A dream city for aspiring actors, engineers, doctors, businessmen, students and many more. Mumbai is the economic capital, the industrial hub and financial centre of India.
Do you know the journey of the city from Bombay to Mumbai? The journey doesn’t just pertain to the name. The making (or formation) of Mumbai is as iconic. It is made by joining seven separate islands-Colaba, Worli, Mahim, Mazagaon, Isle of Bombay and Old woman’s island.
If you think dowry is a tradition practiced just in India, oh then you are certainly mistaken. The seven islands mentioned above were under the Portuguese in the 16th century. It was given to England as a part of dowry when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II. These were leased to East India Company at 10 Euros per year. Finally, in 1845 the islands were merged by means of several land reclamation processes. And slowly, it started merging with other places, now Trombay and Salsette, forming greater Mumbai. The island part is now the older Mumbai or south Bombay (mostly the Colaba area).
The city has witnessed several names being given to it throughout its history. Manbai, Galajunkja, Kakamuchee are some of the names the city had before being named Mumbai. But what about the name Bombay, which is still used by many people? Also, it is IIT, Bombay not IIT, Mumbai. Why? The Portuguese referred to the city as Bombaim, meaning “good bay”, which was turned into Bombay by the Britishers. However, Mumbai was derived from the name of the Koli goddess Mumbadevi, considered to be the city’s patron deity and Aai back then. And hence, Marathi, Konkani, Gujarati, and Kannada speakers referred to the city as Mumbai. Finally, when Shiv Sena came into power in 1995, the name was changed from Bombay to Mumbai officially.
Just like how the name of the city has a history, likewise parts of the city also have unique stories as how they were named. Mumbai was made from seven different islands. The first passenger train ran between Bori Bunder and Thane. And the legacy is still carried forward by Mumbai locals. They are the busiest commuter rail systems not just in India, but the whole world too. If you have never rode the locals while visiting this city, ‘toh phir kya Mumbai ghumein?’
The old Mumbai is the part where the Britishers had their empire. Even today, all the buildings and other structures have been reserved and converted into offices and colleges.
Mumbai is filled with tourists’ spots. Gateway of India, Hajiali, Marine drive (Queen’s necklace), Bandra-Worli sea link, Elephanta caves, Sanjay Gandhi national park, Kanheri caves are some of the famous sites. Not to mention, since the city is located at the coast, beaches are included. During summer, a breezy evening in Girgaum Chowpatty or a morning jog in Juhu beach is a pleasant break from the race every Mumbaikar prepares for daily. The night life of Mumbai is as lively as an early morning fish market. During festivals, the lights that decorate up all these structures are breath-taking.
Till now we have described a lot about this city, now let’s discuss some food. Mumbai is filled with Khau-gallis, no matter if you’re vegetarian or not, cheese lover or not, lactose intolerant; each khau-galli will give foodgasms to your taste buds. Ever heard of vada pav? For Mumbaikars, a ‘cutting chai’ and vada pav is like drugs. People survive on it. Don’t believe it? Then visit Mumbai and taste one for yourself! Vada pav is believed to have been invented in 1966 by a Mumbaikar, Ashok Vaidya, who opened the first vada pav stall opposite the Dadar train station, through which hundreds of thousands of workers – often in need of a quick, inexpensive snack – passed every day on their way to the textile mills in suburbs such as Parel and Worli. With the decline and closure of textile mills, people started their own vada pav stalls, thus including it in their daily life. Same way Mumbai gave birth to Pav-bhaji and missal-pav. All our favourite edibles were born because of the tensions during British rule. Funny, isn’t it?
While speaking of Mumbai, let’s not forget the great Maratha king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s contribution, not just to this city, but also to the state and most of the subcontinent too. His Majesty is a pioneer of the Naval forces. To honour him, the present prime minister of our country has decided to build a statue in his memory, The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak. It is a big project; the statue is supposed to be 212 metres tall. It will include visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a library, food court, helipad, hospital, exhibition centre and so much more.
Mumbai is also known for the variety of festivals that this city celebrates and for the warmth and beauty that they are celebrated with. Ganesh Chaturthi is Maharashtra’s largest festival. Every Maharashtrian is immersed in the joy of this grand festival. And if you haven’t crawled in the lines of Laal Bagh cha Raja, We recommend you to do it. Not a religious person? No problem, come visit the Kala Ghoda festival held in Colaba every year. You’ll be amazed by the craze and fondness that people have for this festival. Moreover, the decors are really worth your social media posts.
Being unapologetically in love with Mumbai, we can go on and on and on about this amazing city of dreams. But we’d rather ask you to just visit it, because no amount of words are enough to completely describe it. And if you think, you can cover the beauty of Mumbai in just one visit, then you are wrong. Once you have visited this land, it’ll definitely make you want to come back for more. Or maybe, you wouldn’t really want to leave at all !