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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mumbai, India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mumbai formerly called Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of
Maharashtra. Mumbai, the most populous city in India, is the second most
populous city in the world, with a population of approximately 14 million.
Along with the neighbouring urban areas, which includes cities of Navi
Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world.
Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. As of
2009, Mumbai was named an Alpha world city.

The seven islands that came to constitute Bombay were home to communities of
fishing colonies. For centuries, the islands came under the control of
successive kingdoms and indigenous empires before being ceded to Portuguese
settlers and subsequently to the British East India Company. During the
mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the British with large-scale civil
engineering projects, aimed at merging all the seven islands into a single
amalgamated mass, and emerged as a significant trading town. Economic and
educational development characterised the city during the 19th century. It
became a strong base for the Indian independence movement during the early
20th century. When India became independent 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.
It was renamed Mumbai in 1995.

Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment centre of India, generating 5% of
India's GDP, and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 40% of maritime
trade, and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy. Mumbai is home to
important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the
Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India and the
corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational
corporations. The city also houses India's Hindi film and television
industry, known as Bollywood. Mumbai's business opportunities, as well as
its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from
all over India and, in turn, make the city a potpourri of many communities
and cultures.


The name Mumbai is an eponym, etymologically derived from Mumba or
Maha-Amba—the name of the Koli goddess Mumbadevi—and Aai, "mother" in
Marathi. The former name Bombay had its origins in the 16th century when the
Portuguese arrived in the area and called it by various names, which finally
took the written form Bombaim, still common in current Portuguese use. After
the British gained possession of the city in the 17th century, it was
believed to be anglicised to Bombay from the Portuguese Bombaim. The city
was known as Mumbai or Mambai to Marathi speakers, and as Bambai in Hindi,
Persian, and Urdu. It is sometimes still referred to by its older names,
such as Kakamuchee and Galajunkja. The name was officially changed to its
Marathi pronunciation of Mumbai in November 1995. This came at the
insistence of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, that had just won the
Maharashtra state elections and mirrored similar name changes across the
country. However, the city is still commonly referred to as Bombay by many
of its residents and Indians from other regions as well.

A widespread explanation of the origin of the traditional English name
Bombay holds that it was derived from a Portuguese name meaning "good bay".
This is based on the fact that bom (masc.) is Portuguese for "good" whereas
the English word "bay" is similar to the Portuguese baía (fem., bahia in old
spelling). The normal Portuguese rendering of "good bay" would have been boa
bahia rather than the grammatically incorrect bom bahia. However, it is
possible to find the form baim (masc.) for "little bay" in 16th-century
Portuguese. Portuguese scholar José Pedro Machado in his Dicionário
Onomástico Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa (Portuguese Dictionary of
Onomastics and Etymology), seems to reject the "Bom Bahia" hypothesis,
asserting that Portuguese records mentioning the presence of a bay at the
place led the English to assume that the noun (bahia, "bay") was an integral
part of the Portuguese toponym, hence the English version Bombay, adapted
from Portuguese.


Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of seven islands: Bombay
Island, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli, and Old Woman's Island (also
known as Little Colaba). Pleistocene sediments found along the coastal areas
around Kandivali in northern Mumbai by archaeologist Todd in 1939 suggest
that these islands were inhabited since the Stone Age. It is not exactly
known when these islands were first inhabited. Perhaps at the beginning of
the Common era (2000 years ago), or even possibly earlier, they came to be
occupied by the Koli fishing community. In the third century BCE, the
islands formed part of the Maurya Empire, during its expansion in the south,
ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. The Kanheri Caves in
Borivali were excavated in the mid-third century BCE, and served as an
important centre of Buddhism in Western India during ancient times. The city
then was known as Heptanesia (Ancient Greek: A Cluster of Seven Islands) to
the Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150 CE.

Between the second century BCE and ninth century CE, the islands came under
the control of successive indigenous dynasties: Satavahanas, Western
Kshatrapas, Abhiras, Vakatakas, Kalachuris, Konkan Mauryas, Chalukyas and
Rashtrakutas, before being ruled by the Silhara dynasty from 810 to 1260.
Some of the oldest edifice in the city built during this period are,
Jogeshwari Caves (520 to 525), Elephanta Caves (sixth to seventh century),
Walkeshwar Temple (10th century), and Banganga Tank (twelfth century). King
Bhimdev founded his kingdom in the region in the 12th or 13th century, and
established his capital in Mahikawati (present day Mahim). The Pathare
Prabhus, one of the earliest known settlers of the city, were brought to
Mahikawati from Saurashtra in Gujarat by Bhimdev. The Muslim rulers of
Gujarat annexed the islands in 1348. They were later governed by the Gujarat
Sultanate from 1391 to 1534. The Sultanate's patronage led to the
construction of many mosques, prominent being the Haji Ali Dargah in Mahim,
built in honour of the Muslim saint Haji Ali in 1431. From 1429 to 1431, the
islands were a source of contention between the Gujarat Sultanate and the
Bahamani Sultanate of Deccan. In 1493, Bahadur Khan Gilani of the Bahamani
Sultanate attempted to conquer the islands, but was defeated.

From 1782 onwards, the city was reshaped with large-scale civil engineering
projects aimed at merging all the seven islands into a single amalgamated
mass. This project, known as the Hornby Vellard, was completed by 1784.

By 1845, the seven islands were coalesced into a single landmass by the
Hornby Vellard project. On 16 April 1853, India's first passenger railway
line was established, connecting Bombay to the neighbouring town of Thane.
During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the city became the world's chief
cotton trading market, resulting in a boom in the economy that subsequently
enhanced the city's stature.

Today, Mumbai is the commercial capital of India and has evolved into a
global financial hub. For several decades it has been the home of India's
main financial services, and a focus for both infrastructure development and
private investment. From being an ancient fishing community and a colonial
centre of trade, Mumbai has become South Asia's largest city and home of the
world's most prolific film industry.


Mumbai is on a narrow peninsula on the southwest of Salsette Island, which
lies between the Arabian Sea to the west, Thane Creek to the east, and Vasai
Creek to the north. Mumbai's suburban district occupies most of the island.
Navi Mumbai is east of Thane Creek, and the Thane District is north of Vasai

Mumbai is located at 18.9750°N 72.8258°E / 18.9750; 72.8258 in the Indian
state of Maharashtra. Mumbai consists of two distinct regions: Mumbai City
district and Mumbai Suburban District, which form two separate revenue
districts of Maharashtra. The city region is also commonly referred to as
the Island City. The total area of Mumbai is 603.4 km2 (233 sq mi),[99] ,
with the area of 437.71 km2 (169 sq mi), the Island City spanning 67.79 km2
(26 sq mi) and the suburban district spanning 370 km2 (143 sq mi), coming
under the administration of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) while
remaining area belongs to Defence, Mumbai Port Trust, Atomic Energy
Commision and Borivali National Park, which are out of the jurisdiction of
the BMC.

Mumbai lies at the mouth of the Ulhas River on the western coast of India,
in the coastal region known as the Konkan. It sits on Salsette Island,
partially shared with the Thane district. Mumbai is surrounded by the
Arabian Sea to the west. Many parts of the city lie just above sea level,
with elevations ranging from 10 m (33 ft) to 15 m (49 ft); the city has an
average elevation of 14 m (46 ft). Northern Mumbai (Salsette) is hilly, and
the highest point in the city is 450 m (1,476 ft) at Salsette in the
Powai-Kanheri ranges.


Mumbai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate
under the Köppen climate classification, with seven months of dryness and
peak of rains in July. The cold season from December to February is followed
by the summer season from March to June. The period from June to about the
end of September constitutes the south-west monsoon season, and October and
November form the post-monsoon season. Between June and September, the south
west monsoon rains lash the city. Pre-monsoon showers are received in May.
Occasionally, north-east monsoon showers occur in October and November. The
maximum annual rainfall ever recorded was 3,452 millimetres (135.9 in) in
1954. The highest rainfall recorded in a single day was 944 millimetres (37
17 in) on 26 July 2005. The average total annual rainfall is 2,146.6
millimetres (84.51 in) in the Island City, and 2,457 millimetres (96.73 in)
in the suburbs.

Public Transport

Public transport systems in Mumbai include the Mumbai Suburban Railway,
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses, taxis, auto
rickshaws and ferries. Suburban railway and BEST bus services together
accounted for about 88% of the passenger traffic in 2008. Black and yellow
metered taxis traverse most of the metropolis. Auto rickshaws are allowed to
operate only in the suburban areas of Mumbai, while taxis are allowed to
operate throughout Mumbai. Taxis and rickshaws in Mumbai are required by law
to run on Compressed Natural Gas, and are a convenient, economical, and
easily available means of transport. Mumbai had about 1.53 million vehicles
in 2008, 56,459 black and yellow taxis, and 1,02,224 auto rickshaws, as of
2005. Navi Mumbai's NMMT also operate its Volvo buses in Mumbai. The buses
operate from Navi Mumbai to Bandra, Dindoshi & Borivali.


According to the 2001 census, the population of Mumbai was 11,914,398,
According to extrapolations carried out by the World Gazetteer in 2008,
Mumbai has a population of 13,662,885 and the Mumbai Metropolitan Area has a
population of 21,347,412. The population density is estimated to be about 22
000 persons per square kilometre. Per 2001 census, Greater Mumbai, the area
under the administration of BMC, has literacy rate of 77.45%, higher than
the national average of 64.8%. The sex ratio was 774 (females per 1,000
males) in the island city, 826 in the suburbs, and 811 as a whole in Greater
Mumbai, all numbers lower than the national average of 933 females per 1,000
males. The low sex ratio is due to a large number of male migrants who come
to the city to work. In 2008 crime rate increased by 5.4 per cent. Mumbai
has registered the poorest conviction rate in the country during 2008. More
frequent crimes included murder, attempt to murder, culpable homicide, dowry
deaths, abduction, kidnapping, rape, arson, riots, dacoity and robbery.

The religions represented in Mumbai include Hindus (67.39%), Muslims (18
56%), Buddhists (5.22%), Jains (3.99%), Christians (3.72%), Sikhs (0.58%),
with Parsis and Jews making up the rest of the population. The
linguistic/ethnic demographics are: Maharashtrians (51%), Gujaratis (20%),
North Indians (21%) [5] and South Indians making up the rest.


Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke laid the
foundations with silent movies followed by Marathi talkies—and the oldest
film broadcast took place in the early 20th century. Mumbai also has a large
number of cinema halls that feature Bollywood, Marathi and Hollywood movies.
The world's largest IMAX dome theatre is in the Wadala neighbourhood. The
Mumbai International Film Festival and the award ceremony of the Filmfare
Awards, the oldest and prominent film awards given for Hindi film industry
in India, are held in Mumbai. Despite most of the professional theatre
groups that formed during the British Raj having disbanded by the 1950s,
Mumbai has developed a thriving "theatre movement" tradition in Marathi,
Hindi, English and other regional languages.

Mumbai residents celebrate both Western and Indian festivals. Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Good Friday, Dussera, Moharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Maha Shivratri are some of the popular festivals in the city. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an exhibition of a world of arts that encapsulates works of artists in the fields of music, dance, theater, and films. A week long fair known as Bandra Fair is celebrated by people of all faiths. The Banganga Festival is a two-day music festival, held annually in the month of January, which is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) at the historic Banganga Tank in Mumbai. The Elephanta Festival, celebrated every February on the Elephanta Islands—is dedicated to classical Indian dance and music and attracts performers from across the country. Public holidays specific to the city and the state include Maharashtra Day on May 1, to celebrate the formation of Maharashtra state on 1 May 1960.

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