The Mumbai Pages
Location and history
Located on the west coast of India, the group of islands which has grown into the city of Mumbai, was probably first recorded as the home of fisherfolk where a group of Buddhist monks established an outpost late during the Magadhan empire. The islands were tossed from one king to another emperor for two millenia, until the maritime trade empire of the British decided to develop the natural harbour into a city. In the four hundred years since then, the city has grown by a series of land reclamations which now link the original islands into one mass.
By any other name
The city was called Bombay for much of the last four hundred years. The origin of the name is obscure, but is often said to come from the Portuguese phrase bom bahia meaning "good bay". The name Mumbai has been used in the main local languages for as long, and is ascribed to the local goddess, Mumba (ai means mother in Marathi). The name of the city was changed to Mumbai by an act of the parliament in 1997.
More details in the faq.
It's a big city
Estimated to hold about 15 million people (a census is on in the years 2000-2001), the city has grown dramatically in the last fifty years. The core area called the "Island City" has the most expensive real estate in all of India. As a result, the city has grown far into the mainland both to the north and the east. It is not unusual for people to commute more than an hour to work each day. Getting water, power and food into the city is a major task, which is handled reasonably by civic agencies planning bodies and people going about their business.
Yeh hai Bambai meri jaan
Mumbai is called the financial capital of India: the stock exchange is the primary stock exchange of the country; most large business houses have their corporate offices in this city. It also the primary center for the arts and the entertainment industry. In India it is the city of gold, of dreams. Everyone comes here to make money, whether by selling chapatis on Chowpatti or stolen wallets and used dentures by the roadside. Whatever. Bombay does sleep at night, but usually rather late and very briefly.