The impressive and busy city of Mumbai, earlier recognized as Bombay has the distinction of being the largest metropolis as well as the financial, commercial, industrial capital of India. It is the most multicultural of all Indian cities, and there is a place for everyone in this mixture of cultures and city of charm. Mumbai is also the capital of Maharashtra, and is the hub of cinema and film making in India; the Indian Hollywood, which is known as Bollywood is situated here.
Mumbai once used to be a group of seven islands of Colaba, Mumbai, Mazagaon, Old Woman's island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga Sion, which were the homes of the Koli fishing community. Being located on the western coast, it became an important trading centre and port city after the English King Charles the Second gave it to the East India Company in 1667. In 1997, it was formally renamed Mumbai, the name being derived Mumbadevi, the goddess of the Kolis. The city is likely to become the world's second largest metro by the year 2014.
Mumbai is a veritable traveller enjoyment has a host of cultural, religious and other interesting places that are worth visiting.
The delightful Prince of Wales museum is viewed as one of the best museums in the country with art, sculpture, old firearms, and rare coins and a priceless collection of miniature paintings on demonstration.
The Gateway of India is a precious monument that was constructed to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. It is complete with four turrets and intricate latticework fixed into the yellow basalt stone.
A popular sea front, Marine Drive is a winding stretch of road with tall buildings on one side and sea on the other. It was once named the Queen's Necklace because of its curved shape.
The Juhu and Chowpatty Beaches are the most well-known beaches that offer beach happenings like camel and pony rides, acrobats and, performing monkeys and entertainers together with a superb view of the coast.
The Hanging Gardens or Ferozeshah Mehta Garden and Kamla Nehru Park are situated opposite each other. Both the gardens offer lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea. The latter has the well-known "Old Woman's Shoe" that is a enjoyment to all children.
The Jain temple houses frescoes depicting numerous events in the lives of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. It also has a black marble shrine bedecked with celestial personifications of the planets.
Some of the stimulating excursions places around Mumbai are itemized below.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a 106 sq-km protected area of forested hills with stimulating flora, birds, and butterflies, and boasts a small population of tigers.
The Bassein Fort and the fortified city of Bassein give a decent idea of a Portuguese settlement. The city walls are still standing and you can travel the ruins of the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
The hill stations of Matheran is one those nearest to Mumbai. No vehicles are allowed here and it has preserved it’s calm and quiet. It is a favourite week end getaway for the people of Mumbai.
Lonavla is a pure hill station 125 kilometres from Mumbai. It is perfect for a day or weekend trip, with its gurgling streams and quiet walks.
The Elephanta Caves, Karla Caves, and Kanheri Caves are all situated close by and a trip can be easily arranged.
Mumbai has a national as well as international airport, and is well connected with most Indian cities and countries in the world. Mumbai is a noticeable railway hub of the country. It is the headquarters to two railway zones, Central and Western. The main railway station is Victoria Terminal, now renamed Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal. Other railway stations are Dadar, Churchgate, and Kurla.
Mumbai is enjoyable during the winters (November-March) and hot as well as humid during summers. Temperatures begin rising from the month of March till the onset of monsoons in mid-June, till September. October offers a relief from humidity and heat. Mumbai has one of the finest ranges of restaurants that offer almost all cuisines of the world. The cultural history of the city can be outlined from the variety of food available in the city. From Parsi dhansaak to Gujarati thalis, and Muslim kebabs to Goan vindaloos, Mumbai has it all.
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