Mumbai, the capital of western Indian state, Maharashtra, and the financial capital of India, has a unique culture and the people here are extremely energetic and take out time for welcoming guests, from a busy schedule. Mumbai travel makes you fall in love with this city.
Mumbai was formerly a group of seven islands, inhabited by Kolis, a Maharashtrian fisherman community. Its name is derived from Mumbadevi, the presiding deity of the islands, whose temple stands in Mumbadevi area. Maurya Empire had control over the islands in 3rd century BC and later, till 9th century AD, they were ruled by many indigenous dynasties, followed by Muslims. Mumbai has an active participation in India’s struggle for freedom from British rule.
Mumbai features a blend of Gothic, Indo-Saracenic and contemporary styles of architecture and its visitor is impressed with its colossal and sky-kissing buildings, old as well as modern. Some must-visit buildings during travel to Mumbai are Gateway of India, Asiatic Society, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai University, Rajabai Tower, Vidhan Bhavan, Global Pagoda, and many others.
The modern city maintains its love for Nature too, in form of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Aarey Milk Colony, Powai Lake, Vihar Lake, Hanging Gardens and Kamla Nehru Park.
Mumbai boasts of some remarkable religious places, visited by people of all religions. They are Mahalakshmi Temple, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Banganga, Bhuleshwar, Babulnath, Mount Mary Church, Haji Ali Durgah, Mahim Church and many more.
Some spectacular scenes can be sighted in Mumbai, when the seashore at Marine Drive is lit up at night and resembles a necklace, aptly nicknamed Queen’s Necklace. Other beaches are Girgaon Chowpaty, Dadar Chowpaty (renamed as Chaityabhumi) and Juhu Chowpaty.
Connoisseurs of arts, history and wildlife can visit places like Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan (Zoo), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum, Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Jehangir Art Gallery, Taraporewala Aquarium and Mani Bhawan Gandhi Museum, while those interested in science would like to visit Nehru Planetarium and Nehru Science Centre.
Mumbai is the main hub of Hindi film industry, aka Bollywood, and you can visit Film City, a huge film studio complex, to get a glimpse of it.
Mumbai has many ancient Hindu and Buddhist caves in its vicinity, like Elephanta Caves, Kanheri Caves, Karla-Bhaja, and so on.
Mumbai is shoppers’ paradise, with innumerable markets, like Chor Bazaar, Crawford Market, Bhuleshwar Market, Fashion Street Market, Mangaldas Market, Dadar, Khar Linking Road Market. You can buy traditional and trendy clothes, shoes, leather items, variety of foods, electronic items, and many other goods.
Mumbai is supposed to be the main hub of Indian cricket and has given many eminent cricketers to India, like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. Other sports well supported in Mumbai are football, hockey, chess, and many others along with indigenous sports like Kabbaddi and Kho Kho. The city has innumerable stadiums and sports clubs, some famous being Wankhede Stadium, Bombay Gymkhana, Hindu Gymkhana, Parsee Gymkhana, and many others.
Mahalakshmi Racecourse is a famous horse racing track, a scene of passion and energy. Commonly the inner lanes of the racecourse are also used for workout, jogging, walking and yoga. Horse riding lessons are also provided here.
Mumbai’s cuisine is a tasty blend of Marathi, Parsee, Gujarati, Christian and Muslim cuisines. In Mumbai hotels you can enjoy it all. Vada-paav, lovingly called Bombay Burger, is perhaps the most popular and most affordable street food here. Other delicacies typical to Mumbai are Paav Bhaaji, Bombay Sandwich, Bhel Puri, Paani Puri, Falooda, Kanda Pohe, Misal, and many more.
The most vibrant event in Mumbai is its Ganeshotsav, held usually in September, when huge Ganapati idols are taken in procession and worshipped for ten days. The event is marked by many cultural programs.
A week-long Mount Mary Fair is also a remarkable event, held in September, when the famous Mount Mary Church at Bandra is decorated lavishly and a grand fair is held on its rear side, on the slopes of the hill.
Navratri, held usually in September or October, is another remarkable festival, when people of all religions and caste participate in the Gujarati folk dance, Garba.