"Bombay" Top 5 Page for this destination Mumbai by MM212
Mumbai Travel Guide: 2,018 reviews and 4,074 photos
Chaotic, cosmopolitan Bombay - now officially called Mumbai - is India's financial powerhouse, cultural centre and its most dynamic city. Rightly described as the Manhattan of India, Bombay is unlike the rest of the subcontinent. Its 14 million inhabitants, more than half of whom live in slums, are all crammed into a narrow peninsula that reaches out to the Arabian Sea. The peninsula was once seven different islands but were adjoined through land reclamation projects conducted over the past 200 years. The city's colourful mix of cultures, ethnicities, religions and languages has cultivated exemplary coexistence - despite certain spells of tension - among its different people, all of whom are driven and united by the hope of a better life while living side-by-side. Bombay's extreme contrasts of wealth and poverty, modernity and tradition leave the visitor with much to contemplate.
A bit of history...
By Indian standards, Bombay is a new city; barely 350 years old. Yet, it is unmistakably entrenched in old world traditions, while preserving magnificent Gothic, Indo-Saracenic and Art Déco architecture that rivals many older European cities. These traditions and the old architecture are well established in the shadows of countless new towers lifted by the boom and wealth of recent years. Our first historic account of the area comes from Ancient Greek records, specifically by Ptolemy, who named the seven islands of Bombay Heptanesia, meaning "Seven Isles". The Kolis, a tribe of fishermen - the islands' first inhabitants - worshipped the Hindu goddess Mumba-Devi, who is eternalised in the city's new name, Mumbai. But is it really a new name? Read the "local customs" tips on this page to challenge your views! What we do know is that the Portuguese occupied the area in the 16th century and used it as a stopping point along its important shipping routes from Goa to Oman and beyond. After a few iterations of the name, they eventually produced Bombaim, only to cede it to the British as part of the dowry when England's Charles II married Portugal's Catarina de Bragança. A Portuguese stronghold, however, remained further north in Bandra (formerly Bandora), a suburb in today's sprawling city, until they were driven out in the 18th century. The British anglicised Bombaim to Bombay and went on to build one of the most important cities in the Indian subcontinent. Today's city plan and architecture, though unique to itself, have an unmistakable British imprint, despite the current right-wing local government's excessive efforts of recent years to erase British-era names.
Tucked away between trees and towers, this tiny church is dedicated to Saint Stephen. It was built in 1845, as the first... more travel advice
Located at the southern tip of the trendy suburb Bandra overlooking the Arabian Sea, the Taj Land's End belongs to the... more travel advice
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