India Travel Notes presents: In comparison with the other Indian coastal cities, Mumbai emerged rather a short time ago. Local nature tells the story of an impetuous geological past: Mumbai consists of seven islands that form its territory. According to one legend, the name of the city derives from the name of the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, which is greatly honoured on this territory.
Modern Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is the capital of the Maharashtra state, with a population of about 13 million people. It is an important trading, industrial and financial city, a principal Indian port, which also has the country’s liveliest airport. Mumbai is also one of the foremost educational and scientific centers of India. In addition to this, it is traditionally considered to be the centre for Indian film industry – every year, the biggest number of movies in the world is produced here.
As for the city’s cultural live, it is really varied and cosmopolitan. Very often Mumbai helds exhibitions by the best modern artists, concerts by world-famous stars and expositions from the best museums of the world. You will also find lots of galleries and concert halls in the city.
Every tourist who comes to Mumbai wants to visit Colaba area, with its port and a great amount of various hotels, restaurants, stores, shops and counters. Turn your back on Colaba, and you will face the territory that was once occupied by the Fort. This is the place to observe lots of Colonial-style buildings: post office, port constructions, railway stations, banks, tourist offices and blocks of flats. “Gateway of India”, a massive arch, reminds of the times when the majority of India tourists came to the country by the sea and disembarked in Bombay. Not far from the gates there is a five-star Taj Mahal hotel found.
To the right from Colaba you will encounter a huge building – the former Prince of Wales Museum, called this way to commemorate the visit that the future king George the Fifth made to the city in 1905. The first part of the museum was opened in 1911 and contained exhibits in arts, ethnography, natural history, and paintings by famous artists. Many of them are still there.
Not far from here there are the seat of the Bombay High Court and the old Bombay University located. The latter is adorned with a clock tower which bears some resemblance of the Big Ben in London. This district attracts people with its old colonial buildings. Some of them were built in the beginning of the ХIХ century. The district has two logical centers standing on one axis. On the one side, its Flora Fountain, and on the other side, its Horniman Circle which adjoins the port. The Horniman Circle offers lots of things to see. Those are Municipality building and the Mint (built in 1828 and designed in Ionic style).
Marine Drive is reputed as the best place to walk along. Here one will find Taraporevala Aquarium, Chowpatty Beach and the prestigious Malabar Hill, where the most prosperous Mumbai people live. Atop of the hill, you will see the so-called Hanging Gardens, known as one of the best parks in the city.
As for the other Mumbai attractions, they are: Haji Ali Mosque, Mumbai Planetarium, zoo and the historical museum.
So, modern Mumbai is a rapidly growing and prosperous city. Being a rich and beautiful place, it still has some contrasts, just like any other huge Indian city. Here, poverty stands close to luxury and technical progress.
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