Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is often considered the commercial and entertainment capital of India. With almost 22 million residents in the metropolitan area, it is the most populated city in the country and also the 4th most populated city in the world. The mass of inhabitants also creates extremely diverse pockets of neighborhoods, each with their own cultural and culinary traditions.
There are several notable sites in Mumbai that are popular on the tourist circuit, including the Gateway of India, Dhobi Ghat, Malabar Hill, Crawford Market, Marine Drive and the Prince of Wales Museum. There are also the Elephanta Caves, an intricate rock-cut temple complex on Gharapuri Island located one hour by boat across Mumbai Harbor.
Sodha Travel offers several unique and private tour options in Mumbai that invite travelers to experience a more intimate and indigenous side of the city. Here are a few of my favorites:
Worli Fishing Village
Nestled in an area dotted by architectural wonders and towering sky-scrapers exists the quaint and picturesque Worli Fishing Village. An essential part of the seven villages that make the island city of Mumbai, this 600-year- old village is a quintessential settlement of the original inhabitants of Mumbai – the fishermen community. A walk through this village transports you to the land of stories, people, legends, and superstitions. Not much has changed since the time of the first settlement and this tour gives a window-seat view into the lives of the people, making this a walk in history. But what truly makes this tour special is a walk inside the Worli Fort. Lost in the pages of history, this British watch tower still stands tall as it overlooks the beautiful Arabian Sea.
Every year, millions of people come to Mumbai in search of a better future and leave a permanent imprint on its culture. They make the city what it is – one that is hustling, bustling and constantly on the move. The eclecticism and the industrious nature of its people are what contribute to the culture of this city, which when observed in the morning, is quite unique. Visit the Sassoon Docks, where you see Mumbai rise and shine. Get a glimpse into the underbelly of the city and gain insights into what makes this magnificent city tick. You may see hundreds of newspaper vendors sorting out newspapers of seven different languages, or experience a fish auction with 20 tons of fish. Perhaps visit the ‘only green’ herb market sprawled across a popular bridge. From watching the milkmen drive past with canisters to experiencing the clamor and chaos of the arrival of over 100 tons of vegetables, fruits and meat, the docks truly define the mercurial character of Mumbai. Note: The best time to walk the docks is between 5 – 8am.
This tour is an ode to the 2,000-year-old Jewish heritage existing in India. Embark on a historic journey and learn about the Jewish history while visiting places of Jewish interest that have dotted the map of Mumbai for centuries. The tour includes a walk into the beautiful and architecturally stunning synagogues, Sassoon Docks, Sassoon Library and the magnificent Bhau Daji Lad Museum. You will also see the beautiful art district of Kala Ghoda, the Dhobi Ghat, and the Dabbawalas. Our specialty guides have a deep understanding of the Jewish culture and give you an in-depth view into their history and traditions. Note: If you would like to be a part of the Sabbath prayer or have a Kosher meal, it can be arranged inside the synagogue.
Mumbai houses India's Hindi film and television industry, affectionately termed as Bollywood. Movies in India are more than a source of entertainment. They are a passion, a fellowship, and even a religion. (Did you know that there are temples constructed to idolize movie stars?) Our private Bollywood tour offers a behind-the-scenes studio experience. Visit and watch a live set, tour the backstage areas, and observe the stunt and dance rehearsals. You may even have the opportunity to chat with a movie star!