We had an amazing trip that exceeded our expectations ... The places we visited, the accommodations you chose, the quality of the guides, the itinerary, and all the logistics were excellent.
Formerly called Bombay, Mumbai is the sprawling capital of the state of Maharashtra. A mega-city home to more than 20 million people - the largest city in India and the fourth largest city in the world - it is both the financial and entertainment capital of India. Its overcrowding is legendary, and the line between the physical space that rich and poor share is exceptionally blurred here; scruffy rickshaws crawl alongside chauffeured limos in the city's infamous traffic, while five-star hotels bump up against vast slums. Despite (or because of) it all, the city buzzes with a frenetic energy and, as the breakout film Slumdog Millionaire depicted, infectious hope. Mumbai is truly one of the most exciting destinations in India, offering contemporary art and high-end museums, terrific dining, historic architecture, and, of course, Bollywood productions.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
Occuring over a span of 10 days in August and September, the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival celebrates the eponymous deity, who serves as the patron of arts, science and knowledge. For this festival, millions of Indians celebrate Ganesh in both their private homes as well as the public sphere, including raucous festivities, anointing and adorning special structures called pandals, and offering coconuts, flowers, and camphor to idols of Ganesh.
While Mumbai’s beaches cannot compare to those of Goa and the southwestern coast, its sandy stretches are ideal places for picnics, walks, and exercises. For a glimpse of the sunset, head to Girgaum Chowpatti beach, where visitors can watch the sun dip below the horizon, unhindered by manmade and natural obstacles.
National Gallery of Modern Art
Visit the exhibition spaces that host some of India’s best art; a great place to spend an afternoon away from the tropical heat, the National Gallery of Art offers a look into the artistic and creative practices of elite artists from across the country.
Visit some of the old, well-preserved churches in Mumbai, some of which date back to the Portuguese occupation of the 16th century. Of these, the oldest is St. Michael’s, built in 1534 under the Portuguese, and home to “the Divine Mercy,” a portrait of Jesus reputed to bleed.
Other churches include St. John the Baptist, a ruined structure in western Mumbai, constructed in 1579; as well as St. Andrew's, a functioning church built in 1575 on the seashore of what is now the Bandra suburb of Mumbai.
Cotton and Textiles
Due to the trade embargo placed on the American South during the American Civil War, Mumbai became the world’s leading supplier of cotton in the 1860s. Today, Mumbai offers a plethora of cotton, fabrics, and other textiles, all of which can be made-to-order.
Thrust into the global spotlight by Slumdog Millionaire, Bollywood is the colloquial name for the Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai. While Bollywood was preceded by the Bengali film industry based in Calcutta (called Tollywood), its infectious mix of musical numbers, elaborate sets and costumes, and colorful spectacle propelled it first to regional, and then international, renown.
Visit a Bollywood film set for a closer look at the controlled chaos that occurs behind the scenes.
Visit Victoria Station, the most impressive example of Victorian Gothic architecture in India. Designed by Frederick William Stevens and decorated by local art students and craftsmen, it was completed in 1888 and named to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Now the headquarters of the Central Railway, over 1,000 trains and 2 million passengers pass through the station daily. In 2004, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Prince of Wales Museum
Explore The Prince of Wales Museum, renowned for its superb sculptures and miniature paintings. The museum's home is a grand Indo-Saracenic building whose foundation stone of this museum was laid by the Prince of Wales in 1905 and which served as a military hospital during World War I.
Drive through Malabar Hill, which is bounded by Napean Sea Road, Ridge Road and Walkeshwar Road. This leafy residential neighborhood is crowded with the high-rise apartments of Mumbai’s rich and famous. Houses here are amongst the most expensive in the world. An unhindered view of Back Bay, with the Girgaum Chowpatti beach in the foreground, and the Nariman Point skyline in the background is one of the reasons for the sky-high real estate prices in this district.
Encompassing a 1.3-mile escarpment, the 34 caves at Ellora are the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The caves at this UNESCO World Heritage Site represent three distinct groups – Buddhist, Hindu and Jain – and they are numbered from the southern end.
The Buddhist Caves (1 to 12) date from the Chalukya period, between the 7th and 8th centuries; the Hindu Caves (13 to 29) were carved out between the 7th and 9th centuries, and represent the peak of Ellora’s development; and the Jain Caves (30 to 34), which date from Ellora’s last stage and are the simplest of the group.
Take a journey through Central India, passing through Mumbai, Hampi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad on this 11-day luxury journey. You’ll sleep in some of India’s most luxurious hotels, including the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, spend time in Bollywood, visit the ancient ruins of Golkonda, and rock climb in Hampi.
Let your private jet whisk you away on this exclusive 14-day journey through North India. You’ll take in Mumbai’s world-famous Bollywood scene, catch sunset at one of India’s holiest sites, marvel at the incredible Taj Mahal, and visit an elephant polo camp, all while staying in some of India’s most luxury hotels.
Take a thrilling trip through India and Sri Lanka, spending 16 days meandering from Mumbai’s iconic Bollywood, down the backwaters of Kerala, exploring colonial Cochin. You’ll fly onwards to Sri Lanka, where you’ll explore its ancient wonders like the Temple of Tooth, all the while staying in luxury hotels.
Experience the rich flavors, tastes, smells, sights and sounds of beautiful India. From architectural wonders to cultural treasures and natural beauties, you’ll revel in them all over eleven shining days and ten unforgettable nights spent in utter luxury at Oberoi hotels
Escape into the wilds of India’s safaris on an exciting 12-day adventure through Panna, Bandhavgarh, and Kanha National Parks, where you’ll search for the mighty, elusive Bengal Tiger. You’ll explore ancient forts, hike to majestic viewpoints, and interact with exotic animals while staying in luxury hotels.
Head to sunny South India for 12 days of luxury travel. You’ll explore Mumbai, taking in the dazzling, world-famous Bollywood, then head to the backwaters of Kerala where you’ll step aboard a luxury Kettuvallam. Interact with locals, shop in markets, and view ancient temples while staying in luxurious Taj hotels.
Take in the best of South India’s culture on this 14-day luxury journey from Mumbai to Madurai. You’ll peruse bustling markets, explore UNESCO-listed ancient ruins in Hampi, and enjoy the colonial charms of Pondicherry as you feel like royalty sleeping in some of India’s most luxurious Taj hotels.
Spend nearly an entire month - 26 days - traveling in luxury through India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. You’ll visit religiously-important and UNESCO-listed sites including temples and palaces, watch baby sea turtles hatch in Tangalle, and relax at your luxury beachside resort on the stunning Kaafu Atoll.
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
For over a century, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower has been the haunt of India's elite, and has played host to princes, kings, maharajas, presidents, CEOs and countless celebrities. Built in 1903, it is an architectural marvel, bringing together Moorish, Oriental, and Florentine styles. Inside, the hotel showcases contemporary Indian art framed by vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, and an eclectic collection of furniture. There are 519 rooms and 46 opulent suites with panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India. The Taj's excellent dining options include Golden Dragon - voted the best Chinese restaurant in Mumbai; Masala Kraft - Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist; Souk, which has stunning views of Mumbai from its rooftop location and serves Middle Eastern cuisine; The Zodiac Grill, where a special menu is offered for each month's star sign, and the stellar Wasabi By Morimoto - Mumbai's first contemporary Japanese restaurant, helmed by the Iron Chef himself. There is also the Harbour Bar, Mumbai's first drinking establishment, and the Insomnia nightclub, filled with "Bombabes" and their millionaire boyfriends. Guests can unwind at the luxurious spa, the fitness center, equipped with cardiovascular and weight training equipment, steam shower and sauna and swimming pool, or with a game of badminton, squash, tennis or billiards. The hotel also has a private yacht available for day trips on the Arabian Sea or to nearby Elephanta Island. There is a business center with wired and wireless Internet access, secretarial services and cell phones and laptops for hire. Wi-fi available throughout the hotel. The Taj Mahal Palace is 45 minutes from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM).
The Deccan Odyssey
The Deccan Odyssey is a beautiful blue train, carving paths through the stunning cities and countryside of India. Passengers can choose from ten journeys, from three to seven nights, each with its unique itinerary packed with adventures and excursions. And after a day traversing the Sahyadri Mountains or exploring the heritage sites of Gujarat, guests will be delighted to retire to the Deccan Odyssey to unwind in luxury. With a choice of two cabin configurations, guests can choose their level of luxury, meanwhile, international and traditional local cuisine will keep palates happy across the two dining cars. The bar is the perfect spot to enjoy drinks with a view of the passing landscape, there’s a conference room for talks and lectures, a lounge, a well-equipped gymnasium, a beauty parlour and for guests really wishing to kick back, a range of treatments are available in the train’s on-board spa.
The Oberoi Mumbai
Bask in the ultimate luxury at The Oberoi Mumbai, a spectacular building with incredible ocean views and a front-row seat for the Queen’s Necklace, the name for the golden crescent of lights that glimmer on the shoreline after the sun sets. From the moment guests arrive on the spectacular grounds, they are whisked away into a world of elegance and luxury. Inside the lobby, floor-to-ceiling windows offer unparalleled views of the ocean and the incredible shoreline. And within each incredibly-decorated guest room, guests may marvel at the views as they enjoy personalised butler services. The hotel also features a variety of world-class restaurants serving delicious cuisine from around the world, as well as a state-of-the-art spa, fitness center and temperature-controlled, outdoor pool in a private courtyard.