Always in the news for everything from the extraordinary screenplay of Mumbai-based movie Slumdog Millionaire to a series of vicious terrorist attacks on its train stations and its most impressive hotels, in many ways Mumbai is the very heart of modern India. The city might not be the capital, but it is the financial centre, and one of the most forward thinking of India’s major cities. On the few beaches in the city you will find some stone-aged fairground rides, street food vendors, touts, beggars and hawkers selling everything from massages and ear cleaning services right on the beach to fortune tellers and self professed God men. World-class hotels and gardens that look like they’ve been transported straight out of Europe share space with the slums and their squalor which is a huge culture shock for many first time visitors too the city.
At its heart, though, Mumbai couldn’t be much more quintessentially Indian. The traditional Ganesh Festival – where locals worship statues of the elephant God before immersing them by the thousands off the local beaches is awe inspiring, though the every day is more about buzzing markets, big financial deals and India’s other religion: cricket.
The draws of Mumbai, which is a truly colossal city, are huge, and include everything from the worlds most expensive residence to Asia's largest slum. If you are a bit adventurous, head out on the city’s local train network, which takes you through the city (women, please take advantage of the ‘female only’ carriages) for a taste of the real Mumbai. The main station, CST, is a piece of colonial architecture that’s worth the trip alone.
Mumbai has one downside, it’s the exorbitantly costly prices compared to elsewhere in India, especially for accommodation. Given that on other fronts (like train travel) it’s probably cheaper than almost anywhere else in the world.
The city makes a fantastic hub for jetting off to other centers like the party capital Goa, or the exceptional heritage found at the boulder strewn, alien landscape of Hampi. Depending on your budget, though, this is the perfect spot to experience Indian extremes, shocking and awe inspiring. Live it up, play it down, and leave with absolutely no doubt you’re in India.
Juhu is a western suburb of Mumbai (in the Bandra district). It is a densely populated area of the city bordering the Arabian sea. Famous for the Juhu Chowpaty beach - where locals come to st…