Dance, Theater, and Music

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

Created in 1938 to preserve and promote India’s cultural traditions. Stages Indian classical music and dance; intermittently hosts talks pertaining to Indian philosophy and culture. KM Munshi Marg (Road), Chowpatty; tel. 91 22 23631261. www.bhavans.info

Karnataka Sangha

Stages classical dance and music performances, and occasional theater productions mostly from the south Indian state of Karnataka. M Vishweshwar Smarak Mandir, Kataria Road, Mahim; tel. 91 22 24379645.

National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)

Mumbai’s major center for performing arts including dance, music, and theatrical performances (traditional and contemporary Indian and foreign productions). Also readings, seminars, artistic exhibitions, and other cultural events. Off Marine Drive, Nariman Point; tel. 91 22 66223737. www.ncpamumbai.com

Nehru Centre

Indian dance, music, and dramatic performances. Nehru Centre Art Gallery on-site has changing exhibitions from painting and sculpture to calligraphy and photography by both established and emerging Indian artists. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli; tel. 91 22 24964676. www.nehru-centre.org

Prithvi Theatre

Hindi, Marathi, and English theatrical performances. Hosts the Prithvi Theatre Festival every year, usually in November, featuring up to two weeks of drama performances. Juhu Church Road, Juhu; tel. 91 22 26149546. www.prithvitheatre.org

Nightlife

Dome

“Classy rooftop bar. Just the spot to sip a green apple martini and take in the sweeping skyline views.”—Sanjay Singh Badnor, freelance travel writer/photographer, Times of India. Romantic open-air terrace with ocean vistas. Long beverage list; multi-cuisine food. Intercontinental, 135 Marine Drive, Churchgate; tel. 91 22 39879999. www.intercontinental.com

Leopold’s Café

If chichi bars aren’t your scene, make a beeline for earthy Leopold’s, a casual café-bar that has long been a traveler’s magnet, especially buzzing during the evenings. Indian, Western, and Chinese menu. Established in 1871. Colaba Causeway, Colaba; tel. 91 22 22020131.

Play

“Packed to the rafters with Mumbai's elite; the high-priced cocktails here are justified by the glass roof which opens to the stars.”—Rafael Wlodarski, Mumbai author, Lonely Planet. DJ usually on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Snack menu. Phoenix Mills, 462 Senapati Bhapat Marg, Lower Parel; tel. 91 22 66614343.

Red Light

“With funhouse-mirrors lining the upper walls, this place is a hit with students, particularly on Wednesday hip-hop nights.”—Rafael Wlodarski. Dimly-lit, trendy lounge-bar-nightclub. Guest DJs some nights. 145 Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road, Fort; tel. 91 22 66346246. www.khyberrestaurant.com/red-light.html

Festivals

Diwali

October/November (depending on Indian lunar calendar). Five-day Hindu Festival of Lights. Candles are lit to symbolically guide Lord Rama home from exile, fireworks are set off, and gifts (especially sweets) are exchanged.

Dussehra

September or October (determined by Indian lunar calendar). Hindu festival marking Lord Rama’s triumph over the wicked demon, Ravana. Effigies of Ravana are set alight and theatrical performances take place.

Elephanta Festival

February (dates vary). Held on Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbor; celebrates live classical Indian dance and music.

Ganesh Chaturthi

August/September (depending on Indian lunar calendar). Happy festival celebrating the elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesh. One of Mumbai’s biggest festivals; culminates in the auspicious immersion of Ganesh statues in the ocean.

Holi

February/March (depending on Indian lunar calendar). Hindu festival welcoming the onset of spring. People joyfully throw colored powder, so don’t wear good clothes. Bonfires lit on the evening before Holi symbolize the demise of the demon, Holika.

Kala Ghoda Festival

Spanning 10-14 days in February (dates vary). Theatrical, music, and dance performances as well as art exhibitions, literary talks, and delicious aromas wafting from the food stalls set up during this festival.

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