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Mumbai

Welcome to the city that never sleeps! Pulsating, Alive, On the Move, Vibrant, Fun -- this is Mumbai or as it is still frequently referred to -- Bombay. The most modern city in India, it captures the spirit of the changing pace set by liberalization and modernisation.

Once a cluster of seven islands, Mumbai was presented to King Charles II in 1661 as part of the dowry when he married Princess Catherine de Braganza of Portugal.

Over the years, as colonialism gave way to independence, Mumbai has transformed itself into an entity with thriving markets, business houses and many different communities reflecting a cosmopolitan and trendy atmosphere rarely seen elsewhere. On the surface, it represents the ever-changing face of today's India -- the old coupled with the dynamic new, and yet at its very core, the heart of the city is steeped in Indian customs and values.

It is the capital of Maharashtra state, and its official language is Marathi although English and Hindi are widely spoken and understood. The fast-paced life has given rise to hordes of "fast-food outlets" on almost every road, offering lip-smacking choices of Mumbai's very own pau bhaji, bhel puri and kababs. There is no dearth, though, of multi-culinary delicacies dished out in posh restaurants by expert chefs. Mumbai is a shopper's delight with bargain buys, exclusive boutiques, ethnic markets and mini bazaars. This busy city is also the hub of a thriving cultural life, with a constant stream of performances in music, dance and drama. The seat of the Hindi film industry, known locally as Bollywood, it produces the largest number of films in the world. Mumbai caters to the adventurous and the romantic through its sporting activities, nightclubs, pubs, theatres, beaches and restaurants. Old and new, rich and poor, classical and modern -- its all here for you to savour and enjoy!

How to Go
Air:- If you are arrivng by air, disembarkation would be either at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (formerly known as Sahar Airport) or at Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport (formerly known as Santa Cruz Airport). They are about 4 kms apart and are approximately 30 kms and 26 kms away from the heart of the city - Nariman Point - in south Mumbai. An airport bus service operates between the airports and the Air India Building at Nariman Point. The journey takes an hour to the domestic terminal and fifteen minutes longer to the international terminal. However, be warned that during peak-hour traffic the journey could last almost two hours. Tickets can be bought either on the buses or at the booth outside the Air India Building. There is also a shuttle bus that operates at regular intervals between the domestic and international airports.

Train:- For those choosing to travel by train, Mumbai's two main railway terminals - Mumbai Central and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (or VT) connect it to the rest of the country. For up-to-date information on tickets and routes, check the Western Railway and Central Railway reservation centres.

Road:- Long distance buses depart from Mumbai Central S.T. Bus Depot to several towns and cities. MTDC also operates a number of bus services throughout the year (except for the monsoon months) to many scenic spots and tourist centres. Check at MTDC counters for details.
Things to See
Gateway of India

Built in the Indo-saracenic style, the Gateway of India is meant to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Darbar in Delhi in December 1911. The foundation stone was laid on March 31, 1911 and George Wittet's final design sanctioned in August 1914. Between 1915 and 1919 work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Pier for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920.

The Gateway is built from yellow Kharodi basalt and reinforced concrete. The central dome is 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet above ground at its highest point. The whole harbour front was realigned in order to come in line with a planned esplanade which would sweep down to the centre of the town.

The cost of the construction was Rs. 21 lakhs, borne mainly by the Government of India. For lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and the Gateway now stands at an angle to the road leading up to it.
The construction was completed in 1924, and the Gateway opened on December 4, 1924 by the Viceroy, Earl of Reading.

The last British troops to leave India, the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the gate in a ceremony on February 28, 1948.

Haji Ali Mosque

This early 18th century shrine contains the tomb of HAZRATH HAJI ALI, a Muslim Sufi saint. There are two local legends which claim to trace the hazrath's antecedents. One story has it that Haji Ali was a rich , local businessman who gave up materialism after a visit to Mecca and then took up meditation.

Another legend says that he was an Afghan mystic who lived and meditated here. He specifically ordered that after his death , his casket should be cast off into the sea off the shore of what is today Pakistan. However , the casket surfaced intact at the spot where the shrine is today.

Town Hall

With its columns and tall Grecian porticos, this structure has been the foundation of the Library Society of Mumbai which moved into the Town Hall in 1830, soon after which a union was effected with the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. One of its greatest assets is its library, a storehouse of knowledge, which may not have an equal in the east.

This pleasantly neo-classical building now houses the library of the Asiatic Society, as well as a small museum. The latter contains statues of some 19th century governors of Bombay, some British scholars and administrators and two Indian philanthropists and an Indian scholar.

In 1811, James McKintosh, then Recorder of Bombay and resident of the Literary Society of Bombay, revived an earlier suggestion of a Town Hall for the city. The society intended that this building should house not only the civic offices, but also a library and a museum along with civic offices. The Literary Society raised a fund of Rs. 10,000 through a lottery. When this turned out to be insufficient, the government had to be persuaded to bear the costs of construction; a process that took ten years.

The neo-classical design is due to Colonel Thomas Cowper of the Bombay Engineers. The building is 200 feet long and 100 feet deep. The facade has three porticoes faced by Ionic columns. The plans called for a double row of columns, built out of material brought from England. Although these plans were curtailed, the final cost of the building came to about 500,000 pounds; far in excess of the initial estimates. The East India Company, took on a major part of the expense. The building was completed in 1833, after the death of Cowper.

University Buildings

Founded by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Ready money, after whom is named the earlier of the two structures, was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Flanked by the High Court and the Old Secretariat, the buildings were completed in 1874.

Resplendent in a florid and highly decorative French Gothic style, the main building with its turrets and gabled roof has a large circular window, with its outer border originally made up of twelve stained glass skylights, depicting the signs of the zodiac.

Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court is one of the premiere High Courts in the Country. It has Appellate Jurisdiction over the State of Maharashtra, Goa , Daman & Diu. In addition to Bombay Bench it has benches at Aurangabad, Nagpur, Panaji(Goa). In Bombay it has Original Jurisdiction in addition to Appellate. The Bombay High Court has sanctioned strength of 62 judges.

This blue-basalt building in early English Gothic style was designed by Col. J. A. Fuller. It has central tower standing almost 180 ft. Two octagonal towers with their spiralets holding at their pinnacles two carved figures of Justice and Mercy are situated to the west of the central tower.

History of Court :- The Legal history of Bombay may be said to have begun in 1661, when it became a British possession. The Town and Island of Bombay was received by the British as a part of the dowry of the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza, sister of Alphonso VI, the then Portuguese Monarch, when she married King Charles II .

Bombay then was little more than a small fishing village consisting of a few straggling huts of Kolis, its indigenous inhabitants; and its harbour, destined in the course of years to develop into the greatest and most important commercial seaport in the East, sheltered only a few fishing boats. Charles II transferred it to the East India Company in 1668 for an insignificant annual rent of 10 Pounds.

Sir J. J. School Of Art

Built during the same period as the University, its importance is heightened by the fact that Rudyard Kipling was born and spent his early childhood here. His father, John Lockwood Kipling, was the Principal of the art school and under his tutelage, many local artisans received training. Some of their works were used to adorn the buildings being constructed in Mumbai during that period as sculptured panels and motifs.

Crawford Market

Rechristened as Mahatma Phule Market, it was built in 1871 by William Emerson. The bas-reliefs, at a height, adorning the facade, were designed by J. L. Kipling at the School of Art, a stone's throw away. It is the largest wholesale fruit market in the country and a visit there can be a 'fruitful' experience, especially during the mango season. But sadly, most of the vegetable & fruits are moving to New Mumbai's wholesale market.

Chowpatty Beach (GIRGAUM)

Situated at the northern end of Marine Drive, it is a stretch of sandy beach and attracts hordes of people during the weekends and on holidays. A 'food-mart' of stalls have become a permanent feature and offer a range of eatables from 'bhel-puri'. The local speciality, to 'chaat', 'kulfi', coconut and other snacks. A larger portion of the terrain is left open for the public where people come to enjoy the evening sea breeze and the children to play. As a part of the city's cleanliness and beautification drive, Chowpatty is also being given a face lift. This stretch of beach is well known by locals and tourists alike as a great place to indulge your taste buds in the evenings. A 'food-plaza' of stalls offering a range of snacks like 'bhel-puri', 'chaat', 'kulfi' and fresh coconut water! Chowpatty, situated at the northern end of Marine Drive, is a great place to witness the annual Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in August/September when large images of the elephant-headed god are immersed in the murky sea. As a part of the city's cleanliness and beautification drive, Chowpatty is also being given a face-lift.

A popular beach where celebration of festivals such as Coconut Day and the Ganesh Chaturthi immersions take place. Besides little kiosks selling Bombay's special snacks, Bhelpuri & Kulfi (local ice cream) one can find professional massesurs, pony leaders, beebee-gun shooting galleries, contortionists, snake charmers, monkey-trainers, balloon sellers, flower-girls and lots more. On the beach are statues of india's freedom fighters, Lokmanya Tilak and Vithalbhai Patel who symbolise the freedom struggle. Chowpatty occupies a special place in the life of Bombay, having been the venue of mass political meetings in the pre-independence era.

Juhu Beach

JUHU Situated 30 km from the city, it is a crowded beach with residential apartments and bungalows surrounding it. It seems as if the entire population of the area descends on the beach for a breath of fresh air! The central part has food stalls again, similar to Chowpatty. And a lot more, in terms of fun-rides for children. Beyond the city are the relatively unspoilt, secluded beaches at Versova, Madh Island, Marve, Manori and Gorai. However, Versova is also seemingly going the juhu way, primarily on account of the density of highrise buildings that have come up in the recent years. The beaches at Madh and Marve have their dangerous spots which are marked by signboards. Care should be taken to avoid these zones. The spots further ahead, Gorai and Manori, two fishing villages, are accessible by ferry.
Around Mumbai
Elephanta Caves

Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Kanheri Caves

104 sq. kmS of green hills and forests, this protected area lies near the northern suburb of Borivali. In fact the park was formerly known as the Borivali National Park. There is a Lion Safari Park 500 m inside the entrance and safari rides run daily except Monday from 9 am to 5 pm. The park is also well known for the 109 Kanheri Caves ( in particular Cave 3), built between the 2nd and 9th centuries as viharas (monasteries) and chaityas (prayer halls).

Getting there: Visitors can take the train on the Western line (from Churchgate) to Borivali station and then an auto-rickshaw to the Caves. On Sundays and public holidays, a bus service runs from Borivali station to the Caves. The MTDC suburban tour also includes Kanheri in its itinerary.

Marve, Manori and Gorai

Mandwa and Kihim

Bassein

Khandala, Lonavala and Karla

Matheran

Festivals
Banganga   Festival

Usually held in January, organised by the MTDC, this two-day festival of music is held at the historic Banganga Tank.. Performers are usually exponents of classical vocal and instrumental music, and its beautiful setting  and soothing music provide a charming ambience. Proceeds from the sale of tickets go towards the  conservation,  upkeep and maintenance of the Banganga temple complex.

Elephanta   Festival

Against the dramatic façade of the cave temples, this festival of dance and music is held in the early part of the  year, usually in February. Also organised by the MTDC, the event involves a boat ride from the Gateway of  India to the Elephanta Islands.

Kala  Ghoda Festival

Every Sunday from November to January, at Mumbai in the Kala Ghoda area (now known as K. Dubash Marg), near the Jehangir Art Gallery is transformed into a street bazaar of arts and crafts. Food, handicrafts and  performances are all part of this daylong event starting from 10 am and ending at  9 pm, organised by MTDC.

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