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Mumbai – a guide to the areas of India’s biggest city

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As the fourth most populous city in the world, Mumbai is hectic, bustling and diverse. Situated in the state of Maharashtra on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent, Mumbai is the wealthiest city in India. Known as Bombay until 1995, the city was renamed but both names are still used. Look out for the famous bumble-bee ambassador cabs in the capital that is a tale of two stories, the very rich and the very poor. 

Shinod Lukose

My Destination local expert on


South Mumbai


The major touristy area of Mumbai lies here, where you’ll find the majority of museums, art galleries, designer shops, bars and restaurants. The famous monument from the British Raj is also here, the Gateway of India which overlooks the Arabian Sea. This area is home to some of the oldest buildings in Mumbai as well as the most expensive neighbourhoods. Some house prices are the same as Manhattan in New York.


South Central Mumbai


This area was previously home to textile mills, but since the 1970s and 80s, it has been regenerated into new offices, shopping malls, night clubs, hotels and restaurants. But as the city of two tales, there is also one of the largest slums in the whole of Asia here too, in Dharavi. Dharavi is famous for its economically priced leather goods. Below the high rise buildings, is a huge flat area made by the poor where thousands of people live and work. The slum was formed during the British colonial era in the 1880s. Nearby is Mahim Nature Park too for some fresh air within the city.


North Central Mumbai


This area developed very quickly after India’s independence in 1949 and received a wave of immigration. It marks the area of where the actual city ends and suburbia begins, yet the line is often blurred due to the idea of ‘Greater Mumbai’. Because of this, north central is an area of vast opposites from upper middle class settlements, to the second largest slum in the whole of Asia. Don’t miss the very old Sitladevi Temple.


West Mumbai


As one of Mumbai’s downtown areas, West Mumbai is relatively upmarket. It is also home to some of the cities beaches as well as the most famous church in Mumbai. The domestic and international airports are also located here along with lots of hotels. West Mumbai started life as a collective of fishing villages and strangely turned into a real cosmopolitan suburban area. The Mithi River, which is Mumbai’s only river, flows straight through the area. Don’t miss out on the relaxing Juhu Beach. Adjacent to Juhu beach is Juhu Chowpatty which is famous for its street food. Another locality on west Mumbai is Bandra which is home to celebrities like Shahrukh Khan.


North Mumbai


This area of Mumbai has plenty of culture and history to experience as well as the cleanest beaches. Here you can find the Sanjay Gandhi National Park as well as some of Mumbai’s oldest monuments. Some temples dating from the 1st century are amazingly still here such as Kanheri, Mandapeshwar and Jogeshwari. If that isn’t enough, there is also the Global Vipassan Pagoda which serves as a monument of peace and harmony for the city.


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