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Mumbai's architectural heritage from the British Raj is the icon of this vibrant city of gold. The origin of the name is obscure, but is often said to come from the Portuguese phrase bom bahia meaning "good bay", changed by the Britts to Bombay.
The early interactions of Bombay - which was one of the nearly 25 islands off the Konkan coast - began with the Portuguese in the Vasco da Gama era, with formal authority of the European power being established in 1534. In 1661 the Portuguese gifted Bombay islands to King Charles 11 of England when he married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza in dowry. Bombay passed on to the British crown in 1655 and was, in turn, handed over to the East India Company for an annual rent of £10. Bombay was a virtual creation of the British and did not have a pre-colonial history. The native population, on the other hand, was left to settle and fill in the gaps to the northwest of the fort area. It was, and still is characterized by overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and haphazard settlements. Less well-known are the small places of religion tucked away inside crowded bazars, or the forgotten mansions of the once rich.
They then developed bazaar areas near the fort for their commercial purposes Eventually the city became too large for the island and they had to reclaim land from the sea, much like many of the other port colonial cities.
The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of the King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai in 1911 AD and is one of the finest examples of colonial architectural heritage in India. It is often the starting point of many tourist visiting the city. The foundation stone was laid on 31st March 1911 AD. George Wittet designed the splendid gateway and his design was sanctioned in August 1911 AD. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style integrating local style of architecture also and adopting from the Muslims of Gujarat. Between 1915 AD and 1919 AD, the 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 construction of the gateway was completed in 1924 AD and the Viceroy, Earl of Reading, opened it on December 4, 1924 AD. When the British rule ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of a memorial. The last British troops that left India, First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the Gateway of India, on 28 February 1948. Today this symbol of colonialism has got Indianised and draws a lot of local tourists and citizens. Behind the arch are the steps leading down to the water. Lot of ferriers operate from here, some go for a short leisure ride in the sea while others take tourists to places like Elephanta Caves and Alibaug.
George Wittet also designed the Prince of Wales Museum, now called The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya; the visiting Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone in 1905. The building was completed in 1914, converted to a military hospital during World War I, and finally opened in 1923 by Lady Lloyd, the wife of Sir George Lloyd, the then governor. The dome was designed consciously to add to the variety of the skyline and to provide a landmark at ground level. As one came down the Colaba Causeway, this dome dominated the skyline until the '70s now, the tower of the stock exchange looms high behind it. The museum has a good collection of articles dating back from the ancient Indus Valley civilization to the modern times.
Victoria Terminus is as gorgeous within as it is without in Mumbai now called the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, is one the busiest stations in the world and is known for its Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, built in 1888, similar to St Pancras Station in London. The surreally magnificent architecture breathes of a fusion of Venetian Gothic style and traditional Indian style of architecture. Cast iron rails, Italian marble and the stone carvings of birds and rodents round off its exquisite looks. As a living example of the 19th Century railway architectural marvel, UNESCO nominated the terminus a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004. It is also called the Taj of the Raj. In 1853, Asia's first railway started running the 33 miles between Victoria Terminus and Thane.
The Victoria Terminus, once the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, was the culminating masterpiece of the phase. It was increasingly hybrid in style. The Classical and Baroque style furthered the innovation in architecture.
Its best exponent was Walter Carnville's Calcutta General Post Office. The innovation in colonial architecture did not stop here; in Victoria Memorial, William Emerson tried to emulate the Taj Mahal in material if not in form. This was an indication of 'Indo-Saracenic' hybridization and was being increasingly employed at different places like St. John's College, Agra and the Madras High Court, Chennai.
Among other places of interest around the railway station mention must be made of the classical colonnades of the Mint house and town council dating back to 1820. Church gate, Rajabhai Tower, which resembles Big Ben in London are other examples of colonial architecture in Mumbai
Wander past the Bombay University to the Flora Fountain to get a taste of Mumbai's crumbling colonial architecture. Continue through leafy Horniman Circle and the Royal Asiatic Society Library to the grand buildings of Ballard Estate before pulling up at the domed GPO and taking a taxi to Mani Bhavan, once Gandhi's Mumbai base and now a museum (19 Laburnam Road, 00 91 22 380 5864, open 9.30am-6pm, entrance free. The Portuguese buildings inside the Fort are in ruins, although there are enough standing walls to give a good idea of the floor plans of these structures. Some have well-preserved facades. In particular, many of the arches have weathered the years remarkably well. They are usually decorated with carved stones, some weathered beyond recognition, others still displaying sharp chisel marks. Three chapels inside the fort are still recognisable. They have facades typical of 17th century Portuguese churches. The southernmost of these has a well-preserved barrel vaulted ceiling. St Thomas catherdral built in 1725 is apparently the oldest colonial building in Mumbai, stuffed with straight-backed wooden chairs and marble memorials.
Stroll north from Madam Cama Road up Maharshi Karve Road, you'll pass well-preserved Art Deco buildings on your left and the cricket pitches of Oval Maidan on your right (before the land from here to Marine Drive was reclaimed in the 1920s, the Victorian buildings behind the Oval formed the city's shoreline). At Eros cinema, turn left and walk west along Veer Nariman Road. Finally, head north along Marine Drive, Mumbai's sweeping version of a chic Côte d'Azur boulevard, to join the picnicking families on Chowpatty beach. The Art Deco buildings that line Marine Drive sadly don't look as though they'll last much longer, but the views out across the Arabian Sea will lift your spirits.
Some of the other heritage buildings such as the Army & Navy Building, the David Sassoon Library, Mumbai University, the Bombay High Court and the Elphinstone College can be found in the historic Kala Ghoda area and restoration work is going on in some of these buildings
Malabar Hill on the northern promontory of Back Bay is the expensive residential area of Malabar Hill, favoured for its cool breezes and fine views over Back Bay. The colonial bungalows that peppered the hillside in the 18th century have now been replaced by the jerry-built apartment blocks of Mumbai's nouveau riche.
The Esplanade Mansion was the first building in Mumbai to be built completely around a cast-iron frame. It is one of the few examples of such construction surviving in the country and perhaps in the world. "In 1896, this building saw the screening of the Lumiere Brothers' Cinematograph. The first hotel of this city, exclusively for Europeans at that time, catered to guests like Mark Twain. He has written about his stay here and described the quirks of the Bombay Crow as he observed them from his hotel room."
Some of the notable excursions that can be done from Mumbai are :
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival of the Hindus, celebrated all over India especially in Mumbai, Pune and other cities of the state of Maharashtra. This festival falls usually falls in the month of August/September according to the Hindu calendar and marks the birthday of Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha has the power to remove all obstacles in one’s life, this festival gives an opportunity to millions of devotees offer prayers and seek his divine blessings. Lord Ganesha is one of most loved God for Hindus and is worshipped for success and intelligence and his blessings are also invoked at all religious ceremonies and at the beginning of any new venture. Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are spread across 10 days and lots of sweet and traditional dishes are also prepared during this period. Large numbers of idols of Lord Ganesha are made of clay and metal in all possible sizes and people buy these idols and install at their home and worship them. Cultural festival is also held at various places which showcases the regional dances, music and stage performances. Particularly interesting are the public celebrations where a group of people join to form massive pandals(stage) and install huge Ganesha idol. These idols are then beautifully decorated and worshipped for 10 days before taken in a ceremonious procession through the streets for immersion is sea or river. The street procession to immerse Ganesha idols/images on Ganesh Chaturthi has it its links with India’s struggle for independence when the legendary freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak started such processions in 1893 to use it as a platform to create awareness about the freedom movement amongst the masses.
Kala Ghoda festival is held annually usually during the month of December/ January. It is held in historic area of the city near the Gateway of India and the Jehangir art gallery. Apart being close to all the main attractions of the city, the festival attracts some of the best amateur performers apart from proving to be a good shopping joint to get hold on some traditional clothes and house decor stuff. The Kala Ghoda Association was formed in 1988 to act as a nodal agency for co-ordinating, organizing and promoting this unique festival. During the festival, the area is transformed into a pedestrian zone where one can treat himself to a unique experience. Walk past aesthetically designed kiosks, get you image sketched in a portrait, watch a potter create traditional vessels from clay, sit back patiently and get your palm filled with floral patterns of “Mehndi” or try the various shapes and sizes of the glass and metal bangles on your arms. Books and music shops can be explored, watch a parrot unfold your future and get enchanted by the breathtaking performances of the magician, tightrope walker and the puppeteer. Food stalls are in plenty to suit every taste bud. In the evening, on some days there are performances by well known musicians, singes and dances at the historic Gateway of India. The festival is worth a visit and has enough to keep the visitor enchanted and mesmerised
Mumbai, being a coastal city (in the tropical zone), does not experience distinct seasons regarding summer and winter. Yet, it does have a typical dry and wet season. Average daytime temperatures are between 28 and 32 °C throughout the year with little variation. April to June and October/November are the warmest, around 32 °C, while January and February are the 'coolest' (around 28 °C). Nights average between 19 °C in January and February and 27 °C in May. Mostly it is between 22 and 25 °C. Mumbai experiences heavy rainfall during the months of June-September, with July being the wettest month at over 600mm on average that month. From November to May it's almost completely dry and there is an average of 8-10 hours of sunshine a day, opposed to just a few during the monsoon season. Therefore best time to visit Mumbai is between October and February when it is dry and temperatures are bearable.
|Avg Max||30.8 °C||31.3 °C||32.7 °C||33.1 °C||33.4 °C||32.1 °C||30.1 °C||29.6 °C||30.4 °C||33.2 °C||33.6 °C||32.2 °C|
|Avg Min||16.8 °C||17.8 °C||20.9 °C||23.9 °C||26.5 °C||26.2 °C||25.2 °C||24.8 °C||24.4 °C||23.5 °C||20.8 °C||18.3 °C|
|Rainfall||13.1 mm||0.9 mm||0.1 mm||0.5 mm||19.8 mm||511.1 mm||820.9 mm||560.6 mm||323.2 mm||77.5 mm||99.4 mm||3.6 mm|
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) is the main airport in Mumbai. It has regular and direct air links with the major cities of India, like Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, among dozens of other destiantions. It is also linked by air to many major cities of the world. Destinations include London, Tokyo, Bangkok, Bahrain, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Muscat, Singapore, Tehran, Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, Nairobi, Frankfurt, Munich, Kathmandu, Doha, Brisbane, Colombo, Zürich, Istanbul, Paris, Mauritius, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Addis Ababa, Seoul, Amman, Shanghai, Johannesburg and Sana'a.
The international airport terminal is located in Andheri and is one of the busiest in South Asia. The domestic terminal is located at Santa Cruz and handles flights from all parts of the country. Keeping in view the growing number of flights and India's fast growing economy, a new integrated airport terminal is being planned at Panvel and is scheduled to be completed by 2012-2013.
Taxis, auto rickshaws, the Mumbai Suburban Railway, BEST bus and rental cars are possible ways to get to/from the airport. Free shuttle service between the international and domestic terminals, running every half hour or so. Pre-paid taxi service is also available between the international and domestic terminals.
Mumbai is well connected by rail to all parts of the country. There are five major terminus stations in Mumbai from where trains originate in different directions and link Mumbai with the rest of the country. The terminus stations are Mumbai CST (formerly Mumbai Victoria Terminus), Mumbai Central, Dadar, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Bandra Terminus. Of these Mumbai CST is the oldest and grandest of them all and it was from here that the first Indian train was flagged off in 1853 between Mumbai CST and Thane. For details on schedules and prices check the Indian Railways website.
There are three lines serving Mumbai:
Mumbai is well connected by good quality roads from all parts of the country. With the construction of Expressway between Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Ahmedabad, travel between these two cities has become much more comfortable. Golden Quadilateral project linking the four major metros of India (Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai) initiated by the Government of India is nearing completion and will usher in a new era of road transportation in India. Some distances from Mumbai include:
Government and private bus services are available from other important cities to Mumbai. Some of the overnight buses have sleeper berths, while others have reclining seats. Privates buses are often more comfortable as many of them are air-conditioned and excellant suspension. Availibility of bus tickets can be seen at Red Bus
The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) offers regional buses between Maharashtra places and Mumbai.
Although it has a harbor, there are no regular international passenger services. The best way would be to get a berth on a cargoship. There are also some organisations that can arrange a place on a cruiseship, mainly to other Asian cities.
Don't drive yourself! Instead, take a taxi and choose from:
Auto-rickshaws are a cheaper option for transport but these are banned in the downtown and are only available beyond Mahim and Sion on the western and central suburbs respectively.
Mumbai has an extensive Suburban railway system with train departing every 2-3 minutes during peak hours and 5-7 minutes during off peak times. Mumbai CST and Churchgate are the major hubs for suburban services, with Western line originating from Churchgate and Central and Harbour lines originating from Mumbai CST. Suburban services are very cheap but the trains are overcrowded most of the times, it is not uncommon to see people travelling even on the roof of the train. Besides the suburban trains, Mumbai has extensive city bus network and one can also see the red double decker buses as seen on the streets of London. Apart from buses and trains, the other modes of transport within the city are auto-rickshaws and taxis which are usually metered. Recently construction work has started on the Metro and Monorail routes which are expected to be operational in a few years time.
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport provides services throughout the city and its suburbs.
These are also a few ferry services within Mumbai:
|Anjali Inn||Plot No 15, Sag baug, Andheri Kurla Road Between Marol & Sakinaka, Near Mittal Estate i ag||HOSTEL||75|
|Aura Executive Homes - Service Apartment||Juhu, Bandra, Powai, Worli, Goregaon, Lokhanvala||Apartment||-|
|Chateau Windsor Hotel||86 Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate,||Hotel||78|
|Hotel Accord||32 J.Nehru Road,Santa Cruz (East)||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Airlines International||Yoga Institute Road Prabhat Colony, Santa Cruz(e)||Hotel||67|
|Hotel Highway Residency||lane of chakala cigarrette factory, Andheri(e), MU Bamanwada||Hotel||54|
|Hotel Metro International||Sakinaka Juncation Andheri - Kurla Road Andheri East||Hotel||64|
|Hotel Metro Palace||355, Ramdas Nayak Road, Bandra (W),||Hotel||62|
|Hotel Midland||Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Lovely House 'A' Near Railway Station, Santacruz (E)||Hotel||68|
|Hotel New Bengal||B- Sitaram Building, Dr.D.N. Road, Near Crawford Market||Hotel||61|
|Hotel Paradise||Saki vihar road Ramada||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Pearl Mumbai||19th Road Corner, D.K Sandu Marg Chembur||Hotel||73|
|Hotel Royal Castle||76, August Kranti Marg Gowalia Tank||Hotel||62|
|Hotel Samrat||3rd Road Khar West||Hotel||62|
|Hotel Singhs International||Bombay 3rd road, Khar (west) Next to Khar railway station||Hotel||63|
|Ramee Guestline Hotel - Juhu||462, A.B.Nair Rd, Juhu Mumbai - 400 049.||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Guestline Hotel - Dadar||Plot No.3, Kohinoor Road, Opp.Swami Narayan Temple Dadar (E),||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Guestline Hotel - Khar||757, S.V.Road, Khar (W)||Hotel||-|
|The Legend||Plot No.53, Junction of Nehru Road & 2nd Rd Santacruz (East)||HOTEL||69|
|West End Hotel||45 New Marine Lines||Hotel||-|
|Sahara Star Hotel||Domestic Airport Ville Parle East Maharashtra||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Galaxy Residency||Andheri Ghatkopar link road,sakinaka, andheri E,||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Arma Galaxy||Twin Arcade,Military Road, Marol, Andheri E,||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Golden Swan||76,7th road, Before Khar subway Santacruz east||Hotel||68|
|Milan International Hotel||1st Road, Santacruz West||Hotel||69|
|Juhu Hotel||Juhu Beach||Hotel||68|
|Hotel Kings International||5, Juhu Tara Road||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Transit Mumbai||Mumbai Airport, Off Nehru Road Vile Parle (East)||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Ajanta||8, Juhu Tara Road||Hotel||-|
|Pooja Heritage||Plot # 22 & 35 Shirvane||Hotel||-|
|Metro Residency||101, Metro Residency (near Powai police station) Powai - Andheri east||Hotel||-|
|Grand Sarovar Premeire||Udyog Nagar Goregaon East Maharashtra||Hotel||-|
|The Oriental Residency||P.D. Hinduja Marg, Next to Khar Telephone Exchange Khar West||Hotel||-|
|Ace Residency||Opp. NG Complex Near Ashok Nagar Military Road,Andheri east||Hotel||-|
|Royal Palace||Plot No 105, Shahid Bhagat Singh SOC, A. G. Road, J.B. Nagar, Ander Eeat Mumba||Hotel||66|
|Hotel Manas Residency||1st/2nd FLoor, N.G. Acharya Marag, Chembur East Railway Station||Hotel||-|
|THE EMERALD - HOTEL & EXECUTIVE APARTMENTS||Juhu Tara Road Juhu, Bombay||Hotel||-|
|Travellers Inn||26,26, ADI Marzban path, Behind Cafe Universal Ballard Estate, Fort||HOSTEL||77|
|Hotel JC Chalet||6,Asha Colony,opp. Sea Princess Hotel ,Juhu Tara Road||Hotel||-|
|Red Palm Residency||3rd Road, Guru Gobind Singh Marg, Near Khar Railway Stn., Khar (W), Mumbai -52||HOTEL||62|
|hotel milan international||First Road , Near Milan SubWay Santacruz west||Hotel||-|
|Ramee Guestline Hotel||462 A.B Nair road||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Balwas International||265/E, Opp: Best Bus Depot Bellasis Road, Mumbai Central,||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Ace Residency||Opp. N. G. Complex, Near Ashok Nagar. Military Road||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Sapphire Residency||Taj House No: 1, Shanti Nagar, Mahakali Caves Road Andheri (E)||HOTEL||68|
|Comfort Inn Heritage||Shop No.3, Alexandra Terrace Near Comfort Inn HeritageHotel Sant Sawta Road, Byculla||Guesthouse||-|
|Hotel Bawa International||Nehru Road Near Domestic Airport Vile Parle (East)||Hotel||-|
|Fariyas Hotel||25, Off Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Kohinoor Continental||Andheri Kurla Road Andheri (E)||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Kohinoor Elite||Kohinoor City, Kirol Road, Off. LBS Road, Kurla (W),||HOTEL||-|
|Daisy Residency Hotel||Plot no 36 Opp Shere Punjab Gurudwara Mahakali Cav Andheri East||HOTEL||-|
|Hideout||105, Alpine Industrial Estate Military Road||Guesthouse||-|
|Eden Guesthouse||No 2-A, Marol Maroshi Road Opp Seven Hills Hospital, Andheri East||Guesthouse||-|
|iHOTEL||Next to Sakinaka Metro station 90 Feet Road Andheri East||Hotel||-|
|Vedanta Wake up! in tea plantations, Munnar||Near Forest Range, Devikulam Next to the Main Bus Stop Kerala||Hostel||-|
|Hotel Windsor Mumbai||10,Kumptha Street Ballard Estate||HOSTEL||-|
|Hotel cosmo||Seepz Pocket Cross Road Marol Maroshi Andheri East||Hotel||-|
|The Legend||Plot No. 53, Junction of Nehru Road Opp Dr. Batras Clinic||Guesthouse||-|
|Best Westen Hotel Sahil||292,J.B.Beharm Marg||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Everest Mumbai||4th Floor, ColabaC Chambers Near olaba Bus Station,Wodehouse Road||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Cruz Royale||Anand Centre,Next to Asha Parekh Hospital S.V.Road,Santacruz (w)||HOTEL||-|
|PA Residency||263 Shahid Bhagat Singh Road Near Cst Main Station||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Konark Inn||sector no 4, Plot no 351/352, opp water tank near Ghansoli (west) Ghansoli Navi||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Highway Inn||Vishal Shopping Centre Sir M.V. Road, Andheri (E)||HOTEL||-|
|Yogi Hotel||Plot No.31-A, Sector 24 Opp to Mafco Market||Hotel||-|
See also: International Telephone Calls
India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost 50rs to 200rs. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.
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Ask nabamita a question about Mumbai
I love exploring the city I am living in to its minutest of details. My current city, Mumbai, where I have spent almost 3 years now, is a multifaceted place to live in. It has driven me crazy to the point that I left it 2 years back and moved to Pune. On the other hand, its attraction is irresistable and so, here I am, back again, in the city that never sleeps, the city of dreams (ummm, who has such congested dreams?
). I have spent a considerable amount of my free time exploring this city over the years. From the old traditional Irani Bakeries to the more recent architectural wonders that this place can offer you, drop in a note and I'll try my best to give you a satisfying reply.
Ask saurav_4831 a question about Mumbai
I live and work here, and I know all the places thats worth visiting here, when in Town.
Ask Sanjay_gad a question about Mumbai
I have been living in the city for the last 30 years. I have travelled almost all the tourist destinations in the city and can definitely be of help to anyone who needs it.
I too am interested in travelling and can understand that any help to travellers could mean so much...
do let me know what needs to be done..
Ask namastect a question about Mumbai
As i am a tour operator and organize tours for mumbai. Tour for Mumbai Sightseeing, Elephanta, Kanneri caves etc i feel i can be helper for mumbai
Ask Mahimaraj a question about Mumbai
Having been born and brought in Mumbai and sincerely wish people to travel this cosmopolitan city.Mumbai with all its diversified culture is actually a money minting city.Any one with genuine efforts can build one's destiny here.Also people here though hardworking try to help others.
Mumbai has been gifted with beautiful monuments,beach,temples,churchs and the famous Bollyhood Industry.
Any questions regarding cuisine,culture etc.most welcome by me.
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