A MULTI FACED CITY - MUMBAI (BOMBAY)
Its young, its lively and a confluence of varied cultural currents and cross currents have given Mumbai a unique position of the most multi-ethnic city of India. The capital city of Maharashtra State , formerly known as Bombay lies in the southwestern part of India and occupies a peninsular site originally composed of seven islets lying off the Konkan coast of western India. Oozing with the cocksure self-confidence of a maverick moneymaker and "Bindass" (carefree) attitude, Mumbai is also country's financial and commercial hub and has a principal port on the Arabian Sea.
Yet, there's another face of Mumbai too that is of the most densely populated cities in the world. Mumbai is located on a site of ancient settlement and took its name from the local Goddess "Mumba" - a form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva, one of the principal Gods of Hinduism - whose temple once stood in what is now the southeastern section of the Mumbai city.
Amchi Mumbai (Our Mumbai)
Whether one is being swept along broad boulevards by endless streams of commuters, or jostled by coolies and handcart pullers in the teeming bazaars, Mumbai always feels like it is about to burst at the seams. Symbols of prosperity can be witnessed anywhere in the city of Bombay : from the phalanx of the office blocks clustered on the Nariman Point, Maharashtra's Manhattan, to the yuppie couples nipping around the town in their shiny new cars.
A traditional centre of India, Mumbai offers an enticing range of handwoven and handprinted silks and cottons as well as trendiest new materials made from polyester fibres. The Imposing tower of Mumbai's Stock Exchange building at Dalal Street is a well-known city landmark and plays a vital role in the city's business scene. Nariman Point is a specimen of the wonders modern building science can perform. Visitors usually impressed by its sleek skyscrapers, which resemble Manhattan's skyline have called this place "a piece of Manhattan transported to Mumbai".
On The Waterfront
The natural beauty of Mumbai is unsurpassed by that of any city in the region. The entrance into the harbor from the sea discloses a magnificent panorama framed by the Western Ghats (mountains) on the mainland. The wide harbor, studded with islands and dotted with the white sails of innumerable small craft, affords secure shelter to ships, particularly when storms lash the coast. The largest of the harbor's islands is Elephanta, which is famous for its 6th century cave temples.
Architectural Attractions of Mumbai
Mumbai's architecture is a mixture of florid Gothic styles, characteristic of the 18th and 19th centuries, and contemporary designs. The older administrative and commercial buildings intermingle with skyscrapers and multi-storey concrete-block buildings. Within the eye of a roaring storm of traffic, lie other vestiges of the British Raj, the 'maidans'. The central Bazaar districts of Mumbai afford glimpses of the sprawling Muslim neighbourhoods, as well as exotic shopping possibilities.
People And Cultural Life in Mumbai
Mumbai's cultural life reflects its ethnically diverse population. City of Bombay is truly multicultural, and representatives of almost every religion and region of the world can be found in Mumbai. Almost half of the population is Hindu; but the city also encompasses important communities of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and Jews. The Jews form one the oldest group of occupants of Mumbai. Almost every Indian language and many foreign languages are spoken over here. Marathi, the State language, is the dominant Indian language in Mumbai, followed by Gujarati and Hindi.
The city of Mumbai (Bombay) has a number of museums, libraries, literary and other cultural institutions, art galleries, and theatres and perhaps no other city in India can boast of such a high degree of variety and quality in its cultural and entertainment facilities.
Mumbai is the stronghold of the Indian film industry. Throughout the year Western and Indian music concerts and festivals and Indian dance shows are performed in Bombay. The Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, housed in a building of Indo-Saracenic architecture, contains three main sections of art, archaeology, and natural history. Situated nearby are the Jehangir Art Gallery , Mumbai's first permanent art gallery, and center of cultural and educational activities.