Mumbai, the most populous city in India, is a cultural melting pot home to the world-famous Bollywood film industry.
As the capital of Maharashtra, bustling Mumbai, which was formerly known as Bombay, combines all that’s good about old and new India.
The city was once made up of seven islands, which were presented to King Charles II of England in 1661 as part of the dowry for marrying Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal.
Colonial rule left Mumbai with some of its biggest attractions, such as the Prince of Wales Museum. Completed in 1923 to commemorate the visit of King George V to Mumbai during his time as Prince of Wales, the cultural institution is undoubtedly one of the finest in India.
Its collections include artefacts, paintings and sculptures from throughout the country’s history, dating back as far as the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Arguably the city’s most impressive attraction, however, is the Gateway of India. Designed by George Wittet (who was also responsible for the Prince of Wales Museum), the 26m arch is located on the waterfront overlooking the Arabian Sea.
In days gone by, the Gateway was the first building that would have been visible to people arriving in the city via boat.
Sprawling Indian metropolises aren’t generally associated with popular beaches – however, visitors to Mumbai often flock to Chowpatty Beach to sample the many local restaurants, stroll along the pleasant promenade and see the adjacent Marine Drive illuminated with street lights at night – lending it the nickname ‘the Queen’s Necklace’.
While so much of Mumbai is brand new, the heart of the city is still overflowing with traditional Indian culture, making it the perfect place to learn more about this vibrant country.