Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the Capital of Maharashtra. It is also one of the major commercial centers of India and is the seat of Bollywood, the Indian film industry. It is also a natural harbor and has a large number of business houses and corporate offices. The name 'Bombay' originated from the Portuguese phrase 'bom baia', which meant 'good bay'. The name Mumbai comes from the patron deity of the city known as Mumbadevi. Originally, Bombay was an archipelago of seven islands, namely Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman's Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga-Sion. Many Stone Age tools and implements have been unearthed from these islands as the evidence of human life here since the ancient times. However, the coastal regions were once the home of the Koli fishermen community.Mumbai was a part of Ashoka's empire in the 3rd century BC and belonged to Silhara dynasty in the mid-13th century. The oldest structures of the city such as Elephanta caves and part of the Walkeshwar temple complex are believed to belong to this period. In 1534, Portuguese got hold of these iflands and built forts and chapels for the converted fishermen. In 1662, this archipelago was given to Charles II as part of the dowry of his wife Catherine of Braganza. The British developed the city as a commercial center and started factories in many places. In 1853, the first train ran across 35 km long track between Thane and Bombay and in 1854, the first cotton mill was founded in Bombay. Bombay gained the status of the capital of State of Bombay after Independence on 15th August, 1947, which was later renamed as Maharastra
Mumbai's Prime Attractions
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus Also known as the Victoria Terminus or the Western Railway Station, this magnificent edifice stands at the site where Mumba Devi's original temple built by Kolis was situated. The structure boasts of being one of the finest architectural buildings of the railway stations of the world and presents a fusion of Gothic and Indian styles. Its construction was started in 1878 and it took nine years to complete it. The chief architect F.W. Stevens conceived the Italian Gothic building with over 1500 feet high frontage. It has a beautiful garden around which the administrative offices are situated and its entrance has massive masonry statues of Lion and Tiger. The 160-ft high dome crowning it has a figure of a woman with a torch held aloft at its top and look quite impressive.
Gateway Of India The icon and the most important landmark of Mumbai, the Gateway of India is a huge archway at Apollo Bunder and was built to commemorate the visit of the King George V and Queen Mary here in 1911.
Essel World The amusement theme park and the recreation center for children, Essel World has a treasure of more than 40 exciting rides, games and attractions. Its Water Kingdom is said to be the largest of its kind in Asia.
Mumbai Film City The hub of Indian film industry known as Bollywood, Mumbai produces the second most number of movies in the world every year, next only to Hollywood in America.
Mumbai Fort Mumbai Fort is now only a site where the old British fort, north of Colaba. The only remains of the fort are in the form of old and impressive buildings and the St. John's church, which was built in the memory of the martyrs of the Sindh campaign of 1838 and the first Afghan war of 1843.
Marine Drive The most famous thoroughfare of the city, Marine Drive in central Mumbai was built in the 1920s on land reclaimed from the sea. It is also known as the Queen's Necklace because of the beautiful sight that the street lamps present her in the night. Now, it is known as Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Road and extends from Nariman Point to Babulnath, at the foot of Walkeshwar.
Chowpatty Beach Chowpatty beach situated at the end of Marine Drive has a moderate expanse of sand and is the only beach in the central part of Mumbai. One can witnesses many Hindu religious ceremonies taking place at Chowpatty like the Annual Thread-Tying Ceremony initiating young boys into the Brahmin caste, 'Nariel Purnima' towards the end of the monsoons and 'Ganesh Chaturthi' immersions.
Flora Fountain Situated at the Hutama Chowk, it was erected in 1869 in honor of a British Governor of Bombay known as Sir Brtle Frere. Five streets spring from this point and are known as 'Picadilly Circus of Mumbai'. The fluntain is adorned with the mythological figures at its four corners while in the center is a structure of dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers at the top.
Juhu Beach One of the largest and most visited beaches of India, Juhu Beach is situated on the shores of Arabian Sea and is famous for housing most of the famous film personalities of India. It is a prime location for shootings too.
Jijamata Udyan Zoo Situated at Rani Jijamata Udyan Victoria Gardens that were laid out in 1861, Mumbai's Zoo boasts of many rare and endangered species of animals and birds. Sprawling across over 48 acres of area, it has a clock tower at its entrance that has stopped ticking a long time ago. The Albert museum in the gardens has a rich collection of local archaeological finds such as the giant stone elephant that guards the entrance.
Hanging Gardens Built in 1880 and renovated in 1921, these gardens are also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens. The terraced gardens are situated on the slope of a hill and offer panoramic views of the city, especially at dusk.
Kamala Nehru Park Exotic views of the city from Malabar hills are not worth missing. Besides the Hanging Gardens, you can also explore the Kamala Nehru Park that was built in 1952 and named after the wife of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It sprawls across 4,000 sq. yards and offers fabulous views of the Marine Drive.
Mumbai City Facts
Location: Situated in Maharashtra, India.
Climate: Mumbai has moderate tropical climate throughout the year though summers are a little hot and humid and winters are pleasanter. The monsoon season from June to September experiences heavy rainfalls.
How to Reach:
By Air: Mumbai has Santacruz Domestic Airport, 25 km from the city, and Sahara International Airport (nown known as Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport), which is India's major airports and works round the clock, 30 km from the city. Both these airports have regular flights connecting the city to all the major destinations within and outside India.
By Train: Mumbai has a train network that connects it to every Indian city and express trains connect it to every state capital. There is an extensive system of suburban electric train network too, which is the major form of transport in Mumbai itself.
By Road: National and State Highways link Mumbai to all the major towns and cities throughout India and has best public bus systems in the country.