Visit These Unmissable Historical Places If You Are Travelling To Mumbai

Gateway of India

Mumbai- the city of dreams, busy streets, never-dying nightlife, and magnificent historical places. As magical, this city is with its thousands of high rises and skyscrapers, the cultural artefacts, and archaeological ruins are as fascinating and engrossing. It has a rich and glorious heritage, from the takeover by East India Company to industrialisation and building of engineered structures. Every historical place has a unique and intriguing backstory that one cannot miss. The present population of Mumbai is increasing at a fast pace with people with innumerable thoughts and ideas. Mumbai is an interesting amalgamation of the modern and the ancient. Visit these famous tourist places in Mumbai if you are a history buff. But if you are not, the structure and design are worth-seeing and experiencing.  Below are some of the famous tourist places in Mumbai.

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Top 6 Historical Places in Mumbai

  1. The Gateway Of India
  2. Rajabai Clock Tower
  3. Haji Ali Dargah
  4. Elephanta Caves
  5. Kanheri Caves
  6. Mount Mary Church

1.THE GATEWAY OF INDIA

Ranking at the top of the Tourist’s attraction list in Mumbai Tourism, The Gateway of India is like a synonym to the city. With beautiful arc-like structure and minute details and carvings, it stands guarding the Arabian Sea. It was built in 1911 to honour the visit of King George V, who was the King of United Kingdom and Queen Mary. The Englishmen named it as the ‘Gateway’ as a remembrance of their triumph over the riches, which was transported through this gateway. The entire monument, made of yellow basalt and concrete, took 4 years to complete with an investment of rupees 24 lakhs. It has elements inspired by Indo- Islamic and Indian architecture, which are combined with gothic architecture.

Keep these below-mentioned points in mind, while visiting the spot:-

  • It is located in the southern part of the city and the beautiful Taj Mahal Hotel is also located nearby.
  • The nearest railway station to the Gateway of India is Churchgate and from there, cabs are available to take you to your destination.
  • The best time to visit is between September and April, i.e., post-monsoon and by then the humidity level also comes down so you can enjoy a boat-ride on the sea and get a mesmerising sunset view.
  • Timings: You can come anytime in 24 hours to enjoy this beauty without an entry fee. Timing for the boat-rides is 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

2. RAJABAI CLOCK TOWER

Situated within the campus of Mumbai University, the Rajabai Clock Tower was built in 1869 and was modelled after Big Ben in London, which is evident due to their similarity. The tower was named after the mother of a stock broker who financed into building this tower. His mother Rajabai was blind, and the chiming of the tower assisted her in determining the time without anyone’s help. Its structure is Gothic-inspired and harbours Mumbai’s beautiful stained glass. It has exquisite and elaborate sculptures representing India’s caste system, on its exterior wall, which were crafted by Indian artisans with utmost care. The clock is still in a good working position and turns heads of the Mumbaikars to have a look at the time. The tower went through a restoration process in 2013, and tourist entrance was allowed in 2015, but soon closed down after it became a suicide point.

Keep these below-mentioned points in mind, while visiting the spot:-

  • It is located next to High Court and Oval Maidan, which is a spot for playing football and cricket.
  • The nearest railway station to the tower is Churchgate, from where one can opt for a state bus or taxi to reach there.
  • Best time to visit the tower? Whenever you are visiting Mumbai. You can catch a glimpse of it when you’re passing by the road.
  • Timings: 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM

3. HAJI ALI DARGAH

HAJI ALI DARGAH

Where one part of the world is divided by religion, the other part is equally secular. Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most ancient landmarks in Mumbai. People from different castes and religion visit the holy shrine and pay their respect. It is a mosque and tomb of an Islamic Saint Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who settled in the port region of Mumbai. During the 15-century, Haji Ali died during his holy trip to Mecca, after which his casket miraculously came back floating to where he used to preach. His followers built the Haji Ali Dargah as a memorial to the great saint. The Dargah is made up of a white marble known as Makrana, the same used to build the famous Taj Mahal. A marble courtyard and a central shrine can be seen when entered, along with the main mosque brocaded with green and red sheets. The Indo-Islamic structure of the monument with marble pillars and mirror work makes it look majestic and royal.

A visit to Dargah would be more gratifying knowing that:-

  • It is located close to Mahalakshmi Temple and Nehru Planetarium.
  • The nearest railway station is Mahalakshmi Railway Station from where you can take a private cab. Taking a bus is the other the best way to reach the Dargah.
  • Best time to visit the Dargah is between October to March, during low tides. Best days would be Thursday or Friday Evenings. Make sure to attend the mesmerising Qawali session. It is a lifetime experience.
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, it is open all days of the week with no entry fees.

4. ELEPHANTA CAVES

ELEPHANTA CAVES

Elephanta Caves is a network of caves- five Hindu and two Buddhist caves, with innumerable sculptures and carvings. Located at about 10 kilometres away from Gateway of India, the caves stand top in Mumbai tourism and is a famous tourist attraction. These caves dedicated to Lord Shiva was built by King Krishnaraja, the ruler of Kalachuri dynasty, during the 6-century A.D. The caves were constructed by carving out natural rocks and the expressions of archaic Indian art associated to the cult of Lord Shiva. One of the remarkable sculpture is the enigmatic Trimurty Sadavisa, representing Panchamukha Shiva, with three faces carved onto the wall. Later, the caves were invaded by the Portuguese who named the caves as Elephanta and used the God’s sculptures as target practice.

More details about the caves:-

  • It is located in the Elephanta Island, which is about 11 kilometres away from the main city.
  • To visit the caves, one has to reach the Gateway of India and take a boat/ ferry ride. It takes about 1-hour to reach the destination by sea.
  • Best time to visit is during the winter season, i.e., November to February. Avoid visiting during monsoon as the tides become unpredictable.
  • Tickets for deluxe boats are INR 140 for adults and INR 90 for children. Economy boats are for INR 120 for adults and INR 70 for children.
  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

5. KANHERI CAVES

Illustrating Buddhist influences with various Buddha sculptures and carvings, Kanheri caves depict a historic significance. The Kanheri caves are also known as the lungs of the city because it has maximum greenery than the rest of the city and fresh air. The caves date back to 1-century B.C. and are believed to be the oldest caves in the country. It is renowned for its ancient Indian styled structure and 109 entrances to the caves. Thus a major site among the most important historical places in Maharashtra. There are about 34 unfinished Buddha paintings and different monasteries around the caves to give a glimpse of the early Buddhist lifestyle. Natural streams and waterfalls around the caves makes it a perfect picnic spot in Mumbai with stunning view. It is a well-maintained structure and calming from the city noise, but there are no boards or guides to explain the history of the caves. 

Want to plan a picnic getaway?

The below mentioned points can help you through it:-

  • It is located in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the Western Suburbs.
  • Take any local transport like auto-rickshaw, taxis etc. to reach the park. From there you can either opt for transportation option or trek to reach the caves.
  • Best time to visit the caves is from September to March. During this time the temperature remains pleasantly cool and warm.
  • Ticket charges are INR 15 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.
  • Timings: 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM

6. MOUNT MARY CHURCH

Quoted as one of the most beautiful churches in the city, Mount Mary Church is a Roman Catholic Church that is sacred to Virgin Mary. The serenity, architectural perfection and its high-level maintenance makes it one of the frequently visited destinations in Mumbai. It is located in Bandra West, facing the Arabian Sea. The monument has stood tall since 1700, after Mary’s statue with a child on her right arm, was brought from Portugal. The church has a gothic structure, with interiors having ornate walls and intricate carvings. It is also said that the church has healing powers and can fulfil one’s wishes. It is an ideal place for peace seekers and those who love colonial architecture.

Here are some more details about the church:-

  • Located in Bandra, on a beautiful hill on the outskirts of Mumbai. Bandra-Worli Sea link and Bandra fort are also located nearby, around 1-kilometre away.
  • Buses are available all over the city that will stop near the church. One can also hire taxis or auto-rickshaws as per their convenience.
  • Best time to visit the church is during the Mount Mary Fair, a week’s festival during September to celebrate Mother Mary’s birthday.
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 8:30 PM during weekdays and 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM during weekends.

The city of Mumbai has rich past, which is reflected in the different historical places present all across it. These places have become Mumbai famous picnic spots for both locals and tourists. Next time you take a visit to Mumbai make sure that you explore some of these sites and learn something about the city’s historical roots.

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