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Mumbai (Marathi: मुंबई Mumbaī, IPA: Template:Audio), formerly known as Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra, and is the most populous city in India (estimated population as of 2006 is about 13 million).[1] Mumbai is located on the Salsette Island, off the west coast of Maharashtra. Along with its neighbouring suburbs, it forms the world's sixth most populous metropolitan region, with a population of about 25 million. The metro population ranking is projected to rise to the 4th position by 2015 due to an annual growth rate of 2.2%.[2] The city has a deep natural harbour and the port handles over half of India's passenger traffic, along with a significant amount of cargo.[3]

Mumbai is the commercial, financial and entertainment capital of India. It houses important financial institutions, such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and the corporate headquarters of many Indian companies. Mumbai has attracted migrants from all over India because of the immense business opportunities and the relatively high standard of living, making the city a potpourri of various communities and cultures. The city is home to India's Hindi film and television industry, known as Bollywood. Mumbai is also one of the few cities in the world to accommodate a national park (the Sanjay Gandhi National Park) within its city limits. The city is also home to most of India's tallest buildings.


For more information, see: Origins of the name of Mumbai.

The name Mumbai is eponymous to Mumba. It is etymologically derived from Maha-Amba— the name of the Koli Goddess Mumbadevi, and Aai (Marathi: 'mother').[4] The origins of the former name of the city, Bombay has several interesting theories. It is alleged, for example, that the Portuguese, upon their arrival in this region in the 16th Century, called the place with various names, which would eventually take on the written form Bombaim, still common in current Portuguese use. After the British gained possession in the 17th century, it was anglicised to Bombay, although it was known as Mumbai or Mambai to Marathi speaking locals, and as Bambai in Hindi, Urdu, and Persian.[5] The name was officially changed to Mumbai in 1995, but Bombay is still widely used by the city's inhabitants and a number of its famous institutions.


For more information, see: History of Mumbai.

Mumbai was originally an archipelago of seven islands. Artefacts found near Kandivali, a suburb in northern Mumbai indicate that these islands had been inhabited since the Stone Age.[6] Documented evidence of human habitation dates back to 250 BC, when it was known as Heptanesia, due to Ptolemy (Gk.: A Cluster of Seven Islands). In the 3rd century BCE, the islands formed part of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Aşoka. The Hindu rulers of the Silhara Dynasty later governed the islands until 1343, when the kingdom of Gujarat annexed them. Some of the oldest edifices of the archipelago – the Elephanta Caves and the Walkeshwar temple complex date back to this era.

In 1534, the Portuguese appropriated the islands from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. They were ceded to Charles II of England in 1661, as dowry for Catherine de Braganza. These islands, were in turn leased to the British East India Company in 1668 for a sum of £10 per annum. The company found the deep harbor on the east coast of the islands to be ideal for setting up their first deep sea port in the sub-continent. With the setting up of the sea port, came more commerce and an increase in population; In 1687, the British East India Company transferred its headquarters from Surat to Bombay. The city eventually became the headquarters of the Bombay Presidency.

Between 1817 and 1845, the Hornby Vellard project was undertaken with the aim of merging all seven islands into one single agglomeration, thereby increasing the total area of the city to 438 km². In 1853, India's first passenger railway line was established, connecting Bombay to the town of Thana to the north east. The breakout of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865) and the opening of shorter trade routes between the European markets and India due to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 led to an unprecedented economic boom and unparalleled growth in the size, population and stature of the city.[7]

Over the next thirty years, the city grew into a major urban centre, spurred by an improvement in infrastructure and the construction of many of the city's institutions. The population of the city swelled to one million by 1906, making it the second largest in India after Calcutta. As capital of the Bombay Presidency, it was a major base for the Indian independence movement, with the Quit India Movement called by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 being its most rubric event. After India's independence in 1947, it became the capital of the State of Bombay. In the 1950s the city expanded to its present limits by incorporating parts of Salsette island, which lay to the north.

Due to the re-organization of states in India on linguistic grounds, Bombay was made the capital of the new state of Maharashtra, after the old state of Bombay was bifurcated into the predominantly Gujarati speaking State of Gujarat and Marathi speaking Maharashtra.

The late 1970s witnessed a construction boom and a significant influx of migrants from within and outside Maharashtra, which saw Bombay overtake Calcutta as India's most populous city. This also led to the creation of the Shiv Sena in 1966, a political party whose political agenda was the safeguarding of the rights of the local Marathi speaking population, based on a policy of 'sons of the soil'. The city's secular fabric was torn apart in 1992, after large scale sectarian violence caused extensive loss of life and property. A few months later, on March 12, simultaneous bombings at several city landmarks by the Mumbai underworld killed around three hundred people. In 1995, the city was renamed Mumbai, primarily at the behest of the Shiv Sena, which was a part of the political coalition governing the state of Maharashtra at that time. This was in line with the Shiv Sena's policy of renaming colonial institutions after local entities. In 2006, Mumbai was also the site of a major terrorist incident in which over two hundred people were killed when several bombs exploded almost simultaneously on the Mumbai Suburban Railway.[8]

See also: Timeline of Mumbai events


For more information, see: Geography of Mumbai.

Mumbai is located on the Salsette Island, which lies at the mouth of the Ulhas River in the coastal region known as the Konkan, off the western coast of India. Much of Mumbai is at sea level, and the average elevation ranges from 10 to 15 metres. The northern part of Mumbai is hilly, and the highest point of the city lies here at 450 metres (1,450 feet).[9] Mumbai spans a total area of 468 km² (169 mi²).

The Vihar, Vaitarna, Powai, Tulsi and Tansa lakes supply water to the city for daily consumption by both residents as well as industry. Mumbai also has three small rivers within the city limits originating within the National Park. The coastline of the city is indented with numerous creeks and bays. The eastern seaboard of Salsette Island is covered with large mangrove swamps, rich in biodiversity. On the western seaboard, there are two beaches, named Juhu beach and Chowpatty.

Mumbai is classified as a metropolis of India, under the jurisdiction of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation. It consists of two distinct regions — the city and the suburbs, which also form two separate districts of Maharashtra. The city region is also commonly referred to as the Island City.[10]


Soil cover in the city region is predominantly sandy due to its proximity to the sea. In the suburbs, the soil cover is largely alluvial and loamy. The underlying rock of the region is composed of black Deccan basalt flows, and their acid and basic variants dating back to the late Cretaceous and early Eocene eras periods. Mumbai sits on a seismically active zone[11] owing to the presence of three fault lines in the vicinity. The area is classified as a Zone III region, which means an earthquake of up to magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale may be expected.


For more information, see: Public transport in Mumbai.

Mumbai's residents have a wide choice of public transport to choose from; the popularity of the public commuter rail and bus networks stems from the acute shortage of parking spaces, perennial traffic bottlenecks and generally poor road conditions, especially during the monsoon.

Public buses run by the BEST (an autonomous body under the BMC) cover almost all parts of the metropolis, as well as parts of Navi Mumbai and Thane. Buses are used for commuting short to medium distances, while train fares are more economical for long distance commutes. The BEST fleet consists of single-decker, double-decker and air-conditioned buses.

Black-and-yellow metered taxis, accommodating up to four passengers with luggage, cover most of the metropolis. Auto rickshaws, allowed to operate only in the suburban areas, are the main form of hired transport here. These three-wheeled vehicles can accommodate up to three passengers.

Mumbai is serviced by two rail networks spanning the western and eastern flanks of the metropolis. These networks are operated and administered by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) [1] in concert with two separate rail divisions of the Indian Railways – the Western Railway (WR), headquartered at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus), and the Central Railway (CR), headquartered near Churchgate, respectively. Both lines extend into the exurbs, each covering a total one-way length of around 125 km. The Harbour Line is a sub-division of the Central Railway, covering a distance of 54 km along the south-eastern section of the city, near the docks, and extending into Navi Mumbai (New Bombay). Mumbai is well connected by the Indian Railways to most parts of India.

To ease the congestion on the older rail networks operated by the Indian Railways, a new Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) is being constructed by Mumbai Metro One, a corporation operated by a consortium led by Reliance Energy.

Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport (formerly, Sahar International Airport) is the busiest airport in India, and caters to cargo and international flights, while Santacruz Airport caters to domestic flights. The nearby Juhu aerodrome was India's first airport, and now hosts a flying club and a heliport.

With its unique topography, Mumbai has one of the best natural harbours in the world, handling 50% of the country's passenger traffic, and much of India's cargo. It is also an important base for the Indian Navy.[12] Ferries from Ferry Wharf allow cheap access to islands and beaches in the area.

See also: Mumbai Suburban Railway


For more information, see: Weather of Mumbai.

Being in the tropical zone, and near the Arabian Sea, Mumbai's climate may be broadly classified into two main seasons — the humid season, and the dry season. The humid season, between March and October, is characterised by high humidity and temperatures of over 30 °C (86 °F). The monsoon rains lash the city between June to September, and supply most of the city's annual rainfall of 2,200 mm (85 inches). The maximum annual rainfall ever recorded was 3,452 mm (135.89 inches) in 1954.[13] The highest rainfall recorded in a single day was 944 mm (37.16 inches) on 2005-07-26.[14]

The dry season, between November and February, is characterised by moderate levels of humidity and warm to cool weather. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill during January and February. Annual temperatures range from a high of 38 °C (100 °F) to a low of 11 °C (52 °F). The record high is 43.3 °C (110 °F) and record low is 7.4 °C (45 °F).[15]


For more information, see: Economy of Mumbai.

Mumbai contributes 10% of all factory employment, 40% of all income tax collections, 60% of all customs duty collections, 20% of all central excise tax collections, 40% of India's foreign trade and Rupees 40 billion (US$ 9 billion) in corporate taxes in India.[16] A number of Indian financial institutions have headquarters in downtown Mumbai, including the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Reserve Bank of India, the National Stock Exchange of India, the Mint, and numerous conglomerates (the Tata Group, Godrej and Reliance. Many foreign banks and financial institutions run and manage their Indian and South Asian operations from this city.

Up until the 1980s, Mumbai owed its prosperity largely to textile mills and the seaport, but the local economy has since been diversified to include engineering, diamond-polishing, healthcare, finance and information technology. Mumbai’s status as the state capital means that state and federal government employees make up a large percentage of the city's workforce. Mumbai also has a large unskilled and semi-skilled labour population, who primarily earn their livelihood as hawkers, taxi drivers, mechanics and other such blue collar professions. The port and shipping industry too employs many residents, directly or indirectly.

The entertainment industry is the other major employer in Mumbai. Most of India's major television and satellite networks, as well as its major publishing houses are headquartered in Mumbai. The centre of the Hindi movie industry, Bollywood, is also located in Mumbai, along with its largest studios and movie production houses. Marathi television and film industries are also based in Mumbai.

Civic administration

For more information, see: Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
City officials
Mayor Shubha Raul March 10, 2007
Municipal Commissioner Johny Joseph February 29, 2004
Police Commissioner Dhananjay N. Jadhav March 7, 2007
Sheriff Vijaypat Singhania December 19, 2005
Collector Mahesh Pathak -


The city is administered by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) (formerly the Bombay Municipal Corporation), with executive powers vested with the Municipal Commissioner, who is an IAS officer appointed by the state government. The Corporation comprises 227 directly elected Councillors representing the twenty four municipal wards[17], five nominated Councillors, and a titular Mayor. The BMC is in charge of the civic and infrastructure needs of the metropolis. An Assistant Municipal Commissioner oversees each ward for administrative purposes. Almost all the state political parties field candidates in the elections for Councillors.

The metropolitan area forms two districts of Maharashtra, with each under the jurisdiction of a District Collector. The Collectors are in charge of property records and revenue collection for the Federal Government, and oversee the national elections held in the city.

The city elects six members to the Lok Sabha and thirty-four members to the Maharashtra State Assembly.


For more information, see: Mumbai Police.

The Mumbai Police is headed by a Police Commissioner, who is an IPS officer. The Mumbai Police comes under the Home Ministry of the state of Maharashtra. The city is divided into seven police zones and seventeen traffic police zones, each headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police. The Mumbai Traffic Police is a semi-autonomous body under the Mumbai Police.

Bombay High Court

For more information, see: Bombay High Court.

Mumbai is the seat of the Bombay High Court, which exercises jurisdiction over the states of Maharashtra and Goa, and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Mumbai also has two lower courts, the Small Causes Court for civil matters, and the Sessions Court for criminal cases.

Utility services


The BMC supplies potable water to the city, most of which come from the Tulsi and Vihar lakes, as well as a few lakes further north. The water is filtered at Bhandup, which is also Asia's largest water filtration plant. The BMC is also responsible for the road maintenance and garbage collection in the city. Almost all of Mumbai's daily refuse of 7,800 metric tonnes[18] is transported to dumping grounds in Gorai in the northwest, Mulund in the northeast, and Deonar in the east. Sewage treatment is carried out at Worli and Bandra.


Electricity is supplied by the BEST within city limits, and by Reliance Energy, Tata, and Mahavitaran (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd) in the suburbs. Most of the city's electricity is generated by hydroelectric and nuclear power plants.

Phone and Internet

Wireline and wireless telephone network connectivity is very good within the city of Mumbai. Traditionally, fixed line connectivity has been provided by state-owned MTNL, which held a monopoly up until 2000. Privately run cellular service providers provide good coverage over almost all areas of the city. Broadband internet penetration is increasing in the city, with MTNL and Tata being the leading service providers.

See also: Mumbai's water sources


The population of Mumbai is about 18 million, with a density of about 29,000 persons per square kilometre. There are 811 females to every 1,000 males – which is lower than the national average, primarily because many working males come from rural areas, where they leave behind their families. The overall literacy rate of the city is above 86%, which is higher than the national average.[19] All major religious and ethnic groups are represented in Mumbai. These include Hindu (68%), Muslims (17%), and Christians and Buddhist (4%). The remainder include Parsis, Jains, Sikhs, Jews and atheists.[20]

For a city of its size, Mumbai has a moderate crime rate. The city police recorded 27,577 incidents of crime in 2004, which is down 11% from 30,991 in 2001. The city's main jail is the Arthur Road Jail.[21]

Mumbai has a large polyglot population like any other metropolitan city of India. Marathi, the official language of Maharashtra is widely spoken. Other languages spoken are Hindi (the national language of India) and English. A colloquial form of Hindi, known as Bambaiya – a blend of Marathi, Hindi, Indian English and some invented colloquial words is spoken on the streets. English is extensively spoken, and is the principal language of the city's white collar workforce.

Mumbai suffers from the same major problems of urbanization seen in many fast growing cities in developing countries — widespread poverty and poor public health, employment, civic and educational standards for a large section of the population. With available space at a premium, Mumbai residents often reside in cramped, relatively expensive housing, usually far from workplaces, and therefore requiring long commutes on crowded mass transit, or clogged roadways. A large proportion of the labour class lives in shantytowns and slums dotted across the city. Even though prostitution is illegal in India, Mumbai has a large population of sex workers, estimated to number more than 100,000.[22].

See also: Growth of Mumbai and Mumbai statistics

People and Culture

For more information, see: Mumbai culture.

A resident of Mumbai is called a Mumbaikar, or Bombayite. Many residents prefer to stay close to major railway stations for easy access to their workplaces, as a significant amount of time is spent on daily commuting. Thus, many live a fast-paced life, with very little time for social activities. Bombay residents celebrate Indian and Western festivals with great fanfare.

Mumbai has six sister cities (the maximum permitted by the Indian government). They are: Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg, Stuttgart and Yokohama.[23]


The metropolis has its own local roadside fast food flavour, comprising vada pav (leavened wheat bread split in half, with fried dumplings as filling), panipuri (deep fried crêpe with tamarind and lentil sauce), pav bhaji (leavened wheat bread accompanied with fried vegetables) and bhelpuri (puffed rice mixture), while South Indian and Chinese food are also very popular. The cosmopolitan residents have unique tastes in cuisine, music, film and literature, both Indian and international. In 2004, Mumbai received three heritage conservation awards from the UNESCO.

Fine Arts

Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema (Dadasaheb Phalke laid the foundation with his silent movies, followed by his Marathi talkies), with the oldest film broadcast here in the late 19th century. Mumbai also boasts of large number of cinemas, including Asia's largest IMAX dome theatre, which feature mainstream Bollywood, Marathi and Hollywood movies. Many film festivals are avidly attended throughout the year. Besides catering to cinephiles, the city has a thriving theatrical tradition both in the regional languages and in Hindi and English. Contemporary art is well represented in both government funded art spaces and private commercial galleries. The government funded art galleries include The Jehangir Art Gallery and The National Gallery of Modern Art. Built in 1833, the Asiatic Society of Bombay is the oldest public library in the city.

Media (Print and Broadcast)

Mumbai has numerous newspaper publications and television and radio stations – popular English newspapers published and sold in Mumbai include the Times of India, Mid-day and Indian Express. Marathi newspapers include Loksatta, Sakaal and Maharashtra Times. In addition to these papers, newspapers are also printed in other Indian languages. Mumbai is also home to India's oldest newspaper, Bombay Samachar, which has been published in Gujarati and English since 1822.

The national television broadcaster Doordarshan provides two free terrestrial channels, while three main cable networks serve most households. Satellite television (DTH) is gaining ground, though it has yet to gain mass acceptance due to high installation costs. Mumbai households receive over a hundred television channels via cable, and a majority of them are produced to cater to the city's polyglot populace. The metropolis is also the hub of many international media corporations, with many news channels and print publications having a major presence.

There are nine radio stations in Mumbai, with six broadcasting on the FM band, and three All India Radio stations broadcasting on the AM band.

See also: List of Mumbai radio stations


Schools in Mumbai are either "municipal schools" (run by the BMC), or private schools (run by trusts and individuals) which are usually aided by the government. Private schools generally tend to have better infrastructure, and use of English as a medium of instruction. All private schools are affiliated either to the Maharashtra State SSC board, or the all-India Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) boards. Demand is especially high for ICSE and CBSE affiliated schools, and those run by convents or the Jesuits. The government run public schools lack many facilities, but are the only option for poorer residents who cannot afford the more expensive private schools.

Under the 10+2+3 plan, students complete ten years of schooling, and then enroll for two years in Junior College, where they choose from one of three streams: Arts, Commerce or Science. This is followed by either a general degree course in a chosen field of study, or a professional degree course, such as law, engineering, medicine etc. Most colleges in the city are affiliated to the University of Mumbai, one of the largest universities in the world in terms of graduation rate. The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, one of India's premier engineering schools, and the SNDT Women's University are the other universities located in Mumbai.

Mumbai is home to two of India's important research institutions – The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

See also: List of Mumbai Colleges


Cricket is the most popular sport in the city, and is usually played in the maidans (grounds) around the city. Gully cricket, a modified form of cricket, is played in the narrow by-lanes of the city, especially on Sundays. Mumbai has produced several famous international cricketers, and is home to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). International cricket is widely watched, and the city almost comes to a virtual standstill on days when the Indian cricket team plays important matches. The city has two international cricket stadiums, the Wankhede Stadium and the Brabourne Stadium. The local Mumbai cricket team is among the strongest competitors in the Ranji Trophy, the nation's top domestic cricketing circuit.

Football is the second most popular sport with the city clubs playing during the monsoons, when other outdoor sports cannot be played. The Football World Cup is one of the most widely watched television events by the people of Mumbai. India's national sport, hockey, has gone into a sharp decline in recent years, losing out in terms of popularity to cricket, though many local players have been part of the national team.

Other sports are mostly played in the numerous clubs and gymkhanas, and include tennis, squash, billiards, badminton, table tennis and golf. Mumbai also plays Rugby, one of the few cities to do so in the country. Every February, Mumbai holds the Derby races in the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. The event sees many of the city's glitterati attending, arrayed in the latest fashions. In recent times Formula 1 racing has also caught the public's attention. Other sports such as volleyball and basketball are mostly popular in schools and colleges.

In 2004, the Mumbai Marathon, an annual event sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, was established in a bid to make the sport popular amongst Mumbaikars.

See also

External links

Further reading

  • Fox, Edmund A; Short History of Bombay Presidency (1887) — Thacker & Co — No ISBN
  • MacLean, James Mackenzie; A Guide to Bombay (1875 & 1902) — Various editions; No ISBN
  • Chaudhari, K.K; History of Bombay (1987) — Modern Period Gazetteers Dept., Govt. of Maharashtra
  • Tindall, Gillian; City of Gold (1992) — Penguin ISBN 0-14-009500-4
  • Mehta, Suketu ; Maximum City : Bombay Lost and Found (2004) — Knopf ISBN 0-375-40372-8
  • Patel, Sujata & Thorner, Alice; Bombay, Metaphor for Modern India (1995) — Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-563688-0
  • Katiyar, Arun & Bhojani, Namas; Bombay, A Contemporary Account (1996) — Harper Collins ISBN 8172232160
  • Contractor, Behram; From Bombay to Mumbai (1998) — Oriana Books
  • Virani, Pinki; Once was Bombay (1999) — Viking ISBN 0-670-88869-9
  • Mappls — Satellite based comprehensive maps of Mumbai (1999) — CE Info Systems Ltd. ISBN 81-901108-0-2
  • Agarwal, Jagdish; Bombay - Mumbai: A Picture Book (1998) &mdash Wilco Publishing House ISBN 81-87288-35-3


  1. World Gazetteer
  2. [ Demographia World Urban Areas: 2005 Population & 2015 Projection]
  3. Manorama Yearbook 2006
  4. Samuel Sheppard Bombay Place-Names and Street-Names (Bombay: The Times Press) 1917 pp104-5
  5. Sujata Patel "Bombay and Mumbai: Identities, Politics and Populism" in Sujata Patel & Jim Masselos (Eds.) Bombay and Mumbai. The City in Transition (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 2003 p4
  6. Tour operators
  7. See Mariam Dossal Imperial Designs and Indian Realities. The Planning of Bombay City 1845-1875 (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 1991
  8. India: Zero tolerance to terrorism, Associated Press via CNN, 2006-07-16. Retrieved on 2006-07-17.
  9. Kanheri, Lungs of Mumbai, Krishnadas Warrior, Bhramanti
  10. MMRDA Projects, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)
  11. The Seismic Environment of Mumbai, TIFR - Theoretical Physics
  12. Matthew, K.M. (2006). Manorama Yearbook 2003, pg 524, Malaya Manorama. ISBN 81-89004-07-7
  13. Mumbai Plan, Department of Relief and Rehabilitation (Maharashtra)
  14. DNA
  15. Extreme temperatures
  16. Manorama Yearbook 2003, pg 678, ISBN 81-900461-8-7
  17. Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
  18. The Times of India, Mumbai edition (print), 2005-04-19, pg 2
  19. "Census GIS Household". 2006.
  20. The Times of India, Mumbai edition (print), 2004-09-24, pg 1
  21. The Times of India, Mumbai edition (print), 2005-03-14, pg 5
  22. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: India", U.S. Department of State, 2001.
  23. BMC to woo sister cities