Mumbai Travel Guide

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Gateway of India

Gateway of India

Anuradha Goyal

Mumbai is most exciting city in India.(Earlier known by Bombay), the cosmopolitan capital of Maharashtra, is located in the west of India. Because of its location and the mark the British left on the city, it changed from a fairly isolated town into a major commercial city with over a million inhabitants. Recently, the government changed the city's former, Anglicised  name Bombay, into Mumbai. But what's in a name? Mumbai still is a must for travelers and is, to a certain extent, a match for cities such as Paris and London.

Although not everyone is pleased with its nickname, Bollywood, the film industry in Mumbai produces over 400 films a year and is therefore, the largest movie industry in the world. The actors enjoy their god-like statuses and dwell in exclusive mansions on Pali Hill and mainly Juhu, the area that holds its own with Beverly Hills. Although not may people are permitted to actually see the ins and outs of the film shooting process, there are some tours to the film studies and if that doesn't work, there is always a place where you can bathe in the typical mélange of Indian dance, songs, optional violence and melodrama.

Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by the big city character because there are plenty of nice things to see and do. There are museums, such as the Gandhi Museum (in one of the Mahatma's former residences- it's light on history and heavy on memorabilia), art galleries, bazaars like Crawford Market area (check out Jhavari Bazaar, where bargaining is done comfortably on piles of pillows), parks (the hanging gardens are a must) and temples. Even the existing malls are worth a visit. Especially in the Hutatma Chawk area, you'll find a large concentration of impressive and important historical buildings, such as the fabulous Town Hall in neo-classical style. Marine Drive nearby the seaside, which is also called the Queen's Necklace because of its sparkling nightlights, is a nice area to stroll and relax in the evening hours.

However, you haven't actually been to Bombay if you haven't seen the Gateway to India. This monument was built to commemorate the visit of king George the V and Queen Mary in 1911. At the same time, it's the place where you can catch a boat to the Elephanta Island, a UNESCO world heritage site where you can see rock-cut temples and caves dating back to the 6th century. Daytrips from Bombay include visits to the Kanheri Caves at Borivli (more rock carvings), Bassein (to see its Portuguese fort) and Cheul (ruins of Muslim and Portuguese forts). From Bombay visit Ellora and Ajanta.

Don't miss the various food outlets. The numerous restaurants and roadside eateries. Specialities are: Vada pav, Bhelpuri, Paanipuri, Dhabeli, Masala Papad and various other cusines local, Indian and International.

Traveling in Bombay is calculated by time it takes to reach a destination and not by kilometers as is the norm elsewhere.

Contributors

March 23, 2006 change by giorgio

February 14, 2007 change by ravikiran

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