With an estimated metropolitan population of seventeen million, Mumbai India is the largest city in India, as well as one of the largest cities in the world. In addition to serving as India's commercial capital, its recent showcase as the backdrop to the award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire has significantly increased worldwide travel to Mumbai. However, many visitors are discovering that Mumbai travel encompasses much more than simply Dharivi, one of Asia's largest slums.
Mumbai India was originally a group of seven islands off the Konkan coast. When the Portuguese took over these islands and eventually handed them over to Britain as part of a dowry, the British East India Company started the long process of reclaiming land, joining the islands together with the neighboring island of Salsette to form Greater Bombay. The port attracted industries, drawing immigrants from all over the world, and these migrant workers established their own neighborhoods unique to their cultures, thereby creating the colorful districts that make up today's Mumbai.
When planning travel to Mumbai, it can be easy to get confused about the city's real name. During the many years the British occupied the city, the city was named Bombay India. However, it was returned to the Indian government, who established a policy to return all colonial cities to their former local names in 1996. Although you will still hear some people refer to it as Bombay, the official name of the city is Mumbai India.
It is important to consider the weather when planning vacations to Mumbai. The city primarily essentially has three seasons: a very hot summer, a monsoon season with heavy rainfall, and a more temperate winter. The best time for Mumbai travel is during the milder winter, between November and February. Expect high humidity throughout the year, however, as Mumbai is on the coast, and keep in mind that if you choose to travel to Mumbai during monsoon season between June and September, you will most likely encounter flooding.
Marathi is the official language of both the city of Mumbai India and its state, Maharashtra. However, on the street, expect to hear a lot of Bambaya Hindi, a local dialect of Hindi with a strong influence of Bollywood, the popular Indian cinema, which is also based in Mumbai. English is also widely used and understood, making vacations to Mumbai easy for English-speaking travelers.
Mumbai travel is accessible by plane, boat, train, bus, and car. Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is only seventeen miles from the city center. Mumbai also has an extensive rail network called Suburban Rail Network. Referred to by Mumbai residents as Locals, these three train lines serve the entire city, including all areas surrounding Mumbai hotels. Otherwise, taxis are plentiful, and ferries provide many options to explore the harbors, caves, and beaches of Mumbai's coast.
Vacations to Mumbai will be packed with many of the city's sites and attractions. Visiting historical sites such as Fort St. George and the Gateway of India is one of the most popular things to do in Mumbai, and they provide an excellent hands-on experience with India's history, culture, and architecture. South Mumbai offers several museums, such as the Prince of Wales Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art. Markets such as the Colaba Causeway are a melting pot of tourists and locals, buying and selling Indian wares. For visitors looking for some peace and quiet during their vacation, the Mumbai beaches also provide a great place to relax away from the bustle of the city.