Mumbai

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Mumbai is a city that is located in India and is the capital of the state of Maharashtra. This city, which was formerly known as Bombay, covers an area of two hundred and thirty three square miles and has a population of over fourteen million people. The earliest known habitation of the seven islands that Mumbai is composed of is the Kolis, a fish village. In the third century BC the Maurya Empire gained control of Mumbai and made it into the center of Buddhist and Hindu culture. Mumbai would later fall under the control of dynasties such as the Vakatakas, Satavahanas, Konkan Mauryas, Abhiras, Chalukyas and Kalachuris from the second century until the eighth century when it fell under the dominion of the Silharas Dynasty.

In the late thirteenth century, King Bhimdev would establish his kingdom in the region. This would result in a large influx of settlers to the islands and a steady growth in the economy of the region. In the mid fourteenth century, the rulers of Gujarat captured the islands and they fell under the rule of the Gujarat Sultanate until the sixteenth century. In the landmark Treaty of Bassein in 1534, control of the islands would be passed to the Portuguese. In 1661, Charles II took possession of the islands as a stipulation in the dowry of Catherine of Braganza who was the daughter of the King of Portugal, King John IV. Charles II in turn leased the islands to the British East India Company in 1668. In the mid eighteenth century the city became a trading hub with trade routes established between Mecca and Basra. Educational and economic development increased in the city, during the nineteenth century, when the first Indian railway line was opened between the city and Thane. After India’s independance in 1947, the city became Bombay.

Today, Mumbai is the economic capital of India. It contributes over forty percent of the countries income tax collections, forty percent of foreign trade and sixty percent of custom duty collections to India. It also contributes over ten billion United States dollars to the Indian economy in the form of corporate taxes. Mumbai is also home to the headquarters of several Indian corporations and financial institutions which include the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, Tata Group, the Indian mint, Vedanta Resources and the National Stock Exchange. Major industries in the city include hotel services, food, automotive parts, pencils, utensils and clothing. It is also home to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Western fleet of the Indian Navy.

The educational needs of Mumbai are serviced by either government run schools or private schools. Government run municipal schools are reputed for their lack of facilities, but are often the only choice available to poorer residents of the city. Mumbai also has an extensive number of universities which include Parshvanath college Of Engineering, University of Mumbai, V.M.P.H. College of Pharmacy, Parshvanath College of Polytechnic, Annasaheb Vartak College of Arts, Dhanukar College of Commerce, Ghanshyamdas Saraf Girls’ College of Arts & Commerce, Kapol Institute Of Hotel Management And Catering Technology, Lala Lajpat Rai College of Commerce and Economics and Mumbai College of Hotel Management and Catering Technology.

Mumbai is a city that is beginning to enjoy a thriving tourist trade. Visitors from all over the world come to the city to experience its culture, sample on its cuisine and take in all the attractions that the city has to offer. One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Gateway of India. This famous monument stands over eighty five feet high and is located in the Apollo Bunder district of Mumbai. This basalt arch was built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city. The design of the monument is a mixture between Muslim and Hindu architecure and it was designed by George Wittet. Its composed of concrete and yellow basalt and is located not far from the Elephanta Caves, which are accessible by ferry.

Located on Elephanta Island, just outside of Mumbai in the Arabian Sea, is Elephanta Caves. These caves comprise a Hindu temple and feature stone reliefs of deities important to followers of Shiva. The complex covers an area of over sixty thousand square feet and contains a main chamber, courtyards and shrines. The most prominent statue located in this temple is the Trimurti Sadasiva. This statue stands twenty feet high. The right side of its face is a young person with beautiful lips and is representative of the female side of Shiva. The left side of the face is that of a moustached man, representing the masculine side of Shiva, Aghora Bhairava. The Elephanta Caves were believed to have been constructed during the ninth century of the Silhara Dynasty and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another prominent attraction is the Haji Ali Dargah. The Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque located on an an islet off the coast of Mumbai. This mosque was constructed in the fifteenth century by Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and is a prime example of Indo-Islamic architecture. The structure covers an area of over thirteen thousand feet and features an eighty-five foot tower. Its main features include a sculpted entrance, a marble courtyard and a central shrine. As of 2008, this structure is being completely renovated with the addition of white marble and repairs done on the foundation.

No visit to Mumbai would be complete without a stop at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. This luxury hotel was built in 1903 and is listed as a World Heritage Site. Its designed in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style and has over five hundred and sixty-five rooms. This elegant hotel has been visited by many famous politicians and celebrities including Hillary Clinton, The King & Queen of Norway, The Prince of Wales, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke & Duchess of Kent. Other prominent celebrities include Roger Moore, Joan Collins and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.