Mumbai, India Overview

Mumbai, India Overview

According to abbreviationfinder, Mumbai [Marathi, = after local Hindu goddess Mumba Ai mother Mumba] to 1997 Bombay [ b ɔ mbe ɪ; in Portuguese bom baía »beautiful bay«], capital of the state of Maharashtra, largest city (before Kolkata) and most important port in India, financial and economic metropolis of the country, (2011) 18.4 million residents (metropolitan area).

The core of Mumbai lies off the west coast on the flat, former island of Bombay (which has grown together with six more islands since the 17th century), which is connected to the north adjoining island of Salsette and the mainland by road and rail embankments; constant land reclamation. On the mainland there are new residential areas and extensive slum areas. There are serious environmental problems. The port facilities with docks, shipyards and oil refineries extend over 8 km 2 on the east side of the former island of Bombay.

Among the diverse population is the majority of the Indian Parsees. Mumbai is the seat of a Catholic archbishop; most important cotton exchange in India; numerous industrial administrations; large film studios (so-called »Bollywood«); Museums (including Prince of Wales Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, Jehangir Art Gallery, Natural History Museum, Nehru Science Center, Gandhi Museum), zoological garden; several colleges, including the University of Mumbai (founded in 1857) and a women’s university (founded in 1949), TH, College of Social Sciences and Architecture.

In the east of the island is the Trombay nuclear research center (Bhabha Atomic Research Center) with a reprocessing plant. What is important for Mumbai is the strong concentration of industry, which was initiated with the construction of the railways (1853) and the establishment of cotton spinning and weaving mills (1854): textile industry, chemical plants, construction of cars and trucks, mechanical engineering, an extensive range of consumer goods and electrical industry. The manufacturing industry is only overtaken by an extremely diverse service sector (finance, trade, research, administration, tourism, etc.). There is an international airport in Santa Cruz on Salsette.


The city center is concentrated around the historic center of the settlement, the Portuguese fort; it is characterized by numerous buildings in the Victorian and neo-Gothic style (including the Supreme Court, 1879; Elphinstone College, 1874; main university building with 80 m high clock tower, 1874, by Sir George Gilbert Scott). Based on the Mughal style, it was built in 1905 according to plans by George Wittet the Prince of Wales Museum. The “Chhatrapati Shivaji Station” station, formerly Victoria Station (1878–88; UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004), with its mixture of Indian and Victorian-neo-Gothic architectural forms is an outstanding monument. Nearby at Horniman Circle are the Mint (1829), Town Hall (1833) and Customs Building (1720). The cathedral was built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Built in the 17th century. In the Colaba district, the southernmost tip of the peninsula with a harbor, the Taj Mahal Hotel, built in 1903 (expanded in 1972), is particularly noteworthy; here is also the “Gateway of India”, 1911 in honor of King George V. erected and landmark of the city. The Mumba Devi Temple (probably built in the 18th century), not far from the old town with its narrow streets, bazaars and Crawford Market, houses a portrait of the city’s namesake.

Banks and high-rise commercial buildings have sprung up along Marine Drive, Mumbai’s waterfront, since the 20th century. On Malabar Hill, where the Governor’s Palace and numerous villas in Victorian and Anglo-Gothic style are located, are the Kamala Nehru Park (Hanging Gardens), the Temple of Valkeshvar, built around 1000 AD, and the »Five Towers des Schweigens «(burial places of the Parsees). In 2018, the building ensembles in the Victorian-Gothic and Art Deco styles were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The rocky island of Elephanta with Shivaite cave temples (Elephanta Caves; World Heritage) is located in the Bay of Mumbai.


In 1348 Mumbai came under the rule of the Islamic Empire of Gujarat. In 1534 the Portuguese acquired the previously insignificant place; In 1661 it came into the possession of the English King Charles II as the marriage property of the Portuguese Princess Katharina von Bragança, who ceded it to the East India Company in 1668. This gradually expanded the city under the name of Bombay to become the center of trade on the west coast of India (1708–73 head office of the East India Company). In the second half of the 19th century the city developed into a center of the textile industry. In 1885 the first session of the Indian National Congress took place here. In 1960 what was then Bombay became the capital of Maharashtra.

On November 26, 2008, terrorists attacked ten targets in the city. Affected were among others. a train station, hospitals, restaurants and hotels. An Islamist terrorist group called “Deccan Mujahideen” assumed responsibility for this series of attacks. It was not until November 29, 2008 that the (last) terrorists, who had holed up with numerous hostages in luxury hotels and a Jewish community center, were overpowered by the security forces and the situation was brought back under control. Almost 200 people were killed and around 300 injured.

Mumbai, India Overview

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