Mumbai Gateway of India

It’s only been 2 weeks since we’ve been back from Mumbai and I already miss it very much. India left a very good impression on me (my friends can vouch for this, haha) and I’m already ready to plan our next trip! We were in Mumbai, Goa (check out our article on the top places to see in Goa), Delhi, and Agra over the span of two weeks. I really would’ve loved to stay longer to see Rajasthan, so this will be next on the list for sure.

The Lonely Planet India Travel Guide was an absolute lifesaver. I planned most of our trip around the suggested itineraries and it did not disappoint. From yoga courses in Mandrem to wandering the lively streets in Kala Ghoda, there was never a dull moment. Lonely Planet also has a super cool app with an interactive map, which I found even more useful than the physical book. Though, it sometimes suggested very tourist-y things (i.e. Indian cooking class that only foreigners sign up for, oops!). The app is nevertheless helpful for those seeking accommodation, dining, or sightseeing suggestions. I will for sure be using it when planning my future travels.

Taj Palace Mumbai

Our trip kicked off in Mumbai, where we got to see the notorious Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Palace and take an evening stroll on Marine Drive. It was amazing to see the Gateway of India in person and to learn more about Mumbai’s history. I found there was a lot of beautiful colonial architecture in Mumbai in general, and the Gateway of India is just one well-known example. In fact, Mumbai originally gets it’s name from the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi. However, the city’s name was later changed to ‘Bombay’ (Bom Bahia or ‘good bay’) by the Portugese.

We also drove past the preeminent Rajabai Clock Tower, Flora Fountain and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Later, we watched the sunset from the Intercontinental rooftop bar and met up with friends for dinner at Kala Ghoda Cafe. It was on my first day in India that I reallllly fell in love with the food-with paneer being one of my favorites. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a delicious cube of fresh cheese (similar to cottage cheese) that is used as the main ingredient in many curries. But because the milk in India contains more fat, the Indian specialty has a very distinct flavor that is hard to achieve outside of the country. So it’s safe to say I was impressed with the food from day one!

Mumbai architecture
I noticed such a mix of street styles in India. You can easily find a lady dressed in traditional sari next to someone in a tank top and flip flops. Women in India dress more conservatively than in Europe and I wanted to fit in a bit so I bought a colorful Kurta and a beautiful emerald green dress from Global Desi. I know I will never wear this anywhere but in India, but it made me feel beautiful when I wore it and I will forever cherish it as one of my favorite dresses.
We then headed over to a friend’s place in an auto rickshaw. They prepared us over 6 homemade Indian dishes, all cooked to perfection with every bite as flavorful as the last. I scarfed it all down and got full very quickly. But Indians are well-known for their hospitality and continue to serve you food even after you ask them to stop. I found myself repeating to our friend that really, the food was amazing but I cannot stomach another bite. I got another serving of course, haha!
Elephanta caves
On our last day in Mumbai, we had the chance to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Elephanta Caves, which date as far back as the 5th to 8th century C.E.. The Elephanta caves are a collection of stone temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The caves depict Shiva in his many forms, such as half male/ half female Shiva or as a Yogi Shiva. What’s amazing about the cave temples is that they survived centuries of wear and tear and yet still stand and draw many tourists even to this day.
It was an active place of worship for the island’s Hindu residents well until the 1500s, when the Portuguese took control of the island. The caves suffered much damage under the Portuguese, with its stone sculptures even being used for target practice by soldiers. – Sridevi Nambiar Culture Trip
While the Hindu statues serve as the main attraction, we were pleasantly entertained by the dozens of monkeys running around owning the place. We chuckled as we witnessed them sneak up from behind to steal the drinks of innocent bystanders scot-free.
Reaching the caves was quite the hike- an hour-long boat ride, short train ride, then a 120-step climb. But the trek was well worth it once we reached our destination! Seeing the caves was really a one-of-a-kind experience.
We topped the day off with drinks and a serving of the Bombay classic Pav Bhaji for dinner at Colaba Social. All-in-all, our time in Mumbai was unforgettable!
What do you love about Mumbai? Let us know in the comments!

An American living and working in Dusseldorf, Germany. If you couldn't tell already, I spend most of my free time cooking, travelling or writing about either of the two. Thanks for stopping by!

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