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Mumbai is a dynamic capital of the South Western state of Maharashtra. It is a bustling megapolis that never sleeps. Throbbing with 12 million people (a number that keeps swelling by the day) from all parts of the country, Mumbai forms the ‘Urbs de Prima’ of India. It is the second largest city in the world in terms of population and an indomitable spirit that is exclusively Mumbai’s own.
Erstwhile called Bombay, Mumbai was originally a cluster of 7 marshy islands that was part of the dowry of Princess Catherine Braganza of Portugal when she married England’s Prince Charles in 1611. The city gained importance in the international arena only after the discovery of its natural harbor when the merchants saw its immense potential of trade. Thus came the Parsis, the Gujaratis and the South Indian Hindus who formed the base of the city’s multi-cultural, cosmopolitan society. Mumbai is also famous for hosting the first National Conference of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The famous ‘Quit India Movement’ also commenced from here.
Mumbai is the city where historical monuments and modern day architecture rub shoulders in harmony. While the contemporary architectures and mammoth skyscrapers give the feeling of a spectacular urban ethos, the cityscape is also adorned with living examples of the greatest Indo-Saracenic and Gothic architecture that are symbolic of the legacies of the bygone Colonial Raj.
Mumbai is one of the most affluent and industrialized megapolis and is often hailed as the ‘Commercial capital of India’. The subcontinent’s ‘City of gold’, Mumbai houses the principal stock exchange in the country, the BSE , which in fact is the third most important stock exchange in the country after New York and Tokyo.
Mumbai is also the headquarters of the Hindi Film Industry, where the studios of ‘Bollywood’-one of the largest and most prolific movie production centers in the world- churn out celluloid dreams that are watched not only in India but the world over. Plenty of starry-eyed teenagers come to Mumbai to be a part of the firmament and shine on the billboards but a few succeed and the rest remain as accessories of the great machine that churns out movies by the reels.
Whether they are the Dabbawalas (a team of people who reach packed lunch boxes from the households to the offices) or the suburban railway system, on which 6 million commuters depend, Mumbai always pulsates with life and passion. It has earned a name for playing a surrogate mother to whoever comes to live by her