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Fast Facts
Location : Maharashtra
Popular As : Capital City of Maharashtra, Commercial Capital of India
Attractions : Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, Jain Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Haji Ali Tomb, Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan etc.
Best Time To Visit : October to April

Introducing Mumbai
Gateway of IndiaOne of the metros of India, Mumbai is a city of glamour, of lively people, of Hindi Film Industry - Bollywood, the model brigade, the page 3 fashionastas, the business giants, the upstarts and so on. Earlier known as Bombay, Mumbai is the capital of the West Indian state of Maharasthra. Also called the commercial and entertainment capital of India, Mumbai has India's busiest airport for International arrivals and departures. Situated off the west coast of India, Mumbai has a deep natural harbour which handles over half of India's passenger traffic and a big amount of cargo.

Often referred to as the economic powerhouse of India, Mumbai is the most affluent and the most industrialised city of India. Mumbai is the headquarter of several big Indian companies and houses important finanical institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE). With a population of about 13 million in the main city and 7 million in the suburbs, Mumbai forms the fifth most populous metropolitan area of the world.
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Cliched, but true, Mumbai is the most happening city of India and it never sleeps. All night partying, eating joints open all night, and even chaiwallas pedalling along the sea-facing streets make the city alive. Moreover, Mumbai's charms are endless and it is impossible to sum up all in few words, better you visit the city on your own and become a part of its lively environs.

How to Reach Mumbai
By Air : Mumbai has international and domestic airports which are located to the north of the city. International airlines operate from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, located 30 km north of the city centre and domestic carriers from the Santa Cruz airport, 26 km from the city centre. Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Air Deccan, British Airways, Air France, Gulf Air etc. operate flights from Mumbai airport. From the airport taxis, auto-rickshaws are available for the various parts of the city.

By Train : Mumbai is connected to rest of the country by Central and Western Railway lines. Most of trains reaching to Mumbi from central, southern and eastern region arrive at Central Railway Terminus (CST) which is located in the heart of the city. Trains from northern part of India arrive at Western Railway Terminus (Bombay Central). Rajdhani express, Sampark Kranti Express, several express and superfast trains ply to Mumbai from Delhi and other parts of the country. Mumbai is also well served by railway for its suburban routes.

By Bus : National Highways No 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 17 provide connecting routes between Mumbai and rest of the country. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) operates bus service from Mumbai to other towns and cities with the state and nearby states. Buses are available from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Goa, Indore, Pune and Surat. BEST buses ply within the city and they are also good mode of transport within the city.

Local Transport : Prepaid taxis, city buses, auto-rickshaws and local trains are modes of local transport in Mumbai.

Places Where You Can Stay
Plenty of accommodation is available in Mumbai ranging from five star hotels to budget hotels. Equipped with the contemporary facilities the hotels of Mumbai provide comfortable stay to guests. Some of the popular hotels of Mumbai include :

Luxury Hotels : JW Marriott, Renaissance Mumbai Hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton & Towers, The Oberoi, Hilton Towers, The Leela Kempinski, The Taj President, Le Royal Meridien, Taj Land's End, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency.

Deluxe Hotels : The Orchid, The Marine Plaza, Ramada Palm Grove, Best Western the Emerald, Sun-N-Sand, Sea Princess and Lotus Suites.

Standard Hotels : The Ambassador, The Fariyas, Rodas, The Gordon House Hotel and Y.W.C.A International Guest House.

Tourist Attractions in Mumbai
Gateway of India : Gateway of India is the principal landmark of Mumbai and thronged by thousands of visitors everyday. A conventional Arch of Triumph, Gateway of India was conceived after the visit of King George V to India in 1911 and officially opened in the year 1924. Architecturally its designs have been derived from the 16th century Muslim styles of Gujarat. Built of yellow basalt, the gateway stands on the Apollo Bunder, a famous meeting place of the city's people in the evenings.

Marine Drive : Officially called as Netaji Subhash Road, Marine Drive was built on land reclaimed in 1920. Marine Drive runs along the shoreline of Back Bay, starting at Nariman Point, passes Chowaptty Beach and runs up to Malabar Hill. One of the Mumbai's most famous attraction, Marine Drive is backed with the high rising buildings and visited by large number of people in the evening.

Chowpatty Beach : Mumbai's famous beach, Chowpatty Beach attracts large number of visitors every day. Although the sea water is not too healthy for bathing or swimming, but the Chowpatty Beach offer plenty of other activities. Here you can enjoy Mumbi's popular snack, bhelpuri and kulfi ice cream. Besides, you can enjoy other leisure activities on the Chowpatty Beach.

Jain Temple : Built in 1904, the marble temple is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Adinath. The temple is constructed on the lines of typical modern Jain temples, i.e. the mirrored style. The walls of the temple are elegantly decorated with images of incidents in the lives of the Tirthankars.

Mahalaxmi Temple : The oldest temple in Mumbai, the Mahalaxmi temple is dedicated to the goddess of wealth. Mahalaxmi temple houses the images of goddess and her two sisters, which are said to have been found in the sea.

Haji Ali Tomb : Haji Ali Tomb is dedicated to a Muslim Saint who was drowned here. You can reach the tomb buildings by a long causeway which can only be crossed at low tide. Besides Muslim, people of other religions also visit the tomb in large number every day.

Prince of Wales Museum : Prince of Wales Museum also called the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastusangrahalaya is an impressive colonial building surrounded by a huge garden. The museum was build in 1905 to commemorate King George V's first visit to India. The first part of this museum was opened in the year 1914. Prince of Wales Museum houses archaeological findings dating back to 2,000 BC from the Indus Valley Civilisation and has a fine collection of Indian art and artefacts across the country. Amongst the most interesting collection are a very rare collection of miniature paintings, idols and bas reliefs from the Elephanta Caves, Buddha images and models of the Parsi Towers of Silence. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.15 am to 6 pm, closed on Mondays.
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Jehangir Art Gallery : Situated within the Prince of Wales Museum compound, the Jehangir Art Gallery is known for special exhibitions of modern Indian art on a regular basis.
Mahalaxmi Temple
Other Museums : Close to the Prince of Wales Museum is the Bombay Natural History Society which has an interesting collection of preserved specimens. Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum earlier called the Victoria and Albert Museum is located in the Veer Jeejamata Udyan. The chief attraction of this museum is larger than life elephant stature from the Elephanta Island.The Nehru Planetarium is also a popular destination for amateur astronomers and the Nehru Centre organises the exhibitions and international trade fairs on a regular interval. Visit the Mumbai Harbour, where the Vikrant, an ex-warship has been converted to a maritime museum.

Mani Bhawan : Mani Bhawan is the building where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1934 has been converted into a museum. Located near the August Kranti Maidan, the museum has houses Mahatma Gandhi's books, photographs and personal belongings. The museum is open from 10 am to 5.30 pm.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Kanheri Caves : Located in Borivali, a suburb of Mumbai, the national park spread amidst hills and forest. In Sanjay Gandhi National Park you can spot a variety of wild animals that include leopards. The park is also very popular for 109 Buddhist rock-cut caves that were used as Viharas (monasteries), equipped with beds and prayer halls. The caves dating back to 1st century AD reflects the austerity of the Buddhist practices.

Tourist Attractions Around Mumbai
Elephanta Caves : A short ferry ride from the Mumbai Harbour takes you to the Elephanta Island or Gharapuri (the local name meaning fortress city), the home to 7 th century rock-cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Elephanta caves are located two-third of the way up two hillocks, at the centre of the island. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the main central cave houses the Maheshamurti, a three-headed sculpture of Shiva resplendent in all his forms namely the creator, preserver and destroyer. Besides, the cave also has delicately-carved panels depicting the life of Lord Shiva. The Elephanta Festival organized by the MTDC is a great time to visit as a programme of classical music and dance is organized against the magnificent backdrop of the caves.

Vajreshwari : Set at the foot of Mandakini mountain, Vajreshwari is a town for tourists and pilgrims alike. Situated 81 km north of Mumbai, Vajreshwari is famous for its hot springs, temples and ashrams. Visit the popular Vajreshwari Temple, take a dip in the hot springs at Akoli Kund and the Nitanand Mandir at Ganeshpuri. If you are looking for some more adventure then visit the Agni Kund behind the temple where the water is so hot that it can cook rice within a few minutes.

Lonavala - Khandala : Located 104 km away from Mumbai, the charming twin hill resorts of Lonavala and Khandala provide a welcome break from the heat and crowds of the city of Mumbai. Perched 600 mts above sea level on the western slopes of the Sahyadri range, the resorts offer a cool, exhilarating climate and a pleasant gateway. During the monsoon the resorts look more picturesque, with the waterfalls gushing down steep ravines and mists rolling into the valley.

Bhaja and Karla Caves : Karla is 114 km away from Mumbai and it is the site of some of the best preserved and biggest Buddhist chaitya caves (prayer halls) dating back to 80 BC. Just three km from Karla are the caves at Bhaja, on the southern side of the Visapur Fort, dates back to around 200 BC. Bhaja is a complex of 18 caves, 10 of these are viharas (monasteries) and the rest are chaityas. Near by are another group of caves at Bedsa.

Matheran : Matheran is situated at a distance of 108 km from Mumbai on Mumbai - Pune highway. Set at a height of 800 m, Matheran is known for its red soil and clean air, and also for the monkeys. A charming town, Matheran is also home to some interesting colonial buildings. Motor transport is ban in this town, so horses and hand-drawn rickshaws are the only mode of transport. After a thrilling winding ride up the hill in a toy train or by car or bus, you have leave the vehicles at Dasturi Naka, 3 km outside the town limits. Further a long walk or horseback ride takes you to Matheran, a tranquil town with spectacular views that can be appreciated from various scenic points.

Kashid : Kashid is 139 km from Mumbai and a four-hour journey by road. A stunning beach, Kashid is nestled between two outcrops of rocks. Enjoy the bright sun on the beach and pass some good time. Also visit the massive Revdanda Fort built by the Portuguese.

Shopping in Mumbai
Mumbai is a paradise for shoppers and any trip to the city is incomplete without shopping. Here in Mumbai you will find everything of daily use that include clothes, shoes, perfumes and cosmetics, gadgets and gizmos, furnitures, books etc. There are certain areas of the city where you find a bit of everything, besides, you will also find hawkers who sell a variety of items. Mumbai has a number of shopping malls, which have several branded outlets. Some of the important shopping markets of Mumbai are Chor Bazaar, Oshiwara Joona-Poorana Market, Zaveri Bazaar, Gandhi Market, Crawford market etc.

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