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Mumbai travel guide — Mumbai tourism and travel information

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about Mumbai

Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is the world's most populous conurbation, and is the sixth most populous agglomeration in the world. Mumbai is located on the west coast of India and is the capital of the state of Maharashtra. The city is located on an island with a deep natural harbour and is the nation's commercial capital. The name was officially changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995, but the former name is still popularly used in the West and by many of the city's inhabitants.

Mumbai geography

Mumbai spans an area 438 km² the city is on a peninsula on the island of Salcette. Because of this, the Mumbai (town) is often called the Island city. The city is spread linearly along the Arabian Sea coast. The city has a tropical climate with moderate to high levels of humidity. The moderating influence of the Arabian Sea ensures that there is very little fluctuation of seasonal temperatures. The warmest months of the year are March and October with temperature around 37-38 degrees Celsius. The coolest month is January with the day temperature around 26 degrees Celsius. It is also during this season that the city is enveloped with a thick layer of smog due to the inversion effect. Annual rainfall averages between 1.8 m and 2.4 m.

The city used to be seven hilly isles. When the isles were merged to form a monolithic island, these hills were razed and used to fill the shallows. Partly because of this, some parts of the city lie below sea level. Many parts of the city are still hilly. The highest point in the city is about 450 m and lies in the Powai-Kanheri range in the Borivali National Park. The city lies on a fault line and is earthquake prone (Zone 3 — up to a magnitude of 6.5). The geology of the area shows that the islands are composed of black basalt rock.

The city being adjacent to water, the temperature changes are not as drastic as those inland. Mumbai enjoys its monsoon showers from June to September with the annual rainfall being around 2.2 m (85 in). The city experiences light fog in the northern reaches of the city in Dec/Jan. Hailstones are rare. The lowest recorded temperature is 7 °C (45 °F) in 1962, the highest, 42 °C (108 °F). Temperatures (max/min): Jan: 25/12 °C (77/54 °F) May: 35/28 °C (95/82 °F) July: 30/26 °C (86/79 °F) Oct: 38/23 °C (100/73 °F).

Mumbai history

Mumbai is an eponym derived from the local Hindu goddess, Mumbadevi, whose worship extends back to the 1400's. In the 16th c., the Portuguese named the area Bom Bahia which means Good Bay. The name was later corrupted to Bomaím. After gaining possession of the isles, the British anglicised the name to Bombay. The city was renamed to Mumbai in 1995.

The city originally consisted of seven little isles. It was part of the kingdom of Ashoka and then various Hindu rulers of the Silhara dynasty until 1343, when it was annexed by the kingdom of Gujerat.

In 1534 the Portuguese took the islands from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. The islands remained in their hands until 1661, when it ceded as the dowry of Catherine de Braganza to Charles II of England. He, in turn leased it to the British East India Company in 1668 for £10 per annum. The company found the deep harbour at Bombay eminently apposite, and the population rose from 10,000 in 1661 to 60,000 by 1675. In 1687, the East India Company transferred their headquarters there from Surat.

Completed in 1784, the Hornby Vellard was the first of the engineering projects aimed at joining the seven islands. William Hornby, then Governor of Bombay, initiated the project in 1782 despite opposition from the directors of the East India Company. The cost of the vellard was estimated at Rs. 100,000.

From 1817 the city was reshaped with large civil engineering projects merging the seven islands into one single mass of around 435 km² by 1845. In 1853 the country's first railway link completed, between Bombay and Thana. The city remained in Company hands until after the Revolt of 1857 when it was taken by the Crown.

The city's economy got a major boost during the American Civil War, (1861–1865) with the city becoming the world's chief cotton market. In 1869, the opening up of the Suez Canal, shortened the time between the city and Europe and developed into a major port.

Up to the end of the Second World War, Bombay covered only about 67 km² of land from Colaba in the south to Mahim and Sion in the north. The city witnessed large scale Hindu-Muslim riots just before India's independence in 1947.

In 1950, the city expanded northward with the inclusion of portions of Salsette Island, and by 1957 a number of suburban towns — including Bandra, Andheri, Malad & Borivali — and some villages of Thane were incorporated into Greater Bombay, with an area of 169 square miles (434 km²).

In 1960, the city became the capital of the new state of Maharashtra. A series of land reclamations from the sea in the 1970s and the mushrooming of sky-scrapers reinforced the city's status as the premier city of the country. In 1992 large scale Hindu-Muslim riots affected the entire city. In March 1993 simultaneous bombings of the city's institutions killed 300. Since the early 2000s the city's urbs primus status has been challenged by New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mumbai".

This city is also known as: Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

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