Better known today as Mumbai, Bombay is located on India’s beautiful western coast and is considered to be the country’s most affluent, industrialized city. Here, Indians from all of the nation’s vast cultures and backgrounds gather, whether in the fast-paced city centre or on the harbor, which is one of the busiest ports in the country.
But those looking for history or relaxation shouldn’t be put off by the hustle and bustle, as Bombay has more than enough monuments and nature sites to satisfy the most demanding visitor. Bombay’s landmark is the Gateway of India, which was the port that most people entered through went arriving by sea, and should not be missed.
Links to India’s colonial past can be found by visiting the St. Johns church and the Price of Wales Museum. The Cathedral of St. Thomas, which dates to the 18th century, stands in contrast to the Mahalaxmi Temple, the oldest temple in Bombay. Nature lovers will be interested in visiting the Taraporewala Aquarium, the Hanging Gardens located on top of the Malabar hills, Juhu beach and Nehru Planetarium. Those that are willing to explore outside the city will be enchanted by Bassein, a Portuguese fortified city dating to the sixteenth century, the Kanheri Caves, and the Elephanta Islands.
Bombay is truly the Gateway to India, as most international travellers arrive by air at Bombay’s international airport. Domestic flights also can be taken here from other ports of call around the country. There are several ways to get around the city, but be warned that most forms of public transportation are quite crowded. The train system in Bombay is probably the best train system in the country, as it is efficient and easy to navigate. Buses are excellent for travelling short distances within the city. Taxis are, however, the best way to get around.
There are a vast number of choices in Bombay for accommodations, from luxury to youth hostel. However, this city does offer the most expensive lodgings in the country, so visitors may need to do some extra research to find a good deal. In addition to traditional hotels, there are several B&B’s available as well, for a more personalized stay.