reflect the past history of the region as well as the culture of the more than 23 million people who occupy Mumbai and its connecting suburbs. Visitors to Mumbai will discover ancient settlements like the Kanheri Caves in Sanjay Gandhi National Park and modern green spaces like Shivaji Park. These five top things to do in Mumbai are just the beginning to a magical trip to India.

Places to visit in Mumbai-India-things to do-Kanheri Caves

1. Kanheri Caves

Situated in the center of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the Kanheri Caves are a group of ancient temples and Buddhist shrines carved from rock. The ancient caves, which also served as a Buddhist monastery, feature paintings, inscriptions and even ancient beds that date to the 1st century. The caves contain 109 entrances, so tourists could spend several hours wandering through the winding corridors and stone-cut stairways. If time allows, though, guests should check out the other adventurous things to do in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday)
Entry fee: 15 INR (.20 USD) for India residents; 200 INR (2.65 USD) for tourists

Outdoor activities in Sanjay Gandhi National Park

  • Shilonda Trail hiking
  • Gandhi Tekdi scenic viewpoint
  • Crocodile Park at Tulsi Lake
  • Sameer Hill trekking
  • NITIE Lawns at Vehar Lake

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Places to visit in Mumbai-India-things to do-Gateway of India

2. Gateway of India & Elephanta Caves

Tourists don’t have to sail up to the Gateway of India to get a feel for its purpose. This monumental stone arch wall overlooks Mumbai Harbor and welcomes visitors to India’s chief port of entry. The structure marks the early 1900s visit to India by King George V and Queen Mary and was dedicated in 1924. Gateway of India can be found in the district of Apollo Bandar standing prominently on the coast with a few other Mumbai landmarks, like statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Swami Vivekananda, Royal Bombay Yacht Club and the magnificent 5-star hotels, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai and Taj Mahal Tower Mumbai.

Ferry to Elephanta Caves from Gateway of India

The ferry to Elephanta Caves, truly one of the best places to visit in Mumbai, picks up passengers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Monday right in front of Gateway of India. Guests can take a 15-minute cruise out to Elaphanta Island, or Gharapuri (the city of caves), and spend the day spelunking through a circuit of rock-cut temples believed to have been established between the 5th and 9th centuries. The five Hindu and two Buddhist caves that make up Elephanta Caves were designated in 1987 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While no Buddhist or Hindu records of Elaphanta Island exist, historians believe the entire island was used as a religious site at one time.

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Places to visit in Mumbai-India-things to do-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Park

3. Shivaji Park

Throughout history Shivaji Park has been known as a place dedicated to social reform and peaceful protests. These days, however, most people go to the park to watch cricket! Officially called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Park, the park can be found in Mahim Bay of the Dadar District. The field features eight cricket clubs, tennis courts and an area to practice Mallakhamb, an ancient Indian sport that pairs gymnastics with a hanging wooden pole or rope. Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Swimming Pool sits just outside the complex. Even travelers who don’t want to watch cricket or exercise will enjoy a stroll through Shivaji Park and an ocean view at Shivaji Park Point.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Entry fee: free (sporting events and exhibitions may require entry fees)

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Places to visit in Mumbai-India-things to do-Dhobi Ghat

4. Dhobi Ghat (Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat)

This famed outdoor open-air laundry mat is almost too much to fathom until you see it for yourself. Tourists who want to watch the hundreds of dhobis, or laundry mat workers, in action should show up in the morning when workers man dozens of wash bins to scrub clothes and linens for most of the hotels and hospitals in Mumbai. During the afternoons, guests can snap iconic photos of the rows and rows of colorful clothing hanging out to dry. While the task may look daunting to outsiders, Dhobi Ghat has earned a reputation locally as a quick, thorough and dependable laundry service. And as the laundry mat has been run by about 200 families since 1890, Dhobi Ghat is considered as much a historic landmark as it is a cherished local business. It also is located nearby some other great places to visit in Mumbai.

How to get there: take the train to Mahalaxmi Station

Places to visit in Mumbai near Dhobi Ghat

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Places to visit in Mumbai-India-things to do-Shopping-Colaba Causeway Market

5. Shopping in Mumbai

Shopping in Mumbai is most fun when done at outdoor bazaars and flea markets. These bustling areas are where tourists can find the best local products, cheapest souvenirs and most authentic Indian food! These top five markets are great places to experience what Mumbai shopping has to offer, and guests should try to stop by at least one for a thorough tour.

5 top markets & bazaars in Mumbai

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