Mumbai

Mumbai (Marathi: मुंबई) (state tourism office), a cosmopolitan metropolis, earlier known as Bombay, is the largest city in India and the capital of the state Maharashtra. Mumbai was originally a conglomeration of seven islands on the Konkan coastline which over time were joined to form the island city of Bombay. The island was in turn joined with the neighbouring island of Salsette to form Greater Bombay. The city has an estimated metropolitan population of 21 million (2005), making it one of the world’s most populous cities.

“Bombay” redirects here. For other uses, see Bombay (disambiguation).

Mumbai is a huge city with several district articles that contain information about specific sights, restaurants, and accommodation.

Mumbai is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country. Mumbai’s nature as the most eclectic and cosmopolitan Indian city is symbolized in the presence of Bollywood within the city, the centre of the globally-influential Hindi film and TV industries. It is also home to India’s largest slum population and the iconic Gateway of India built on the waterfront of Mumbai Harbour during the British Raj.

The name Bombay comes from Bom Bahia (“The Good bay” in Portuguese), a name given by explorer Francis Almeida. Mumbai is named after goddess Mumba devi of the Koli community.

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Mumbai regions – Color-coded map

  South Mumbai (Fort, Colaba, Malabar Hill, Nariman Point, Marine Lines, Tardeo)
The oldest areas of Mumbai, and is considered the heart of this commercial capital of India. The richest neighbourhoods in the country are here, which command among the highest property rates in the world. Real estate prices in South Mumbai are comparable to those in Manhattan. This is the primary tourist area of Mumbai and home to most of city’s museums, art galleries, bars, upscale restaurants and the Gateway of India.
  South Central Mumbai (Byculla, Parel, Worli, Prabhadevi, Dadar)
Used to be Mumbai’s industrial heartland, but went into decline when the industries did. Now this area has been revamped into a white-collar office location. Home to Mumbai’s only zoo, the Worli sea face, and the temple to what people consider the city’s guardian deity. As you move north, it morphs into a nice middle-class locality.
  North Central Mumbai (Dharavi, Matunga, Vadala, Sion, Mahim)
Primarily an upper middle-class area, except for Dharavi, which contains Asia’s second largest slum. This area developed immediately after India’s independence, because of a wave of immigration. Part of the migrants were refugees from the partition.
  West Mumbai (Bandra, Khar, Santa Cruz, Juhu, Vile Parle, Andheri, Versova)
Is home to those rich who want to have a more peaceful surrounding. It has few beaches. Home to a large Christian community and the city’s most famous church. This is also where the city’s domestic and international airports are.
  East Mumbai (Central Suburbs) (Kurla, Vidyavihar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Kanjur Marg, Bhandup, Mulund, Powai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Dombivli, Kalyan)
This is a middle class bastion. Mulund and Ghatkopar are home to predominantly middle and upper middle class populace, many from the entrepreneurial Gujarati community. Thane was inhabited with people of the Agri and Koli communities, and their villages still exist today as “Chendani Koliwada”, “Kopari Goan”, and “Uthalsar”. It also includes Majiwade, Balkum, Dhokali, Kolshet, Wadavli, and others. In 1825, when the British explored their newly annexed territories in Bassein, they discovered that Thane was inhabited primarily by Roman Catholics, who are both native and Portuguese, and that the latter was virtually indistinguishable[citation needed] from the former in skin color and custom. The local villagers, like Kolis (fishermen), are converted into indigenous Catholics mostly from villages of Chendani, Koliwada, and Majiwada. The Agri and Koli community people had their own culture.[citation needed] Some of the upper class East Indian families in the Khatri ward of Thane still speak Portuguese.
  Harbour Suburbs (Chembur, Mankhurd, Govandi, Trombay)
Before the development of Navi Mumbai as a satellite town of Bombay, this area used to be known only for the existence of an atomic research centre. Now this is known for being on the way to Navi Mumbai.
  North Mumbai (Manori, Jogeshwari, Borivali, Gorai, Dahisar)
Had some beaches that are not dirty. Other than this, it is just another victim of Bombay’s vast urban sprawl. Contains the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Mumbai’s oldest heritage sites: the Kanheri, Mahakali, Jogeshwari, and Mandapeshwar rock-cut temples dating from the 1st century B.C to the 5th century A.D. The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a notable monument in Gorai. The pagoda is claimed to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. This monument was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, the President of India in 2009. It is in the north of Mumbai in an area called Gorai and is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. Essel world, India’s largest amusement park is also found on the Gorai island, beside the global vipassana pagoda.

Western and Central, East and West

A visitor to Mumbai’s suburbs will quickly learn that the suburbs are divided into “Western” and “Central”. You will also hear of a “West” side and an “East” side. Here is a quick explanation for the confused.

  • The Western and Central suburbs are named after the local railway lines that serve the respective areas. The Western and Central Railways are rail lines that serve the western and central parts of India. Both have their headquarters in Mumbai. The Harbour Line is a feeder line that connects the harbour areas to the Central and Western lines. It also provides connectivity to the Northeastern suburbs of Mumbai and onwards to Navi Mumbai. Most of these areas do not lie anywhere close to an harbour.
  • Almost all localities in Mumbai have a “West” side and an “East” side. “West” means west of the railway line and “East” means east of the railway line. For example, Mulund (West) means that the area is to the west of the Mulund railway station. In addresses, West and East are abbreviated, i.e. Mulund(W) and Mulund(E).

Mumbai is a city built in successive waves of migrations. The neighbourhoods acquired their character from the communities that settled there first. These neighbourhoods are too numerous to list and there is no commonly accepted way to group these neighbourhoods into larger districts. But roughly, from the south to the north, this is how the city developed.

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