India’s commercial capital is also a place where dreams come true. The glitter and glamour of Bollywood, the Hindi film industry, attracts thousands of hopefuls every month to this metropolis. The city itself hums with a vibrancy not seen elsewhere in the country. It prides itself on its nightlife and has some of the trendiest restaurants and pubs.
Mumbai, or Bombay as many locals still think of it fondly, was once a cluster of seven islands. Ruled by the Portuguese for over a century, it was handed over to the British in the mid 17th century as dowry for Princess Catherine of Braganza. Traces of these Western influences linger in several nooks of the city and can surprise even long-time residents.
The sea gives Mumbai – and Mumbaikars – much-needed space to stop and breathe. A good place to begin exploring the city is from the Gateway of India, at the southern end, built to mark the visit of King George V.