India - Mumbai City Information

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Mumbai City Information

Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. Of the four great cities of India, Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan.

The word Mumbai is derived from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the Koli fisher folk, the oldest inhabitants of Mumbai. Mumbai is also the country's financial powerhouse, the nation's industrial heartland, and economic nerve centre.

It is also the seat of the glamourous world of Bollywood Cinema. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, night clubs and discotheques, theatre, and music are some samples of the glory of Mumbai.

Places of Interest:

Gateway of India - Being a prominent landmark of Mumbai city, Gateway of India, is a majestic stone arch on the shore of Mumbai Harbour commemorating the visit of King George V in 1911. It was designed by George Wittet to symbolise the enduring nature of the British Rule. It has the Indo- Islamic style of architecture with honey-coloured basalt. Behind the gateway there is a beautiful statue of the Maratha leader Shivaji, astride his horse, erected in 1960. A statue of the social reformer Swami Vivekananda is also situated nearby.

Taj Mahal Hotel - This hotel dominates the Colaba water front and is the epicenter of the city's social life. It was built by Industrialist JN Tata and is a magnificent structure that exhibits Moorish influences.

Victoria Terminus Train Station - The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is the city's most beautiful Indo-Gothic architectural splendour. This station was designed by Frederick Stevens as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company and was completed in 1887. It has a life-size statue of Queen Victoria apart from carvings of peacocks, gargoyles, monkeys, elephants and British lions. 

Sassoon Dock - This colourful waterfront is the scene of intense activity at dawn when the fishing fleet unloads its catch. 

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) - The museum has several galleries in three floors. The natural history section has a large selection of Indian birds, snakes and stuffed animals ranging from rhinos to monkeys and lions to deer. Other collections include terracotta figurines from the Indus Valley, ivory carvings, Chinese and Japanese art, portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and an excellent collection of Indian miniature paintings.

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum - The Museum is a fine Italian Renaissance-style building with ornate pillars, a decorative ceiling, ironwork balconies and Minton stair tiles. It has a collection of bronze sculptures, metal ware, fossils, model ships etc.

Nehru Museum - This Cylindrical shaped building has planetarium, art gallery, restaurant, library, cultural center and 14-gallery exhibit called Discovery of India. There are antique exhibits like a railway engine, tramcar, supersonic airplane and steam lorry.

Mani Bhavan - Mani Bhavan was the building where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his frequent visits to Bombay. It is a charming, three-story Gujarati house, painted brown and yellow, now turned into a museum. The museum has a reference library of over 2000 books, a photo collection of Gandhi’s life and many well-preserved memorabilia including the famous spinning wheel (charkha).

Afghan Church - Also known as the Church of St. John the Evangelist, this church was dedicated to the soldiers who died in the Sind campaign of 1838 and the Afghan War of 1843. There are plenty of memorial plaques and some fine stained glass windows. 

St. Thomas Cathedral - The Anglican St. Thomas Cathedral is the oldest English building standing in Mumbai. It has fountain, garden and tower.

Basilica of Mount Mary - Basilica of Mount Mary was built by the Portuguese and is famous for the rituals used to reinforce the power of prayer.

Haji Ali Mosque - The Haji Ali Mosque has the tomb of a Muslim saint Haji Ali who is believed to have meditated in this place.

Jain Temple - Built of marble, this shrine on Malabar hill is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara. The walls have colourful paintings depicting various incidents in the lives of the 24 Tirthankaras of the Jain Religion. 

Mahalakshmi Temple - It is an important Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Walkeshwar Temple (Lord of Sand) - Walkeshwar Temple or Lord of the Sand temple is one of the oldest heritage sites in Mumbai.

 

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