Elevated view of Marine Drive in Mumbai from Nariman Point.
Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra and is India’s most populous city. It is also one of the most populous cities in the world and is home to more than 14 million people. It is recognised as an Alpha World City, which is a status that cities are given when they achieve a certain level withinn the global economic system. Mumbai is situated on India’s west coast and includes seven islands. Because of the rich supply of marine life, the people inhabiting these islands survived off fishing, establishing viable fishing villages here. Eventually, the Europeans arrived in India and colonised several areas, including the islands of Mumbai. In fact, Mumbai (then known as Bombay) became one of the more important trading towns.
During the 1800’s, Bombay became a centre of major progress in the fields of education and the economy. Then, in the following century, Indian freedom fighters emerged, and Bombay was the birthplace of many battles for independence. In fact, Mumbai was considered the base of the movement towards the independence that was finally achieved in 1947. When this happened, the greater area around today’s Mumbai city was named Bombay State. Thirteen years later, a new state was created and called Maharashtra, which has Mumbai (as it was named in 1995) as its capital city.
Today, Mumbai is the commercial and financial capital of the country, being the home of all of the major corporations, including banks and stock exchanges. In fact, this city generates five percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and makes 70% of the capital transactions to the entire economy. These are impressive statistics for one city.
Mumbai is also the entertainment hub of India, and is the origin of Bollywood, as India’s film industry is known. This genre is achieving ever-increasing acclaim the world over; not only in the hearts of Indian viewers, but across cultures and languages. This means that its standards of living and its entertainment sectors are designed with its status as the cinema centre in mind, as this identity demands superior resources and infrastructure.
The Gateway of India is a popular tourist attraction and the best known monument of Mumbai. This arch is huge and displays the intricate designs that are so typical of Indian art and motifs. The Gateway was built in honour of King George V and Queen Mary as a reminder of their visit to India, but Indian elements of design were introduced at a later stage. It was built using yellow basalt stone and embellished with complex webs of intricate complexity. This arch was given added resonance when, in the year that India earned its independence, the last of the British ships left India from the Gateway of India. Today, tourists use this attraction as the base from which they begin their tours of the city of Mumbai. Behind it lies the water, from where visitors may take one of the tour boats through the natural harbour.
As with the rest of India, Mumbai presents a palette of colours, textures, sights and sounds in terms of its people, religions and cultures. This presents a varied mosaic of intriguing aspects, lending Mumbai an air of mystery and depth.
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