Your Guide to Mumbai, India’s Wonder City
Originally known as Bombay, Mumbai is the largest city and the financial capital of India, squeezed into an island surrounded by water. The city is not only the busiest city of all but is also home to the most important and impressive port, the Jawaharlal Nehru port. Apart from being the commercial gem, there is more to the city that one can imagine. Afterall, it’s not called the City of Dreams for nothing.
The city is surrounded by the Arabian Sea and lies in the southwestern part of the country. With streets filled with bustling noises, local bazaars and tall skyscrapers, it’s almost impossible to not get charmed by this chaotic yet beautiful mess. Walk through the lesser known lanes or get lost in the nightlife of this place, one is almost promised to have the time of their life while in Mumbai.
As colorful and magnificent the city’s present looks, it’s all owed to its rich past that makes the Mumbaikars so passionate about its heritage. Formerly a group of seven islands, the city was run by the Kohli fisherman. Years later, the city was surrendered to the portugals who named the city ‘Bom Bahia’ which loosely translates to a good bay.
After the arrival of the Englishmen in the early 17th century, the city was offered to King George II as dowry, when he wed his portugese consort Catherine of Braganza. But the king had other plans when it came to the struggle of handling a city that was so far off.
Soon the city was leased to the East India Company which was expanded over the period of years. The crown regained control over the city in 1858 and was ruled by the British until India’s Independence in 1947.
But ‘Bom Bahia’ boomed in those 90 years, creating a splendid legacy of its own that leaves people in awe till date.
What was Mumbai called before
Originally the town was know as Bombay. Post independence followed a train of Maratha rulers and noteworthy events that make Mumbai as it is known today, the powerhouse of the country. The city got its name ‘Mumbai’ from the name of a local goddess Mumbadevi.
The seven islands that came together to form one emotion were filled with numerous suburban towns and city limits of its own and the growth eventually led to creating thousands of opportunities for dreamers and making it the fourth most populous city in the world.
Even though the city might seem intimidating at first with its fast paced life and extreme energy, it’s known to be one of the friendliest cities in the world with people from diverse backgrounds. From colonial architecture, busy streets, and fancy restaurants the place is filled with amusements and entertainments to suit your likings as long as you let it take over you. The spirit of the city is undoubtedly addictive and contagious and it’s easy to get lost in its charm.
Mumbai is filled with attractions of all kinds. Visiting the main city will give you a glimpse enough to take you back to the colonial times. Some of the best places to feel the breath of the golden times is by visiting the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Taj Hotel, Gateway of India, Flora fountain and Asiactic Library. Let’s look at the top places that you shouldn’t miss out while visiting Mumbai.
The Must Visits in Mumbai
(Your guide to things to do in Bombay or Mumbai Spots to visit)
1) Gateway of India
Gateway of India is one of the most significant buildings in the city and rightly so. The monument represents the welcoming gate for King George V and Queen Mary’s first visit to the city in the 20th century. The 85 feet all monument was built from 1911 to 1924 taking it almost 13 years to build it.
Though the history of this place remains one of the reasons for attracting its visitors, the view offered by it becomes the main one. Overlooking the Arrabian Sea, the place is surrounded by water activities and selfie spots that are enjoyed by the locals as well as the tourists. While the vast Arabian Sea is one side, the monument enjoys the company of the luxurious and ancient Taj Hotel, that existed even before the Gateway of India was born.
2) Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves, also known as the city of caves are located on the Gharapuri Island (or Elephanta Island) at a distance of 11kms away from the main city of Mumbai. Natively known as the Gharapurichi Leni, the set of two major caves is a ferry ride away from Gateway of India.
The caves are made from the remains of ancient artwork and ruins from the 5th to 7th century where most of them are dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Making it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage, the caves exist to remain authentic and surreal. One can expect a beautiful view of the Mumbai skyline and the view of the sea far away from the city.
3) Marine Drive
Marine Drive, also known as the Queen’s Necklace is the charm of the city. A long stretch overlooking the sea is lit up by lights at night making it look like a pearl necklace and hence, giving it the name. Marine Drive is one of the most peaceful spots you can find in the city.
After a whole tiring day, you can take a walk on the promenade or take a seat and enjoy the beautiful view of the Sea highlighted by the Bandra-Worli Sea link. The best time to visit this place is at night when it would be less crowded with a few tea vendors selling hot cups of tea and coffee to help you stay warm. The city is identified by this 3.5 kms stretch and it’s beautiful trail of palm trees alongside. If you are a sunset lover, you cannot miss out on this hotspot where it’s impossible to not dream while looking at the sun setting itself into the water.
4) Haji Ali Dargah
Located in the middle of the Island, Haji Ali Dargah is another important landmark in the city of Mumbai that was built in 1431. One of the famous mausoleums of the country, Haji Ali Dargah is beautifully placed in the middle of the ocean with a narrow path for its visitors to reach. The place is known to be visited by 30000 of its admirers every week.
The significance of this mosque lies in the building that was built upon the coffin of the great Pir Haji Ali Shah, who was not only a Sufi Saint but a great preacher with many followers. His demand to be buried under the Sea led to the construction of this monument where people come to worship and believe in it’s magic.
Although if you aren’t a believer, you still have a lot to look forward to when you visit this place including the marble lined architecture and the path surrounded by the sea leading to the entrance of it. A one time experience that shouldn’t be missed out.
5) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
If you are in Mumbai and you haven’t been in the overcrowded trains where thousands struggle to enter and find a still spot, you haven’t truly experienced the city life. Since trains form a huge part of the transport in the city, the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is the home from where they start their journey. A beautifully built station, the building is an architectural masterpiece inspired by Victorian Gothic style and can be spotted easily in the middle of the main city. The construction of the same started in the year 1787 and went on till 1987 when it was finally put open for public use. The lifeline of the city, the Terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage site and starred in movies such as Slumdog Millionaire. Even after being the victim of the unfortunate events of 26/11 terrorist attacks, the terminus has gracefully regained its charm and continues to stand tall, full of pride and royalty.
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