In Western India, you should start or end your visit in Mumbai, formerly colonial-era Bombay. One of the largest, liveliest metropolises on Earth, this is the home of Bollywood cinema, an exceptional mix of Art Deco, Indo-Saracenic, and Gothic Revival architecture, and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of these is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (the main Mumbai railway station) and the other is the 5th century Elephanta Caves.
Goa was a Portuguese possession for 450 years, and the European-Catholic influence is strong. Amongst the historic Hindu temples you’ll find UNESCO-listed churches and convents, the style of which will seem very familiar if you’ve travelled in Latin America. Goa’s beaches are the finest in India, with superb luxury retreats, and the Western Ghats in eastern Goa are a hotspot for flora and fauna.
We always suggest that avid birders take advantage of the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, where you will trek across wetland boardwalks to spot native avian species. On an island in the Mandovi River, surrounded by mangroves, the birds are protected against human encroachment; its home to striated and western reef heron, little and black bittern, pied avocet, red knot, and jack snipe.