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Mumbai, also known as Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million. Along with the neighbouring urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2009, Mumbai was named an Alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia.

India Gateway, Mumbai

India Gateway in Mumbai

Top 10 Mumbai Attractions

1. Gateway of India: The Gateway of India is a monument built during the British Raj in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai, the monument overlooks the Arabian Sea. The gateway is a basalt arch, 26 metres (85 feet) high. It lies at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg at the water's edge in the harbor of Bombay. Previously, it was a crude jetty used by the fishing community which was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other prominent people. In earlier times, the gateway was the monument that visitors arriving by boat would have first seen in Mumbai. The gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai,and is the city's top tourist attraction.

The monument was erected to commemorate the landing on the Apollo Bunder of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary when they visited India in 1911. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1911. The final design of George Wittet was sanctioned in 1914 and the construction of the monument was completed in 1924. The gateway was latterly the ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay. It served to allow entry and access to India.

Location: On the waterfront in Colaba, south Mumbai. Opposite the Taj Palace and Tower Hotel.

Haji Ali, Mumbai

Haji Ali in Mumbai

2. Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat:This massive open air laundry provides an unforgettable glimpse into the inside of the city. Dirty laundry from all over Mumbai is brought here and painstakingly hand washed by the dhobis (washermen) in the seemingly endless rows of concrete troughs. The profession, handed down from generation to generation, requires incredible strength and determination. The thousands of dhobis spend hours every day standing up to their knees in water filled with chemicals, manually scrubbing and beating the dirt out of each item of laundry. This earns them 100 rupees ($2.40) per day each.

Location::Next to Mahalaxmi railway station (the 6th station on the Western Line from Churchgate), central Mumbai. Walk out of the station and turn left on the bridge.

3. Haji Ali: The imposing Haji Ali is both a mosque and tomb. It was built in 1431 by wealthy Muslim merchant and saint Haji Ali, who was inspired to change the course of his life after going to Mecca. It also contains his body. Situated in the middle of the ocean, Haji Ali is only accessible during low tide from a narrow, 500 yard long walkway. On Thursdays and Fridays tens of thousands of pilgrims flock there to receive blessings from the dead saint. If find you need to pass some time until the tide lowers enough, there's a shopping center on the opposite side of the road.

Location: Central Mumbai, just off the coast of Worli, not far from Mahalaxmi railway station.

4. Bollywood: Mumbai is the center of India's booming "Bollywood" film industry. The architecturally resplendent Eros Cinema, adjacent to the Churchgate railway station, is a great place to take in a Bollywood movie. Alternatively, it's possible to go on a tour to the heart of the action in Film City. Or if you'd rather be in a Bollywood movie than simply see the set of one, that's possible too!

The name "Bollywood" is a portmanteau derived from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the center of the American film industry. However, unlike Hollywood, Bollywood does not exist as a physical place. Though some deplore the name, arguing that it makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood, it has its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The naming scheme for "Bollywood" was inspired by "Tollywood", the name that was used to refer to the cinema of West Bengal. Dating back to 1932, "Tollywood" was the earliest Hollywood-inspired name, referring to the Bengali film industry based in Tollygunge, Calcutta, whose name is reminiscent of "Hollywood" and was the center of the cinema of India at the time. It was this "chance juxtaposition of two pairs of rhyming syllables," Holly and Tolly, that led to the portmanteau name "Tollywood" being coined. The name "Tollywood" went on to be used as a nickname for the Bengali film industry by the popular Kolkata-based Junior Statesman youth magazine, establishing a precedent for other film industries to use similar-sounding names, eventually leading to the term "Bollywood" being coined. However, more popularly, Tollywood is now used to refer to the Telugu Film Industry in Andhra Pradesh. The term "Bollywood" itself has origins in the 1970s, when India overtook America as the world's largest film producer. Credit for the term has been claimed by several different people, including the lyricist, filmmaker and scholar Amit Khanna, and the journalist Bevinda Collaco.

Location:Film City is in Goregaon, in the western suburbs of Mumbai.

Kala Ghoda Art Precinct, Mumbai, India

Kala Ghoda Art Precinct

5. Kala Ghoda Art Precinct: Kala Ghoda, meaning "Black Horse" in reference to a statue that was once located there, is Mumbai's cultural center. This crescent-shaped stretch is home to Mumbai's best art galleries and museums. It's also filled with cultural spaces, including some wonderful pavement galleries. Stroll around at leisure, but be sure to visit the acclaimed Jehangir Art Gallery. Every year in February, the Kala Ghoda Association hosts a nine day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, which is interesting.

Location:Between the Fort and Colaba, in south Mumbai.

6. Heritage Buildings: Mumbai has some captivating heritage buildings where you can marvel over staggering examples of intricate colonial architecture. Some of the best are the Gothic looking Prince of Wales Museum in the Kala Ghoda art precinct, Victoria Terminus railway station, the Bombay High Court (wander inside and be entertained by a trial) and the buildings of Horniman Circle in the Fort area. The feature of Horniman Circle is its huge gardens, which provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also have a wander past the historic 18th century homes in Khotachiwadi village.

Location:In and around south Mumbai.

7.Caves and National Park In contrast to its millions of inhabitants and sprawling development, Mumbai surprisingly also has a national park located within its limits. It's worth a visit just to see the many ancient Buddhist caves, which have been hand carved into volcanic rock there. More caves, dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva, can also be found on Elephanta Island.

Location:Sanjay Gandhi National Park, in the suburb of Borivali, is 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mumbai city center. Elephanta Island is 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Mumbai.

Heritage Buildings, Mumbai, India

Mumbai Heritae Buildings

8: Mumbai Dabbawalas Dabbawala, meaning a person who carries a container, is the term given to the thousands of men responsible for transporting and delivering around 200,000 lunch boxes of freshly cooked food to the city's office workers every day. This unique concept was started to meet the needs of British rulers. However, it's now continued on to service Indian businessmen who can't get home for lunch. Witness this incredible system in operation at Churchgate station from around 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., as the dabbawalas unload the lunch boxes from the trains and prepare to head to their customers' offices.

Location:Railway stations around Mumbai, particularly at Churchgate terminus in south Mumbai.

9. Markets and Bazaars:From the multitude of colorful pavement vendors that line Colaba Causeway, to the fascinating Chor Bazaar Thieves Market, Mumbai is full of interesting places to go street shopping. Stock up on attractive souvenirs at Colaba Causeway, delight in cheap shoes and clothes at Linking Road, scour the narrow alleyways of Chor Bazaar for antiques, and sample the fresh food while marveling at the architecture of Crawford Market.

Location:Colaba Causeway, Linking Road in Bandra, Crawford Market near Churchgate, and Chor Bazaar on Mutton street (opposite Shafi Masjid).

Heritage Buildings, Mumbai, India

Mumbai Heritae Buildings

10.Juhu and Marine Drive Chowpatty Beaches:At the end of a tiring day of sightseeing, relax with the locals on the beaches of Juhu and Marine Drive, and watch the sunset. If you're feeling adventurous, you'll also be able to feast on tasty snacks offered by the multitude of food stalls and mobile food vendors. Favorites include roasted corn on the cob, bhel puri, pani puri and pav bhaji.

Location: Exclusive Juhu is around 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the city centre, while Marine Drive Chowpatty is in central Mumbai, a short drive from the Gateway of India.