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Mumbai

General Information
Mumbai Formerly known as Mumbai it is the commercial & financial capital city of India. This port city (India's largest and busiest) accounts for a major share of the government's revenue, and has one of the world's largest harbour. In a recent survey of cities compiled, Mumbai is the fifth most expensive city in the world. 40% of this island city consists of reclaimed land from the sea.

This mega cosmopolitan city is a city of contrasts. The deceptively calm sea, its beaches and fishing boats, give lie to a city, which is bursting at its seams with population, pollution and space.

Over 60% of air pollution is due to the 7 lakh vehicles on the roads.

Space constraints have given rise to towering skyscrapers standing majestically next to sprawling slums ( Dharavi -Asia's biggest slum is here). Haute cuisine besides hawker stalls. World renowned designer labels and brands to exquisite made in India items.

People of various caste, culture, and religion inhabit the city, and due to this diversification the customs, languages, and even the food is of infinite variety. The language spoken here is Hindi & Hinglish which is street speak and slang a mixture of Hindi & English. The official state language though is Marathi. The city is multi religious, multi cultural, multilingual.

How to reach Mumbai
By Air : Mumbai can be reached through numerous flights. The international terminal Sahar, renamed as "Chatrapati Sivaji International Airport" operates round the clock. Hotel bookings and pre-paid taxis are available at the terminal.

The domestic terminal Santa Cruz is about 5km apart and can easily be reached through regular shuttle buses between the two terminals. The domestic airport is well connected and can be used to visit most parts of Western and Southern India.

By Rail: Mumbai is a prominent railway hub of the country. It is the headquarters to two railway zones, central and western. While Central Railways handles services to the east and south, Western Railways has services to the north from Churchgate and Central stations. The main railway station Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) formerly known, as Victoria terminus (VT) is located in the heart of the city. Local and outstation trains ply from here. Other railway stations are Dadar, Churchgate and Kurla. Bookings are to be made in advance to avoid the last minute rush, as trains are the most used mode of transport. The extensive system of suburban electric train network is the most sought after transport means in Mumbai for city travel.

By Road: Mumbai is well connected by a network of roads to the rest of India by and state highways. Mumbai has one of the best public bus systems of any major Indian city called BEST buses. Mumbai has a huge fleet of metered black-and-yellow taxis as well.

Weather Overview
Summer Temperature:: Minimum: 25° C, Maximum: 35° C
Winter Minimum: Minimum: 15° C, Maximum: 25° C
Annual Rainfall: 2,200 mm

Mumbai, by and large, observes humidity throughout the year. Since it rests in the tropical zone, moreover close to sea, it enjoys more or less same weather. Its climate can be broadly divided into three seasons, namely winters (November-February), summers (March-May) and monsoons (June-September). The months between March and October are characterized by high humidity, while dryness persists from November to February.

During summers, the temperature rises up to 35° C and the climatic conditions flit around mugginess. Monsoons afflict the residents of Bombay with heavy showers. The temperature comes down to some extent, but extreme clamminess makes the conditions worse. Water-logging is a major problem in the city during this season. However, good news is that the air-conditioners really work well around this time.

The Island City receives an annual rainfall of 2,200 metres. The months of October and November bring a respite from the heavy rains. However, winters appear at their apex in December and January. The weather remains pleasant during these months, where the temperature goes down to the minimum of 15° C. February too, offers an enjoyable climate. In fact, the months from October to February provide the best time to visit Mumbai.

Places Of Interest
Gateway of India
Gateway of India Built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of George V to India, this is a principal landmark of Mumbai, situated at Colaba. This was officially inaugurated in 1924 to welcome the visitors who came to by ship. This distinctive monument was India's principal port. The monument's architecture reflects similarity with the conventional arch of Triumph. Colaba Causeway extending to one end of Colaba promontory, southern end of Mumbai Island is situated near Gateway of India. One more interesting place here is the Sassoon dock, especially when the fishing boats come in and unload their catch. The gorgeous Hotel Taj Mahal also lies in Colaba.

Flora Fountain
Flora Fountain The Flora Fountain erected in 1869 in honour of Sir Bartle Frere (Governor of Mumbai in 1862-67), now bustles with busy life and is the many business centre housing many major banks and offices. Gerald Aungier began the Cathedral of St. Thomas in 1672, which was formally opened in 1718 to the fountain.

Running along the shoreline of Backbay, extending from Nariman Point around by Chowpatty beach upto Malabar Hills, is the most popular strolling pavement of Mumbai, built on land reclaimed during 1920. One of the most popular spots for evening outs is Chowpatty beach which also is famous for its junk food. The lively atmosphere during Ganesh Chaturthi Festival is worth a visit. One of the most fascinating landmark of Mumbai is the VT or Victoria Terminus designed by F.W. Stevens in Italian Gothic. In 1853 the first train ran from here to Thane.

Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court Bombay High Court is one of the oldest high courts of India, situated in the Fort area of Mumbai. Its foundation stone was laid down in the year 1871 and it took approximately seven years to complete the construction. The court building was designed by Col. J.A. Fuller, a British engineer, and inaugurated in August, 1862. The first sitting in the Mumbai High Court took place in January 1879. The court has 'Original Jurisdiction' in Bombay, in addition to the Appellate.

Built as per the Gothic architectural style, the building measures upto 562 feet in length and 189 feet in width. There is a huge tower in the center, flanked by two octagonal towers in the west. The top of the Bombay High Court building stands adorned with the statues of Justice and Mercy. At present, the sanctioned strength of High Court judges is 64. The court adjudicates over both civil and criminal cases, which number to 3.4 lakh annually, on an average.

Apart from the state of Maharashtra, the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court covers Goa and the Union territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. There are four benches of the High Court of Bombay - in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Panaji (Goa). Even though the name of 'Bombay city' was changed to 'Mumbai' in 1995, the court remained to be addresses as the 'Bombay High Court'. The current Chief Justice of the court is Mr. Swatanter Kumar.

Prince of Wales Museum
Prince of Wales Museum Another greatest attraction of Mumbai is the Prince of Wales Museum, built in the Indo-Saracenic style. This museum is famous for its outstanding architecture and an imposing dome following the architectural styles of Western India of the 15th and 16th centuries. The museum has many important collections on art, natural history, and on archeology. Besides there are many other smaller sections devoted to other specialized subjects.


Marine Drive
Marine Drive On Marine Drive also lies the Taraporewala Aquarium which houses fresh water as well as saltwater fishes. A fantastic view of Mumbai can be seen from the Hanging Gardens and Kamala Nehru Park, set on the top of Malabar. The famous Mahalaxmi Temple, is the oldest temple in Mumbai, dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth which lies some distance away from Malabar Hills. A little further away is a long causeway which leads to Haji Ali tomb and mosque, accessible during low tide. In Prabhadevi comes the exquisite temple of Siddhivinayak dedicated to Lord Ganesha always bustling with devotees. Juhu Beach, Nehru Planetarium and Nehru Science Centre are other tourist attractions.

Nariman Point
Nariman Point has become the one of the posh localities of Bombay, where one can find the offices of the leading business houses of India. In the year 1995, Nariman Point claimed the distinction of being the most expensive place in the world, in terms of commercial real estate rentals.

The price stood at somewhere around $175 per square foot ($1880 per sq m). Within a decade, the prices at Nariman point witnessed massive jumps and in 2006, they stood at around $450 per sq foot ($4800 per sq m). The area is situated on the extreme southern tip of the posh Marine Drive. The point where the center is presently situated had been reclaimed from the sea by Khursheed Framji Nariman, a Parsi visionary.

The place has been named after its founder only. Khurshid Nariman (a.k.a. Veer Nariman) was a Bombay Municipal Corporation corporator. He proposed the idea of reclaiming land from the sea and for the purpose, debris from various parts of Bombay was brought here and dumped. However, due to some reasons, Nariman was sacked midway. Thereafter, reclamations were carried out in the 1970s, which ultimately led to the development of Nariman Point.

Chowpatty Beach
Chowpatty Beach Mumbai's famous beach is no place for a sun bathe or a dip. In fact, there's not much going on at Chowpatty at all during the day, but in the evening it develops a magical fairground atmosphere as locals come to stroll among the contortionists, masseurs, transvestites, balloon sellers, gamblers, fortune tellers, magicians, drug dealers, nut vendors, ferris wheels and shooting galleries. In the middle of all this mayhem is a small Koli fishing community, where the original inhabitants of the island mend their nets and dry their fish oblivious to the shenanigans going on around them. Eating at the collection of stalls on the edge of the beach is an essential part of the Mumbai experience. Chowpatty 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.

Elephanta Caves
Elephanta Caves Mumbai's major tourist attractions are the rock-cut temples on peaceful Elephanta Island, 10km ( 6miles ) north-east of the Gateway of India. Thought to have been carved between 450 and 750 AD, the temples survived Portuguese vandalism (one cave was reputedly used by a Portuguese battalion as a shooting gallery) and remain equal in size, beauty and power to the caves at Ajanta and Ellora. The main cave contains large sculpted panels relating to Siva, including the astonishing 6mt ( 20 feet ) high triple-headed Trimurti - in which Siva embodies the roles of creator, preserver and destroyer. Boats run daily from Mumbai's Apollo Bunder every hour until early afternoon, although it's best to make the trip during the week.

Mahalakshmi Racecourse
Mahalakshmi Racecourse Mahalakshmi Racecourse is a racing ground in Mumbai, situated in the Mahalaxmi area. The oval shaped ground is very popular amongst the elite class of Bombay, who come here to watch horse races and bet on the magnificent creatures. The horse racing season of the Mahalakshmi Racecourse starts in the month of November and lasts till February. The Derby is organized every year on the first Sunday of February and is attended by the many of the city's glitterati.

Mahalaxmi Temple
Mahalaxmi Temple Mahalaxmi Temple is one of the popular Hindu Temples in Mumbai, dedicated to the three shaktis - Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Kali. It is situated on the Bhulabhai Desai Road, on the northern side of the Malabar Hills. The picturesque location of the temple, along with the reverence attached to it, lures devotees from far and wide. Locals as well as tourists throng the Mahalaxmi Temple of Bombay in large numbers, bowing before the deities and praying for happiness and prosperity.

Apart from the exquisite idols of the three presiding deities, the temple also enshrines the images of several Hindu goddesses. However, the idols of the three Goddesses have been molded in gold. Further beautifying the magnificent images are brilliant pieces of jewelry, comprising of nose rings, gold bangles and pearl necklaces. The idol of Mahalakshmi, shown riding a tiger and a demon (Mahishasur), is the best of all.

One of the oldest temples in the Mumbai city of India, it was initially constructed on a creek that separated the island of Mumbai from the Koli island of Worli. However, after the Hornby Vellard was completed in the year 1784, the creek was filled. It was then that the present day Maha Laxmi Temple came up at the site. The gate of the temple has been adorned with elaborate embellishments and beyond it is the sanctum that enshrines Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.

Jehangir Art Gallery
Jehangir Art Gallery The Jehangir Art Gallery is situated just next to the Prince of Wales Museum. Here many art and photographic exhibitions are held, where visitors can see and understand the modern Indian painting and sculpture. Just outside the entrance, at the meeting point of Rampart Row and Mahatma Gandhi Road, lies one of the best statues in Bombay, the statue of King Edward VII, by Boehm.

Taraporewala Aquarium
This aquarium was opened in 1951 and has a very interesting collection of marine and fresh water specimens. The aquarium was constructed at a cost of eight lakh and has shell & shell craft and fishery byproducts on display. A pipeline brings water from the sea directly for the marine species.

Hanging Gardens
Hanging Gardens The Hanging gardens or Ferozshah Mehta Gardens were laid in 1881 on top of a reservoir on the Malabar Hills. This place has become a heaven for dating couples nevertheless the place provides a good view of the city. Nearby is the Kamla Nehru park. From the park one can have the best possible views of the Marine drive and the Chowpatty beach. The Kamla Nehru park was laid in 1952 and was developed mainly as a childrens' park.

Nehru Planetarium
Eight km from the center of the city is located a center which tells about the universe. the Nehru planetarium is engaged in recreating image of the sky as seen from any where on the Earth any time. It unfolds the mysteries of the cosmos. They also screening regular film shows on the outer space which are of particular interest for children.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the busiest as well as the oldest railway stations in India. Situated at the D.N. Road of Mumbai, the terminus was earlier known by the name of Victoria Terminus. It is one of the historic structures in the city and forms a very important part of Mumbai suburban railway. Along with that, Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus is also the headquarters of the Central Railways of the country. Apart from local trains, a number of long distance trains also operate to and from this terminus.

Haji Ali Mosque
Haji Ali Mosque Situated at the end of a long causeway poking into the Arabian Sea, is a whitewashed fairytale mosque containing the tomb of the Muslim Saint Haji Ali. The saint is believed to have been a wealthy local businessman who renounced the material world and meditated on a nearby headland following a pilgrimage to Mecca. The mosque and tomb were built by devotees in the early 19th century. Alternative versions say Haji Ali died while on a pilgrimage to Mecca and his casket amazingly floated back to Bombay and landed at this spot. The mosque can only be reached at low tide, when the causeway is lined with beggars suffering every imaginable affliction and deformity . There's nothing somber about the building's cool courtyard, which is generally full of chattering families and refreshment stalls. The rocks exposed at low tide behind the mosque are a favourite spot to catch sea breezes.

Chor Bazaar
Chor Bazaar The Chor Bazaar at Mumbai is famous for its wide and genuine collection of antiques, jewelery, wooden articles, leather wear and general bric-a-brac. The literal meaning of Chor Bazaar is 'Thieve's Market'. At this busy market one can find all kinds of old and new furniture, crystal and glassware items, etc. Apart from these things one can also find brass planters and silver "Hookahs", a unique antique used for smoking. This market is a perfect place to look for anything that is old. But all you need to do is to be aware and agile about the originality of the antique and ready to bargain hard.

Siddhivinayak Temple
Siddhivinayak Temple Shree Siddhivinayak Temple of Mumbai is counted amongst the most venerated temples of India. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Elephant God, and is situated in the Prabhadevi locality of the city. The credit for the construction of the temple goes to Vithu and Deubai Patil. Built in the year 1801, Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is visited by people belonging to almost all the sects of the society.

The temple comprises of a small mandapam (hall), where the idol of Siddhi Vinayak (Lord Ganesha) has been enshrined. Boasting of exquisite architecture, the sanctum sanctorum has been fitted with wooden doors that have been meticulously carved with the images of the Ashtavinayaka (the eight manifestations of Lord Ganesha). Its inner roof has been beautifully adorned with gold plating.

Juhu Beach
Juhu Beach Juhu beach situated in the northern suburbs of Mumbai. It is one of the most popular hangout places of Mumbai. This beach is well crowded, always bustling and offering visitors an array of opportunities to enjoy themselves. This lovely palm-fringed beach is ideal for bathing. Since the beach is nearby the international and domestic airports (Sahar and Santa Cruz), it is surrounded by some of the famous five-star hotels like Sun N Sand, and Holiday Inn.


Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is situated at Borivli, off the Western Express Highway. It is sprawled over an extensive area of 5000 acres and owns a number of beautiful picnic cottages. This park is considered an ideal place to unwind. A major attraction of this park is the lion safari.

Shopping
Mumbai is a shoppers delight, with a variety of shops selling everything right from clothes, books and handicrafts to antique pieces. There are shops in almost every corner and pavement of the streets of Mumbai.

Major Shopping Areas In Mumbai

The downtown area of Mumbai has major handicraft emporiums and bazaars. The Crawford Market in this area is famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish. The color and vibrancy of this market is something you will want to capture in your camera.

Some of the major areas to shop and bargain in Mumbai are around Colaba Causeway and Fashion Street. These two markets stretch along the Cross and Azad Maidans. The Breach Candy and Kemps Corner, down the hill from the Hanging Gardens are famous for trendy and costly shopping. The Chor Bazaar in Mumbai is renowned for antique items, while nearby Zaveri Bazaar is famous for its diamond, gold and silver jewelery.

Almost all the five star hotels of Mumbai such as Oberoi and the Taj Mahal have their own shopping arcades. These shopping arcades offer a wide variety of up-market shops.

Other good shopping areas in central and suburban Mumbai, are the Dadar, Bandra-Linking Road, and Juhu Road areas.

Shopping Arcades of Hotels

The Taj, the Oberoi Towers and the new Oberoi Hotel situated in the south of Mumbai have air-conditioned shopping arcades where you can buy clothes, shoes, leather wear, jewelery, and good quality handicrafts.

These shopping arcades are definitely expensive but they provide a good variety of products. Besides, these arcades also provide apt opportunity for window shopping.

Some of the shops found here are absolutely exclusive to the hotels. For example in the Oberoi Shopping Center, there is an outstanding shop called "Christina", where you can buy bags, purses, scarves and silk blouses. Products of this shop are exclusive because the designs are not repeated and one should not miss buying things from this little shop.

Zaveri Bazaar
Zaveri Bazaar The Zaveri Bazaar of the Mumbai is famous for beautiful silver jewelery and belts. Things made of silver like napkin rings, picture frames in old silver and boxes are other things that can be bought from this market. But, just be careful about the prices and do not forget to bargain. Infact before buying do compare the prices with other shops.

Colaba and Flora Fountain Areas
Situated in the heart of south Mumbai, Colaba and Flora Fountain also known as the Hutatama Chowk are flooded with shops of all kinds. Here you can buy shoes, cotton clothes, Kaftans, books and mainly ethnic artifacts. This market is located at a walking distance from Bombay VT and Churchgate railway stations.

Fashion Street
Fashion Street The Fashion Street in Mumbai is famous for cheap but trendy clothes. Here you can buy shirts, tee-shirts and comfortable cotton clothes for children at very low prices. This market is situated just opposite to one of Mumbai's exclusive clubs, the Bombay Gymkhana also known as the Bombay Gym.

The clothes available here are basically export rejects and export "over-runs" which are of good quality cloth. But you will have to bargain very hard to get the realistic price.

Shopping In Bandra
Shopping In Bandra The so called 'Queen of Suburbs' Bandra, is one of the most posh areas of Mumbai. Many film stars, industrialists and other famous personalities reside within this area. Bandra is connected to Khar by Linking Road and extravagant showrooms can seen on both sides of the road. Apart from the posh showrooms one can also find small street shops here.

Shopping In Dadar
The area around Dadar is another major shopping area in Mumbai. In the evenings the area is jam packed with people. Here one can look forward to buy good cotton clothes, saris and children's clothes, etc. Besides, the area has a general atmosphere of fun shopping.

Eating Out
Indians have more than a hundred ways of cooking meat; And nearly twice as many ways of preparing a single vegetable. In fact the cuisine varies from state to state, and sometimes even from district to district - a culinary cornucopia that Indians themselves find confusing. It would probably take a lifetime to sample all the delicacies on offer, but in Mumbai, you can certainly explore the broad culinary categories. Although most five star hotels boast several types of Indian cuisine on the menu, smaller restaurants are well worth a visit and offer a more local ambience.

You can have rich north Indian fare accompanied by chappatis (the flat unleavened bread of India ), spicy southern curries with rice or steaming idlis, gujarati thalis with their limitless range of vegetarian dishes, or even delicately flavoured fresh water fish all the way from Bengal! The local coastal cuisine is also very popular for its exotic seafood. In addition Mumbai has the ubiquitous ice cream parlours, fast food joints including McDonald's, take-away Chinese and pizzas, plus an interesting sidewalk menu. The most popular roadside snacks are pao bhaji - a sort of vegetable stew eaten with hot buttered bread and bhelpuri -- crisp fried semolina and rice puffs served with an assortment of fiery chutneys. Watch out: like Mumbai itself, this one can be a little difficult to stomach!

Nightlife
Nightlife Nightlife is dazzling in Mumbai and that is the reason why Mumbai is called the 'city that never sleeps'. It will never disappoint the party-animal in you. There are various places to hangout. Lots of new nightclubs and bars have popped up in Mumbai offering the nocturnal tourist a wide variety of places to choose from. The city is dotted with cocktail clubs, hard-rock discos, pubs and coffeehouses.

If you are a fan of retro then try Polyester for some nostalgic '80s song and dance. You can also visit the expensive two-floored Indigo, which is voted among the top sixty restaurants in the world. It serves spicy Thai and Oriental food.

You can spot some celebrities at Enigma, which is a fortress of Bollywood Beats or at Athena, a cigar lounge restaurant, with low yellow sofas and opaque glass counters.

The Dome at Marine Drive offers a stunning view. For a fun outdoor experience you can go to the trendy rooftop Koyla, a hookah bar and restaurant. With white tents flapping in the breeze, you can feel cozy in low sofas and cushioned corners. Good mix of music, mood and food. A half-hour pull on a fruit-flavored hookah will cost you just Rs 200.

Not Just Jazz by the Bay at Marine Drive has live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights. This is a trendy hangout. Drop in late. There's a pizza corner just outside too. Leopold and Cafe Mondegar are all-time favorites.
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