Mumbai is the most populous city in India. With an estimated population of 20 million, it is a mega city on any scale. With an average temperature of 81 °F, or 27.2 °C, Mumbai is a warm destination any given time of the year.
South Mumbai is the area of the city that stretches from Mahim neighborhood in the north to Colaba neighborhood in the south. As such it includes neighborhoods like Parel, Worli, and Nariman Point. I would say it’s also the oldest part of the city, with remnants of British Colonialism everywhere.
For a small area (26 square miles) South Mumbai packs a lot of firsts in the world. Antilia, on S. K. Barodawalla Marg, better known as Altamount Road, the 27-storey home of the industrialist Mukesh Ambani, is the most expensive private home in the world. The neighborhood is full of the super rich. It has attracted many of them over the past fifty years, as India made its way to one of the largest economies in the world. As such South Mumbai is now the richest precinct in India.
South Mumbai is also home to a few cultural icons. The world-renowned Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, locally known as CST and formerly known as Victoria Terminus, which is the central station of the city, is located here. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With more than 1,500 trains pulling in and out of its 18 platforms each day, it’s the busiest station in the world.
The Haji Ali Dargah, a prime example of Indo-Islamic architecture, is a 15th Century dargah or tomb of a legend that mystifies love and faith. With nearly 100,000 people visiting each week, it’s one of the most important landmarks of the city. If you’re lucky to visit on a Friday you might hear Sufi musicians perform a form of devotional music known as Qawwali at the dargah.
Mumbai is also home to Bollywood, which makes the most films in the world. The Bollywood Museum, officially known as National Museum of Indian Cinema, is a celebration of an industry that recently celebrated 100 years of movies. Located in the affluent neighborhood of Cumbala Hill, the museum sees droves of tourists and locals alike.
The High Street Phoenix mall in Lower Parel is much more than just a small; it is a world of shopping. With over 3 million square feet, with five star hotels and restaurants in its midst, it is by far one of the most interesting shopping centers in the world. International luxury brand stores like Armani, Burberry, and Chanel are represented alongside national brand stores like Lakmé, Ritu Kumar, and Rohit Bal.
AJ Paris is the author of the upcoming “Mumbai,” a photo book that looks at the city through its land, people, and culture.