The glittering and bustling city of Mumbai is the largest metropolis as well as the financial, commercial, industrial and celluloid capital of India. It is the cosmopolitan city with the potpourri of cultures and glamour. Mumbai is also the capital of Maharashtra, and is the hub of cinema and film industry; the Indian Hollywood, which is also known as Bollywood.
Mumbai was initially a cluster of seven islands of Colaba, Mumbai, Mazagaon, Old Woman's island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel and Matunga Sion, inhabited by the Koli fishing community. It became an important trading center and port city after the English King Charles II gave it to the East India Company in 1668. The islands were named 'Bombay' by the Portuguese meaning 'good bay' in Portuguese. In 1996, it was officially renamed Mumbai, the name being derived Mumbadevi, the goddess of the Kolis.
History of Mumbai
Once a cluster of seven islands, Mumbai today is 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 II, as a part of the wedding dowry for the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. In 1668, Bombay was given to the East India Company. In the 18th century, the city grew into a major port with the shifting of the shipbuilding industry to Bombay from Surat. 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 which divided into Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1966. In 1996, Bombay officially came to be known as Mumbai derived from Mumbadevi, the goddess of the Kolis.
Tourist Places in Mumbai
Mumbai has a host of cultural, religious and other interesting sites that are worth visiting for the tourists.
Prince of Wales Museum
The wonderful Prince of Wales museum, one of the best museums in the country, has the art, sculpture, old firearms, and rare coins and a priceless collection of miniature paintings on display.
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is a monument built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar. It is complete with four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone.
popular sea front, Marine Drive is a long stretch of road with tall buildings on one side and sea on the other. It is also called the Queen's Necklace because of its curved shape.
Juhu and Chowpatty Beaches
The Juhu and Chowpatty Beaches are the most famous beaches that offer beach activities like camel and pony rides, acrobats etc. together with a wonderful view of the coast.
Mani Bhawan used to be the residence of Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai. It has a reference library with more than 2000 books and other of the Mahatma's belongings.
Tower of Silence
The Tower of Silence, are the open grounds, where the Parsis leave the dead bodies of the deceased, to be eaten by vultures. It attracts a number of visitors from the world over.
Hanging Gardens and Kamla Nehru Park
The Hanging Gardens or Ferozeshah Mehta Garden and Kamla Nehru Park are located opposite each other. Both the gardens provide lovely views of the dusk over the Arabian Sea. The latter has the famous "Old Woman's Shoe" that is a delightful for all the children.
The Jain temple houses frescoes depicting various events in the lives of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. It also has a black marble shrine decorated with celestial personifications of the planets.
Excursions in Mumbai
Some of the interesting excursion sites around Mumbai are Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Bassein Fort, Matheran, Lonavala, Khandala, the Elephanta Caves, Karla Caves, and Kanheri Caves which are located nearby Mumbai.
How to Reach Mumbai
Mumbai has a national as well as international airport. It is well linked to most of the Indian cities and countries in the world. Mumbai is also a prominent railway hub of the country. The main railway stations are Victoria Terminal (Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal) Dadar, Churchgate, and Kurla. The local transport is also quite convenient on account of buses, taxis and autos.