DESTINATION
HISTORY OF MUMBAI

Although the archipelago which developed into the modern city of Mumbai was inhabited whenever history chanced on it, we are forced to imagine the lives of these early Mumbaikars, because the islands lay outside of the sweep of history and beyond the marches of armies for millennia.

 

Stone Age implements have been found at several sites in these islands. Later, around the third century BC, the coastal regions, and presumably the islands, were part of the Magadhan Empire ruled by the emperor Ashok. The empire ebbed, leaving behind some Buddhist monks and the deep-sea fishermen called Kolis, whose stone goddess, Mumbadevi, gave her name to the modern metropolis.

 

Between the 9th and 13th centuries, the Indian Ocean, and especially the Arabian Sea, was the world's center of commerce. Deep sea crafts made of wood tied together with ropes transported merchandise between Aden, Calicut, Cambay and cities on the West coast of Africa. Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta and other travellers passed by without ever making a landfall in these islands.

 

Mumbai has some fabulous places of attraction for tourists. In fact, the entire Mumbai comes to life in the evenings after a hard day's work. The Gateway of India is a popular hang out with the people. The tourists as well as the localities flock to the Gateway of India throughout the day and especially in the evenings. You may simply sit around and feed the pigeons or watch the wondrous waves.

Sightseeing in Mumbai can be broadly categorized as follows:
Juhu Beach:
Juhu Beach is the favorite hang out for everyone in Mumbai including the courting couples, the small children, the young and the old. If you are ready to pay some extra buck, you can choose to sip a cup of coffee and enjoy a splendid view of the coast from any of Juhu's many five star hotels like the Sun and Sand, Holiday Inn or Juhu Centaur. It's a place worth visiting in Mumbai.
Film City:
Film City in Mumbai is located in Goregaon and is mostly closed to visitors. But special permissions can always be obtained by anyone wishing to check some of the action.
Gateway of India:
This 26-meter high famous landmark was designed to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary to India in 1911.
Hanging Gardens:
This terrace garden is also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Garden and is situated over Bombay's main reservoir opposite the Kamala Nehru Park. It offers lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea
Marine Drive:
One of Mumbai's most popular spots is the Marine Drive. The sunset view from this spot is just amazing. Marine Drive is also called as the Queen's Necklace due to the dramatic curve made by the streetlights at night.
Chowpatty Beach (GIRGAUM)

Situated at the northern end of Marine Drive, it is a stretch of sandy beach and attracts hordes of people during the weekends and on holidays. A 'food-mart' of stalls has become a permanent feature and offers a range of eatables from 'bhel-puri'. The local specialty, to 'chaat', 'kulfi', coconut and other snacks.

 

A larger portion of the terrain is left open for the public where people come to enjoy the evening sea breeze and the children to play. As a part of the city's cleanliness and beautification drive, Chowpatty is also being given a face lift.

Sir J. J. School Of Art

Built during the same period as the University, its importance is heightened by the fact that Rudyard Kipling was born and spent his early childhood here. His father, John Lockwood Kipling, was the Principal of the art school and under his tutelage, many local artisans received training.

 

Some of their works were used to adorn the buildings being constructed in Mumbai during that period as sculptured panels and motifs.

University Buildings

Founded by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Ready money, after whom is named the earlier of the two structures, was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Flanked by the High Court and the Old Secretariat, the buildings were completed in 1874.

 

Resplendent in a florid and highly decorative French Gothic style, the main building with its turrets and gabled roof has a large circular window, with its outer border originally made up of twelve stained glass skylights, depicting the signs of the zodiac.

Ajanta Caves

It was only in the 19th century, that the Ajanta group of caves, lying deep within the Sahyadri hills, cut into the curved mountain side, above the Waghora River, was discovered. A group of British officers on a tiger hunt, stumbled on these ancient works of art.

 

They depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were built as secluded retreats of the Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas, the ancient seats of learning, and nerve - centers of the Buddhist cultural movement.

 

Using simple tools like hammer and chisel, the monks carved out the impressive figures adorning the walls of these structures. Exquisite wall - paintings and sculptures speak volumes of the India of yore. Many of the caves house panels depicting stories from the Jatakas, a rich mine of tales of the several incarnations of the Buddha.

 

Images of nymphs and princesses amongst others are also elaborately portrayed.

Flora Fountain

Cursetjee Fardoonjee Parekh donated this landmark structure Flora Fountain. Built in 1864, it was made of imported Poland stone and is located close to the church gate of the old (now vanished) British fort. Flora is the Roman Goddess of Flowers, her pretty alabaster face continually assaulted by grime and pollution. It stands at a busy five-point intersection in the heart of the commercial Fort area. The Flora Fountain was erected by the Agri-Horticultural society of Western India. It was originally meant to be named after Sir Bartle Frere, then governor of Bombay. However, the name was changed before the fountain was unveiled. It stood in the center of the town as it then was, but now this area is the heart of the business district of the town. This is the very heart of Mumbai, circumscribed by stately colonial buildings standing like proud old sentinels of a bygone era. Next to here is pair of torch bearing stone patriots that rise from the Martyrs Memorial nearby. Flora Fountain is now called Hutatma Chowk or Martyr's Square to honour those who died in the tumultuous birth of Maharashtra State. All around the square sit Mumbai's infamous vendors selling just about everything under the blazing tropical sun - from cheap nylon saris to herbal remedies. Tooting horns and traffic complete the chaotic picture, but through it all Flora manages to retain her serene composure.

Other sights to see in Mumbai are Fort, Colaba Area, Malabar Hill, Crawford Market, Prince Charles Museum, Essel World, Kalbadevi, Afgan Church, Hutatma Chowk, Jain Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market, Malabar Hill, Gandhi Memorial, Nehru Planatarium, Nehru Science Center, Pherozesha Mehta Gardens, and Race Course etc.


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