Also known as Bombay, Mumbai is Maharashtra’s capital city. It is India’s wealthiest city where most of the country’s millionaires and billionaires reside. Globally, Mumbai is listed as among the world’s top commercial centers in terms of financial flow. It accounts for 6.16% of India’s GDP, contributing 70% of capital transactions, 70% of maritime trade and 25% of industrial output.
For this reason, the city is also home a number of financial institutions like the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reserve Bank of India and the National Stock Exchange of India to name a few. Mumbai also serve as the country’s center for film and television industry.
The economic growth potential in the city has continued to attract locals and foreigners to make Mumbai their home, making the capital a melting pot of culture and communities.
Historically, Mumbai is a conglomeration of seven islands including Worli, Parel, Mazagoan, Colaba, Mahim, Old Woman’s Island or Little Colaba, and Bombay Island. While there are not written records that detail the exact date of inhabitation, sediments found along the coast of Kandivali revealed that the area has been home to settlers since the Stone Age, around the start of the Common Era when they were home to the Koli fishing community.
The island became part of the Maurya Empire under the rule of Ashoka of Magadha, a Buddhist Emperor. The islands came under the rule of the Silhara dynasty from 810 to 1260 and it was during this time that many of the ancient buildings including Jogeshwari Caves, Walkshewar Temple, Elephanta Caves and Banganga Tank were built.
In 1347, the islands were captured and controlled by the Delhi Sultanate who appointed the Muslim Governor of Gujarat to run and manage the islands. By 1407, the independent government of the Gujarat Sultanate took control of the islands. The government built a host of mosques, with the Haji Ali Dargah being the most prominent of all.
By 1535, the islands were under the rule of the Portuguese. It was during this time that Bombay became the center of India’s commerce and trade. The surge of the large-scale reshaping of Bombay occurred from 1782 when the Horby Vellard project culminated. The reclamation project aimed at forming the seven islands into one large area.
Today, Mumbai serves as India’s commercial capital, making its name in the international financial frontier as one of the most prolific economies.
Based on the last census, Mumbai is home to a total population of 12,479,608. Spanning an area of 233 square miles, it has a population density of 53,560.54 per square mile.
Mumbai residents are referred to as Mumbaikar or Bombayite. Since there are a number of migrants in the city, the language spoken varies as well. There are sixteen major languages with Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi as the prominent languages. Those who are employed in the white collar force largely speak English.
As a melting pot of culture and religion, Mumbai residents also have different religious backgrounds including Hinduism (65.99%), Islam (20.65%), Buddhism (4.85%), Jainism (4.10%), and Christianity (3.27%).
Due to the immense diversity brought about by the migration, Mumbai’s culture is a unique blend. Food and music is dominated by Maharashtrian food. Street foods take center stage in Mumbai, with Vada Pav as the favorite among locals. Other Mumbai food staples include Dosas, Bhelpuri, Panipuri, Sevpuri, Dahipuri, Pav Bhaji, Ragda-pattice, Dosas, idlis and Chinese bhel. All of these are vegetarian street foods. For non-vegetarian offerings, kebabs, omelette-pav, and fish are also available for the taking.
Mumbai has a tropical wet and dry climate under the Koppen climate classification. The city experiences seven months of dryness, with rains during July. From December to February, the locals experience the cooler season. Summer season approaches from March and lasts until June.
Mumbai has an average annual temperature of 81 Fahrenheit or 27.2 Celsius, with maximum temperatures reaching 88 Fahrenheit or 31.2 Celsius.
Getting around Mumbai is easy as there are a multitude of transportations available like the Monorail, Mumbai Suburban Railway, Metro and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Buses. The city also has metered taxis, ferries and auto rickshaws.
Most of the locals move around the city via the bus service and suburban railway system. Taxis are generally found along South Mumbai, while auto rickshaws can only be seen plying the suburban streets.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the main aviation center in the city. In 2015, it flew close to 36.6 million passengers and 694,300 tons of cargo.
Mumbai has two main ports – the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mumbai Port Trust. Most of the cargos are handles by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
Places of Interest
Mumbai is not only India’s financial hub but also a center of tourism. The city is home to a number of amusement parks, zoos, caves, Hindu temples, mosques, synagogues and museums that are often visited by both the local and international tourists.
Some of the places worth visiting include Juhu Beach, Powai Lake, Mahim Fort, Worli Fort, Nehru Science Center and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya.
For those who love to explore caves can visit Elephanta Caves, Kanheri Caves, Jogeshwari Caves, Mahakali Caves and Mandapeshwar Caves.
To appreciate art and architecture blended with religion, Mumbai’s collection of temples, mosques and synagogues are worth your while. You can visit Siddhivinayak Temple, Hari Mandir, Wagshwari Temple, Haji Ali Dargah and Mahim Dargah.