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Mumbai (Western India) City Guide

Commonly known as 'Bombay' until 1996, Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. Its original name "Bombay" emerged from the Portugal term "Bom Bahai" meaning good bay or harbour. The city was formed by the reclamation of 7 islands on the central-western coast along the Arabian Sea. Mumbai lies 1400 km west of the Indian capital, New Delhi. It is also known as Manchester of India. Mumbai boomed into a textile city in the 19th Century. With the opening up of the Suez Canal in 1869 the city's future as India's primary port, was assured. Now it is the second biggest city in the world. The Glamour of a prolific film industry, cricket on the open areas on weekends, bhel puri (Indian snack) on the Chowpatty beach and red double-decker buses enhance the charm of the city

Access by Air:

Mumbai is well connected to the main Indian cities. It has regular flights to all the major Indian cities. The international Netaji Subhash Airport (Chatrapati Shivaji Airport) is 27 kms from the city. Most of the domestic airlines have direct services to and from Mumbai to other important cities of India such as Delhi, Kolkatta, Bangalore, Chennai, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow, Goa, Cochin.

Access by Rail:

Regular train services connect Kolkatta to all the major cities in India such as to Kolkatta in Eastern India, New Delhi in North India, Cochin in South India, Chennai in South East India etc.

Access by Road:

Mumba's National Highway connects it to the major cities of India. The National Highway connecting Kolkatta is superbly made with long driving and motels in between kept while upgrading the highway for the welfare of the drivers in mind.

Sightseeing places in and around Mumbai:

Gateway of India:

A ceremonial arch built in 1927 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary is located in the southernmost peninsula of the city. Constructed in honey-coloured basalt, the design of the gateway was inspired by 16th century Gujarati Architecture. The changing light of the rising and setting sun bathes this imposing arch with various hues of gold, russet and pink. The Gateway holds historical significance as the last of the British troops leaving Independent India by sea marched through its portals.

Marine Drive:

It is most popular promenades and sunset-watching spots. Build on land reclaimed from Back Bay in the 1920s; the marine drive starts from below the hanging gardens on Malabar Hill, runs along the Arabian Sea and ends at Nariman point. This sweeping Queen's Necklace, flickering with a thousand lights at night, is a delight for the eyes.

Flora Fountain:

It stands at a busy five-point intersection in the heart of the commercial Fort area. The beautifully sculptured fountain was erected in the memory of the Governor, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, as a tribute to the contribution he made to the city.

Cape Comorin :

Also known as Kanyakumari, literally meaning the virgin, the cape owes its Indian name to Hindu mythology. At the Cape Comorin - the southern most tip in the sub-continent, the three mighty oceans viz. The Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. Significant landmarks include the Kumari Amman Temple dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, the Gandhi Memorial where an urn containing the Mahatma's ashes are kept, the Vivekananda Memorial - built in memory of Swami Vivekananda exuding a calm and peace rarely found elsewhere and the Church of our Lady Ransom starkly etched against the beautiful shoreline.

Chowpatty Beach:

This stretch of beach is well known by locals and tourists alike as a great place to indulge your taste buds in the evenings. A 'food-plaza' of stalls offering a range of snacks like 'bhel-puri', 'chaat', 'kulfi' and fresh coconut water! Chowpatty, situated at the northern end of Marine Drive, is a great place to witness the annual Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in August/September when large images of the elephant-headed god are immersed in the murky sea. As a part of the city's cleanliness and beautification drive, Chowpatty is also being given a face-lift.

Juhu Beach:

Situated 30 km from the city, Juhu is a crowded beach with residential apartments and bungalows surrounding it. It seems as if the entire population of the area descends on the beach for a breath of fresh air! The central part has food stalls again, similar to Chowpatty.

Elephanta Island:

Rock-cut temples on this peaceful Island, 10 km northeast of the Gateway of India, are the Mumbai's major tourist attractions. Believed to have been carved between 450 A.D. and 750 A.D, the temples are still worth a visit. The main cave contains large sculpted panels relating to Siva, including the astonishing 6 metre high triple-headed Trimurti - in which Siva embodies the roles of creator, preserver and destroyer.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park:

It is better known as "Borivili National Park" is set in hill ranges around the suburb of Borivili in Mumbai. Notified in 1974, it offers a pleasant change from the usual sights and attractions of the big city.

Talopali (Thane Lake):

One of the most popular places is Talopali where one could sit on the benches or may be row around in the lake in boats or water scooters. It also offers an array of roadside eating options, from Bhel to ice cream its all laid out there or you can enjoy a quick snack at the nearby Restaurants. Talaopali is frequented by people of all age.

Mount Mary Church:

The church stands on a hillock about 80 metres above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. It draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Mount The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to the statue for thanksgiving or requesting of favours.