Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the state capital of Maharashtra and also the commercial capital of India and is situated on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. It is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. Mumbai was originally a conglomeration of seven islands on the Konkan coastline which over time were joined to form the island city of Bombay. The city emerged as a center of manufacturing and industry during the eighteenth century. It has the largest and the busiest port handling India's foreign trade and a major International airport. It is regarded as the Hub of Cinema as it has the Indian Film Industry ‘Bollywood’ as well as the Indian Television Industry. Today, Mumbai is considered as a city of dreams for millions of people who come into this cosmopolitan city to earn and lead a comfortable life.
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Mumbai lies on the western coast of India in the Deccan region by the bank of the Arabian Sea. Approximately one-fourth of the city lies under the sea. Mumbai is India’s most-populous city, and it is one of the largest and most densely populated urban areas in the world. The search for better employment opportunities and a bit upgraded lifestyle are the probable reasons behind the population growth in Mumbai. Mumbai is made from the group of seven islands namely Colaba, Mazagaon, Mahim, Parel, Isle of Bombay, Worli and Old Woman's Island. These novel seven islands of Bombay actually consisted of 22 hills, out of which some hills are still standing today. Mumbai is divided into several districts namely South Mumbai, South Central Mumbai, North Central Mumbai, West Mumbai, East Mumbai, Harbour Suburbs and North Mumbai. Mumbai spans over 468 sq kms in Area having a population of 16 million. It lies between Latitude – 18⁰ 53' North, Longitude - 72⁰ 50' East and at 0 Altitude i.e. at sea level. Due to its proximity to the sea, the soil cover of this region is sandy to a large extent. It is divided into two discrete regions – the City and the Suburbs. Mumbai is classified as a metropolis of India, under the jurisdiction of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Due to the moderating influence of the sea, the temperature in Bombay undergoes little seasonal fluctuation. The climate of Mumbai can be categorized into four seasons - Summer, Winter, Monsoon and the Post-Monsoon. March to May is the summer season, December to February is the winter season, June to September experiences Monsoon climate while October to December is the Post-Monsoon season. The average climate of the city is moderately hot with high humidity. In summer, the temperature exceeds 32°C (90°F) and in winter, the maximum temperature remains up to 30°C (86°F). The rain in Mumbai is extremely heavy and the annual rainfall of Mumbai is around 200cm. Monsoon is not the best time to visit Mumbai as it experiences heavy rainfall and when the soil cannot absorb any more of the rainfall, the city is prone to flooding. People are seen wading in pools of water and vehicles trying to navigate through the stagnant waters. The best time to visit Mumbai is unquestionably the winter. During this time, the city experiences warm, pleasant weather as compared to the hot, humid weather during Summer.
The Mumbai culture is a blend of traditional festivals, religions, music, food and fine arts. The cultural aspect of Mumbai is very rich and attracts tourists from all over the world. It is one of the busiest cities in India and is often termed as “the City that never sleeps”. Music plays an important role in the Mumbai culture. Marathi Koli songs have their origin here and the people in the coastal areas love to sing these songs. Bollywood, Indi-pop, Marathi music, Hindi music, Indian classical music, rock and international pop music are all popular in the city. However, since Mumbai is home to the famous Bollywood industry, Bollywood music is the most popular type of music heard, played, sung and even performed.Mumbai is a city of many faiths. Here, religious conviction and secularism go hand in hand. Mostly, the people of Mumbai are a concentrated mix of Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Jains and Buddhists. The festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Holi, Navratri, Easter, etc. are all celebrated by the people irrespective of the caste and creed in a grand way thus uniting all the people of Mumbai.
The culture of Mumbai remains incomplete without its traditional local cuisines. Due to the diversity of the city, many cuisines are considered local to the city. The local mouthwatering delicacies include Vada Pav, Pani Puri, Bhel Puri, Shev Puri, Chivda, Dahi Puri, Chakli, Shankar Pale, Karanji, Puran Poli, Sheera, etc. These delicacies are always available anywhere in Mumbai. Apart from these, South Indian, Chinese, Punjabi, Mughlai and other cuisines are also popular here. Mumbai is known as the birthplace of Indian Cinema. There are a lot of theatres in the city that caters to Bollywood, Marathi and Hollywood movies in the city. From the legendary actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, to the famed musicians like A.R.Rahman of the industry, Bollywood is considered to be an entertainment lifeline of this city and the rest of the country.
‘Mumbai’ is considered to be an eponym derived from “Mumba”, the name of the local Hindu goddess Mumbadevi and “Aai” which means Mother. It was earlier anglicized as ‘Bombay’ since it was called “Bom Baia” by the Portuguese which means Beautiful Bay. The history of this beautiful city dates back to the formation of the seven islands, namely Colaba, Mazagaon, Mahim, Parel, Isle of Bombay, Worli and Old Woman's Island which over time were joined to form the island city of Bombay.
In 1534, the Portuguese captured the islands and established a trading centre there. In 1626, the Englishmen attacked Bombay and captured it. In 1662, King Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza, whose family offered Bombay as a part of a large dowry (gift given by the father of the bride to the groom). In 1668, Charles II persuaded the East India Company and rented them bombay for just 10 pounds of gold a year. By 1675, the company made Bombay their headquarters. In 1688, the English captured fourteen Mughal ships and a fleet of barges as well. The Mughals responded in 1689 by laying siege to the castle and the Englishmen had to seek peace and eventually got it but at a great cost to the company. But by the end of the 1700s, Bombay grew back again and by 1845, the seven small islands had turned into one large island. The city continued to grow exponentially and in 1995, it was renamed as ‘Mumbai’ after Mumbadevi, the goddess of the fishermen who lived in the islands before they were driven out by the East India Company. Few years later, the city was officially known as the capital of the state of Maharashtra.
With abundant historic sites, bustling markets, and endless cultural institutions, Mumbai’s many sites of attraction can overwhelm any visitor. Listed below are few of the many attractions you must visit if you happen to be in the city.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus:
The CSMT is a stunning, high Victorian Gothic and Indian styled architecture, and is one of the country’s most famous railway stations.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel:
The iconic dome of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel served as the first clear marker of the Bombay Harbour until the Gateway of India was built next to it 20 years later.
Global Vipassana Pagoda:
It is the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars and was built to express gratitude to Gautama Buddha, and to serve as a reminder of his teachings.
Gateway of India:
It was constructed to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city and it also happens to mark the spot from where the British soldiers last departed India after centuries of colonial rule.
Prince of Wales Museum:
It is regarded as one of the heritage buildings of Mumbai owing to its splendid architecture. The museum comprises of a plethora of ancient, exquisite artefacts relating to the rich and diverse history of India.
The Elephanta Caves are a group of five Hindu and two Buddhist caves, some of which served as places of worship in ancient times. They are located about 10 kilometers or an hour’s ferry ride into the Mumbai Harbour from the Gateway of India.
It is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Mumbai. As the water in the tank is regarded as the subsidiary of Holy Ganges, it is considered sacred and is believed to have healing powers. The tank is visited by thousands who wish to take a dip in the holy water and offer flowers at the Banganga Temple.
Kamla Nehru Park:
Situated at Malabar Hill, Kamla Nehru Park is named after the wife of first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The park provides a great sight of the Chowpatty Beach and also of Marine Drive. The park has a diverse range of flowers and is famous for a unique structure called the Old Woman’s Shoe or Boot House that majorly attracts kids.
Haji Ali Dargah:
It is one of the most iconic architectural structures in Mumbai, built in the memory of Sayyed Peer Jaji Ali Shah Bukhari, a wealthy Muslim merchant from present-day Uzbekistan, who gave up all his worldly possessions to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The pristine white building is located on an isle off the coast of Worli and is linked to the mainland by a narrow pathway that appears only during low-tide.
Also Known as Goregaon Film City, it is a world of wonder. It is a place where you can put your imagination to the test and Shoot out your thoughts. Today, the Film City has grown to be one of the best film studios, well equipped with all the essential amenities and world-class facilities required in film production with incredible support from film personalities and government. It offers one a clear idea of know-how about shooting films in India.
This place is lined with street-side stalls selling almost everything from cheap jewellery to clothes and used books.
It is one of the largest amusement park in the country and is home to a variety of rides appropriate for individuals of all ages. It boasts of fourteen family rides, eleven adrenaline-pumping thrill rides and fifteen children's rides.
Also known as the ‘lungs of the city’, with its lush green cover counteracting much of the city’s air pollution, it is the largest park in the world located within city limits.
Perched atop a hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea in Bandra West, it is among the most historic churches in the city. Mount Mary’s Basilica was first built around 1570 and later rebuilt several times. The church houses a statue of Mother Mary which is said to have been brought to India by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
This is among the first places outsiders think of when they picture Mumbai. It is one of the most iconic sea-facing promenade. Whether you are looking to hang-out with your friends by the sea or go for a morning or evening walk or need a spot to relax and gaze at the Arabian Sea or take a ride by the sea, Marine Drive is the perfect place.
Chor Bazaar (which means ‘thieves market’) is home to a variety of peculiar items, from antiques to spare automobile parts. It supposedly got its name after belongings of Queen Victoria, that had gone missing in Mumbai, were found on sale in this market. The market is said to be selling stolen goods from around the city at a cheaper rate.
Adjacent to Essel World, it is Asia's largest theme based water park. Water Kingdom offers over 30 attractions spread across 22 acres of clean fun with 90 lakh liters of water. It is one of the best tourist attraction for one day picnic with kids and family in Mumbai.
This Town Hall is a colonial structure and was built in 1833 by the 'Literary Society of Bombay' after raising an amount of Rs.10,000 through a lottery.
It is South Mumbai’s most famous wholesale market and it came into being as a food and vegetable mart way back in 1869. From fresh produce to handicraft items, there’s almost nothing you cannot find at this market.
This promenade by the Arabian Sea offers stunning views of the iconic Bandra-Worli Sea Link and of South Mumbai’s picturesque skyline.
It is also known by the name Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link. It is a cable bridge that connects Bandra in the west of Mumbai to Worli which is in the southern part of the city.
One of the favorite shopping hubs for the people of Mumbai especially the students, the place offers some of the trendiest and latest fashion clothes.
The people of Mumbai are a tireless lot who like a fast-paced life in the city. They are proudly known as ‘Mumbaikars’. Marathi is the official language of the people of Mumbai while Hindi, English, Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, local dialect ‘Bambaiya Hindi’ and other languages are also spoken here as people of different states and communities live in harmony with each other. The people here are hard-working, passionate, cultural and very friendly. Majority of them travel long distances to go to work and they usually do so by travelling in local trains as it is the cheapest mode of transport in the metropolis. Some take up part time jobs as the cost of living is quite high. People from various places come here to make money and earn a living. Though western attire is very popular in Mumbai, many natives prefer to dress in traditional attire.
Though much of the city's population are Marathas, being a cosmopolitan city, its inhabitants include diverse ethnic groups, such as Gujaratis, Marwaris, Sindhis, and people from other Indian states, as well as religious minorities, such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. Mumbai is home to the largest community of Parsis (Zoroastrians) in India, as well as a small population of Jews.
From simple Maharashtrian food and local chaats to Chinese and Mughlai, and even authentic Italian and French food, you will find it all in the city that never sleeps. If you are in the mood to tantalize your taste buds, find your excuse to ditch that diet and enjoy the fantastic food that Mumbai has to offer.
In just one area of Mohammed Ali Road, you will find over 100 Mughlai restaurants serving everything from kebabs and bheja to tandoori. Be sure to have an appetite before you get here because you will be tempted to order nearly everything on the menu. During Ramadan, you should definitely head here as places stay open until 5 am.
Something very different to try, the Vodka Pani puri is still more of an unknown delicacy in Mumbai. The need for innovation got this gem of a dish to emerge in the Mumbai Street Food scene and even if you don’t try anything else, you must try this!
Sahibaan’s famous Chinese thali comes armed with soup, fried rice, starters, Manchurian, and Ice Tea, all at an affordable price. The food comes in great quantities and its dumplings and soups are not to miss out on. Sahibaan also has more outlets in Bandra, Oshiwara and Colaba.
Find an abundance of flavors ranging from Black currant to coffee, kacchi kairi, almond crunch, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate and many many more nestled between two wafers. One of the most legendary ice cream parlours of Mumbai, K Rustom has been serving hundreds of happy customers every day and its fans just keep increasing!
Best known for its upbeat environment, Candies is a sprawling bungalow like restaurant with different areas to fit your mood. It’s a beautiful feeling to walk in here, with walls filled with old records, candles, mosaic paintings and a lot of other kind of wall art. Lanterns and chandeliers hang down from the ceiling casting a myriad of colours around the room, giving one a beautiful positive feeling while you snack on your choice of filling sandwiches, chinese food, dessert and refreshing drinks.