Mumbai is in all ways a mega-city driven by power, wealth, glamour and fame which attracts people to give shape to their dreams and aspirations. But it is also a city with strong historical links, wonderful British architecture, museums, beaches, places of worship, and above all, a true galaxy of stars where Bollywood reigns supreme.
It is said that every train that comes to Mumbai brings on it hundreds of people from across India who are not only drawn to ‘experience’ the city’s mesmerising attractions but would also like to make it their home. A city of diverse cultures and a melting pot of commerce, industry, entertainment, enterprise, and politics, Mumbai’s trysts with wealth and fame have, however, been recent. It wasn’t a cosmopolitan finance centre to begin with. Its history has witnessed several shifts in power, and the seven islands changed hands frequently.
The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were earlier home to communities of fishing colonies. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese and subsequently to the British East India Company. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard Project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea.
Bombay in the 19th century was characterised by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. Upon India’s independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital. The city was renamed Mumbai in 1996. And in this short period of development, the city has transformed into the commercial and entertainment capital of India.
Mumbai houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India’s premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy. And of course there is the huge Hindi film and television industry that has given it its starry appeal.
6:00 AM- 10:00 PMWith the firm belief that nothing new should ever be embarked upon without invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesh, the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple at Prabhadevi is understandably the most popular of places of worship in Mumbai. It was but a humble consecration by Mrs. Deubai Patil in early 19th century that is supposed to have started attracting hordes of worshippers soon after India’s independence to ‘Siddhivinayak’, as it is popularly known.
9:00 AM- 9:00 PMIf ever a window was required to peep into the fascinating world of art and antiquities, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, at Mumbai, would be the right place to visit. The museum has a representative collection of various forms of art from the Indian subcontinent and also to a certain extent works of art from China, Japan and European countries. Additionally, it houses a study collection of natural history specimens.
7:00 AM- 9:00 PMVajreshwari, the town named after the temple dedicated to goddess Vajreshwari Devi is known for its curative hot water springs emerging from the surrounding volcanic mountains. Vajreshwari Devi is an incarnation of goddess paravati. The ancient temple was supposed to have been built with the belief of the slaying of demon Kalikuli by the goddess. The temple was destroyed during the Portuguese invasion. Present temple is supposed to have been built in the year 1738 by Chimmaji Appa Peshwa, military commander of Peshwa Baji Rao I, who fought and won the Bassein (Vasai) Fort from the Portuguese. The temple is built like a fort.
9:00 AM- 7:00 PMHave you ever thought that a note of Rs 100 or a coin of Rs 5 may actually have a lot of history behind it? But yes, the currency in India has several interesting facets to it and this is amply illustrated at the RBI Monetary Museum in Mumbai which offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of money beginning from the time when emperors used gold coins to the current trend of e-money.
6:00 AM- 10:00 PMFor all those who believe in the power of Lord Ganesh, regular visits to the Siddhivinayaka Mahaganapati Temple at Titwala is always high on the ‘faith’ list. The place is steeped in ancient legend and the temple is also frequented by those who believe that separated married couples can be united and the marriages of desired people can be arranged easily if the Ganesha image installed in the temple is worshipped with devotion.
7:00 AM- 10:00 PMAs an architectural wonder that helps promote peace and harmony, the Global Vipassana Pagoda near Gorai in Mumbai is a landmark monument that brings us closer to the philosophies and teachings of the great Buddha. It also has the distinction of being Asia’s tallest stone structure that majestically rises against the background of the shimmering waters of the Arabian Sea.
8:00 AM- 10:00 PMA tomb on an island in the middle of the Arabian Sea! Doesn’t that immediately sound enticing enough? But there is more to the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai than just its location. Such is the reverence that this Muslim saint commands that his final resting place draws the faithful from all communities who come here with the firm hope that their prayers will be answered. With a mosque located adjacent to the tomb complex, the edifice is also a brilliant specimen of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture.
7:00 AM- 9:00 PMWhile Bandra in Mumbai is one of the elitist areas that is also home to some of the biggest retailer brands and fine dining restaurants, it is where the devotees of Virgin Mary congregate to pray and seek blessings at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church. The most looked forward to event here is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on the first Sunday after September 8.
9:00 AM- 9:00 PMAs you stand at Mumbai’s most well-known spot of tourist interest – the Gateway of India – the most overwhelming desire you will experience is to step into a boat and explore the Arabian Sea. But this need not just be a whim. It can serve a purpose too if you take the ride to visit the Elephanta Island which is just 10 kilometers from Mumbai. Not only is the island host to a bounty of nature in the form of lush plantations of palm, mango and tamarind trees but is also home to ancient cave temples that have been carved out of rock and which have been declared a World Heritage Site.
9:00 AM- 10:00 PMOn Maharashtra’s long coastline, the Bordi-Dahanu stretch offers some of the most pristine beaches while providing a window into typical village culture where growing the fruit Sapodilla, known in India as chickoo, dominates over other activities. These places are also home to Zorastrians and Warlis who lend to the region their own unique flavour of culture and customs.
For anyone who comes to Mumbai, Bollywood is always high on the sightseeing itinerary. But while you may not be allowed to enter the gates of any film studio on your own, there is now a wonderful way of going about it. Take the ‘Bollywood Tour’. It gives you the opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes as you visit the sets of films or television programmes. You may be lucky enough to come close to some of Bollywood’s biggest stars and at the very least you will get an insight into all the creative pain and effort that goes into the making of ‘entertainment’.
Explore the Architecture At Mumbai
Apart from the high-rise buildings that today dominate the Mumbai landscape, the city is also known for the British style of architecture. It also has several other architectural masterpieces as found in caves, forts, churches, mosques, temples, modern shopping malls, huge bungalows, etc. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, for instance, has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its highly impressive architectural and technological innovations.
Winding roads, a cool breeze at all times, vantage points offering breathtaking views of hills and valleys, plenty of strawberries to gorge on and a main street full of shops offering all kinds of curios and snacks. Doesn’t it sound exciting? Well, that’s Mahabaleshwar for you which along with Panchgani makes for a wonderful holiday or even just a weekend getaway.
At a time when even some of the most remote tourist places have begun to suffer from pollution, primarily due to the increase in vehicles, can there be a hill station which can lay claim to being totally free of such ill-effects? Surprisingly, there is one, and it remains free of noxious pollutants mainly because no motorized vehicles are allowed on its tiny roads or the pathways that lead into deep woods. This is Matheran, Asia’s tiniest hill station but with lots to offer by way of scenic view points, long treks through forested areas, and a quaintness of its own.
There was a time when Pune was known as a Pensioner’s Paradise – home to those who had retired and wanted a peaceful life in a salubrious environment. Now of course Pune has grown into a vibrant metro, a hub of education, industry, information technology, entertainment, and so on. But what makes Pune still more significant is that it is a place from where you can plan several exciting trips to hill-stations, forts, and places of pilgrimage, not to forget an adventurous package too.
Link 1: https://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/destination/pune-hub
Link 2: https://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/destination/mumbai