By Maria Pedone
February 14, 2014

Mumbai's international airport unveiled its new four-level Terminal 2 to the public this week, after much anticipation. The stunning airport section, originally slated to open in January, took five years to complete, and will provide relief to the millions of fliers streaming in and out of India’s busy Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Sprawling 42 square meters of space, the terminal was built to handle up to 40 million annual passengers and to effortlessly escort them to their departure gates via 37 travelators, 48 escalators, and 72 elevators. Outside, the 5,200-car parking area is beautifully concealed by the city’s largest open garden. While inside, travelers can spend their layovers window shopping or eagerly purchasing items throughout the 21,000 square meters of retail space—more than four times the size of the airport’s original shopping area. An art museum—India’s largest, might we add—may also be of interest, with over 6,500 artifacts to contemplate while waiting. Finally, a terminal with more to explore than the nearby bar.

Travelers who weren’t smitten with the bright geometric ceilings and golden lighting could fall for the food—traditional snacks like spicy bhakarwadi and chiwda (rice flakes) were served while kids were kept happy with complimentary chocolates and toys. Airlines were also anxious to make their way to the airport: Air India’s Singapore-Mumbai flight was the first to arrive, although an Emirates flight from Dubai nearly stole their shine when they landed close behind. We’re excited to see how the high expectations for CSIA’s Terminal 2 pan out this year: so far, we’d much rather be on the arrivals side of traffic, flying into this gorgeous, innovative new space.

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Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.