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Top 5: Historic Sites in Mumbai

by Akhil Kalepu

Apr 27, 2015

The Gateway of India in Mumbai © Kishore Jothady | Dreamstime


India’s biggest city is also packed with history. Here are Mumbai’s five best historical sites.


Mumba Devi Temple, Mumbai, India © John McCabe | Flickr

Mumba Devi Temple © John McCabe | Flickr


Mumba Devi Temple

This 18th-century temple is dedicated to Mumbadevi, the local incarnation of Mother Devi, and patron goddess to the agri (salt collectors) and kolis (fishermen) of Bombay. Legend has it, the temple was built in protection from Mumbaraka, a menacing giant who terrorized the city. Once vanquished, Mumbaraka begged for Mumbadevi to take his name and he built a temple in her honor.


The Gateway of India in Mumbai © Julian Bound | Dreamstime 48803206

The Gateway of India © Julian Bound | Dreamstime


Gateway of India

The classic Indo-Saracenic architecture makes it one of the most recognizable monuments in Mumbai, located on the Apollo Bunder waterfront overlooking the Arabian Sea. It was built to commemorate King George V and Queen Mary’s first visit to India in 1911, though construction began in 1915 so they only got to see a cardboard model. The gateway was later used as a ceremonial entrance for officials of the British Raj.


Haji Ali Dargah, outside Mumbai, India © Saiko3p | Dreamstime 50526195

Haji Ali Dargah © Saiko3p | Dreamstime


Haji Ali Dargah

Located off the coast of Worli in South Mumbai, Haji Ali is a tiny islet housing a mosque and tomb to Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. It was built in 1431 in memory of the merchant who gave up all his worldly possessions and made pilgrimage to Mecca. The mosque is connected to the coast by a narrow causeway that is only accessible during low tide. Legend has it, after his death, the Saint’s casket was released into the sea, only to float back and get stuck in the rocks off the coast, thus inspiring his followers to build his tomb there.


Ancient Sculptures of the Elephanta Caves outside Mumbai, India © Samrat35 | Dreamstime 46505393

Ancient Sculptures of the Elephanta Caves © Samrat35 | Dreamstime


Elephanta Caves

Gharapuri, known as the “city of caves,” is home to the famous network of sculpted caverns in Mumbai Harbour. Created between the 5th and 8th centuries, the network contains two Buddhist caves and five Hindu caves dedicated to the god Shiva. The identity of the original stoneworkers remains a mystery, but they left behind an architectural wonder filled with statues, reliefs, courtyards, chambers and shrines.


Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's House, Mumbai, India © Thomas Galvez | Flickr

Mani Bhavan © Thomas Galvez | Flickr


Mani Bhavan

This historical landmark house is located in downtown Mumbai, serving as the headquarters to Mahatma Gandhi’s political activities during India’s struggle for independence. Mani Bhavan houses a collection of photographs, books and historic artifacts illustrating Gandhi’s life. The house is famous for having been visited by Martin Luther King in the 50s and by Barack Obama in 2010.



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