Mumbai, India, was once a chain of seven islands, inhabited by small fishing communities. Today, it's a thriving center of trade, shipping and commerce, with a chaotic metropolis encompassing luxury hotels and sprawling slums. It's an ideal base for outdoor explorations in Maharashtra state, including treks to the Ajanta and Ellora caves.
From 1668 until India's independence in 1947, Mumbai---then known as Bombay---was a colony of the British East India Company. After independence, the city fought to be part of an independent state, now called Maharashtra. The name of the city was formally changed to Mumbai in 1996.
Mumbai is the world's fourth most populous city, with an estimated 12 million residents in 2005. Around 68 percent of Mumbai's population is Hindu, and 17 percent are Muslim.
Mumbai has a tropical climate, with monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature is 81 degrees F. The best time to visit Mumbai is between October and February, when the weather is cooler and less humid.
Mumbai is the center of India's "Bollywood" film industry, and the Mumbai International Film Festival is held in the city in February of each year.
Walking tours of Mumbai take in the city's architecture, which includes everything from Gothic-Revival-style buildings from the British colonial period to art deco structures and sleek, modern skyscrapers.
Article Written By Hailey Williams
Hailey Williams is a freelance writer and editor from Los Angeles, California. She has a particular interest in culture, lifestyle, health, and women's interest reporting, and her work has been published in magazines including TV Week and Sugar. She graduated from the University of Sydney.