Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel on the shore of Mumbai.
The ‘City of Dreams’ or ‘Islands City’ Mumbai, lies on the western coast of India on the bank of Arabian sea. Mumbai is the capital city of state of Maharashtra and economic capital of India. The city is made by connecting seven islands they are Isle of Bombay, Colaba, Old Woman’s Island (Little Colaba), Mahim, Mazagaon, Parel and Worli. Mumbai is divided into two districts they are Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban. Mumbai is the most populous city in India with 603.4 sq.km areas. It is seventh most populous region in the world.
It is the home to most of the billionaires and millionaires of the country. In Mumbai there are three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and the city’s distinctive ensemble of Victorian Art Deco buildings. Mumbai is one of the most developed and industrialized city in the country. The city is an important port of the country on the western seashore.
Mumbai is also facing many problems like air, water, noise and land pollution, lack of space and over population due to industrialization and rapid urbanization along with waste management issues, etc.
Mumbai is a narrow peninsula located on western coast of Maharashtra. As we have mentioned Mumbai is formed by combination of seven islands, so it has many bays between cities which are used for trading and transportation. It is bounded by Vasai creek to north, Thane creek to east and Arabian sea to the west. In Mumbai many cities are just above the sea level, with elevation ranging from 10 m to 15 m.
The total area of Mumbai is 603.4 sq.km of which 67.79 sq.km comprises of Mumbai city and 370 sq.km. consist of Mumbai Suburban. The combined area of both divisions is 437.71 sq.km which lies under the administration of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The remaining areas belong to different defence establishments: the Mumbai Port Trust, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Borivali National Park (also referred as Sanjay Gandhi National Park), which are out of the jurisdiction of the MCGM. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region which includes portions of Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts in addition to Greater Mumbai, covers an area of 4,355 sq.km. Mumbai is the centre of the Mumbai Metropolitan region. It is world’s sixth most populous metropolitan region.
Mumbai Metropolitan Region
There are three rivers originating in Borivali national park they are Dahisar river, Poinsar (or Poisar) river and Ohiwara (or Oshiwara) river. Dahisar, Poisar, Oshiwara, and Mithi are the four main rivers of Mumbai. Mithi is the most polluted river which originates from Tulsi lake. There are six lakes in the city: Vihar, Lower Vaitarna, Upper Vaitarna, Tulsi, Tansa and Powai. These lakes along with Bhatsa dam are used for city’s water supply. The water from Powai lake is used for agriculture and industries. Tulsi Lake and Vihar Lake are located in Borivali National Park. The eastern coast of Salsette island has rows of mangroves, wherein the western coast happens to be sandy and stony.
Mumbai has tropical climate, precisely a tropical wet and dry climate. The rainy season begins in June and end in late September. The maximum annual rainfall ever recorded was 3,452 mm (136 inches) in 1954 and highest rainfall recorded in a day was 944 mm (37 inches) on 26 July 2005. The post-monsoon season stretches from October to November and winter starts from December and last till early February. From March to May the city experience hot summer. Mean monthly temperature vary from 33°C in May to 19°C in January. The average annual rainfall is about 2514 mm (98 inches).
As we mention earlier that Mumbai is built on seven islands. It is not exactly known when these islands were first time inhabitated by human, but the Pleistocene sediments found along the coastal areas around Kandivali in northern Mumbai suggest that the islands were inhabitated by humans since hundreds of thousands of years. The Koli, an aboriginal tribe of fishermen, were the earliest known inhabitants of present-day Mumbai.
Between the second century BCE and ninth century CE, the islands came under the control of successive indigenous dynasties: Satavahanas, Western Satraps, Abhira, Vakataka, Kalachuris, Mauryas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, before being ruled by the Shilaharas from 810 to 1260. Some of oldest edifices built during this period are the Jogeshwari Caves (between 520 and 525),Elephanta Caves (between the sixth to seventh century),Walkeshwar Temple (10th century), and Banganga Tank (12th century). The Mahakali caves in Andheri were cut during the 1 century BCE to 6th century. During 6th-8th century the city was ruled by the Chalukyas who left their mark on elephanta islands.
In the 13th century, King Bhimdev founded his kingdom and established his capital Mahikawati(Mahim). During 1347-48 City was annexed by the Delhi Sultanate and they controlled the city until 1407. During this time, the islands were administered by the Governors of Gujarat, who were appointed by the Delhi Sultanate. The islands were later governed by the independent Gujarat Sultanate, which was established in 1407. They established many mosques during their Sultanate. From 1429 to 1431, the islands were a source of contention between the Gujarat Sultanate and the Bahmani Sultanate of Deccan.
In 1526 the Mughal empire was founded and in the mid-16th century it became the dominant power in the Indian Subcontinent. Due to growing apprehensive of the power of the Mughal emperor Humayun, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat was obliged to sign the Treaty of Bassein with the Portuguese Empire on 23 December 1534. According to the treaty the seven islands were offered to the Portuguese. The territories were later surrendered on 25 October 1535. The Portuguese were actively involved in the foundation and growth of their Roman Catholic religious orders in Bombay.They called the islands by various names, which finally took the written form Bombaim. They made many Churches, some popular churches are the St. Michael’s Church at Mahim (1534), St. John the Baptist Church at Andheri (1579), St. Andrew’s Church at Bandra (1580), and Gloria Church at Byculla (1632). The Portuguese also built several fortifications around the city like the Bombay Castle, Castella de Aguada (Castelo da Aguada or Bandra Fort), and Madh Fort.
On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal, placed the islands in possession of the English Empire, as part of Catherine’s dowry to Charles. However, Salsette, Bassein, Mazagaon, Parel, Worli, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala still remained under Portuguese possession. From 1665 to 1666, the English managed to acquire Mahim, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala. In 1687 East India Company transferred their headquarters from Surat to Bombay. It became the headquarter of the Bombay presidency. In 1737 Peshwa Bajirao 1 captured Salsette, and Basseun in 1739, ending the presence of Portuguese in the Mumbai. By the middle of the 18th century, Bombay began to grow into a major trading town, and received a huge influx of migrants from across India. In 1775, British occupied the Salsette and Bassein with the treaty of Surat, resulting in first Anglo-Maratha War.
Seven Islands of Mumbai
From 1782 onwards, the city was reshaped with large-scale civil engineering projects aimed at merging all the seven islands of Bombay into a single amalgamated mass by using a causeway called the Hornby Vellard, which was completed by 1784. In 1817 the last peshwa of Maratha Bajirao 2 was defeated in the battle of Khadki by the British. After this victory, almost the whole of the Deccan Plateau came under British suzerainty, and was incorporated into the Bombay Presidency.
By 1845, the seven islands coalesced into a single landmass by the Hornby Vellard project via large scale land reclamation. The first railway was established between Mumbai and Thane on 16 April 1853. From 1862 to 1865, the city became the world’s chief cotton trading market, resulting in a boom in the economy. While the city was capital of the Bombay Presidency, Indian independence movement fostered the Quit India Movement in 1942 and the mutiny of Royal Indian Navy in 1946.
After India’s independence in 1947, the territory of the Bombay Presidency retained by India was restructured into Bombay State. In 1950 Bombay was declared state, following protests of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, in which 107 people were killed by police. Bombay State was reorganised on linguistic lines.
Gujarati-speaking areas of Bombay State were partitioned into the state of Gujarat following the Mahagujarat Movement. Maharashtra State with Bombay as its capital was formed with the merger of Marathi-speaking areas of Bombay State, eight districts from Central Provinces and Berar, five districts from Hyderabad State, and numerous princely states enclosed between them.
The following decades saw massive expansion of the city and its suburbs. In the late 1960s, Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade were reclaimed and developed. On 26th January 1975 by the government of Maharashtra, The Bombay Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) was established as an apex body for planning and co-ordination of development activities in Bombay metropolitan region. In August 1979, a sister township of New Bombay was found by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) across the Thane and Raigad districts to help the dispersal and control of Bombay’s population. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port was commissioned on 26 May 1989 across the creek at Nhava Sheva with a view to de-congest Bombay Harbour and to serve as a hub port for the city. On 1 October 1990 Mumbai was divided into two districts that are Mumbai city and Mumbai suburban.
In March 1993, a series of 13 coordinated bombings at several city landmarks by extremists and the Bombay underworld resulted in 257 deaths and over 700 injuries. The city also suffered a series of seven bomb explosions in the city’s commuter trains, in 2006 which resulted in deaths of 209 people and over 700 injured . In 2008, a series of ten coordinated attacks by armed terrorists for three days resulted in 173 deaths, 308 injuries, and severe damage to several heritage landmarks and prestigious hotels.
The city is the financial capital of the country with well-developed infrastructures. The city is developing day by day. From being a fisherman’s land to becoming the economic capital of India, Mumbai has come long way.
Mumbai is the financial and commercial capital of India. It serves as an economic hub of India, contributing 10% of factory employment, 25% of industrial output, 33% of income tax collections, 60% of customs duty collections, 20% of central excise tax collections, 40% of India’s foreign trade and ₹40 billion (US$560 million) in corporate taxes. Many companies like Tata Group, Godrej, Life insurance Corporation of India, State bank of India, Reliance, Larsen and Toubro, etc are based in Mumbai.
The presence of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and financial sector regulators like Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) supported Mumbai to become the economic hub of the country. Till 1970 Mumbai owned its prosperity in textile mills and seaport but the local economy has then diversified to include finance, engineering, diamond-polishing, healthcare and information technology. The important sectors contributing to the city’s economy are: finance, gems & jewellery, leather processing, IT and ITES, textiles, and entertainment. After being lagging behind cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune in IT Sector, Mumbai began developing its own IT sector in the late 20th century. The Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) and the International Infotech Park (Navi Mumbai) offer excellent facilities to IT companies.
State and central government employees make up a large percentage of the city’s workforce. Mumbai also includes blue collar workers which includes unskilled and semi-skilled person like Rikshaw & Taxi Driver, hawkers ,mechanics etc. Port and shipping industries are also well developed in Mumbai. Recycling industry is well developed in the Dharavi in central Mumbai. As we mention earlier that it is the home to most of the billionaires and millionaires, in 2008 it was ranked seventh in the list of “Top Ten Cities for Billionaires” by Forbes magazine and first in the list in terms of those billionaires’ average wealth. In Mumbai, there are 28 billionaires and 46000 millionaires with total wealth around $820 billion. Group (GaWC) has ranked Mumbai as an “Alpha world city”, third in its categories of Global cities.
Being a metropolis Mumbai has diversity in its lifestyles, cuisines, religions, festivals, languages, fine arts and entertainment. Mumbai’s culture is influenced by numerous customs associated to various ethnic groups. This diversity is the result of migration from various parts of the country right from the British period.
The city offers a number of libraries, museum, art galleries and literary institutions. The architecture of these sites is a lively blend of British and various Indian architectural forms. The Fort area of Mumbai is the home of the cities two most renowned landmarks. First one is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and which is also listed as the UNESCO’S word heritage site in 2004. The second one is ‘Gate Way of India’ which is astonishing arch shaped structure which was built in early 20th century.
Mumbai is the birth place of Indian cinema. Dadasaheb Phalke laid its foundation through silent marathi then marathi talkies followed by the first film broadcast that took place in early 20th century. Even the name of ‘Bollywood’ is derived from Bombay (city’s previous name) and Hollywood.
Mumbai is an important centre for Indian print industry. Daily newspapers various monthly, weekly and fortnightly magazines of variety of genres are published in English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Gujarati and other languages. Head offices of many famous publishing houses are located here. The city’s rich literature is highlighted by writers such as Aravind Adiga, Salman Rushdie, Anant Kanekar, Gangadhar Gadgil and many others.
Mumbaikars celebrate western as well as Indian festivals with great enthusiasm. Diwali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid, Christmas, Dussehra, Good Friday, Durga Puja and Mahashivratri are some of the most popular cultural festivals celebrated here.
The city also offers a wide variety of mouth-watering vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes such as vada paav, missal paav, kanda poha, pani puri, puran poli, tawa pulao, varieties of biryani, kebabs, kheema paav, numerous kind of fish fry, all kinds of Indian dishes, Western, Italian, Punjabi, Mughalai foods and so on.
Greater Mumbai spreads over an area of 603 sq.km consisting of Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban districts. It is administered by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) which is also referred as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). MCGM takes care of the civic and infrastructure needs of the metropolis.
The Municipal Commissioner is the head of the executive authorities of the municipal corporation who is an IAS officer appointed by the state. The Mumbai Fire Brigade also comes under the jurisdiction of municipal corporation and is headed by the Chief Fire Officer. The two revenue districts (Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban district) comes under the jurisdiction of District Collector. The property records, revenue collection for central government and general elections held in the city are supervised by the district collector.
There is a separate body for planning and infrastructural development of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) which is known as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). Mumbai Skywalks, Mumbai Urban Transport Project, Mumbai Metro Rail Project (except Mumbai Metro Line 3), etc. are some of the projects of MMRDA.
Mumbai Police department comes under the State Home Ministry and is headed by the Police Commissioner who is an IPS officer. The Mumbai Traffic Police also comes under Mumbai Police. The Police department has seven divisions and there are seventeen divisions for traffic police all over the city. The Bombay High Court which practices jurisdiction over the states of Maharashtra, Goa and the union territory of Dadra and Nagar haveli and Diu and Daman is located at Mumbai. Mumbai also has two lower courts, sessions courts and small causes courts for various civic matters and criminal cases.
Tourism in Mumbai
Mumbai is a prime centre of tourism with around 6 million tourists per year. The city offers several places of natural heritage, leisure spots, beaches, cinemas, studios, holy places, amusement parks, national parks and historical monuments.
As Mumbai is a coastal city, marine attractions are exceptionally popular. Beaches in Mumbai include Juhu beach, Kalamb beach, Marve beach, Versova beach and many others. Nariman point, Marine drive, Bandra-Worli sea link are other attractive sea sights. Water sports are common on the city’s seashore. Additionally, lake destinations include Powai lake, Vihar lake, Bandra Talao, Tulsi lake and some smaller ones. Mumbai has a large number of recreational destinations such as Essel World (Water Kingdom) and Adlabs Imagica.
Being a historical city Mumbai has a number of important historical locations which includes 14 major forts and 5 natural cave groups, some of them are Elephanta caves, Mahim fort, Kanheri caves, Belapur fort, Bombay castle, Mahapandeshwar caves, Castella de Aguada(Bandra fort) and Worli fort. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya(Prince of Wales Museum), Jehangir Art Gallery, National gallery of Modern art are also worth visiting art centres. Nehru Science Centre and Nehru Planetarium are worth visiting places for science enthusiasts.
Mumbai also offers some breathtaking sites for nature enthusiasts such as Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Pandavkada falls, Aarey forest and many others. Gateway of India is a prime tourist attraction due to its exemplary architecture. Film City in Goregaon is another spot which grabs attention of tourists interested in Indian cinema. There are three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and the city’s distinctive ensemble of Victorian Art Deco buildings, these are the prime places of attractions for international as well as domestic tourists.
The Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Mumbai are
Mumbai has well developed transportation system. Transport in Mumbai includes Railways, Roadways, Buses, Western and Central Railways, Monorails, Metro, Auto Rickshaws, etc. Taxi and Auto Rickshaws requires CNG which is an easily available service.
The Railways are divided into two routes that Western Railways and Central Railways. In Central Railways trains runs from Kasara and khapoli to CSTM via Kalyan. Kasara is in the Nashik route while Karjat is in the Pune route, the two routes meet at the Kalyan Junction. In Western Railways, trains run from Dhanu Road to Churchgate. Harbour line connect Goregaon to CSTM and Panvel. Thane-Vashi route connect thane to the Navi Mumbai. Mumbai metro runs from Versova to Ghatkopar (Central Railway Station) via Andheri (Western Railway Station). Monorail runs from Vadala Depot to Chembur.
Buses runs by the Brihan-Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) covers whole metropolitan region. The buses run by BEST connects Thane and Navi Mumbai to Mumbai City. Mumbai’s bus services carried over 5.5 million passengers per day in 2008, which dropped to 2.8 million in 2015. The total number of buses currently running by BEST are 4608. The buses run over 390 routes. The buses have CCTV cameras installed in it. There are various types of buses such as double decker, single decker, fleet, etc. Air-conditioned buses were introduced in 1998. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC, also known as ST) buses provide inter-city transport connecting Mumbai with other towns and cities of Maharashtra and nearby states. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) and Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) buses also operates in Mumbai, connecting various nodes of Navi Mumbai and Thane to parts of Mumbai. The Roadways are used by the Taxis, Rickshaws, etc. For short distance travelling Taxi, Rickshaws and buses are most preferable. 88% of the city’s commuters travel by public transport, yet there are traffic problems.
Mumbai is served by the 5 national highways that are National Highway 3 ,National Highway 4, National Highway 8, National Highway 17 and National Highway 222. The Golden Quadrilateral which connects four big cities of India also passes through the Mumbai. The Golden Quadrilateral connects Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. The first Expressway built in India is Mumbai-Pune expressway. The Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge, along with Mahim Causeway, links the island city to the western suburbans. The eastern Express connects thane to Sion. The western Expressway connects Bandra to Dahisar. Sion-Panvel expressway connects Sion to Panvel. The city also has Mumbai-Nashik Expressway. Mumbai-Vadodara expressway is under construction.
Mumbai is the commercial capital of India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (formerly Sahar International Airport) is the main aviation hub in the city. It has two terminals T1 and T2, one for domestic and one for international flights and also the second busiest airport in the country for passengers. It has also won the “Best Airport in India and Central Asia” award at the Skytrax 2016 World Airport Awards. It is one of the three airports in India to have implemented Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) to ensure timely take-offs and landings A new international airport is proposed in Navi Mumbai in Kopra Panvel area. The Juhu Aerodrome was India’s first airport, and now hosts the Bombay Flying Club and a heliport operated by state-owned Pawan Hans.
The water transportation in Mumbai includes ferries and hovocraft. Since India is a mixed economy, the service is provided by the both Government as well as Private agencies. The ferries and boats are used to reach the Elephanta.
Since the early development in the Mumbai has taken place due to its port. So even today it has two major ports; the Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust is the largest port in the country. JNPT was commissioned on 26 May 1989 and it is the busiest and most modern major port in India. The headquarters of the Western Naval Command are located in Mumbai. Mumbai is the important base for Indian Navy.
Education and Schooling
In terms of education, Mumbai is one of the best and most competitive cities of India. As per ‘QS Best Student Cities’ ranking published by global education consultancy
QS, Mumbai’s rank was 85th out of 120 (Bangalore’s spot was 83rd was the only Indian city above Mumbai).
Most of the schools in Mumbai are either run by MCGM which are generally referred as Municipal schools or private schools which are managed by trusts or institutions. In some cases, the private schools too received financial aids from government. These schools are affiliated with Maharashtra Board(MSBSHSE), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), International Board(IB), International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), etc. The primary education system of MCGM is the largest urban primary education system in Asia with around 1200 schools currently in operation providing education in 8 different languages.
As per the current 10+2+3/4 system of education after completing 10 years of primary education the students move to junior college where they select one stream either arts, science and commerce and this is followed by a general degree in a chosen field of education or a professional degree in law, engineering or medicine. Most of the college’s in Mumbai are affiliated to University of Mumbai which is one of the leading educational institutions of India. It’s ranking lies between 800 – 1000 in the QS world University Rankings. The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (iitb), Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (Vjti) are some of the msot prominent engineering and technology schools in Mumbai. Seth G.S. Medical college, Grant Medical College are the leading institutions affiliated with KEM Hospital and Sir J.J group of hospitals respectively.
Two of the most prominent research institutions of India Tara Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) are also located in Mumbai.
Pollution, growing population and lack of space are regarded as the traditional challenges of Mumbai. But in the previous two decades these three challenges along with the rapid development. The floods of 2005, abnormal summer temperatures, erratic rainfalls and the recent landslide on Western Express Highway near Kandivali are undoubtedly the result of environmental degradation of Mumbai.
There are five water bodies in Maharashtra which are considered as heavily polluted and Mumbai’s Mithi river is one of them. As per the water analysis done by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in 2018, Mumbai has nine locations which have polluted water which includes popular tourist spots such as Juhu, Nariman point, Worli sea face, Haji Ali and many others.
Another grave threat is air pollution. Mumbai has very high incidence of respiratory problems due to high air pollution in the metropolis. The prime causes behind this are the industries of Eastern suburbs and Navi Mumbai, garbage burning and lack of control over vehicle emmisons.
Noise pollution is also an alarming problem in Mumbai. Heavy traffic, large numbers of railways, aeroplanes, public gatherings and industries are major contributors to noise pollution. According to an exercise conducted to map noise levels across the city CSMT was the nosiest location during the day at 95.3 decibels(dB).
Garbage is another great environmental issue in Mumbai. Approximately, 437.7 sq.km of area along the coastline and creeks is under threat with plastic waste. Dharavi which is one of the world’s largest slum areas is also present in Mumbai. Open sewers and lack of proper water supply has led to the spread of diseases in this region. Many dwellers in Dharavi have their settlements around huge garbage dumping. The sanitation facilities are detoriated to such an extent that there is only 1 toilet per 1440 people. Another grave incident was cutting of trees in Aarey forest which is a no-development and eco-sensitive zone, fortunately the Supreme Court’s stay order prevented this heavy demolition of trees.