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Mumbai :: City Information

Mumbai - Weather

Best Travel Duration

Temperature 20.00C - 35.00 C
Rainfall : 254 cm

September to April

About Mumbai

The city of Bombay originally consisted of seven islands called Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman's Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga-Sion. This group of islands has been joined together by a series of reclamations. In 1534 the Portuguese took Bombay by force of arms from the Mohammedans. This led to the establishment of numerous churches which were constructed in areas where the majority of people were Roman Catholics. Only one church with Portuguese-style facade still remains i.e. St. Andrew's church at Bandra. They named their new possession as "Bom Baia" which in Portuguese means "Good Bay".

Later the islands were given to the English King Charles II in dowry on his marriage to Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In the year 1668 the islands were acquired by the English East India Company on lease from the crown for an annual sum of 10 pounds in gold. The British corrupted the Portuguese name "Bom Baia" to "Bombay". The Zoroastrian Towers of Silence on Malabar hill were built by Seth Modi Hirji Vachha in 1672. Sir Robert Grant governed Bombay from 1835 to 1838 and was responsible for the construction of a number of roads between Bombay and the hinterland. The Thana and Colaba Causeways were built during his tenure as well as the Grant Medical College.

On Saturday 16th of April, 1853 a 21-mile long railway line, the first in India, between Bombay's Victoria Terminus and Thana was opened. The Great Indian Peninsular and the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway were started in 1860 and a regular service of steamers on the west coast was commenced in 1869. In 1858, following the First War of Independence of 1857, the East India Company was accused of mismanagement and the islands

reverted to the British Crown. The later half of the 19th century was also to see a feverish construction of buildings in Bombay, many of which such as, the Victoria Terminus, the General Post Office, Municipal Corporation, the Prince of Wales Museum, Rajabai Tower and Bombay University, Elphinstone College and the Cawasji Jehangir Hall, the Crawford Market, the Old Secretariat (Old Customs House) and the Public Works Department (PWD) Building, still stand today as major landmarks. The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of king George V and Queen Mary for the Darbar at Delhi in 1911.

Places to Visit

GATEWAY OF INDIA

Description: GATEWAY OF INDIA

In the days when most visitors came to India by Ship and when Mumbai was India’s principle port, this was indeed the ‘GATEWAY’ to India today its merely Mumbai’s foremost land mark. The gateway was conceived following the visit of King George V in 1911 and officially opened in 1924. Architecturally it is a conventional arch of Triumpth, with elements in its design derived fro the muslim style of 16 th century Gujarat. It is built of yellow basalt and stands on the Apollo bunder, a popular Mumbai meeting place in the evenings

St JOHN’S CHURCH

Description: St JOHN’S CHURCH

This church, also known as the afghan church, is near the end of Colaba Causeway. It was built in 1847 and is dedicated to soldiers who fell in the Sind campaign of 1838 and the first afghan war of 1843.

PRINCE OF WALES MUSEUM

Description: PRINCE OF WALES MUSEUM

Beside wellingdon circle, close to the colaba hotel enclave, is the prince of wales museum, built to commemorate King George V ‘s first visit to India in 1905 while he was still prince of wales. The first part of the museum was opened in 1923. It was designed in Indo-Saracenic style and has sections for art and paintings, archaeology and natural history. Among the more interesting items is a very fine collection of miniature paintings, bas-reliefs from the Elephanta caves and Buddha images. Put aside at least half a day to explore this Fascinating place.

St THOMAS CATHEDRAL

Description: St THOMAS CATHEDRAL

St Thomas Cathedral, begun by Gerald Aungier in 1672 but not formally opened until 1718, contains several interesting memorials. The old Mint was completed in 1829 and has an Ionic facade. It was built on land reclaimed in 1823 and adjoins the town hall. Behind the Town hall stand the remains of the old Mumbai Castle.

Sea Beaches

Description: St THOMAS CATHEDRAL

Mumbai’s famous beach attracts few bathers and even fewer sunbathers-neither activity has much of a following in India, and in any case the water is none too healthy. Chowpatty has plenty of other activities though. It one of those typical Indian slices of life where anything and everything can happen, and does. Sand –castle sculptors make elaborated figures in the sand, contortions and family group stroll around. In between there are kiosks selling Mumbai’s popular snack, bhelpuri and kulfi . Donkeys and ponies are available for children’s ride.

HANGING GARDENS

Description: HANGING GARDENS

On the top of Malabar Hill, these gardens were laid out in 1881 and are correctly known as the Pherozeshah Mehta gardens .They take their popular name from the fact that they are built on top of a series of reservoirs that supply water to Mimbai. The formally laid out gardens have a notable collection of hedges shaped like animals and there are good views over the city.

HAJI ALI’S TOMB

Description: HAJI ALI’S TOMB

This tomb and mosque are devoted to a Muslim saint who drowned here. The buildings are reached by a long cause way which can only be crossed at low tide. Here a scene of a typical Indian ingenuity and resourcefulness take place. Hundreds of beggars line the length of the causeway waiting for the regular stream pilgrims. At the start of the cause way is a small group of money changers who, for a few paise commission, will change a Rs 1 or Rs 2 coin into lots of smaller denominations. Thus a pilgrim can do his/her soul the maximum amount of good for the minimum expenditure..

ELEPHANTA ISLAND

Description: ELEPHANTA ISLAND

Elephanta, a small island 10kms away from the Mumbai harbour, is a favoured destination for culture lovers during the festival held in February. The Elephanta island is known for its great cave shrine, excavated in the 6th century. Elephanta caves, earlier known as Gharapuri, is the tranquil abode of Lord Shiva. This land was renamed, Elephanta by the Portuguese, after the majestic carved elephant on this island.

The temple here has large pillars and nine marvelous sculptured panels, set on the wall which are awe-inspiring. The sculptures display the changing moods of Lord Shiva, with the magical interplay of light and shade intensifying the overall effect.

The festival of Music and Dance is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). The main highlights of the festival is the illuminated Maheshmurti (Shiva-idol), in the main cave of the island. Folk dances by the local fisher folk, ethnic local food varieties add to the ambiance. Over the years, the festival has become a major tourist attraction for Mumbaites and for incoming domestic and foreign tourists.

How To Get To Mumbai

By Air:

 

It has also the busiest domestic air network in the country. The international terminal is at Sahar, which is 30 km north of the city center. The domestic terminal at Santa Cruz is just 4 km away.

By Rail:

 

Mumbai is a prominent 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. Express and super-fast trains are available for most of the Indian cities from Mumbai.

By Road:

 

There are two major north-south highways running through Bombay, cross linked by other roads at various points. Mumbai is well-connected with major destinations in Maharashtra and neighboring states through road.