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Chowpatty Beach

Mumbai's famous beach is no place for a sun bathe or a dip. In fact, there's not much going on at Chowpatty at all during the day, but in the evening it develops a magical fairground atmosphere as locals come to stroll among the contortionists, masseurs, transvestites, balloon sellers, gamblers, fortune tellers, magicians, drug dealers, nut vendors, ferris wheels and shooting galleries.

Elephanta Caves

Mumbai's major tourist attractions are the rock-cut temples on peaceful Elephanta Island, 10km ( 6miles ) north-east of the Gateway of India. Thought to have been carved between 450 and 750 AD, the temples survived Portuguese vandalism (one cave was reputedly used by a Portuguese battalion as a shooting gallery) and remain equal in size, beauty and power to the caves at Ajanta and Ellora. The main cave contains large sculpted panels relating to Siva, including the astonishing 6mt ( 20 feet ) high triple-headed Trimurti - in which Siva embodies the roles of creator, preserver and destroyer. Boats run daily from Mumbai's Apollo Bunder every hour until early afternoon, although it's best to make the trip during the week.

Gateway of India

Built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of George V to India, this is a principal landmark of Mumbai, situated at Colaba. This was officially inaugurated in 1924 to welcome the visitors who came to by ship. This distinctive monument was India's principal port. The monument's architecture reflects similarity with the conventional arch of Triumph. Colaba Causeway extending to one end of Colaba promontory, southern end of Mumbai Island is situated near Gateway of India. One more interesting place here is the Sassoon dock, especially when the fishing boats come in and unload their catch. The gorgeous Hotel Taj Mahal also lies in Colaba.

Haji Ali Mosque

Situated at the end of a long causeway poking into the Arabian Sea, is a whitewashed fairytale mosque containing the tomb of the Muslim Saint Haji Ali. The saint is believed to have been a wealthy local businessman who renounced the material world and meditated on a nearby headland following a pilgrimage to Mecca. The mosque and tomb were built by devotees in the early 19th century. Alternative versions say Haji Ali died while on a pilgrimage to Mecca and his casket amazingly floated back to Bombay and landed at this spot.


   
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