Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay is India's most charming city and boasts a population of approximately 19 million people, making it the second largest populated city in the world. Located at 18°58′30″N72°49′33″E,this metropolitan city is furnished with monumental treasures, beaches and night life that are bound to make you skip a beat! Mumbai city is an array of seven islands and is home to Bollywood's film industry and many other multinational organizations.
What makes Mumbai unique than the other cities in India, is its multiculturalism and the higher standard of living. Formerly known as Bombay, this city originates back to the 16th century and was renamed in 1995 to Mumbai, which is derived from the Koli Goddess Mumbadevi and Aie (mother) in Marathi. The official time Mumbai adheres to is GMT+5:30, better known as the Indian standard time. Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport formerly known as Sahara international airport is India's second busiest and South Asia's largest, with four terminals and is spread over 1,450 acres (5.9 km2) of property.
With Marathi being the cities official language, there are many others that are spoken and understood but you'll be surprised to know that English has grown to be the most widely spoken, with a ratio of 3:5 people achieving fluency! Since Mumbai is combined with diverse cultures, there are a number of festivals that are celebrated, keep the city lively all through the year. Mumbai can also be called the city of entertainment, with a large production house, catering to Bollywood and Hollywood movies, even hosting the world's largest IMAX dome theater, located in the suburban areas of the city.
With Mumbai being full of tourist spots and monuments that are equally important, we were heartbroken when we learnt we could only describe four of them. The first would be the" Gateway of India" which is a monumental arch (85ft) high and is located on the waterfront of the wellington pier. The "Gateway of India" was built in the year 1911, in honor of King George V and Queen Mary's first visit to Mumbai. The arch itself has its own multicultural style, with a combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. From we could gather the cost of building this monument in its time was around $50,000!
Steps away from the Gateway of India are ferries that embark to the Elephanta caves, which have in recent times become a hot tourist destination due to its widespread of temples, carved from rock. The elephant caves were discovered in the 17th century by Portuguese explorers after noticing a sculpture of an elephant. Due to a tussle, the sculpture was dropped into the sea but now rests safely at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Dr Bhau Daji lad Museum) in Mumbai.
A spiritual location one shouldn't miss is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, which is commonly referred to as "Mount Mary Church". Located in the Bandra suburb, this church overlooks the Arabian Sea and is situated 80mtrs above sea level. The number of annual visitors and devotes of the church runs into the millions due to its many miraculous occurrences. The Sunday following the 8th of September is celebrated as the feast of the Mother Mary and the first day of the Bandra fair, which is a weeklong celebration filled with fun and activities.
The Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL) is a bridge that overlooks the clear blue waters of Mumbai and is built at a whopping cost of $400 million approximately! The bridge is held by steel cables and boasts eight lanes, which cuts travel time into a fraction of the time it would normally take. The Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL) was opened to the public on June 30th 2009 and is funded by a toll system.
Due to the overwhelming visitors to Mumbai, there are many hotels that cater to every budget and many of the world's finest names, located like blemishes all over the city. It might be tough to cover all the tourist destinations on your visit, but the locations we've described are most definitely the ones you don't want to miss!