Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and financial capital of India.It is a sprawling metropolis which traces its history to a set of seven islands given to the British monarch CharlesII as part of the dowry, when he married Princes Catherine of Portugal in 1661. The name Mumbai has been derived from MUMBA AAI or MAHA AMBA AAI- the patron goddess of Kolis of fishing community.
Mumbai's two main land marks, the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel are at Colaba. Nariman point is at the southern end of Marine Drive. At the other end of Marine Drive is Malabar Hills, a posh residential area. Today, it is a hub of activity, trade, industry and finance. As the commercial capital of India and the world's largest textile market, Mumbai ports handle around 40 percent of India's maritime trade. Some areas in Mumbai like Dharavi are amongst the most thickly populated in the world. Mumbai has diverse population, where the extra-ordinarily rich exist side by side the appallingly poor, and yet, co-exist.
Mumbai offers a contemporary lifestyle with great opportunities. It is also the centre of Bollywood, India's film industry. Known for its swanky restaurants as well as its ubiquitous road-side "vada pao", Mumbai has something for all and sundry. Tourist attractions include the iconic Gateway of India, built to commemorate the visit of King George V to India in 1911 AD.Also on the must-watch is the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Museum) and the Jahangir Art Gallery. The shrine of Haji Ali and the Siddhi Vinayak Temple are also interesting. One must visit Victoria Terminus. It is one of the most beautifully designed railway stations in the world and also is a World Heritage Site. Mumbai is connected to all major cities in India and around the world. It is truly, India's pride.
Touring Mumbai and "No Shopping" just don't go together. Mumbai streets know how to loosen your clenched fists and make you reach out to 'check out stuff'. In the next moment, you will find that your fists are clenched again, but this time, with a shopping bag! After all, it is not for nothing that Mumbai is called "Shoppers Paradise". Street shops are makeshift structures set up on pavements. Though they are makeshift structures set up on pavements. Though they are in contrast to posh showrooms, the quality is first-rate. For trendy summer clothes, colourful junk jewellery, belts, stoles, scarves, latest bags, sunglasses, shoes or perfumes- your stoppage points would Colaba Causeway near the Gateway of India, Fashion Street on Mahatma Gandhi Road, Lokhandwala Market in Andheri, Linking Road and Hill Road in Bandra.
GATEWAY OF INDIA : In the olden days, most visitors came to India by sea and Mumbai being the principal port city, this was naturally the gateway of India. However, today it is merely a principal landmark in Mumbai. It was built by the British in the year 1911 to mark the visit of King George V and was officially opened in the year1924. It is typical of European and Indian ceremonial architecture which has tinges of both the continents. The last tranche of the British army in India opted to exit India through Gateway Of India in 1947 when India got independent of the British rule. It is a favourite tourist destination, as it is from here that launches run across to the Elephanta Caves. Nearby are the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel and the statues of Swami Vivekanand and the Maratha leader, Shivaji Maharaj.
PRINCE OF WALES MUSEUM : The Prince of Wales Museum was built near the Colaba causeway in commemoration of King George V's first visit to India in 1905 AD when he was still the Prince of Wales. This museum showcases Tata collection of rare paintings of Mughal art school and Chinese wares, ancient art works, paintings, archaeology, natural history, miniature paintings of Elephanta Caves and Buddha images etc.
MARINE DRIVE : The Marine Drive runs along the Arabian Sea coast and is now officially named as Netaji Subhash Road. It was built in the year 1920 on reclaimed land along the sea coast. It runs from the Nariman Point up to the Malabar Hills. Facing the sea, there are posh residential flats on the other side of the road and is one of Mumbai's most popular and elite residential areas. The Malabar Hill is at the end of the Back Bay where the Marine Drive climbs up to. This is another posh residential area in Mumbai. It is cooler compared to other parts of Mumbai and, being at higher level, it offers a panoramic view of the famous Chowpati and Back Bay. Nearby is the Raj Bhawan which was earlier the British government's headquarters. The Hanging Gardens and Kamla Nehru Park at the crest of Malabar Hill are very pleasant spots offering fine views of central and south Mumbai, and by the night, "the Queen's Necklace" along the Marine Drive.