The old name for the city, Bombay, comes from the Portuguese, who derived the word from the phrase “Bom Bahia”, which means a beautiful bay. Bombay was given to the British as a dowry when the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II of England. What an original wedding gift! An entire city with a rich and complex history!
In 1995 the city was renamed Mumbai after the original inhabitants of Mumbai, the Koli community, who worshipped the goddess Mumba Devi or “mother”.
One thing is clear – whether we call it Bombay or Mumbai this beautiful city is founded on love and worshipped by many. You too will fall in love with the city once you feel its vibe. Want to know why this city should be an item on everyone’s bucket list? Let’s check out these interesting facts about Mumbai to find out!
Mumbai is the most populous city in India. It’s so densely populated that finding an empty space is next to impossible. There is only 1.1 m2 of open space for people living in Mumbai.
It took 60 years for the 7 islands of Bombay (from 1784 to 1845) to merge into a single landmass.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali- the lungs of the city, is the largest in the world located within city limits. This densely forested park is home to a resident tiger population, over 2000-year-old Buddhist caves, two large lakes, and much more!
Mumbai’s impressive local train network carries about 6 million commuters every day. The trains on the city’s Western and Central lines make more than 2000 trips along 300 kilometres, carrying more passengers per kilometre than any railway network on Earth.
The railway line connecting Mumbai to Pune was built in 1863, by Alice Tredwell.
Mumbai railways carry around 2.5 billion passengers every year.
The Juhu Aerodrome in Mumbai, founded in 1928, was the first airport in India.
The Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba is India’s first-ever 5-star hotel. Founded in 1903, the hotel was the first in India to have electricity, Turkish baths, German elevators, an all-day restaurant, and a discotheque!
Central Park in Khargar, Navi Mumbai is believed to be the largest park in Asia and the third-largest in the world. It includes theme parks, jogging tracks, water sports, cricket and football grounds, botanical gardens, and amphitheatres.
Disneyland may be a faraway destination, but don’t worry, India has its own vast amusement theme park – Imagicaa! It is located on the Mumbai – Pune express highway, and is a must-visit!
Famous authors born in Mumbai? Rudyard Kipling, author of Kim and The Jungle Book, and Salman Rushdie, author of the Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children, are among them. The Kipling Bungalow, where the author was born, is one of the key attractions in the city for literature fans from around the world.
The library of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai is considered to have one of the only two original manuscripts of Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri in the 14th Century.
Mumbai is home to 32 billionaires, with a net worth of $115.1B. That places the city in the sixth position on the world’s list of cities with the highest number of billionaires.
Antilia, Mukesh Ambani’s 27-story skyscraper is cited as the world’s most expensive house, valued at almost $1 billion. The business tycoon moved into the 400,000 square feet mansion in 2012 with his wife and three children.
While Mumbai may be the wealthiest city in the country, it also houses Asia’s largest slum – Dharavi. Slums are temporary settlements with makeshift houses for the poor and homeless to live.
Mumbai has an interesting natural phenomenon. The 61m high Gilbert Hill in Andheri formed when molten lava was squeezed out of the Earth’s clefts, and is about 66 million years old. The hill was declared a heritage structure in 2007. The two Hindu temples atop it have a fantastic panoramic view of the city’s western suburbs.
The famous network of Dabbawalas that is unique to only Mumbai, is a lunchbox delivery system. This huge network is maintained so well and is reputed to not have missed out on even a single delivery to date. It has also been acknowledged by Forbes magazine to be one of the world’s best-managed supply chains.
Mumbai is not just a well-connected city it is also globally connected in terms of the world. Mumbai is a Global city or an Alpha World city that acts as a primary connection for the global economic network.
Mumbai is the home of three of the most popular world heritage sites – the Elephanta Caves on the Elephanta Island, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or the Victoria Terminus, and different Victorian and Art Deco buildings.
Mumbai has a coastline of about 150 kilometres.
Every year, in winter up to 40,000 flamingos nest and feed in Mumbai’s southern Sewri area. You can find them tip-toeing around in the mudflats of Thane Creek. The Flamingos get their gorgeous pink hues from the algae they feed on in the mudflats.
Mumbai houses some of the most esteemed scientific and research institutes like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and the Department of Atomic Energy.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Mumbai that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!