A city of architectural beauties and dazzling contrasts, Mumbai showcases the untold side of the charming state of Maharashtra. With an increasing population, it has become one of the world's most populous metropolitan areas, making Mumbai a heady hub of diverse cultures. Here, in the commercial capital of India, the financial district lumps together with Asia's largest slum, Dharavi, while one of the most expensive residential properties has risen up shoulder to shoulder with Dhobi Ghat, an open-air laundromat where workers still wash laundry in stone-made basins. A megalopolis where extremes meet and the pace is fast, Mumbai, love it or hate it, will certainly leave its mark.
Kerala’s first city, with its knotty official name of Thiruvananthapuram (often substituted by the shorter, more manageable Trivandrum), is an exhaustive introduction to southern India's urban and cultural life. Trivandrum tends to be unjustly overlooked en route to the state's beach-side settlements, but easily warrants a few days of its own.