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Mumbai with the Gateway of India is renowned as the glamorous metropolis enriched with multifarious futuristic lifestyle. Amidst the traditional Maharashtrian milieu survives the unique blend of western and Indian fantasies

Mughal rulers from Delhi tried their best to keep this region under their control. From the middle of the 17th century, a new group of warrior people came to dominate the scene in Maharashtra and elsewhere in India called Marathas. The origin of Marathas is still debatable, but what is known is that they stole the limelight from the great Mughals and at one point of time even captured Delhi. Shivaji was the first great ruler of Marathas and it was he who paved the way for future Maratha influence on India. It was only after defeating the Marathas that the English could establish their rule in India.

Mumbai a cluster of seven islands, derives its name from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the Koli fisher folk, its oldest inhabitants.

Once a Portuguese princess' dowry and later an adornment of neo-gothic British architecture, Mumbai today, is more than just a metropolis. It is in fact an enigma of mud huts & sky- scrapers, age old traditions & high fashions, the industrialists' heaven & movie makers' hollywood.

A lovely natural harbour and winding creek set off the city of Mumbai from the long, narrow coast of Western India.

Mumbai pulsates with activity. It is a city that is disciplined by no time frame-neither by day nor night. Mumbai is also the country's financial powerhouse, the nation's industrial heartland, and its economic nerve centre. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, night clubs and discotheques, theatre and music, gourmet restaurants and interesting sightseeing - Mumbai offers the visitor a heady mix of all this and more.

Mumbai (till recently known as 'Bombay') derives its name from the local deity Mumba Devi, whose temple is still there. The Portuguese predecessors of the British preferred to think of the name as Bom Baim, the Good Bay. Bombay was once a cluster of seven islands called Heptanasia by Plotemy in AD 150. Mumbai is home to people of all Indian creeds and cultures

Mumbai, earlier known as Bombay, has many sobriquets- one being the city of dreams. A city filled with excitement and vigour, a holiday in Mumbai (Bombay) India definitely ignites the spark in a person, that spark which one often tends to lose in the race against time as one shuttles between office, work and a galore of responsibilities.

The commercial capital of India promises different things to different individuals. Mumbai (Bombay) India is called the city of dreams because every person who enters Bombay does so with a dream in his heart- most often the dream is to become a famous actor as this is the city which breeds aspiring as well as established stars of the Indian film industry

Situated on the western coast of India, Mumbai is best visited in the winter months from November to March. In the past Gateway of India used to be the arrival point for visitors from the west. Today the Gateway of India is synonymous with Mumbai. This landmark of Mumbai is a must visit of the city. It was built way back in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar. For the historians a visit to the Prince of Wales Museum is a must.

Places to see:

Gateway of India

This 26 metres high stone archway is the first landmark of Mumbai a visitor sees when arriving by ship. Designed by Wittet in the 16th century Gujarat style, it was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. This crypto-Moresque archway welcomed numerous viceroys, governors and top civil servants as they disembarked by launch from their P & 0 steamers.
An equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji and statue of Swami Vivekananda have been installed here.

Kamla Nehru Park

Situated on the slopes of Malabar Hill, it is mainly a children's park named after the wife of India's first Prime Minister. Laid in 1952, the garden offers a panoramic view of Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach.

Mahalaxmi Temple

An important Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess of wealth.

Malabar Hill

The poshest area of Mumbai, Malabar Hill has attractive residences, including the Chief Minister's house and a palatial state guest house. Here also, are the ruins of Walkeshwar temple built sometime between 810 and 1260 AD. It is believed that Lord Ram on his way to rescue his wife Sita, stopped here and made a lingam (phallic totem) out of sand to worship Lord Shiv.

Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial)

A memorial dedicated to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He used to stay at House No. 19, called Mani Bhavan, from time to time between 1917 and 1934. He was arrested here in 1932 and taken off for one of his many prison terms. The building now contains a pictorial gallery, a 20,000-volume research library, a film and recording archive and a set of diorama on the Mahatma's life.

Jain Temple

Built in marble in 1904, the shrine is dedicated to Adinath, the first Tirthankara or apostle. The walls of the temple are adorned with colourful paintings depicting various incidents in the lives of the 24 Tirthankaras of the Jain religion. On the first floor is a special shrine dedicated to Parsvanath carved out of black marble and the ceiling shows the different planets as personified in Hindu mythology.

Haji ali Mosque

The tomb of a Muslim saint who died while on pilgrimage to Mecca. It is believed that a casket containing his mortal remains floated and came to rest on a rocky bed in the sea, where devotees constructed the tomb and mosque. Can be visited only at low tide.

Chowpatty beach

A popular beach where celebration of festivals such as Coconut Day and the Ganesh Chaturthi immersions take place. Besides little kiosks selling Mumbai's special snacks, Bhelpuri, A Kulfi (local ice cream), one can find professional masseurs, pony-leaders, beebee-gun shooting galleries, contortionists, snake charmers, monkey-trainers, balloon sellers, flower-girls and lots more.

On the beach are statues of India's freedom fighters, Lokmanya Tilak and Vallabh Bhai Patel who symbolise the freedom struggle. Chowpatty occupies a special-place in the life of Mumbai, having been the venue of mass political meetings in the pre-independence era.

Afghan Church

Dedicated to the British soldiers who fell in the Sindh and Afghan campaigns of 1838 and 1843, this church also known as St. John's Church was built in 1847.

Pherozshah Mehta Gardens

Popularly known as Hanging gardens they were renamed after the national barrister Pherozshah Mehta. The gardens were laid out in 1881 on top of the reservoir which supplies water to Mumbai. A special feature are the hedges which are cut into animal shapes. In the early hours of the morning it is inhabited with people doing yoga, calisthenics or just taking a walk, while at sunset one can get a stunning view of the city the harbour and hills beyond. There is also a flower clock here.

Victoria Terminus

On the northern end of Dr. D. N. Road looms the extravagant fantasy of Victoria Terminus (recently renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus - Mumbai CST), where the first train steamed out of Mumbai from here to Thane in 1853. One of the largest buildings designed by F.W. Stevens in the Gothic style, it's imposing dome is surmounted by a figure symbolising Progress. A life-size statue of Queen Victoria is placed in front of the the central facade. The clock on top is 3.19 metres in diameter.

Places of Interest