The megalopolis that is Bombay, also known as Mumbai today, the largest city in India, home of Bollywood and to over 15 million people that can trace their ancestry from the four corners of the sub continent, started as seven separate islands on the Arabian sea, just off the Konkan coast. These seven islands had been inhabited for millennia when the local ruler of the Maurya Empire turned them into a center for Buddhist and Hindu learning around 300 B.C. The island’s path into becoming a Megalopolis gets a jump start when the Portuguese arrived in 1498 and took over from the Sultan of Gujarat. The Portuguese built a fort and a church (which survives to this day) and gave the city its name: Bombay, some say that it means Good Bay in Portuguese, but this would be grammatically incorrect in the Portuguese language (Boa Bahia would be correct) so more than likely it was a transliteration of the Koli goddess Mumbadevi, a revered local deity.
The British took over the islands in 1661 as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza when she married Charles II of England. The seven islands of Bombay remained a backwater until the British crown leased them to the British East India Company in 1668 for 10 pounds per year. During the 18th century the British traders built docks and trading houses and causeways that united the islands, eventually turning them into one large island by 1835. Bombay boomed during the 19th century due to the American Civil War having forced the world production and trade of cotton to be moved to India, as well as the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, making Bombay the most important port on the Arabian Sea.
The boom of the 19th century also bought waves of immigration from within India, some founded factories and trading houses and others came to labor. Each wave of new immigrants gave form to the different neighborhoods of the present megalopolis. They say that the seeds of Indian independence were planted in Bombay, due to the large amount of Maharati speaking immigrants who later founded the Indian National Congress, one of the primary political forces against British Rule. Bombay India was the setting to several incidents against the British Raj rule until India gained independence in 1947. Bombay’s name was changed to Mumbai in 1996 and today, Mumbai is considered a tolerant Megalopolis where all of India’s ethnic groups are represented and live together in the capital of Bollywood.
Mumbai is served by Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Mumbai airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and one of the principal gateways to India. Mumbai has one of the world’s best natural harbors and its port handles cruise ships, ferries and cargo ships. The city is served by 4 main train stations that cover the entire sub continent, including the beautiful Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Formerly Victoria Terminus), featured in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Get around by taxi, or catch the local subway. You can get on a moped powered rickshaw for some fun driving in the Mumbai traffic.
Things To Do:
Mumbai endures you with a lot of must-see attractions that will make your stay the most memorable and joyful experience. Let’s take a look at few of the Mumbai attractions:
The Gateway of India, The Taj Mahal Hotel, Hanging Garden, The religious places: Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Tardeo Agiary Parsi Temple and Shri Swaminarayan Temple, The exotic Beaches: Juhu Beach and Kashid Beach beside the Chowpatty are flocked by people where they come to feast on the delicious Mumbai Chats. You can also take a Gateway ferry ride, visit forts, shopping bazaars, the most popular Essel World amusement park and ancient caves like Elephanta Cave.
Mumbai lies near the Arabian Sea and the climate is normally wet and dry. There are two clear seasons – Humid and Dry season. The humid weather is between the month of March and October. The humidity level can rise up to 30 °C (86 °F) and over. Between the months of June and September, the city experiences heavy rains. The dry season is between the months of November to February which is characterized by moderate levels of humidity and warm/cool weather.
Mumbai is a home for some of the finest luxury hotels and budget hotels that offer impeccable hospitality services. The hotel packages have been designed keeping in mind the needs of the travelers. Most of the hotels also provide car rental services to important tourist destinations.