Mumbai formerly known as Bombay is the ‘Financial’ capital of India. I always like to begin that way just to highlight the fact that most of India’s wealth is concentrated in this tiny island city which is roughly the size of Singapore. This little city started off as an archipelago of seven islands with fisher folk as its original inhabitants. The Portuguese originally ruled over these tiny coastal islands and later offered it to the British as a ‘small gift’ when their Princess Catherine married King Charles II of England. The reasons were political, but for the city of Bombay this was the beginning of prosperous era; one that would cement its place as a prominent city in India.
As a mega metropolis, you can enter Mumbai by air, water and train. Mumbai has a new airport terminal which will make your jaw drop. It is gorgeous and squeaky clean!
The best time to visit Mumbai is between November and February. This is the time of the year when the weather is pleasant and the ‘winter’ has set in.
Travel within Mumbai is very convenient, albeit crowded owing to the large population. The city boasts an efficient network of buses, trains, taxis, private taxis and metro (new). You can find some really helpful Mumbai travel tips shared by me on my blog here.
All that is worth seeing is in the southern parts of the city; hence it is advisable to stay in South Bombay. This suggested itinerary for three days in Mumbai, India assumes that you are staying in South Bombay.
Visit Mumba Devi (Morning)
Starting with where it all began. The original name for Bombay is Mumbai. This is derived from the temple of Mumba Devi, which the local community revered. A visit to this temple is sure to give you a lovely insight into Hindu traditions and worship. There are many souvenir shops and flower shops along the way to the temple. Do not buy anything from shops outside as it really isn’t necessary. Head straight in and try to wrap your head around the sights and sounds.
Ideal time to visit: 10am – 11.30am
Gateway of India
In India we say our prayers to god before making a new beginning. Now it’s time to get to business.
The Gateway of India is an iconic monument built just to welcome the King of England on his visit to India. Over the years this place has become closely associated with the city. This is the landmark to have in the background to show that you’ve visited Mumbai!
Ideal time to visit: 1pm to 2.00pm
Colaba Causeway Shopping
It is now time to indulge in some delicious food and shopping. Head over to ‘Colaba’ and grab a meal at one of the many food joints and prepare yourself for some serious shopping. The ‘Colaba Causeway’ is one of the best places to do street shopping in Bombay. You can almost find everything!
Ideal time to visit: 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Girgaon Chowpatty & Hanging Gardens
In India the beach is family and fun without the bikinis. As sad that it is, that’s a fact and the beautiful vista is something that makes up for it. The visit to the beach will give you some time to relax and take in the constructive chaos called Mumbai. This is also a great place to sit back and observe people from different walks of life, all coming together at the beach to take a moment and maybe even reflect on something meaningful.
From the beach you have two options. You could either go to the Hanging gardens at Malbar Hill which give you an elevated view of the city’s skyline or walk along the Marine Drive promenade. Both of these are at a short distance from the beach.
Note: Sunset is usually at about 6.30pm during winters.
Ideal time to visit: 4pm to 8pm
Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum houses interesting artifacts from Bombay’s history. A trip to this museum is a great way to start your day.
Jahangir Art Gallery
Next to the museum you will find the Jahangir Art gallery. There’s always some art of display and this is an interesting way of connecting with the local art.
Extra Tip: The canteen at the Jahangir Art gallery serves some delicious non-vegetarian food that you may want to try.
Ideal time to visit: 11am to 1pm
Train Ride to Bandra – Mount Mary Church
A trip to Mumbai is incomplete without taking the much feared Mumbai Local Train ride. On Saturdays the ride is easier and you won’t be hanging outside from the doors. Board from Churchgate station and get off at Bandra. Exiting to the west, take a rickshaw to Mount Mary Church. This church is really beautiful and definitely worth a visit. You then take a stroll along Bandra Bandstand which is another beautiful promenade in Mumbai.
Tip: Return to town by a taxi.
Ideal time to visit: 3.30pm to 7pm
Wake up early in the morning (7am) and rent a bicycle to ride around the ‘Fort Area’
Sunday is a great day to explore the real city. Wake up early and rent a bicycle. I recommend riding from Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) to Colaba Causeway. On your route you would find some of the most beautiful buildings of Bombay.
The streets will be empty and you can take some amazing photos!
Breakfast at an Iranian bakery
You woke up so early and you deserve a reward. Head over to Kayani Bakery at ‘Dhobitalav’. This is serious hog time. Try ‘Chai – Bun-Maska’ (Tea with bread and butter), ‘Akuri’ (Scrambled eggs) and the pastries platter that they offer.
Iranian food stores like these have become a quintessential part of Bombay’s culture. So much so that such food joints have become institutions in themselves!
Preparation to move on
All that delicious Bombay-Iranian food will get to set for the day. Hope you enjoyed your time in Mumbai!
Do you have any other recommendations if you only have Three Days in Mumbai, India?