3 reasons why you should visit Mumbai

Oct 18, 2019

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Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is one of India’s most intriguing destinations. As the most populous city in the country, Mumbai is situated about half way up the country’s West Coast and has a skyline to rival many Western cities. Add in the city’s sights, history, delicious food and well-connected routes to London, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to visit.

(Photo courtesy of Ankush Agrawal)

The beautiful sights

The Gateway of India

Probably the most standout landmark of all is the city’s Gateway of India. The arch was  erected to mark the landing of the British monarchy in India. It’s very similar to other symbolic arches around the world like l’Arc de Triomphe (Paris), Marble Arch (London), India Gate (Delhi), Arco de Triunfo (Barcelona) and Arco da Rua Augusta (Lisbon).

(Photo courtesy of Ankush Agrawal)

Taj Mahal Palace

Not quite the Taj Mahal itself, the Taj Mahal Palace has its own unique beauty. It’s a five-star luxury hotel but attracts photographers and Instragrammers alike with its striking architectural features and beautiful brightly lit façade by night.

(Photo courtesy of Ankush Agrawal)

Bandra Fort

If you’re a keen historian or just like being by the sea, then Bandra Fort is a must while in Mumbai. The building of the fort was completed by the Portuguese in the 17th Century and was a purpose-built watch tower looking out into Mahim Bay and the Arabian Sea.

Mahim Fort in Mahim in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Overlooks Worli to the south, Bandra to the north and Mahim to the east. Currently in ruins
(Photo by ePhotocorp/Getty Images)

The mouth-watering cuisine

If you didn’t know already, India is world-renowned for its flavourful — and often spicy — cuisine. Mumbai showcases some of the country’s must-try dishes and places to eat. Dishes are more often than not vegetarian, despite what you may think from the chicken kormas and lamb dansaks that are commonplace on takeaway menus in the U.K.

One such dish is Pav Bhaji, a spicy vegetable mash with soft buns and covered in cheese. It might not sound the most exciting, but I’ve been told that it’s an absolute must.

(Photo courtesy of Ankush Agrawal)

Street food is also high up on the menu in Mumbai. Khau Gali is the name given to any street that has a lot of street food vendors. There are dozens of them and they can be found all over the city.

One of the best is by Choupaty Beach, an area of the city where locals come to unwind and escape the city hustle. The beach itself isn’t the most picturesque but there are plenty of others farther out of the city if you’re looking for calm waters and beautiful sandy beaches.

The beautiful surrounding area

Powai Lake

Powai Lake is an artificial body of water in the north of Mumbai and was created by the British in 1799. Initially, it was used as a source of drinking water for those living close by, but now it’s home to many different animals like crocodiles and dozens of species of birds.

Powai, Mumbai suburb - A view of the Powai lake with many high-rise buildings in the background.
(Photo by Ixefra/Getty Images)

Mahabaleshwar and the Sahyadri Mountains

Mahabaleshwar is cluster of three tiny towns on a plateau nestled in the heart of the Sahyadri Mountains, which boast one of the only evergreen forests within India. It’ll take around five and a half hours to drive there from Mumbai, but it will definitely be worth the effort when you get there.

The area features many temples, old Indian architecture and several stunning viewing spots (Three Monkey Point, Arthur Point, Kate’s Point and Wilson Point) looking out to some of the most stunning scenery India has to offer.

For the real adventurers, Mumbai is a great place to start a train or road trip down India’s West Coast to Kerala, the country’s southern-most state.

Getting there

Once Virgin Atlantic resumes its nonstop daily service between Heathrow (LHR) and Mumbai (BOM) on 27 October, the city will be even more accessible. The route will be operated by the airline’s 787 Dreamliner, which boasts a solid Upper Class product. The schedule is planned as follows:

  • London Heathrow (LHR) 10:15am Departure → Mumbai (BOM) 00:40am Arrival
  • Mumbai (BOM) 2:55am Departure → London Heathrow (LHR) 07:35am Arrival

Upper Class on the route can be widely found for 37,500 Flying Club miles one-way, 17,500 miles one-way in premium economy or 10,000 miles one-way in economy.

If you’re low on Flying Club miles, keep in mind that you can transfer American Express UK Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio.

Featured image by Ankush Agrawal

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