A city of contrasts; Mumbai keeps its visitors occupied with its diverse range of tourist attractions, including historical places, temples, beaches, museums, entertainment and nightlife spots. While most travelers hurry through Mumbai experiences by checking out its well-known tourist places, an offbeat tour of Mumbai leaves you pleasantly surprised. Here are some of the unique things to do in Mumbai, the mention of which you may not find in any Mumbai travel guide.
Amble Along Khotachiwadi
Khotachiwadi’s narrow streets lined with colorful Portuguese-style bungalows invite you into a world that is starkly different from Mumbai, both in how it looks and functions. Almost 200-year-old, this quaint hamlet in South Mumbai’s Girgaum is one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in Mumbai. Most of the heritage houses feature arched doorways, verandas, column designs, and beautiful gardens. You might find it easy to believe that this is Goa rather than Mumbai. Khotachiwadi was founded in the 18th century when a local sold plots on this land to Mumbai’s East Indian families. Until the mid 20th century, there were around 65 historic homes in this village but it now has about 28 only. Yet, a stroll through this lane imbued with quietude is sure to take you back in time.
Gilbert Hill Trek
Standing at 200 feet between the high-rises of Andheri, Gilbert Hill is an imposing basalt rock monolith whose vertical face is marked with unusual, long columns. This rare geological formation dates back to the Mesozoic era and the only two other similar formations on this Earth are the Devil Tower National Monument in Wyoming and the Devils Postpile National Monument in California. Climbing to the top of Gilbert hill is actually possible and is one of the unique things to do in Mumbai. A series of steep stairs carved into the rock take you to the hilltop, where you can find an ancient Hindu temple. The hilltop also treats you to the sweeping views of suburban Mumbai.
Spend Some Time at the Hanging Gardens
Also called Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, this beautiful terraced garden sits atop the Malabar Hill, away from the buzz of the city. One of the top places to see in Mumbai, Hanging Gardens is where you need to go for relaxation. The greenery of this park is soothing to the senses and you can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and Marine Drive from here. If you are planning to fly to Mumbai with your kids, then this place has to be a part of your itinerary. Kids love the garden’s many animal-shaped hedges as well as playing inside a giant boot-like structure called Old Woman’s Shoe.
Watch a Play at Prithvi Theater
Being home to the reputed Bollywood industry; movie screenings in Mumbai do attract large crowds to its multiplexes, but the live plays/shows at Prithvi Theatre only draw true theater fans. Enjoy a play at this theater and head to its cafe to relish delicious local and continental fare. Watching theater or performing arts at Royal Opera House (the only surviving opera house in India) or catching a show of ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ at Maratha Mandir (that has been screening this Hindi blockbuster every day ever since its release in 1995) are also some of the unique things to do in Mumbai.
Explore Art Galleries at Kala Ghoda
The art district of Mumbai, Khala Ghoda is known for its heritage buildings, vintage architecture, and several modern art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. Its name is derived from the 25-ft-tall black statue of a horse, which serves as the icon of this place. Some of the city’s most-recognized structures such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, National Gallery of Modern Art, and Jehangir Art Gallery can be found here. Art galleries at Kala Ghoda showcase both ancient and contemporary Indian art along with exhibiting notable works of famous international artists. Art lovers look forward to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival that happens in February every year.