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Mumbai (long known, until the mid 1990s, as Bombay), is the largest city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and one of the top six largest agglomerations in the world. It is a coastal city of around 18.1 million people with a deep natural bay. The city is a significant contributor to Indian trade and taxation.

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History The city originally consisted of seven islands. It was called Mumba (after Mumbadevi) and part of the kingdom of Ashoka and then various Hindu rulers of the Silhara dynasty[?] until 1343 when it was taken by the kingdom of Gujerat. In 1534 the Portuguese took the islands from Bahadur[?] Shah of Gujarat and renamed the area Bom Baia ("Good Bay"). The islands remained in their hands until 1661 when it was part of the dowry of the Infanta[?] Catherine de Braganza[?] to Charles II of England. He in turn leased it to the British East India Company in 1668 for £10 per annum. The company found the deep harbour at Bombay eminently suitable, the population rose from 10,000 in 1661 to 60,000 by 1675, and in 1687 the East India Company transferred their headquarters there from Surat. From 1817 the city was reshaped with large civil engineering projects merging the seven islands into one single mass of around 435 km≤ by 1845. In 1853 the first railway link in India was completed, between Bombay and Thana. The city remained in Company hands until after the Indian Mutiny (or First War of Independence) of 1857 when it was taken from the Company by the Crown.

On March 12, 1993 several bombs exploded in the city killing about 300 and injuring hundreds more.

Places of Tourist interest

  • Elephanta Caves[?]: Situated on an island off the Mumbai coast, these caves have sculptures carved about the 5th century AD. The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the Gateway of India at Mumbai. The island was named by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the landing area of the island. These rock cut temples dedicated to Shiva Mahadeva are rich in sculptural content. Motorboats take passengers from Apollo under near the Gateway of India.
  • Gateway of India[?]: Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the Gateway of India is meant to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Darbar[?] in Delhi in December 1911. The foundation stone was laid on March 31, 1911 and George Wittet's final design sanctioned in August 1914. Between 1915 and 1919 work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Pier for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920. The Gateway is built from yellow Kharodi basalt and reinforced concrete. The central dome is 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet above ground at its highest point. The whole harbour front was realigned in order to come in line with a planned esplanade which would sweep down to the centre of the town. The cost of the construction was 2,100,000 Rupees, borne mainly by the Government of India. For lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and the Gateway now stands at an angle to the road leading up to it. The construction was completed in 1924, and the Gateway opened on December 4, 1924 by the Viceroy, Earl of Reading. The last British troops to leave India, the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the gate in a ceremony on February 28, 1948.
  • Victoria Terminus Station[?] (Now renamed Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus): A magnificent building, completed in 1888, the Victoria Terminus was named after the then Queen Empress on Jubilee Day, 1887. Construction started in 1878 based on a design by F. W. Stevens, and was completed in 1888. The railway station was opened to the public on New Year's Day, 1882. It is now the starting point of the Central Railways. The Italian Gothic style, full of marvellous filigrees and carvings, repays detailed examination. Unfortunately, some of the lovely carvings are at such an awkward height that you can only get a close view from the top deck of a passing double-decker bus. Located in Bori Bunder[?], it has been declared an urban heritage site and is a protected building.
Prince of Wales Museum[?] (Now renamed Chatrapati Shivaji Museum)
In the early years of the 20th century, some prominent citizens of Bombay decided to set up a Museum with the help of the government to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. One of the resolutions of the committee at its meeting on June 22, 1904 was, "The building should have a handsome and noble structure befitting the site selected, and in keeping with the best style of local architecture." The committee spared no effort to realize this dream. On March 1, 1907,[?] the then government of Bombay handed over to the museum committee a spot of land known as the "Crescent Site", situated at the southern end of the present Mahatma Gandhi Road. After an open competition for the design, George Wittet was commissioned to design the Museum building in 1909. Wittet had collaborated with John Begg in the construction of the General Post Office building. His other works in Bombay include the Court of Small Causes and the magnificent Gateway of India.
Borivili National Park[?]
Located at Borivilli[?], a suburb of Mumbai, this national park has been a training ground for countless wild life enthusiasts of Mumbai. Prominent residents include Panther, Chital[?] (Deer), wild Boar, etc. Several species of butterfly and about 200 species of birds have been recorded from this national park.

Educational and Cultural Institutions Mumbai city boasts of a large number of premier educational and cultural institutions. Prominent among them are:

Technical Institutions

Cultural, Social and Misc

Recreation and Malls Mumbai has several European style shopping malls, recreation centers, pubs etc. Indian Movies (Bollywood) is the chief recreation of the masses. Mumbai is also a center for various concerts of Indian Classical Music and other performing arts.

Industry and Commerce Mumbai is the economic capital of India. Major industries are chemicals, textiles and fisheries. India's film industry has a strong presence in Mumbai.

Transport and communication Mumbai city has perhaps the best transport facilities in India. It is well connected thro suburban railway (Western Railway, Central Railway, Harbour line) and also via bus services of the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST).

Present Problems Population is the biggest problem facing Mumbai. Land is scarce, cost of living is high. Population explosion has put a tremendous strain on the basic infrastructure and transport facilities of this city. In fact, Bombay is set to replace Tokyo as the world's most populous city by 2020 [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1093424.stm).

How to reach there?

  • International Airport: Sahar (renamed Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport[?])
  • Domestic Air terminal: Santacruz (a suburb of Mumbai)
  • Railway: Mumbai is the headquarters of Western Railway and Central Railway. Long distance trains run from here to distant parts of India, which incidently has the largest railway network in the world! Intra-city transport is provided by the suburban railway which runs over 200 Km connecting the city with the suburbs.

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