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Mumbai (Bombay)
Gateway of IndiaEnlarge

Gateway of India

Classification Metropolitan City
Country India
State Maharashtra
Languages English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and others
Time zone UTC +5:30 (Indian Standard Time>IST)
Significance Largest metropolitan city in India
- Total
- Density
- Sex Ratio

12,622,500 (2004)[1]
811 females/1000 males
Literacy Rate
- Total
- Male
- Female

77.38 % (2001)
82.08 % (2001)
71.67 % (2001)
Area km2
Coastal Length 140 km
72.82 ° E
Altitude 8 metres average
- Summer
- Winter

27 ° C to 36 °C
12 °C to 26 °C
Rainfall 1800 - 2400 mm

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.

Table of contents
1 Origin of name
2 History
3 Geography and climate
4 Government
5 Economy
6 Transportation
7 People
8 Demographics
9 Educational and cultural institutions
10 Recreation and malls
11 Industry and commerce
12 Present problems
13 City Quick Look
14 Trivia
15 Events
16 Miscellaneous
17 Related articles
18 Also see
19 External links

Origin of name

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


Early history

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.

1888 German map of Bombay, now MumbaiEnlarge

1888 German map of Bombay, now Mumbai

European arrivals

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 ã10 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.

Growth of the city

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 kmò 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.

Post independence

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 square kilometres).

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. By the early 2000s the city's numero uno status is increasingly being challenged by New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Geography and climate

Satellite Image of Mumbai CityEnlarge

Satellite Image of Mumbai City

Mumbai spans over 438 km² in area and is a linear city along the coast of the Arabian Sea. The city is also known as the Island City as it is situated on an island - Salcette Island. The city has a warm and humid climate throughout the year and an average temperature of 32úC/day and 25úC/night. Mumbai is located at sea level. Some parts of the city are a few metres below sea level. The highest point in the city is about 450m in the Powai-Kanehri ranges.

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 216cm. Light fog in the northern reaches of the city in Dec/Jan. Hail is rare. The lowest recorded temperature is 7ðC (1962), the highest, 42ðC. Temperatures (max/min): Jan: 26/13ðC May: 35/28ðC July: 30/26ðC Oct: 38/23ðC.

Street scene, MumbaiEnlarge

Street scene, Mumbai

Mumbai earlier was made of seven islands which are today called Colaba, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, Worli, Bombay and Little Colaba (Old Woman's Island). It was then merged with the surrounding islands Salcette and Trombay to get its present land form.

An important place in the city is the Marine Drive, a long road along the coast, often referred to as the Queen's Necklace because of the glittering sweep of the streetlights visible at night.

Also see: PIN codes of Mumbai ; Breakup of Monthly weather


See Administrative divisions of Mumbai


Mumbai is undoubtedly the financial capital of India. It is the highest contributor to India's direct income tax (40%) as well as corporate taxes( Rs.40,000 crores, annually ). It is also the epi-center of the largest film industry in the world (in terms of number of films produced), Bollywood. Over 300 films are produced each year in Bollywood although only few of them turn out to be financial successes. Mumbai is also the location of the oldest stock exchange in Asia, The Bombay Stock Exchange established in 1875. (The average daily turnover of the exchange in 2002-03 was 1251.29 crore rupees (approx. 275 million US dollars) although two years ago the average daily turnover was much higher at 3984 crore rupees (US$ 870 millon). Average number of daily trade in 2002-03 was 563,000.) The Mumbai financial industry is based in Dalal Street, Fort, South Bombay.


External Transportation

Internal Transportation

Also see: Railway stations in Bombay


A resident of the city may be called either a Bombayite (from the city's former name Bombay) or a Mumbaikar (from the new name Mumbai).

Within Mumbai (Bombay), areas correspond to the nearest railway station on the suburban railway network and people often associate themselves with the particular area where they live. People prefer to stay close to the railway station as the railways are the lifeline of Mumbai. Hundreds of people migrate to Mumbai every day in search of jobs. This has created a heavy strain on the city's resources and emerged as an issue of the local people residing here since long time.

While Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra, Hindi is perhaps the most commonly spoken language in the city. The dialect spoken in Mumbai, termed Bambaiya Hindi, is a mixture of Hindi with words imported from many other Indian languages and English. Besides Hindi and Marathi, English is also spoken widely in government offices and other public places; at home and in local groups, mostly manifested at a myraid of the city's colleges. Mumbai is one of India's most cosmopolitan cities and bustles day and night. While recent restrictions have dampened the atmosphere somewhat, Mumbai's appeal still includes includes a relatively dynamic night-life. According to some surveys, Mumbai is perceived to be one of the safest Indian cities for women, a city where they feel free to wear the clothes they like and travel at any time (especially at night) alone.


See demographics of Mumbai

Educational and cultural institutions

Mumbai city has a large number of premiere educational and cultural institutions. There are two universities. Mumbai University and the SNDT University open to women only. The Mumbai University has almost all the colleges in Mumbai affiliated to it. See: List of Bombay Colleges

Number of municipal primary schools: 1,188 (as of 1st September, 1999) Source: Municipal Corporation statistics.

Cultural, social, and miscellaneous institutions

Recreation and malls

Mumbai has several European-style shopping malls, recreation centers, pubs etc. Indian movies (
Bollywood) are the chief recreation of the masses. Mumbai is also a center for various concerts of Hindustani music and other performing arts. The city also has an IMAX dome theater, the largest in Asia.

Mumbai is lately (from 2001) following the trend of multiplex theaters, movie theaters with normally more than 2-3 screens. The oldest multiplex theater in Mumbai is the G7 which is located at Bandra & is accoutred with 7 screens(3 large & 4 mini). Others are Fame Adlabs & Fun Republic (Andheri West-New link Road, both having 4 screens), R-Adlabs (Mulund West, having 4 screens), 24-Carat (Jogeshwari West-S V Road, having 4 screens), Sun-city (Vile-Parle East-Opp: Shaan Cinema, having 2 screens), Movie-time (Malad West-Link Road, having 2 screens)

Industry and commerce

Mumbai is the economic capital of India. Major industries are chemicals, textiles, information technology and fisheries. India's largest film industry, Bollywood has a strong presence in Mumbai.

Also See: Telecom companies in Mumbai

Present problems

Population Mumbai's exploding Population (present estimates 18 million) is the biggest problem facing the city. It is slated to replace Tokyo as the world's most populous city by 2020.

Infrastructure There has been under-investment in basic infrastructure spanning many decades and this is now coming back to hurt the city's inhabitants. Land is scarce and the cost of living is high even as services degrade.

Slums The size and population of slums like Dharavi increase yearly. A lack of commitment to Urban planning and development and endemic corruption in what is India's wealthiest Municipal Corporation, the BMC, have lead to a wide disparity in basic services like electricity, water, shelter, and education between the "haves and "have-nots."

City Quick Look




Important phone numbers

Radio stations

Related articles

Also see

External links

Bombay is a 1995 Tamil/Hindi movie by Mani Ratnam starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala with music composed by A.R. Rahman.

Bombay Dreams is a musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, composed by A.R. Rahman.

Bombay is the name of a town in Franklin County, New York in the USA.