Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai was of key significance to the British Empire. It was from Mumbai and its iconic archway Gateway to India through which the last British ships sailed out of India and back to England after Indian Independence in 1947. This famous symbol of Mumbai is just part of the British colonial legacy which left its indelible stamp on India. Through much of Southern Mumbai, the oldest parts of the city, various examples of British colonial architecture can be found – with the best situated in the area from Churchgate to Colaba.
The most modern city in India, the commercial hub of the country housing important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India and Bombay Stock Exchange, as well as various multinational companies’ headquarters, and the home of Bollywood – Mumbai offers great business opportunities and attracts migrants from all over India, making it a melting pot of cultures and communities. It really is a city of contrasts (to use a cliché often used about India), as Mumbai is also famous for its slums (such as depicted in the film Slumdog Millionaire).
From Bollywood to the cricket (for free!), visiting a myriad of temples including Mahalkshmi Temple, Banganga Temple, Siddhi Vinayak, going on a harbour cruise, celebrating one of the many festivals, to attending the Poonawallas Breeders Multimillion, the Ascot of Mumbai set on the last Sunday of February - Mumbai offers such a massive range of activities and sights to see and experience! Other must-do experiences in Mumbai are, of course, going to be sampling the local food: famous for its Pav Bhaji, its Kingfisher Blue Beer, and different varieties of Chaat, Mumbai offers fantastic food to rival anywhere else in India.
Mumbai is an ideal destination for combining other top Indian destinations on a pre- or post-cruise programme. There really is so much to see and do in India (and taste! – trying a specialised gastro-tour in Mumbai or Delhi, or anywhere else in India is a must-do). Take an overnight sleeper train; see the Taj Mahal; visit Jaipur for the Amber Fort or Jal Malal; go to Kerala for its fabulous ocean views and gorgeous prawn and seafood coconut-infused curries; the ‘cultural capital’ Calcutta – whatever you wish to do, go or see, it’s your holiday and Mumbai is the perfect place to start off an intrepid exploration of India before or after a cruise.