24 hours in Mumbai

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Famed for its millionaires, movie stars, and maze-like settlements, Mumbai is a city of extremes. Its inhabitants come from every Indian region and walk of life, but live crammed together on a narrow peninsula of reclaimed land curling into the Arabian Sea.


A pulsating, fast-paced masala mix of more than 20 million people, the great metropolis started life as a colonial outpost in the 17th century. This changed dramatically when the American Civil War cut off cotton supplies to Europe in the 1860s, which conferred on the port an international prominence it has revelled in ever since. The intense buzz can seem intimidating at first, but embrace the chaos and you’re in for a treat: you'll learn more about modern India in 24hrs than a month flitting between the tourist honeypots. Fear not, the ride offers a wealth of spicy, relaxing pit-stops along the way.

Gateway of India

Join the ranks of local Koli fisherwomen
as they converge before dawn on Sassoon Docks to unload the day’s catch. The exotic quayside bustle ranks among Mumbai’s great spectacles.

Settle into a window seat at the timelessly elegant Sea Lounge,
in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, for breakfast with a view over the iconic Gateway of India and adjacent waterfront.

Catch a boat to Elephanta Island,
where richly carved temples hollowed from basalt cliffs – including one with a massive three-faced Shiva – are all that remains of an ancient port city.

Tuck into ‘berry pulao’ at Britannia & Co
in the former Ballard Dock district, one of a dying breed of old-world diners specialising in Mumbai’s Zoroastrian (Parsi) minority cuisine.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji ranks among India’s top museums.
Exhibits include its priceless collection of Ghandaran sculpture, Mughal miniatures, and pieces of Emperor Akbar’s personal armour.

Mingle with the million commuters
who stream daily through Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or CST (formerly ‘Victoria Terminus’). The building’s lavish architecture perfectly epitomises the Raj at its peak.

Stroll at sunset down the tidal causeway
connecting the city’s sea wall to the Tomb of Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, one of Islamic India’s most sacred shrines. Local Qawwali musicians perform on Thursdays.

Catch the latest Bollywood blockbuster
at the air-con Metro multiplex on Dhobi Talao Junction: state-of-the-art sound and projection in a fabulously kitsch, art deco setting. You’ll need to arrive early to get a ticket.

Feast on Canadian scallops in wasabi cream,
lobster and shallot risotto, and chocolate jalapeño fondant at Indigo, south Mumbai’s acclaimed fine-dining restaurant, where gourmet Italian dishes dominate a delightfully eclectic menu.

Brush up your best Bollywood dance moves at Enigma,
where the Hindi movie industry moghuls, stars, and wannabes strut their stuff in high designer style. Expect New York drinks prices and queues around the block.

Mumbai, India
Distance: 2,302 km
Flight Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
Frequency: Daily

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