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At the end of the seventeenth century, Colaba was little more than the last in a straggling line of rocky islands extending to the lighthouse that stood on Mumbai’s southernmost point. Today, the original outlines of the promontory (whose name derives from the Koli fishermen who first lived here) have been submerged under a mass of dilapidated colonial tenements, hotels, bars, restaurants and handicraft emporia. If you never venture beyond the district, you’ll get a very distorted picture of Mumbai; even though it’s the main tourist enclave and a trendy hang-out for the city’s rich young things, Colaba has retained the sleazy feel of the port it used to be.

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