Mumbai: Travel Destination

Love and marriage do not usually play a role in the history of large urban world centres, unless we are referring to Mumbai, India.  Bombay was the precursor name of Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra,.  In 1661, King Charles II of England accepted Mumbai as the dowry of the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza.  The Crown then leased Mumbai and surrounding islands to the British East India Company.

The Company rightly assessed that Mumbai had a natural deep-sea harbour that would be conducive to trade.  Prosperity brought on a trading port and post, followed by a castle and fort.  Continued growth led to efforts to connect the islands with Mumbai, and other developmental projects.

The Hornby Vellard is one such development and perhaps best-noted successful ventures, which took place in 1782-1838 by then governor William Hornby that helped to further develop Mumbai’s deep natural harbour into a causeway that joined the seven islands of Bombay.  Roughly, three centuries ago, Mumbai was a collection of seven small swampy islands.

In 2009, Mumbai achieved the status of “alpha city” in terms of its global economic status.  In urban studies’ idea of globalization, cities have a direct link and impact on social-economic global affairs particularly when it comes to finance and trade.  Mumbai’s alpha city status makes it the wealthiest city in India.  With that said, it is logical that Mumbai is the finance centre and economic powerhouse of India.

Mumbai’s history is interspersed with civic activism as early as 1882 to present day.  Bombay led many political movements in India’s history, including the Freedom Struggle, which led to the proclamation of independence Britain in 1947.

A present day entertainment one can enjoy without actually stepping foot in Mumbai is India’s theatre and film industry.  Bollywood derives from Bombay and Hollywood is Indian cinema and the largest film producer in India, in one of the largest centres of film production in the world according to some sources including Janet Wasko of “How Hollywood works” by SAGE (2003).  Ever gaining in popularity since India’s independence, Bollywood offers many genres in “Hinglish” (Indian English), in dialogue and songs, and has as extensive and elaborate a history as Hollywood.

Travellers to Mumbai will notice the colonial architecture of colonial times and the red double-decker buses often noted in London, England.  Visitors will also be privy to art galleries, museums, shops, Indian culture and tourist attractions.  The Elphanta Caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and are a must-see as are the three faces of Shiva and other sculptures.

The “Gateway of India” is the most striking destination and monument in Mumbai designed by George Wittet.  It was designed it to celebrate King George V and Queen Mary’s visit of 1911 to contain carvings made out of wood in the form of Gujarati and Islamic elements.  It is thus called due to its use as a port to popular destinations while showing off the beautiful Taj Mahal Hotel as a backdrop.  

According to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the city is also the “industrial hub of everything from textiles to petrochemicals”.  A good game of Cricket played in open grassed areas called “maidans” is a favourite pastime.  At the Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai residents enjoy the popular sweet and spicy snack called “Bhelpuri”.  Other cultural foods to be enjoyed are the “Vada Pav” also known as the “great Indian burger, the Pav Bhaji, a bread and curry with a mix of vegetables, and the “waran bhaat” or rice dish that includes ghee and sides of lemon and salt.  For those interested in Indian dessert, a must-try is the “Shrikhand which is made of strained yoghurt.

As you can see, there is more than one reason to set sail for Mumbai. It is time to pack your bags.  Happy trails to you!

Published at News Channel Daily


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