Mumbai, a city with a great historical past goes by several thousand years and hence is one of the few major cities of the world with distinction. Presently Mumbai is a combination of seven islands joined by the reclamation of land thereby making this a great city. Mumbai is ignored for its rich past in spite of its glitz and glamour. Today, I’ll be sharing with you the most popular historical places in Mumbai.
Mumbai is one of the most popular tourist attractions but finding the best historical place to visit in Mumbai is difficult. There are many elegant historical places which will engage your memory for days after the tour itself.
I have listed below some of the most renowned historical places in Mumbai such that you can plan your itinerary likewise.
Most Popular Historical Places in Mumbai
Best Historical Places in Mumbai (Forts And Caves)
India was known as the golden bird during the ancient times and this was the reason people from foreign land always dreamt of ruling this country. The city of Mumbai has many distinct famous relics, heritage sites and each one of them illustrating its own tale.
The Mahim Fort is one such relic from the past of the British era. Critically located in the Bay of Mahim, the fort disdains, overlooking Bandra to the north Worley to the south and Mahim to the east.
The Mahim Fort is actually a part of Saint George’s castle which was during the time of the British Empire an important base but nevertheless, all that now remains is ruins scattered all around the city.
This fort was built in order to invigorate the British differences by then the Governor Gerald Aungier. This fort is suffering from the neglect of the administrative and is in disrepair encroaching in the slums and is on exposure to the tidal erosion.
This world heritage site declared by UNESCO stands tall since 600AD with sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist Gods. Explore the caves made with a single basalt rock and see the elegantly detailed artwork of the sculptures which speak volume of the past decades.
The fragile cave has been divided into two groups: five Hindu Caves dedicated to Lord Shiva and two Buddhist Caves.
Archeological Survey of India has undertaken the responsibility of maintaining this cave with special care given to cave one which is 39m long from veneer to back.
The sculptures of God look damaged because it is said that the Portuguese practiced swords in these caves. The entrance has a masterpiece of 7m high Sadashiva which portrays the three characteristics of Lord Shiva.
The mysterious thing about the cave is that nobody knows who created this cave. The elephant caves were formerly known as Gharapuri until the Portuguese renamed this cave because there was a huge elephant shaped rock located here. I would highly recommend to add this place to your list of must visit historical places in Mumbai.
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This exemplary cave lies at Borivali in Mumbai amidst the forests of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is known as one of the oldest caves in India and is carved out of a single huge basaltic rock. You can feel the presence of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas in the monument.
During monsoons, monks used this cave as their residence to stay where they offered prayers. It is said that the monument has restored its carvings of chaityas and viharas since the 1st Century BCE.
Kanheri caves show the attempt of the ancient people to harvest rainwater. The ancient Indians had built huge tanks through canals and cisterns through which the rainwater channeled.
Later, during the Mauryan and Kushan dynasties, Kanheri became to be known as an important university center. The caves hold 51 carvings in total with 26 epigraphs and a mysterious painting of Lord Buddha on the ceiling of cave 34.
Historical Places in Mumbai Of Religious Significance
Mount Mary Church
The Mount Mary Church is a Roman Catholic Church located in Bandra, Mumbai. It was built in 1640 in dedication to the Virgin Mary and the main attraction of this Church is that it is situated on Sundarban Bandra, a hill which overlooks the elevation.
It is famous because it is believed that the church has implausible powers to heal and this is the reason why the church is corralled by 1000 of devotees every day.
Tourists from the entire world visiting Mumbai make sure to visit this popular church. A celebration for about a week long is held every September in the church.
The marvelous structure of Mount Mary Church is encouraged by British architectural style and is admired for its position on top of a hill known as Sundarban Bandra which is a hill 80 meters above the sea-level. Inside the church, the 16th-century statue of “Our Lady” is present.
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Haji Ali Dargah
The shrine adorns Indo-Islamic architecture and is named after a Muslim Merchant called saint Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. It is 400 years old and is one of the most popular sites in Mumbai where people of every caste pay a visit irrespective of their religion.
Legends believe that Hajji Ali Shah gave-up on all materialistic things before visiting the holy site of Mecca.
The artistic heritage designed with brilliance and mirror works in the monument is the major source of attraction. The aura which the monument carries around itself is remarkable. Built-in 1431 AD, this monument has found a place for itself in the Seven Wonders of the City.
The Hajj Ali Dargah stretches to an area of 4500meters and is enclosed by attractive pillars made of marble. The same marble called Makrana marble used for Taj Mahal has been used for the construction of this dargah too.
There is a tomb of Hajj Ali Shah Bukhari inside the building and people come to offer prayers here.
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Shree Siddhivinayak Temple is dedicated to the wish-granting Lord Ganesha. This is the most visited holy shrine in Mumbai where people visit Lord Ganesha to seek blessings before making a new start in life.
In the year 1801, Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil constructed this temple and today it is one of the most famous temples in India and people from the whole world come to seek blessings from Shri Ganesha.
The richest temple in Mumbai receives millions of rupee in donations. Deubai always wanted to build a temple of Ganesha where he would bless childless couples so it is also known as Navasacha Ganapati.
Ramakrishna Jambhekar Maharaj on the orders of Ramakrishna Jambhekar Maharaj had buried two divine idols in the front of the presiding idol of Lord Ganpati.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook started his journey of Mumbai by visiting this temple. This sacred place is visited by pilgrims to offer prayers and to spend their time in peace in the name of Lord.
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Must Visit Historical Places in Mumbai
Gateway Of India
Built in the 20th century to celebrate and to welcome King George V and Queen Mary in Mumbai. Gateway of India is one of the most unique landmarks of city Mumbai.
It is located at the tip of Apollo Bunder overlooking Mumbai Harbor bordered by the Arabian Sea of the Colaba District. Gateway of India shows a blend of Mughal architectural and Indo-Saracenic style in the monument.
Close to the Gateway of India lies the Elephant Caves which is another famous attraction of Mumbai where the statues of Shivaji and Swami Vivekananda are present right at the entrance.
The tourists can reach Elephant caves using a motorboat. Gateway of India marks some of the chief ports of India and is always on the list of tourists who visit here for the first time.
It is a favorite spot for not only tourists but also vendors, food stalls as well as photographers. Gateway of India is without doubt one of the most famous historical places in Mumbai.
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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a well known gothic styled structure in Mumbai. It serves as the headquarters of Central Railways of India and was originally constructed to observe the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria back in 1887.
Commonly known as CST, this is a terminus used for boarding train but you cannot stop yourself from gazing at the beautiful architectural work of the then Bori Bandar Railway Station.
The first passenger train marked its journey from Bori Bandar to Thane of 35 km in 57 minutes. This prominent landmark in Mumbai is regarded as one of the busiest stations of India.
During its era, it was regarded as the tallest building in Mumbai and spoke of its aura. This place was also used to store sacks. Today this very famous site has witnessed itself in a number of TV Soaps and movies like CID and Slumdog Millionaire.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a flagship property of the Taj Hotels Resort and Palaces group. The Taj Hotel was built 21 years before the Gateway of India was built. This iconic well-known hotel epitomizes the beauty of Mumbai.
The original building of the hotel was commissioned by the Tata group and had first opened its gate to the guest on 16th of December 1993. This extravagant and opulent hotel has been the condo for Maharajas, luminaries, and other famous notable personalities.
It is a heritage 5-star hotel which is located in the region of Colaba situated next to the Gateway of India, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. This hotel has about 560 rooms and 46 suites with 1600 staffs including 35 butlers.
One of the most famous and oldest libraries of the city, the Asiatic library of the South Mumbai has been endowing the heritage of our country since a very long time. This ancient library showcases a magnificent example of the neo-classical architecture of Mumbai. The library showcases a fine assortment of books, manuscripts, maps, prints, coins and designed folios.
Several manuscripts present in the library offers a delicacy to the history buffs and several paintings, folios are in different languages like Sanskrit, Urdu, and Persian. This library has books close to 3.5 lakhs highlighting some of the original and famous manuscripts of Dante’s poem, Sanskrit manuscripts of Mahabharata and coins issued by Shivaji himself.
The authority of the library is now thinking of digitalizing which is going to be great news for the people of the world as they will be able to gain access to these great books online.
Prince Of Wales Museum
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya or the Prince Of Wales Museum is the heritage of Mumbai owing to its laudable architecture. This significant museum in India portrays a bunch of collection of the ancient artworks, sculptures, and artifacts in its galleries.
The marvelous museum designed by George Wittet, presents the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture in which it was built with a blend of styles of Gujrati and Islamic design.
It has three different parts for Natural history section, Archaeology Section and the section of art. Surrounded by lush greenery and the impressive Mughal white dome structure adds brilliant splendor to the place.
There was renovation project carried in the year 2008 which added new galleries with artworks of Hindu God Lord Krishna, Textiles along with some Indian Traditional Costumes.
Tourists from all corners of the world never forget to pay a visit to this magnificent building of heritage where they explore the various archaic artifacts perpetuated within this museum.
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