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Mumbai

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Also known as: Bombay / Financial And Commercial Capital Of India
Shopping: Shopper's paradise with bargain buys, exclusive boutiques, ethnic markets and mini bazaars
History of: 400 years
Population: 1.20 Cr.

Formerly known as Bombay or Mumbai is an amalgamation of seven islands Colaba, Mumbai, Mazagaon, Old Womans island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga Sion. The Portuguese called the islands "Bombay" meaning "Good Bay". These islands were ruled by the Hindu dynasties, the Muslims and then were presented to King Charles II in 1661 as part of the dowry when he married Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal. Bombay was handed over to the East India Company in 1668. It started growing as a trade center owing to shift of the shipbuilding industry from Surat. The opening of the Suez Canal after the American Civil War enabled export of cotton from Bombay. It also played an important role in the freedom struggle of India. The first Indian National Congress was hosted in Bombay in 1885. Bombay was also the capital of the Bombay Presidency that was divided into Gujarat and Maharsahtra. Since 1996, Bombay has been officially known as Mumbai, derived from the name of Goddess Mumbadevi.

Major Attractions

 

Gateway of India
Mumbai's most recognized monument, the Gateway of India, was constructed to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city. It was completed in 1920 and remains as a striking symbol of the British Raj era. After this era ended in 1947, the last of the British troops departed through the Gateway of India. The looming Gateway is designed to be the first thing that visitors see when approaching Mumbai by boat. It's also a popular place to start exploring Mumbai. These days the atmosphere around the monument resembles a circus at times, with numerous vendors peddling everything from balloons to Indian tea.

Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat
This massive open air laundry provides an unforgettable glimpse into the inside of the city. Dirty laundry from all over Mumbai is brought here and painstakingly hand washed by the dhobis (washermen) in the seemingly endless rows of concrete troughs. The profession, handed down from generation to generation, requires incredible strength and determination. The thousands of dhobis spend hours every day standing up to their knees in water filled with chemicals, manually scrubbing and beating the dirt out of each item of laundry.

Haji Ali
The imposing Haji Ali is both a mosque and tomb. It was built in 1431 by wealthy Muslim merchant and saint Haji Ali, who was inspired to change the course of his life after going to Mecca. It also contains his body. Situated in the middle of the ocean, Haji Ali is only accessible during low tide from a narrow, 500 yard long walkway. On Thursdays and Fridays tens of thousands of pilgrims flock there to receive blessings from the dead saint. If find you need to pass some time until the tide lowers enough, there's a shopping center on the opposite side of the road.

Bollywood
Mumbai is the center of India's booming "Bollywood" film industry. The architecturally resplendent Eros Cinema, adjacent to the Churchgate railway station, is a great place to take in a Bollywood movie. Alternatively, it's possible to go on a tour to the heart of the action in Film City. Or if you'd rather be in a Bollywood movie than simply see the set of one, that's possible too!

Kala Ghoda Art Precinct
Kala Ghoda, meaning "Black Horse" in reference to a statue that was once located there, is Mumbai's cultural center. This crescent-shaped stretch is home to Mumbai's best art galleries and museums. It's also filled with cultural spaces, including some wonderful pavement galleries. Stroll around at leisure, but be sure to visit the acclaimed Jehangir Art Gallery. Every year in February, the Kala Ghoda Association hosts a nine day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, which is interesting.

Caves and National Park
In contrast to its millions of inhabitants and sprawling development, Mumbai surprisingly also has a national park located within its limits. It's worth a visit just to see the many ancient Buddhist caves, which have been hand carved into volcanic rock there. More caves, dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva, can also be found on Elephanta Island.

Mumbai Dabbawalas
Dabbawala, meaning a person who carries a container, is the term given to the thousands of men responsible for transporting and delivering around 200,000 lunch boxes of freshly cooked food to the city's office workers every day. This unique concept was started to meet the needs of British rulers..
 

Fun Festives

 

Banganga (Jan)
The Banganga Festival is a musical extravaganza organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in January at the atmospheric Banganga tank at Walkeshwar. Top artistes from around the country perform live classical music concerts and cultural enthusiasts attend the festival and feast the soul as well as the mind.

Elephanta festival (18-19 Feb)
The Elephanta Island is the site of the magnificent Elephanta caves, containing beautiful carvings, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. These caves are located at a distance of 11-km from Mumbai.

In February Elephanta Island comes to fervour as the site of the Elephanta Festival. Organized by MTDC, every year, renowned dancers and musicians perform outside the caves, beneath a star-studded sky, to a select and appreciative audience. Special launch services and catering arrangements are provided for visitors.

Gudhi Padava (Mar-Apr)
Gudhi Padava is the Maharashtran New Year's Day celebrated on the first day of Chaitra(Mar-Apr). This day marks the start of the Hindu solar year. It is a day of great festivity and rejoicing. People get up early and clean their houses, decorating them with intricate rangoli designs. Bamboo staffs (gudhi) decorated with silk cloths and topped with a brass goblet or kalash are erected. These are supposed to drive away evil from the houses.

Nariyal Poornima (Aug)
Nariel Purnima or coconut day in August marks the end of the monsoons and is celebrated by Mumbai's fisher folk. Boats are painted, little oil lamps lit and set afloat amidst the waves and carried in the boats, and coconut are broken against their bows as an offering to the Sea God and the seas are set afloat with garlands of flowers as the new fishing season begins.

Parsi New Year (Aug-Sep)
Pateti in August is the Parsee New Year, significant because it was on this day that the Shahenshahi Zoroastrian community landed in India while migrating from Persia. The Parsees celebrate at the fire temple, and the community bonds are strengthened through feasts and the meeting of friends and relatives.

Ganesh Chaturthi (Aug-Sep)
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of Aug.- Sep., as the birth anniversary of Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom. The festival is so popular in Mumbai and the preparations begin months ahead. Images of Ganesha are installed and elaborate arrangements are made for lighting and decoration and celebrations are held for 7-10 days. The Chaturthi is the last day dedicated to the elephant-headed god, and thousands of processions converge on the beaches of Mumbai carrying the idols of Ganesha, to be immersed in the sea. This immersion is accompanied by drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing and marks the end of the festival.

Bandra Feast (Sep)
The feast day of Virgin Mary is celebrated in Bombay for a week beginning on a Sunday closest to the birthday of the Virgin Mary (Sep 8). The feast is held at the Basillica of Mount Mary in Bandra. A fair is held with huge Ferris wheels, amusements and rides, bands and shows. The devout trudges up the stairs of the church to light their candles.

 

Distance from major cities
Delhi 1393 Kms
Chennai 1318 Kms
Goa 588 Kms

 

How to reach there

by Air Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the major airdrome that receives both domestic and international traffic to the city.
by Rail Mumbai Railway Station is well connected with all major states & cities of India directly.
by Road Mumbai is well connected with good network of roads to all nearby cities of Mumbai.

Recommended Restaurants

  • Taj Lands End, Mumbai

  • The Blue Frog, Mumbai

  • Spice Tree Restaurant, Mumbai

Hotels in Mumbai

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Travel Destinations in Maharashtra

Mumbai - Financial Capital of India
Aurangabad
Mahabaleshwar
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