Travel guides: Mumbai
Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay is the capital of Maharashtra, an Indian state, being the second most prosperous urban regions in the world and located on the west coast of India and the seven islands that constitute Mumbai were the home of aboriginal fishing settlements. Mumbai got its name in 1995 after the Samyukta Maharashtra movement when a new state was formed within the borders of India under the name of Maharashtra, and today is also know as the Alpha World city. Mumbai is the biggest urban sprawl on the planet and visiting or the sight-seeing of such a crowded place can sometimes prove quite difficult. The name Mumbai originated from Mumba or Maha-Amba which is thename of the goddess Mumbadevi while the name of Bombay derivated from the Portuguese name Bombain, being anglicized after the British settlement.
Mumbai is famous for its cinema halls, especially Bollywood, making it the birthplace of the Indian cinema. The world’s largest IMAX dome theatre is in the Wadala neighbourhood and some of the oldest film festivals such as the award ceremony of the Filmfare Awards or the Mumbai International Film Festival are organized in this cosmopolitan city.
Mumbai is divided into two zones: the south is the place for tourist while the north is a suburban area with commercial spaces and markets but also residential areas. Mumbai seems like a crammed city because of its shortage of space and being established onto a narrow spit of land that curls from the swamp-ridden coast into the Arabian Sea. This area of the city provides great views and the Marine Drive is a six kilometer road with swinging palm trees and is the best time to see the lights of the city shine bright is in the evening, this space being decorated with a line of retro art-deco buildings. The defining landmark is the Gateway of India but there are some interesting locations that need to be visited such as the National Gallery of Modern Art, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum), the Colaba Causeway, Crawford Market, the Jehangir Art Gallery, Siddhivinayak Temple and the pilgrimage site of Haji Ali Dargah; you can finish you’re your by taking a long rest at the Taj Mahal Hotel.
The architecture of the city is a blend of Art-Deco, Mumbai having the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world especially in the Marine Drive area, Indo-Saracenic architecture styles such as the Gateway of India, and the British Gothic Revival style such as the Bombay University, but also a variety of buildings built with traditional Indian features or Dutch roofs, Swiss timbering, German gables, Romance arches and Tudor casements. The largest number of skyscrapers in India and Asia’s largest theme park, the Water Kingdom, are found in Mumbai. Close to Gorai Beach is another attractive amusement and theme park, Essel World.
The commercial hub of the city, Fort, is great for aimless wandering, with street stalls crammed between its Victorian piles, old-fashioned cafés, department stores and further north you can visit the formerely Victoria Terminus, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or the high-water mark of Raj architecture while bounding the western edge of the downtown region is the Muslim tomb of Haji Ali and Elephanta which is a rock-cut cave on an island in Mumbai harbour. These caves can be visited daily with small ferries or boats at your disposal and you should take your time because it can take hours to visit all those pre-historic caves. Mumbai has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and that being the Elephanta Caves and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Each year in February the Elephanta Festival is celebrated, being dedicated to classical Indian music and dance.
The combination of the western culture and the Indian culture is highly predominant especially when the residents celebrate festivals such as the Good Friday, Dussera, Moharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Durga Puja or the annual Bandra Fair, celebrated by people of all faiths to commemorate the Nativity of Mary or the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival which is an exhibition dedicated to all the arts od the world.
The public transports systems of Mumbai include buses operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), auto rickshaws, yellow or black metered taxis, ferries and the Mumbai Suburban Railway. The taxis generally operate in the south area of the city and the rickshaws in Mumbai are required by law to run on Compressed Natural Gas.
You can not possibly say that Mumbai is a boring city; instead I get the impression that you will tend to get exhausted because of the city’s commotion so take your time in visiting all the interesting places that are really worth it, some of them being mentioned in this article.11