Mumbai is the gateway to India, and as such you can expect it to be overcrowded, overpopulated, and overly dirty. In many ways it can be a tough city to visit, and some parts of it can be difficult for tourists, such as the slum areas. To add to this there is a level of poverty here that can be unlike anything people have seen before. That said, this is also a fascinating city to visit, if only for a few days as the first leg of a trip around India.
Mumbai is the centre of all things Bollywood, rather like Los Angeles is to Hollywood in the United States. Bollywood however is the largest film industry in the world, employing more actors and making more films than any other country, and all of the biggest film studios in India are found here. You can visit some of the studios or you can just go to a local cinema and watch a Bollywood film there, a must-do experience while you are in Mumbai. It’s also not uncommon for foreigners to be approached to play a small part in a Bollywood movie, and most of these offers are genuine, although you will usually not be paid for your participation. Still, it can be a fun way to feel like a star for a day.
Gateway of India
The towering symbol of the city and its biggest landmark is the Gateway of India, a 26 meter gate built in 1911. The gate was built to honor the British King and Queen as India is a former British colony and the architecture reflects this, mixed with some more traditional South Asian elements. Certainly this is too big an icon to be missed if you come here.
Nariman Point is known for being primarily a business district in Mumbai, but is also sits at the southern end of the Mumbai peninsula, on Marine Drive. As such, if you are looking to get away from the constant heat and traffic then this can be a good place to come and take in the views across the water.
Mumbai is certainly not for everyone and it may be that you decide to use it strictly as an entry and exit point. Still, if you happen to be passing through here for a few days then there is a lot to see, even if the crowds, the pollution, and the poverty can seem overwhelming. To experience the best side of Mumbai, heading out to area by the water such as Gateway of India and Nariman Point can come as a welcome relief.