Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and the economic powerhouse India. It's an exhilarating city, fuelled by entrepreneurial energy, determination and dreams. Compared to the torpor of the rest of India, it can seem like a foreign country. Mumbai is the finance capital of the nation, the industrial hub of everything from textiles to petrochemicals, and it's responsible for half the country's foreign trade. To many visitors, Mumbai is the glamour of Bollywood cinema, cricket on the maidans on weekends, bhelpuri on the beach at Chowpatty and red double-decker buses. While it boasts an impressive Victoria townscape, a sculptured island cave temple and a national park that's roamed by wild tigers, the city's formal attractions pale in comparison to the nonstop theater of its streets. Sixteen million people from all over India are wedged into Mumbai and after a short stroll you will feel like you have rubbed shoulders with and bumped into every single one of them. The size of the population means the city has enough social problems to last a lifetime, but its spirit is irrepressible and it has personality by the bucket load. As the cultural bridgehead between east and west, whatever happens in the rest of India tends to happens first in Mumbai, and it usually happens with the maximum amount of swank and noise. Most visitors to India gear themselves up to confront poverty, but it's the extravagant display of wealth in Mumbai that seem shocking. In many parts of the city flash cars and mobile phones are as common as street kids or beggars, and Mumbai loves to claim it has more millionaires than Manhattan. Flush with money, the city has an established social elite and an entertainment hungry middle class, which mean diversions are never in short supply. Mumbai lives and breathes cinema, enjoy a rollicking nightlife, boasts the best seafood restaurants in South Asia and has more shops and bazaars than you could ever hope to explore.
HOW TO REACH
Mumbai is the gateway to India for a large number of travellers and is extremely well connected by air with most major destinations around the world as well as in India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport lies about 30 kilometres north of the city. The Santa Cruz Domestic Airport is about 4.5 kilometres from the international airport and 26 kilometres north of the city.
Mumbai is very well connected to rest of India by trains. Trains travelling from Central, East and West India arrive at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or VT as it used to be called. Trains from the North arrive at Mumbai Central Station.
Buses from other states arrive at the Mumbai Central Bus Station. Most of the inter-Maharashtra buses arrive at this station as well, although those running from Pune and Nasik arrive at the ASIAD bus stand near Dadar railway station.
Mumbai is warm and humid year round, and temperatures are stable thanks to the moderating influence of the sea. There are three distinct seasons: summer, monsoon and what is quaintly referred to as winter. Summer lasts from March to mid-June and is characterized by high temperatures, sticky humidity and short tempers. There's a slight drop in temperature when the monsoon arrives from the south in mid-June and proceeds to dump 2000mm of rain on the city over next three months. It generally rains everyday, during the monsoon, but it certainly doesn't rain all the time. There's then a short transition to winter, which begins in earnest in mid-October and lasts until late February. Winter means an average 2°C drop in temperature, clear skies and fractionally lower humidity -anywhere else in the world.