Overview of Mumbai

 

It may be globally recognised as India's economic powerhouse, but that does not make arranging business travel to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) any easier. Why not let Simplexity Travel Managers make your next trip to India’s financial capital stress-free?

Situated on a peninsula halfway up the west coast of India, Mumbai is home to more millionaires than any other city on the Indian subcontinent. It is an important port, handling one third of the country’s international trade, having developed historically as a base for the East India Company. Its centre still features a breathtaking array of High Victorian buildings that would be more in keeping in a prosperous 19th-century English industrial city rather than an Asian mega-city.

The fascinating range of architectural styles on display is testament to the British obsession with the Gothic as well as to the wealth, panache and confidence of British Bombay.

Despite being a thoroughly modern city, the streets of Mumbai are congested with cattle and carts that merge with the bewildering number of cars, trucks and motorbikes on the roads.

Mumbai has a colourful and fascinating history that deserves exploration. The main sites of interest include colonial buildings such as the Gateway of India, the CST Terminus and the Police Headquarters. The Prince of Wales Museum, founded in the early 20th century, is a great resource for learning about India's history. The Elephanta Caves – a popular tourist excursion – are only a short boat trip away, and well worth visiting. The former home of Mahatma Gandhi, the Mani Bhavan Ghandi Museum, is a Gujarati-style house with three floors for visitors to explore the life and times of the former Indian leader.

There are excellent dining opportunities that demonstrate Mumbai’s melting pot of cuisines, both regional and international. The city is blessed with many wonderful restaurants that often exist cheek by jowl with a myriad of street food hawkers.

Mumbai offers every single kind of Indian fare, from rom traditional Tandoori food and Parsi dishes to the inventiveness of Gujarati cuisine, rich Mughlai curries and the highly popular Punjabi cuisine. Seafood from the Konkan coast is considered to be a local speciality.

Snacks can be as exciting as feasts, so make sure you try pani puri, also known as gup chup, which is a round, hollow bowl made from crisp-fried unleavened bread, then filled with a mixture of tamarind, chilli, chaat masala, onion and potatoes. Authentic masala chai is a must too – this sweet tea is made from boiling a mixture of water, milk and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.

Equally thrilling is the city’s nightlife. There is a dazzling display of clubs, discos and bars that throb with the characteristic energy of Mumbai until the early hours. The lively Colaba Causeway is a great place to find unpretentious pubs, or head to Churchgate or Juhu if you're looking to shake a tail feather. Bandra is the hangout of choice for the wannabe Bollywood star, posing on the coastal suburb’s dancefloor.

The cosmopolitan city of Mumbai is a shopper's paradise. You will find everything from haute couture to local markets. M Gandhi Road is known as ‘Fashion Street’, and fully lives up to its name. For a spot of haggling, markets such as Chor Bazaar, Crawford Market, the silversmith's bazaar and Dharavi are all great places to hone your skills. Brass, copper and silver items are great to buy here and keep an eye out for intricately carved sandalwood boxes and beautiful wooden Buddhas or Hindu deities.

Climate

The winter months (November to February) are the best time to visit Mumbai, when temperatures range between 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) and 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

The spring and summer months are uncomfortably hot and humid with temperatures often reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

The monsoons arrive in July and August.

Language

Although English is generally used for official and business purposes, Hindi is the official language. Urdu is widely used, as are many of India’s other 22 official languages.

Passport Visa

To enter India, most countries’ nationals will require a machine-readable passport valid for at least three months, as well as an e-Tourist Visa, which you must apply for online at least four days before you arrive. You may only enter India via those airports listed on the eTV website. Various areas of the country have been designated protected or restricted areas that require further special permits. Please check the rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.

Safety

You should take the usual precautions to prevent street crime such as bag snatching and pick-pocketing, which is extremely common. There is a high threat from terrorism throughout India. Recent attacks have targeted public places including those visited by foreigners.

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For all your high-end, bespoke leisure and corporate travel needs to Mumbai, contact our Travel Managers on 0203 535 9290 or info@simplexitytravel.com today.

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