Mumbai, officially named Bombay until 1995, is the financial capital of India and the home of India's Bollywood film industry. Also called India's "maximum city", Mumbai is known for its extreme standards of living, fast paced lifestyle, and the making (or breaking) of dreams. It's a cosmopolitan and increasingly westernized city that's an important base for industry and foreign trade. This Mumbai guide is full of travel information and tips.
Mumbai's interesting history saw it ruled by the Portuguese for 125 years until, incredibly, it was given to the British as part of a wedding dowry. Catherine Braganza (the Princess of Portugal) married Charles II (the King of England) in 1662, and the city was included as a dowry gift. The British firstly developed Mumbai as a port, before embarking on extensive urban construction works in the early 1800s onwards. After India obtained Independence in 1947 and the British departed, a population boom followed, brought about by the lure of wealth and opportunities unavailable elsewhere in the country.
Mumbai is located in the state of Maharastra, on the west coast of India.
Mumbai now has a rapidly growing population of over 20 million people, making it one of the world's largest cities and the largest city in India. A large majority of the people are migrants from other states, who have come in search of employment.
Mumbai has a tropical climate. It experiences very hot, humid weather
during April and May, with temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit). The onset of the monsoon
begins in early June and rain is experienced until October. The weather remains humid, but the temperature drops to around 26-30 degrees Celsius (80-86 Fahrenheit) during the day. Following the monsoon the weather gradually becomes cooler and drier until winter sets in, in late November. Winters in Mumbai are pleasant, with top temperatures of 25-28 degrees Celsius (77-82 Fahrenheit) during the day, although nights can be a little chilly.
Mumbai Airport Information:
The international and domestic terminals at Mumbai Chattrapathi Shivaji Airport
are separately located in different suburbs. The international terminal is in Andheri East while the domestic terminal is in Santa Cruz, 30 kilometers (19 miles) and kilometers 24 (15 miles) north of the city respectively. A shuttle bus transfers passengers between the terminals. Travel time to the city center is around one and a half hours, but is much less early in the morning or late at night when traffic is lighter. The easiest way to get there is by taking a prepaid taxi from out the front of the international arrivals area.
The best way to get around the city is to take a cab or auto rickshaw. You'll only find auto rickshaws in the suburbs, as these noisy little creations aren't allowed to travel any further south than Bandra. Mumbai also has a local rail network with three lines -- Western, Central, and Harbour -- which extend outwards from Churchgate in the city center. The train offers a relatively fast way to travel, but it gets suffocatingly crowded during rush hours. Bus services operate in Mumbai as well, but they can be slow and unreliable.
Mumbai Top Attractions:
Mumbai Health and Safety Information:
Despite its overcrowding and other problems, Mumbai remains one of the safest cities in India -- especially for women. Normal standards of care should however be taken, especially after dark.
Mumbai traffic, on the other hand, is horrendous. Roads are extremely congested, horns are continually honked, and people overtake from both sides at whim. You should be particularly careful when crossing the road, and don't attempt to drive yourself. Avoid traveling on the local trains during rush hours as the crowd turns into a heaving mass, and there have been instances of people getting crushed or falling out of trains.
Be careful of pick pockets in tourist areas, such as the Colaba Causeway market. Begging is also a problem in tourist areas and at traffic lights.
As always in India, it's important not to drink the water in Mumbai. Instead buy readily available and inexpensive bottled water to stay healthy. In addition, it's a good idea to visit your doctor or travel clinic well in advance of your departure date to ensure that you receive all the necessary immunizations and medications, especially in relation to illnesses such as malaria and hepatitis.