Travel + Leisure Staff
September 21, 2017

Located on the western edge of India, this capital city is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. The rugged coastline provides travelers with plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure, while the architecturally stunning city preserves a rich culture and history.

Every trip to Mumbai should include a Bollywood film screening. Based in Mumbai, India’s famous film industry — and answer to Hollywood — is best known for its elaborate song-and-dance spectacles. Be sure to check out a flick at a local PVR multiplex, or take a tour of Filmcity: a studio complex with recognizable sets and outdoor shooting locations.

No matter how short your trip, make time for the hour-long ferry ride to Elephanta Island, which houses a series of rock-hewn cave temples from the fifth through eighth centuries. Don't miss the 18-foot-tall sculpture of the Hindu deity, Shiva, in his three-headed form.

Mumbai also has an impressive urban arts scene. The Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) neighborhood is home to many of Mumbai’s top art museums and galleries, including the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art. If you visit in February, you’ll have the chance to experience the nine-day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival: the neighborhood’s annual celebration of fine and performing arts.

Related: Six Books to Read Before You Visit India

One of the most fun things to do in Mumbai is to take a sunset stroll by the sea. Every evening, Mumbai residents and visitors descend upon popular Chowpatty Beach to watch the sun set. While you walk, look out for street snacks such as bhel puri, a spiced mix of puffed rice, chickpea noodles, and chopped tomatoes and onions.

Before the end of your Mumbai adventure, be sure to stop in the local markets. Hit the famous Crawford Market, also known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Ma, for everything from produce to jewelry. Come here during Alphonso Mango season, in April and May, to sample this exquisite gold-colored fruit. It’s exclusive to the Konkan Coast region south of Mumbai.

If you’re wondering what else you can do in Mumbai, don’t forget to visit a Sufi shrine. (The shrine of the Sufi saint Haji Ali, a Mughal masterpiece of white domes and minarets, is one of the city's most revered holy sites). It’s located on an islet in the Arabian Sea, and can only be visited when low tide reveals a 700-yard causeway.)

And hopefully, your journey in Mumbai takes you through one of the city’s beautiful train stations. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly known as Queen Victoria Station) is one of India’s busiest transportation hubs. Built in 1887, the structure is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, which mixes traditional Indian and Gothic revival design elements.

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