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Mumbai was made up of just 7 islands inhabited by fishermen and their families

Three hundred years ago, Mumbai was made up of just 7 islands inhabited by fishermen and their families.  Today those islands are interconnected and crammed with soaring skyscrapers, grand colonial relics, noisy temples, glitzy shopping malls, twisting bazaars, swanky restaurants, slums and shanty towns.

Formerly known as Bombay, this city is the financial and film capital of India, home of the breathtaking dance spectacles of Bollywood.  Imperial architectural highlights include the Gateway of India, a grandiose basalt arch overlooking the Arabian Sea.

Marine Drive’s Chowpatty Beach is famous for its bhel puri, a local snack

Victoria Terminus, officially known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, is a mix of Victorian, Gothic and Islamic styles.  It’s also the the busiest railway station in Asia, handling 3 million commuters every day.

Marine Drive, flanked by crumbling art deco apartment buildings, is nicknamed ‘The Queen’s Necklace’ because its glittering nighttime lights look like a string of pearls.  A popular spot at sunset, Marine Drive’s Chowpatty Beach is famous for its bhel puri, a local snack of puffed rice and vegetables in a tamarind sauce. Mumbai is India at its most extreme; chaotic, claustrophobic and overcrowded, enchanting and exhilarating by turns.

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