Mumbai (/mʊmˈbaɪ/; also known as Bombay) is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, most populous metropolitan area in India, and the eighth most populous city in the world, with an estimated city population of 18.4 million and metropolitan area population of 20.7 million as of 2011. Along with the urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2009, Mumbai was named an alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West, or Central Asia. Mumbai has the highest number of billionaires and millionaires among all cities in India.
The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were home to communities of fishing colonies. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company when in 1661 King Charles II married the Portuguese Catherine of Braganza, and as part of her dowry Charles received the ports of Tangier and seven islands of Bombay. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea. Bombay in the 19th century was characterized by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. Upon India's independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital. The city was renamed Mumbai in 1996.
Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is also one of the world's top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, generating 6.16% of India's GDP and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 70% of maritime trade in India (Mumbai Port Trust and JNPT), and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy. The city houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy. The city also houses India's Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry. Mumbai's business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over India, making the city a melting pot of many communities and cultures.
Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of seven islands: Bombay Island, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli, and Old Woman's Island (also known as Little Colaba). It is not exactly known when these islands were first inhabited. Pleistocene sediments found along the coastal areas around Kandivali in northern Mumbai suggest that the islands were inhabited since the Stone Age. Perhaps at the beginning of the Common era (2,000 years ago), or possibly earlier, they came to be occupied by the Koli fishing community.
In the third century BCE, the islands formed part of the Maurya Empire, during its expansion in the south, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. The Kanheri Caves in Borivali were excavated in the mid-third century BCE, and served as an important centre of Buddhism in Western India during ancient Times. The city then was known as Heptanesia (Ancient Greek: A Cluster of Seven Islands) to the Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150 CE.
Between the second century BCE and ninth century CE, the islands came under the control of successive indigenous dynasties: Satavahanas, Western Kshatrapas, Abhiras, Vakatakas, Kalachuris, Konkan Mauryas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, before being ruled by the Silhara dynasty from 810 to 1260. Some of the oldest edifices in the city built during this period are, Jogeshwari Caves (between 520 to 525), Elephanta Caves (between the sixth to seventh century), Walkeshwar Temple (10th century), and Banganga Tank (12th century).
The Haji Ali Dargah was built in 1431, when Mumbai was under the rule of the Gujarat Sultanate
King Bhimdev founded his kingdom in the region in the late 13th century and established his capital in Mahikawati (present day Mahim). The Pathare Prabhus, among the earliest known settlers of the city, were brought to Mahikawati from Saurashtra in Gujarat around 1298 by Bhimdev. The Delhi Sultanate annexed the islands in 1347–48 and controlled it until 1407. During this time, the islands were administered by the Muslim Governors of Gujarat, who were appointed by the Delhi Sultanate.
Tourist Places in Mumbai
The Flora Fountain
In the middle of the mega city, amidst the modern skyscrapers of Mumbai lies an architectural masterpiece. The Flora Fountain, with an aesthetically sculpted monument on the top, is situated on the Dadabhai Naoroji Road at the Fort business district in South Mumbai.The iconic fountain has the Roman goddess of spring and beauty, Flora as the central figure. There are four other figures adding to the charm of this royal masterwork. It has been erected in white Portland stone following the neo-Classical and the neo-Gothic styles of architecture. The Agri-Horticultural society of Western India constructed it using the funds given by the Cursetjee Fardoonjee Parekh. The fountain, also called the Hutatma Chowk, was designed by Richard Norman Shaw at the cost of 47,000 rupees. Although the fountain is under the maintenance of the Government of Maharashtra, the authorities seem to have failed in maintaining the distinctive identity of the structure. The marble is losing its lustre with the passage of time. The sight of the fountain that stands in the middle of a busy junction can be enjoyed the best during evening time, when the lights are turned on. In close proximity, the visitors can find a good shopping zone to buy artifacts and other products. As one walks along the lanes surrounding the monument, one finds historic colonial buildings in the area. One may visit the nearby tourist attractions like St. Thomas Cathedral, Rajabai Clock Tower, etc. The Flora Fountain is regarded as one of the ‘zero miles of Mumbai’. The site is just a little distance away from the Shivaji Terminus and the Church Gate Railway Station. Those interested in having a look at the aesthetic site can hire a taxi, auto rickshaw or a local train. Moreover, tourists can have an aerial view from the open-air buses arranged by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule MarketAll the Mumbaikars and those who have been to Mumbai will definitely vouch for the fact that the Crawford Market is the liveliest and the most crowded shopping arcade in the city of dreams. Located right in the heart of the city in front of the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station, the Crawford Market was built during the time of the British Raj. After independence, the market was officially named after the social reformer Jyotibha Phule and thus, gained popularity as Mahatma Jyotibha Phule Market
Shri Swaminarayan MandirA perfect Indian architecture with a three-spired structure, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Mumbai is counted among the popular temples of the city. It is made of pink stones with intricate carving. The temple and the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha works on the principles of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Radha Ras Bihari TempleSpread over four acres of land, Radha Ras Bihari Temple (or commonly known as ISKCON temple) in Mumbai is among the most beautiful temples in the city. Located near the Juhu beach with over a hundred-feet high marble domes, the ISKCON temple cannot be ruled out while visiting the Mumbai nagari. Shree Radha Ras Bihari Ashta Sakhi Temple (the complete name of the temple) is dedicated to Radha-Krishna and the eight companions of Radha. It was opened in 1978 and houses the main temple, an auditorium, a seven-storeyed guest house, a restaurant and a bakery.
Amusement parks in Mumbai
Essel WorldEssel world situated in the city of Mumbai has earned the honor of being the best amusement park in the country. Designed on international patterns, the park attracts numerous visitors across the country. Around 1.8 million people make their way to the park every year. Essel World is just the place you would like to be at if you are an admirer of thrill and excitement. The rides at Essel World will leave you thrilled.
Fantasy LandFantasy Land, spanning over 30 acres of greenery at Jogeswari near Mumbai, was made in 1992. A fun and amusement Park on the suburbs of the city, Fantasy Land is a treasure island with full of exciting rides and games. The Park enjoys the advantage of easy accessibility due to its convenient location.
Suraj Water ParkSuraj Water Park is set on a lush green area of 17 acres. The amazing wonderland surrounded by water has made a place in the Limca Book of Records for its 103 feet long cave made up of fiber glass. Located near Mumbai, the Park is an easily reachable destination. With a combination of exciting water rides, the Park is a perfect recreational hub of Mumbai.
Water KingdomWater Kingdom, Asia's largest water Park, is a renowned place of amusement located on the borders of Mumbai. The Park is a perfect world of delight with hordes of water wonders that come in the form of thrilling rides. Located by the side of Essel World, the place is connected with the western express highway.
Tikuji-ni-WadiTikuji-ni-Wadi, a Family Theme Park, is set in between the serene hills of Manpada Chitralsar Thane. The Park is just a 40 km drive away from Mumbai. Opened in 1993 Tikuji-ni-Wadi today is an acknowledged tourist spot of Maharashtra. The place has an Amusement park, an Ocean Park and eateries.
Beaches In Mumbai
Chowpatty BeachChowpatty Beach is located on the north of Marine drive. Especially on weekends and holidays, the lively Chowpatty Beach turns into a picnic spot for the people of Mumbai. While on the ordinary working days, during the evening people come for a break from the tedious routine life. People of all age from young children to elderly people come here and enjoy the beauty of the sandy beach.
Juhu BeachJuhu Beach lies in the suburbs of Mumbai. To the west of Juhu Beach is the Arabian Sea and to its east are Santacruz and Vile Parle. The Versova Beach is towards the north of Juhu. It is situated 18-km north of the Mumbai city centre and one of the most posh areas of Mumbai. It is a popular destination for elite class for residential apartments and bungalows. A number of well known film personalities of the Indian film industry live here. It is even a favorite destination of filmmakers of Bollywood for shooting films. People even come here to immerse the idols of Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi.
Marine DriveMarine Drive is a stretch of 3 km in South Mumbai, from Nariman Point to the end of the Malabar Hill. It is in the form of an inverted 'C', with a metal six lanes road running along the coast of Arabian Sea. It is popularly known as the 'Queen's Necklace', because during the night the street lights shine like diamonds from a higher elevation. The Chowpatty Beach lies on the northern fringe of Marine Drive.
Famous monuments in Mumbai
Elephanta CavesThe Elephanta Caves have large halls, courtyards, inner cells, porticos and vestibules that connect one part of the cave to the other part. The Caves have many images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. No wonder this place vibrates with positive energy and resonates with spiritual energy. However, the presiding deity of the Cave is Lord Shiva.
Film CityThe very name of the "Film City" of Mumbai, is a source of inspiration for many young and budding talents of our country. Apart from being the business capital of India, Mumbai is famous for the various production houses. The Indian film city is fondly called as "Bollywood" which is an important source of entertainment for most of us. The Film City is also a major spot of tourist interest. The travel agents who organize the sightseeing of Mumbai keeps almost an hour for the tourist to go round the Film City.
Flora FountainLocated in the Fort district of Mumbai, the Flora Fountain is an attractive spot for tourist. The Flora Fountain was dedicated to the Governor of Mumbai, Sir Bartle Frere in recognition of his service to the city of Bombay. The Flora Fountain was named after the Roman Goddess Flora, the Goddess of prosperity and beauty.
Mumbai High CourtThe Mumbai High Court was an important seat of legal and judicial jurisprudence, right from 1672. Under the strict supervision of Gerald Aungier, who was the Governor of the Surat Factory, George Wilcox became the Judge of the First British Court of Justice in Mumbai. However after the Revolt of 1857, the British Court was dissolved and the Bombay High Court came into prominence on 14th August 1862 under the 'Indian High Court Act' of 1861. After several decades of British rule, on 26th January 1950, the present day Bombay High Court acquired a separate Federal identity under the Supreme Court of India. With a long historical background, the High Court of Bombay is one of the oldest serving High Court of India.
Kanheri CavesThe Kanheri caves are spread over a wide area. Each cave served as the room of a single monk which had a stone podium that was probably used as a bed. There is also a huge hall which houses the 'Dagoba' , a Buddhist Image. The Hall was used as a place for mass religious meetings or for group worship.
The Gateway of IndiaThe Gateway of India is one of the architectural Marvel of our country. Located on the southern part of Mumbai on the shores of Arabian Sea, the Gateway of India is an important landmark of the city. It is virtually the starting point for any tourist who wants to get acquainted with the exuberant and exciting life of Mumbai. The huge monuments speaks at length about the history of our country. The beautifully engraved designs and the well built pillars remind us of the colonial rule and the sacrifices of our fellow country men.
Rajabai Clock TowerLocated within the University Complex of Mumbai, Rajaji Clock Tower is one of the important landmarks of Mumbai that attracts many tourists throughout the year. Modeled on the lines of London's "Big Ben" , the Rajaji Clock Tower was built in the 19th century between 1869 and 1878 by George Gilbert. The tower derived its name from "Rajaji" who was the mother of a stock broker Premchand "Cotton King" Roychand who had borne the entire cost of building the clock tower.
University BuildingThe University Building of Mumbai reflects the rich architecture and historicity of the city. The building is known for its rich architecture with its highly engraved pillars and ornamented arch. Spread over a huge area, the University building is a living example of French Gothic style. The University building was planned by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The large circular windows with stained glasses skylights showing the various zodiac signs are the main features of the building.
Worli FortThe Worli Fort was built by the British as a precautionary measure around 1675 overlooking the Mahim Bay. The Fort is situated at a strategically important place from where the British Navy could see the vessels approaching the western coast of our country. The Worli Fort is does not attract many tourist because of the surrounding fishing areas. The Fort is in the middle of the Worli Fishing Village that makes the for quite inaccessible.
Gardens in Mumbai
Balodyan GardensMumbai has many parks and gardens and one among them is Balodyan Gardens. Mumbai is located at the south west of India on the Konkani coast. Mumbai, the financial capital of India, is one of the most highly populated cities in the world. Often people need a break from their normal routine in Mumbai and the places to head for are the peaceful parks and gardens of Mumbai. Balodyan Gardens is one such place.
Hanging GardenThe commercial capital of India, Mumbai is also famous for the entertainment and tourism industry. Mumbai has many places of interest in and around the city that attract huge number of tourists throughout the year, Hanging garden is one among them. Hanging Garden in Mumbai was built in1880 on the Malabar hills and later renovated in 1921. It is so called because this terraced garden lies on the slopes of Malabar hills.
Jijamata Udyan ZooJijamata Udyan Zoo is located in Rani Jijamata Udyan Victoria Gardens, is established in 1861. It is one of the oldest zoos of India. The zoo is a habitat for a number of uncommon and endangered species of birds and animals. The garden covers a total area of more than 48 acres in Byculla, in the centre of Mumbai.
Kamala Nehru ParkKamala Nehru Park in Mumbai is the perfect spot for nature lovers, who want to spend their evenings or mornings in the lap of nature. It was established in 1952 and spread over an area of 4,000 sq. yards. The park derived its name after the wife of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sanjay Gandhi National ParkSanjay Gandhi National Park is a beautiful park in Mumbai. It is situated on the northern part of the suburbs of Mumbai and spread over a total area of 104 sq. km. A huge number of people visit the park, it is roughly estimated that 2 million visitors come here annually. The park is decorated with a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Religious Places in Mumbai
Babulnath TempleOne of the most ancient temples in Mumbai is the Babulnath Temple. The residing deity in the Babul Nath temple is Lord Shiva, who is in the form of a Babul tree. The Babulnath Temple is situated in the South of Malabar Hill towards the end of Marine Drive. Situated at an altitude of almost 1,000 feet, the temple of Babulnath stands pretty looking across the Arabian Sea.
Buddhist TempleThe Buddhist Temple of Mumbai is a renowned place of worship among the Buddhist people of India. This place of worship is located on Maulana Abdul Gaffar Khan Road in the north-west suburbs of Worli. This temple remains open daily. You can Visit the Buddhist Temple any time of the day.
Haji Ali DargahHaji Ali Dargah is a mosque in Mumbai built in the middle of the sea with a constricted path leading to the dargah. It is the tomb of Saint Haji Ali. The white mosque is located 500 yards into the sea and can be accessed only during the low tide.
Jain TempleBabu Amichand Panalal Adishwarji Jain Temple is a very beautiful Jain Temple in Mumbai. Jain Temples are as it is famous for their beauty and the one in Mumbai is considered to be one of the most wonderful Jain Temples in India.
Mahalaxmi TempleThe atmosphere around the temple is filled with serenity. Visitors find the ambiance, ideal for offering their prayers to God. Three deities reside in the Mahalaxmi Temple namely Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi. However, as the main idol is of the Goddess Lakshmi, the temple is named after her. The three religious idols are known as Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati. They are embellished with ornaments like pearl necklaces, gold bangles and nose rings.
Mount Mary ChurchMount Mary Church is located on a beautiful hill on the outskirts of Mumbai. It is one of the most well-known churches in Mumbai. It was constructed by the Portuguese in 1640 and was later reconstructed in 1761. It is believed that Mount Mary Church was destroyed in 1738, during a Maratha raid. Later Mother Mary's statue was recovered from Arabian Sea by local fishermen and was kept in St. Andrews, before being moved to the newly constructed Mount Mary Church.
Mumbadevi TempleMumbadevi Temple in Mumbai is the temple of Maa Mumbadevi. Mumbai has derived its name from Goddess Mumbadevi. It is built to pay a tribute to the Goddess of Mumbai. There is a great mythological story attached to the creation of this temple.
Siddhivinayak TempleThe Siddhivinayak Temple is a very famous temple in Mumbai. It is also known as Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple. This temple is situated at Prabhadevi in Mumbai. It is a two hundred years old Temple. People believe that Lord Ganesh of Siddhivinayak Temple fulfills the desire of His worshipers.
Walukeshwar TempleThe Walukeshwar Temple was built around 1050 years ago by the Silharas. It got destructed by the French during the sixteenth century. The temple was re-constructed in 1715 by Rama Kamath. The recent structure of Walukeshwar Temple finally came into being in the 1950s.
Tourist Destinations Near MumbaiOne can make excursions from Mumbai to hill resorts and historical places around Mumbai. Bassein, which bears a close resemblance to Goa, is a quiet place where tourists can enjoy solitude away from the hustle & bustle of crowded cities.
AurangabadAurangabad is a historical destination, famous for its medieval monuments and cultural heritage. It is well-known for the world heritage sites, Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
KhandalaKhandala is an exotic hill station, ideal for trekking.
LonavalaLonavala is a beautiful place covered with lush green sceneries.
MatheranMatheran is a small hill station situated near Mumbai, known for its freshness and beauty.
The second largest city of Maharashtra, Pune offers many tourist attractions. It is famous for the Ashram of Osho Rajneesh and many gardens along with the banks of river Mula-Mutha.