The sea breaks against the shore in rhythmic waves. The froth scatters, and somewhere, someone is nursing a dream. A dream that they wish to see to fruition. Amidst the huge imposing skyscrapers and long roads, millions of dreams like these materialise, and many don’t. The unsuccessful one’s sometimes let go, or persevere. Most of the time, they just keep working towards their dream. They say its because of Mumbai’s spirit.
India’s financial capital, a teeming bustling metropolis is home to many. People come to Mumbai to chase their dreams. They are attracted by the seemingly lucrative prospects in the film industry based here, or in the financial sector, or in any other sphere. For Mumbai is truly the land of dreams.
A city that has been in the limelight often, it is a jewel in India’s crown. A city where the one of the richest men in the world lives juxtaposed against one of the largest slums in South East Asia.
True to the much cliched adage, Mumbai never sleeps. Step out at any time, and you will be greeted by a flurry of sights sounds and smells. You may choose to follow the aroma of sumptuous Pav Bhaji, a Mumbai favourite, or you may choose to follow the sea breeze. Whichever direction you choose to head to, and there are multiple, you will be pleasantly surprised, because this city always manages to throw something new at you in terms of experiences.
Despite being one of the more expensive cities of the nation, Mumbai attracts a sizeable amount of the country and globe’s populace, both for work and leisure, for short duration or long.
India’s most revered cricketer, most prolific businessmen, and most loved film-stars. It is also the place which has spawned the most wanted of India’s underworld.
Such a vivid picture and such a multi-faceted experience is provided, you won’t know where to begin. Here are 25 of the most unique things that are inherently Mumbai.
- Mumbai was originally an island. 7 closely located islands, erstwhile Portuguese territories belonged to England, who, in the period from 1784-1845, combined these 7 islands to form a coastal city.
- It is the location of India’s most expensive home. Currently estimated to be around $ 1 billion in net worth, Antilla stands out amongst Mumbai’s skyscrapers. 27 floors make up this huge residential tower.
- In perfect contrast to Antilla stands Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, also infamous since building a house here costs more than a whopping 3 lakhs. Slumdog Millionaire shot this slum into the limelight.
- Bagheera, Sher Khan, and Mowgli. These characters are etched into our memories. Rudyard Kipling was born in Mumbai, as was the controversial author of “The Satanic Verses”, Salman Rushdie.
- Harvard published a number of articles about these unsung heroes. Come rain or shine, they make sure that home made food is made available to the teeming working class, every day. The 5000 odd dabbawalas in Mumbai transport more than 130,000 lunch boxes every day. Nothing stops them. Not even Mumbai’s infamous rains.
- They walk in the shadows, equipped with nothing more than a crude hand held bag, and a long stick. Stalking out their prey, they strike with purpose, ridding the city of an ancient nuisance. Surviving on very meagre salaries, the Night Rat Killers of Mumbai, are employed by the city’s Municipal Corporation. They go about at night, stalking and killing vermin. The irony? If they catch less than 30 rats a night, they’re not entitled to their days wages.
- Mumbai is home to India’s largest Parsi population. This small community escaped persecution, and landed in Gujrat, spreading across the country. Their numbers are small, and their majority lives in Mumbai.
- Mumbai is home to Bollywood, India’s primary film industry. Crores of rupees are transacted, due to Bollywood. People love their movie stars, often giving them cult like status. Most of India’s most famous actors and actresses reside here.
- Picture this. A leopard stalking a feral pig, follows it into the dense undergrowth. It waits in the bushes, perfectly still. When the time comes to stalk, it starts following its prey. Like a scene straight out of Animal Planet, the leopard advances. Placing its hind foot exactly where the front foot was, it steadies itself. With one powerful leap, it launches itself, deftly lifting up a hapless piglet and disappearing into the undergrowth again. This isn’t a scene out of Africa. Leopards, often hunting outside the boundaries of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, in the heart of Mumbai, co-exist peacefully, with the residents of the neighbourhoods surrounding the parks.
- The Bandra-Worli sea link is an architectural wonder.Officially known as the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, the 5.6 km stretch is an amazing drive. Made of 90,000 tons of cement and steel wire, it is truly a marvel.
- India’s first car owner, Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata, lived here. He was at his time, India’s apex business tycoon and founder of the Tata Group, the first person to own a car in India, in 1901.
- Festivals are celebrated with great pomp and splendour in Mumbai. Ganesh Chathurthi, the most popular 10 day festival here, brings the entire city to the streets, dancing and rejoicing and making merry.
- A large number of flamingos, migrating from Afro-Eurasia parts, travel to Mumbai, between October and March. Birdwatchers will truly appreciate this phenomenon. It is quite unique, a bunch of migratory birds in an urban setting.
- India’s most advanced theme-park, Adlabs Imagica, located near Khopoli on the Mumbai-Pune highway, is India’s largest theme park spread over an area of 300 acres. Boasting of state of the art rides, adults and children are guaranteed fun here.
- The date 16th April 1853, is special. This day saw the first train movement in India. Comprising of 14 carriages and 400 passengers, the train left Bori Bunder (now CST), and reached Thane.
- Mumba Devi Mandir, is the temple at Bori Bunde, Mumbai, from which this city got its famous name.
- Marine Drive, India’s most famous beach, is located here. Vendors with various food items line this populous beach, where people converge, every evening, to spend a few hours in the sea-breeze.
- One of the oldest elevators in the city can be found in Navsarri Building in Fort. The wood panelled and crankshaft operated elevator, is a delight for those who love the vintage.
- The country’s only heritage toilet can be found at Bombay Dockyard. Allowing visitors in on a tour on the first Sunday of every month, this place houses the country’s only heritage toilet. In use since 1750, it was frequented by sailors of that era!
- The Bombay Electric Supply and Transport, the BEST bus, is India’s first bus service, started in 1905. Now operating a number of buses within city limits, it remains a popular mode of transport for the city’s residents.
- The 3rd best international airport in the world, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, is truly a wonder. Equipped with advanced facilities, this airport is also one of the busiest in the world.
- India’s first 5 star hotel, the Taj Mahal Hotel, was founded here in 1903. Despite being the centre of a terrorist attack, it has risen to be an icon amongst India’s architectural and cultural marvels.
- The first inter-city railway, established between Mumbai and Surat, started operations in 1864, post its completion.
- 25% of the domestic, and 38% of the international air passenger traffic is handled by Mumbai!
- In the year 1832, at the residence of the junior magistrate of police at Byculla, the city’s first post office was opened.
Mumbai presents a unique experience for both novice and seasoned travellers. Tourist places in Mumbai are well maintained by the city’s civic body, and attract hordes of tourists every year. Those looking for luxury hotels in Mumbai will be pleasantly surprised at the sheer variety of accommodation and cuisines that this city offers. Mumbai Hotels are known for their hospitality and provide travellers with more than just a place to stay when they land in the Maximum City.