Wonder at the eclectic architectural styles of India’s largest city
Bombay Gothic Tour
West India | Experiences
The great port city of Mumbai is the gateway to the spectacular destinations of western India, as well as Goa in the south. Modern Mumbai is India’s commercial and banking capital, as well as the country’s largest port. However, Mumbai, or Bombay, as it was known until 1996, had its origins on a string of seven islands off the shores of the Arabian sea. More than 350 years ago the city was presented to the Portuguese as dowry when Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II in 1661. The city was then leased to the East India Company for £10 per annum and grew at a slow rate. The commercial and industrial centre that stands today began to develop in the early 1800s. The city boomed during the Victorian era and continues to grow at an exponential rate 200 years later. The introduction of trains and the expansion of the port connected large areas of western India to the city and, today, it continues to be the gateway to areas such as the state of Gujarat and its great cities of Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Baroda. Mumbai lies at the edge of the northern Deccan Plateau and had for many years been cut off by the Northern Western Ghats, which served as a natural barrier. Today, many ancient Buddhist caves have been unearthed and excavated in the remote valleys of this region. Towns such as Aurangabad and Pune, which can be accessed from Mumbai, are in turn gateways to World Heritage Sites like Ajanta and Ellora or to the seasonal Hill Stations at Mahabelsehwar and Matheran.