Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. The financial capital of India, Mumbai has a population of about 13 million, and is the second most populous city proper in the world. The city is also the world's 5th most populous metropolitan area. Lying on the west coast of India, Mumbai boasts a deep, natural Harbour, and handles over half of India's maritime cargo. Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment centre of India, and is home to India's Hindi film and television industry-- better known as "Bollywood". The city attracts migrants from all over India, as it offers potential business opportunities and a better standard of living. Artifacts excavated in northern Mumbai, prove that the area has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Evidence of human habitation dates back to 250 BC. From Buddhist rulers, to Hindu leaders, to the Portuguese and British-- Mumbai has passed through many hands over history, and eventually became part of the United Territory when India gained its independence.
Mumbai is a city of entertainment that touches every sense: it's colorful lights at night, it's sweet and spicy food, the scent of restaurants and marketplaces, and the quirky sounds of popular Indian music. The city is dotted with restaurants, some of which offer the special Curried Bombay Duck, many offering South Indian or Punjabi dishes. Mumbai, being the birthplace of Indian cinema, boasts many theatres and cinemas, showing popular Indian films. It is also home to the world's-largest IMAX dome theatre. Mumbai's contemporary art scene is well-represented, and some are government-funded art spaces. Visit the Jehangir Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art, both government funded and well-established galleries. This city is also home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites-- the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and the famous Elephanta Caves. The latter lies on Elephanta Island in Mumbai's Harbour, and is one of the top tourist attractions in Mumbai. Though some of the carvings were defaced by the Portuguese in the 17th century, it still holds many beautifully preserved sculptures. These religious carvings are through to date back to the 9th through the 13th centuries. One of the magnificent caves contains reliefs, sculptures and a magnificent temple to the Hindu goddess Shiva.