A cavalcade of history permeates Mumbai and increases its allure among Indian cities. While the crowds of people can be tiring, there are always escapes like taking a harbour cruise or ducking into a museum for an hour or two.
Mumbai's most obvious must-see, standing proudly beside the Arabian Sea, is the Gateway of India (Apollo Bunder, Colaba), built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary of Great Britain. Thousands of sightseers cluster here every day, as do the Victoria open horse-drawn carriages which are available for hire.
An amazing building, both inside and out, the Prince of Wales Museum (Mahatma Gandhi Rd; 91 22 2284 4519; www.bombaymuseum.org) - properly called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya - houses Indian miniatures, treasures from the 5,000-year-old city of Mohenjodaro and exquisite Tibetan-Nepali sculptures dating from the 12th century.
Worshippers have been flocking to St Thomas Cathedral (Town Hall, Horniman Circle) since 1718, and it remains a place of serenity amid the city's bustle. Daily, and highly characterful, services are open to all.
Wonderfully Gothic architecture, the Victoria Terminus (VT) or Chhatrapati Shivaji is a delight, even for those who are not railway buffs.
The best time to visit Marine Drive is at sunset when the lights, known as the Queen's Necklace, illuminate the sweeping bay and Chowpatty Beach where courting couples, strolling families and skylarking kids pass by.
The H2O Water Sports Complex (Marine Drive; 91 22 2367 7584) is well named, and its jet-skis, kayaks, jet boats and windsurfers offer a great break from the city. Parasailing provides unrivalled views of the metropolis.
Nothing excites the passions of Mumbaikars more fiercely than a game of cricket, especially if it's an international match. The most important tests are held at the Wankhede and Brabourne stadiums. It's worth catching a match just for the atmosphere.
Harbour cruises (Gateway Tours; 91 22 2202 3585) are one of the best ways to take in the Gateway of India, as well as all the other sights of the city and to explore further afield to such destinations as Mandwa and Alibag.
Something not to be missed while in India is the Taj Mahal in Delhi (www.etajmahal.com), 1,400km northeast of Mumbai. This monument of love, built between 1632 and 1648 by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Arjumand Bano Begum (better known as Mumtaz), is the seventh wonder of the world.
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