The heart of Indian economy is Mumbai or Bombay. It is the financial backbone of India, and one of the finest metropolitans in the world. It is famous for its commercial, technological and the advertisement world. The seaport and the international airport are busiest in the country handling more than 50% of Indian foreign trade.
The oldest Indian stock exchange, is located here, accompanied by the biggest amusement park of India- ESSEL WORLD and the largest theme water park of Asia, popularly known as WATERKINGDOM. This is the city, which headquarters many national and international corporate houses.
Though the sky of the city is dazzled with skyscrapers, it has one of the world's biggest entertainment industries BOLLYWOOD. Not even lacking in pollution, it is among the top polluted cities, but still the love for the city, is like never ending dreams.
Mumbai derives its name from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the (Koli) fisher folk, its oldest inhabitants. Till recently called Bombay, it got it's name from the Portuguese word" Bombain" meaning Good bay. An alluring mixture of races and cultures, Mumbai has been known by different names and ruled by different kings and different races.
Mumbai was a port of the Mauryan Empire, the Silhara Kings and finally ceded to the King of Portugal by Sultan Bahadurshah of Gujarat. Though Mumbai had a steady growth, it rose into an unprecedented prominence, after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, charting out the shortest sea route, to rich resources of the Middle East from Europe.
The birth of the Indian National Congress was a turning point in the political struggle of the country, where Mumbai played a major part and has acquired herself a place of honor in the history of the nation.
The Finance capital of the country, Mumbai is the main city of Maharashtra. Cosmopolitan to its truest sense, ethnically, it has an alluring mixture of races and cultures. There are different community peoples (Hindu, Muslims, Sikh, Jains, Parsis etc) speaking different languages, observing different rituals and festivals, having different culinary habits.
English, Hindi and Marathi are commonly used and known by every people. Irrespective of their caste, creed and religious diversity, festivals like Holi, Diwali, Idd, Moharram, Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with equal enthusiasm.
This is the spirit of the Mumbaikars. It is a city that is disciplined by no time frame, neither by day or night. It pulsates with life, activity and vitality from Nariman Point to its furthermost suburbs. Mumbai is known as the "City Of Dreams."
Mumbai is home to several national and international cuisines. Nevertheless, seafood is definitely a speciality.
Mumbai has some of the most fascinating shopping areas in the country.
For casual clothing, one can either visit ?Fashion Street? at M G Road for good bargains on ?genuine fakes?! Or, visit the various showrooms for branded stuff. Dhabu Street for leather goods, and souvenirs from the state emporia at the World Trade Centre. The newest malls on the block are Pyramids at Haji Ali and K B N at Bandra.
Departmental stores such as Shoppers? Stop in Andheri are great for clothes and shoes. The Oberoi Shopping Arcade (Oberoi ? Nariman Point) is worth a visit. Other popular departmental stores on Bhulabhai Desai Road: Adornica (63, Bhulabhai Desai Road, 1st floor, Breach Candy), Amarsons Collections (Bhulabhai Desai Road, Breach Candy), Roopam (218/ 222 L T Road), Benzer (49, Bhulabhai Desai Road), and Nallis (Bhulabhai Desai Road).
An annual classical dance and music event is held every February at the Elephanta Island.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an 11-day Hindu festival celebrated with great fanfare in August or September. There are large processions on the last day when the idol of Ganesha is immersed in the sea. Mumbai also celebrates Holi, Eid, Diwali and Christmas.
Along India's west on the Arabian Sea, it is a collection of seven islands connected to the mainland by bridges and land reclaimed from the sea. The southernmost peninsula is known as Colaba. Directly north of Colaba is the area known as the Fort, where the old British Fort once stood. Further west is Marine Drive. To the north are the suburbs of Greater Mumbai.
Domestic: IA, Jet and Sahara. The international terminal at Sahar is connected to flights coming in from all over the world. The international terminal Sahar and the domestic terminal, Santa Cruz are 30 and 27 km respectively from Nariman Point (downtown Mumbai). There are regular shuttle buses between the two terminals (4 km). At Santa Cruz, terminal 1A caters only to Indian Airlines and 1B caters to all private domestic airlines.
Fast and superfast trains connect Mumbai to the rest of the country. Railway station: Central Railways operates from the VT Railway Station (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal) located in the Fort area. Local trains from this station run to the east and south, along with a few trains to the north. Western Railways has local services to the north from Churchgate and Mumbai Central stations.
Mumbai is connected by national highways to the rest of India. Bus terminus: The Maharashtra State Transport Bus Terminal , J B Behran Marg, is directly opposite the Central Train Station (next to the Maratha Mandir cinema hall). Private buses are available near the Mumbai Central Station on Dr Anandrao Nair Road. Some buses to south India leave from MRA Marg between Crawford Market and VT Station.
The climate is sultry and humid through the year. Temperatures range between 27? C and 33? C in the summer months. The winter temperatures range between 12? C and 29? C.
Mumbais most famous landmark, the Gateway of India is an exaggerated colonial marker, conceived following the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. This yellow basalt triumphal archway designed by George Wikket is derived from the Muslim (Indo Saracenic) styles of 16th century Gujarat. It is located on the shore of Mumbai Harbor at the tip of Apollo Bunder in Colaba. Officially opened in 1924, it was redundant just 24 years later when the last British regiment ceremoniously departed India through its archway. The Gateway has become a popular emblem of the city and is a favorite gathering spot for locals in the evening and on weekends. Boats depart from the Gateways wharfs for Elephanta Island, and touts, balloon sellers, photographers and snake charmers give the area the hubbub of a bazaar. Nearby are statues of the religious reformer Swami Vivekananda, and of the Maratha leader Shivaji astride his horse.
This cherished but undistinguished fountain stands at the established business centre of Mumbai. Though named after the Roman goddess of abundance, it was erected in 1869 in honor of Sir Bartle Frere, the governor of Bombay who was responsible for dismantling the fort and shaping much of modern Mumbai. The goddess now shares her diminished area with a monument honoring those who died fighting to carve the state of Maharashtra out of the Bombay Presidency; hence the areas new name, Hutatma Chowk or Martyrs Square. Dr D Naoroji Road, named after the fist Indian to become a British MP, heads northeast from the fountain towards VT. It's lined with the grand 19th century edifices of British commercial firms, although hawker's stalls now clog the streets elegant arcades - a favorite local metaphor for the Indianisation of British Bombay.
Built on land reclaimed form Back Bay in 1920, Marine Drive (Netaji Subhaschandra Bose Rd) runs along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Chowpatty Beach to the foot of Malabar Hill. Its a grand sweeping affair, that's poorly landscaped and lined by Art Deco apartments in need of a good lick of paint; plans to smarten up the area and allow it to take its rightful place alongside the worlds great seafront boulevards remain on the drawing board. This is one of Mumbais most popular promenades and sunset - watching spots but beware, during Diwali a barrage of firecrackers turns it into a war zone. Tourist brochures dub Marine Drive as the Queens Necklace, because of the dramatic curve of its streetlights at night, which is best seen from Kamala Nehru Park or the upper floors of the Ambassador and Oberoi Towers hotels.
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 has become a permanent feature and offers a range of eatables from bhel-puri, the local specialty, 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 come to play. As a part of the cities cleanliness and beautification drive, Chowpatty is also being given a face-lift. It is near to Girgaum.
The ultimate destination of thousands of devotees on a Tuesday is the Siddhivinayak temple. Even the never-ending long hours of wait; do not discourage them from seeking blessings of Lord Ganesha. This beautiful temple is situated at Prabhadevi. The nearest Railway Station is Dadar.
An ancient temple dedicated to Mahalaxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, who is known to have stood, on the headland of Malabar Hill until Muslim invaders destroyed it. According to local legend, the Muslims threw an icon of the goddess into the sea. When the British were constructing a sea wall joining Malabar Hill and Worli Island at the end of the 18th century, the local Hindu contractor claimed the goddess appeared to him in a dream. She told him that while several previous attempts to build a dike had failed, his construction would be successful if he promised to rebuild the temple. Amazingly, a statue of the goddess was unearthed during construction of the wall. Upon the walls completion the contractor was granted land nearby where he built the temple to Mahalaxmi. Today, the Mahalaxmi temple is one of the most popular in Mumbai. It's an interesting place to visit and the approaching the temple is lined with beautiful flower stalls.
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 unspoiled, 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 recent years. The beaches at Madh and Marve have their dangerous spots that 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. It is near from Andheri or Vile parle station.
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 Kings 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 paintings. The glistening white marble dome crowning this building can be sighted from a distance, as it lies nestled amidst a well-laid out garden. Entrance fee is 15 Rs. per head.
This museum, adjacent to the Planetarium, has a Children's Science Park and a permanent gallery, which has exhibits relating to the properties of life. A collection of a tramcar, railway engine, supersonic jet and steam lorry are also present. The planetarium has daily shows except on Mondays.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located in the hills around Borivali, one of the suburbs of Mumbai. Dense, deciduous and semi-evergreen forest provides a beautiful habitat for several varieties of deer, antelope, butterflies and birds. The main attraction is the Lion Safari Park where special vehicles take visitors, who may be fortunate to spot the inhabitants at very close range. The wildlife in the rest of the park includes wild bear, panther, moose-deer, antelope, hyena and panther. A small lake offers pedal boat rides to visitors. Another favorite especially with the young is the toy train, which encircles the park. Within its precincts is the Krishnagiri Upavana that has the Gandhi Smriti Mandir on Pavilion Hill. From here, one gets an unrestricted view of the surrounding hills and streams. There is an orchard and also a playground for children. Full-day cottages for picnickers are available.
Now renamed as Jijamata Udyan, these gardens cover a wide area of over 30 acres of land at Byculla. Lady Frere declared the gardens open to the public in 1872, and it took 10 years to complete it. Since then, 15 more acres have been added. The beautifully laid out gardens are a nature lovers delight with a vast collection of rare species of flora and fauna. Some architectural sights include an arched screen and an ornamental gate. A large stone of Elephanta Island, dating back to the 16th century guards the entrance. There are no other parks of great significance, primarily because of the paucity of land on this long, narrow island. Yet, the government and various citizens committees have tried to develop and maintain the green patches wherever possible.
Situated across the road, this park is very popular with children. Laid out in 1952, it was dedicated to the memory of the wife of India's first Prime Minister. A replica of the Old Woman's shoe is a great attraction, as are the swings and slides for the very young. Important civic receptions are held here, offering a scenic view of the Marine Drive and Nariman Point, besides the wild expanse of the Arabian Sea.
Laid out in 1881 on top of a reservoir, which supplies water to many parts of the city, the Hanging Gardens are situated on Malabar Hill. Now re-christened Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, it is still popularly known by its old name. The hedges are cut into enchanting animal shapes. A floral clock also adorns the gardens which are very popular, not only with the local residents, but also adorns the gardens which are very popular not only with the local residents but also with people living in far-flung parts of the city location. The location also provides an enchanting view of the sea, the harbor and the hills on the mainland.
Opened 40 years ago on Marine Drive, it houses a small but worth-seeing collection of aquatic life and plants. Shell, shell-craft articles and fishery by- products are also on display. A pipeline brings water directly from the sea for the fish.
"A city of never ending dreams" is said about Mumbai and the Film Industry, and it is true, especially with scores of people who come to try their luck in the Entertainment Industry. The term industry is used because it churns out jobs to lakhs of people. Situated in the eastern suburbs of Goregaon, it covers an estimated 35 acres. Serving the ever-demanding needs of India's major entertainment industry, the Bollywood, which churns out more movies than any in the world. It has 8/9 permanent locations, such as a lake, a helipad, a temple, etc. At any given time 8-10 films are being shot there consecutively. It is a city that is disciplined by no time frame, neither by day nor night as it pulsates with life, activity and vitality as the shots are canned.
The local name of Elephanta is Gharapuri. Almost at its centre, the island rises into two conical hillocks. The famed caves lie about two-thirds, up the higher of the two hills. The Portuguese named the island, after a great stone elephant was found when they landed there in the 16th century. ] The elephant now rests at the entrance of the Victoria Gardens (Jijamata Bhonsale Udyan) in Mumbai. These eight-century rock-cut caves were hewn out of the hills and sculpted intricately. Steps, flanked by sculptured elephants, lead to a wide column verandah outside the main cave. Sculptures of dwarapalas are found in three recesses. Further, three avenues made from four rows of massive columns, cut into the main rock, lead to the 18 ft. high imposing structure of Maheshmurti-depicting Shiva as the creator, destroyed and preserver. It has been often erroneously called the Trimurti, which depicts the three faces of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. It is 9 km. by sea from Gateway of India.
It is one of the most prominent and splendid churches in Mumbai. A week long fair, popularly known as Bandra fair, is held in the month of September, to celebrate the birth of Mother Mary.
Situated in the heart of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and 40 km. from the heart of the city, the caves are on a low hill midway between Borivali and Thane. There are 109 Buddhist caves dating from the 2nd century to the ninth century AD with flight of steps joining them. The most significant is the Chaitya cave (3) circa 6th century. 50 meters up the ravine is the Darbar of the Maharajah cave. This was a dharamshala, and has 2 stone benches. Cave 35 was a vihara (monastery), and has reliefs of a Buddha, seated on a lotus and of a disciple spreading his cloak, for him to walk on. Though there are no representations of the Buddha himself, symbolic representations of his religion, are found. Above the cave complex is Ashok Van, a sacred grove of ancient trees, streams and springs. From here, one can catch breathtaking views across the Bassein fort and out to sea.
Haji Ali mausoleum, the tomb of a Muslim saint has a dramatic offshore location, opposite the Mahalaxmi racecourse. During high tide, the connection causeway is submerged in water giving the impression that the mosque and the tomb are floating out at sea in splendid isolation. It can be visited only at low tide.
India's largest and the first amusement park of its kind, to open in the country, it is spread over a sprawling 64 acres at Gorai, Mumbai. It offers more then 45 thrilling and scintillating rides and games that were till now only possible abroad. There is Zyclone, Zipper Dipper, Telecombat, Aquablast, Octopus Monster and various exceptional attractions. Situated just next to Esselworld is the Water Kingdom, Asia's largest theme Water Park, with loads of innovative attractions. The worlds biggest wave pool, it offers heart stopping rides and slides, river adventures and much more.
A memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, who stayed at these, premises a number of times between 1917 and 1934. It contains a collection of books on and by the Mahatma. A pictorial gallery captures the moments and events of his life.
RAUDAT TAHERA - Situated near Crawford Market, this is a marble mosque and mausoleum erected by the Dawood Bohras in honor of their spiritual leader, late Dr. Syedna Taher Saifuddin. The lavishly decorated mausoleum has four silver doors. VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM - Adjoining the Victoria Gardens, this museum built in the Greco-Roman style houses archaeological finds maps and photographs depicting the history of Mumbai. FANTASYLAND - The second park, located closer to the city, has the first upside down, 360 roller coasters in India. Other rides include the Slambob, Dragon Jhulla, Tora, Fantasy Carousel, and Bumper Cars on Tele - Combat. ISKON - It is more popularly known as Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple and is situated at Juhu. It is a holy place of worship, meditation and spiritual knowledge. The nearest railway stations are Vile Parle and Andheri.