Mumbai, earlier known as Bombay, is the largest
city in India and the capital of Maharashtra state. Mumbai was originally
a conglomeration of 7 islands on the Konkan coastline which over
time were joined to form the island city of Bombay. The island was
in turn joined with the neighbouring island of Salsette to form
Greater Bombay. The city has an estimated metropolitan population
of 17 million (2005), making it one of the largest cities in the
world. Mumbai is also one of India's largest port cities and looms
large as the commercial capital of India. Mumbai's nature as the
most eclectic and cosmopolitan Indian city is symbolised in the
presence of Bollywood within the city, the centre of the globally-influential
Hindi film and TV industries.
Once a cluster of seven islands—Colaba, Mumbai, Mazagaon,
Old Woman's island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga Sion—the
home of the Koli fishing community is today the financial capital
of India. The islands were ruled by a succession of Hindu dynasties,
invaded by Muslims in the 14th century, and then ceded to Portugal
by the sultan of Gujarat in 1534. In 1662, these islands were given
to the English King Charles the Second, as a part of the wedding
dowry for the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. In 1668,
Bombay was given to the East India Company. This was the time when
foundation for a modern city was laid and Bombay eclipsed other
port cities of western India in trading activities. In the 18th
century, the city grew into a major port as the shipbuilding industry
was shifted to Bombay from Surat. The American civil war led to
the opening of the Suez Canal and cotton began to be exported from
Bombay. Bombay played a formative role in the struggle for Independence,
hosting the first Indian National Congress in 1885 and the launch
of the Quit India Movement in 1942. Bombay later became the capital
of the Bombay Presidency that had to be divided into Gujarat and
Maharashtra in 1966. "Bombay" was the name given to the
islands by the Portuguese. The word means "good bay" in
Portuguese. In 1996, Bombay officially came to be known as Mumbai.
The present name derives from Mumbadevi, the goddess of the Kolis.
Place to See
Gateway of India
What could be more appropriate a beginning than the 'entrance' to
the port of Mumbai? The ceremonial arch was built in 1927 to Commemorate
the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in
1911. Constructed in honey-coloured basalt, the gateway was designed
by George Wittet, inspired by 16th century Gujarat Style. The changing
light of the rising and setting sun gives varied hues of gold, russet
and pink to the imposing arch. Historically, the Gateway holds greater
significance as the last of the British troops left Independent
India by sea, marched through its portals. .
Haji Ali Mosque
This early 18th century shrine contains the tomb of HAZRATH HAJI
ALI, a Muslim Sufi saint. There are two local legends which claim
to trace the hazrath’s antecedents. One story has it that
Haji Ali was a rich , local businessman who gave up materialism
after a visit to Mecca and then took up meditation.
Situated at the northern end of Marine Drive, it is a stretch of
sandy beach and attracts hordes of people during the weekends and
on holidays. A 'food-mart' of stalls have become a permanent feature
and offer a range of eatables from 'bhel-puri'. The local speciality,
to 'chaat', 'kulfi', coconut and other snacks. A larger portion
of the terrain is left open for the public where people come to
enjoy the evening sea breeze and the children to play. As a part
of the city's cleanliness and beautification drive, Chowpatty is
also being given a face lift. JUHU Situated 30 km from the city,
it is a crowded beach with residential apartments and bungalows
surrounding it. It seems as if the entire population of the area
descends on the beach for a breath of fresh air! The central part
has food stalls again, similar to Chowpatty. And a lot more, in
terms of fun-rides for children.
Beyond the city are the relatively unspoilt, secluded beaches at
Versova, Madh Island, Marve, Manori and Gorai. However, Versova
is also seemingly going the juhu way, primarily on account of the
density of highrise buildings that have come up in the recent years.
The beaches at Madh and Marve have their dangerous spots which are
marked by signboards. Care should be taken to avoid these zones.
The spots further ahead, Gorai and Manori, two fishing villages,
are accessible by ferry.
With its columns and tall Grecian porticos, this structure has been
the foundation of the Library Society of Mumbai which moved into
the Town Hall in 1830, soon after which a union was effected with
the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. One of its
greatest assets is its library, a storehouse of knowledge, which
may not have an equal in the east.
This sweeping Queen's Necklace, flickering with a thousand lights
at night turns into the main thoroughfare linking Malabar Hill -
and the northern parts of the island - to the southernmost points
of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point and Fort.
Prince of Wales Museum
King George V, who as Prince of Wales, laid the foundation stone
of this museum in 1905. Situated near the gateway of India, it was
designed in the Indo-Saracenic style to commemorate the King's first
visit to India. During the First World War, it was used as a hospital.
It was opened as a museum in 1923 and has three main sections: Art,
Archaeology and Natural History. One of the best museums in the
country, it is a treasure house of art, sculpture, China, rare coins
and old firearms. It also has a priceless collection of miniature
The glistering white marble dome crowning this building can be sighted
from a distance as it lies nestled amidst a well-laid out garden.
How to Reach
: Mumbai has both domestic and international
airport, it is well connected to all the major cities like Ahmedabad,
Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopla, Bhubaneswar, Calcutta, Calicut, Chennai,
Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur,
Kathmandu, Lucknow, Madurai, Patna, Trivandrum, Udaipur, Varanasi,
Vishakapatnam etc. & also connected to the major international
: Mumabi Central is Main Railway Station,
it the hub for express & regular tains to & from all across
India including Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Madras,
Cochin, Delhi, Gwalior, Jhansi, Calcutta, Trivandrum, Varanasi.
: The main bus stand is the VT Station, You
can get Maharashtra State Transport Buses or private luxury buses
to & from the other major cities of India. Mumbai roads are
in good condition and well connected to the state cites & the
other sates cites.