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Mumbai (Bombay)
Location of Mumbai
GNU Free Documentation LicenseLocation of Mumbai - Credit: Al Silonov

Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is the most populous city in India, with a population of approximately 14 million. Lying on the West Coast of India, the city is the capital of the Maharashtra region and boasts a deep natural harbour.

Severn islands of Bombay
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSeven islands of Bombay - Credit: Nichalp
Map of Mumbai city
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMap of Mumbai city - Credit: Nichalp

Originally formed of seven islands that were home to communities of fishermen, during the mid-18th century Bombay was developed by the British with large land reclamation projects, aimed at merging all seven islands into a single land-mass.

It soon developed as a significant trading port, a commercial and entertainment centre, and the base of the Indian National Congress during the Indian Independence Movement.

Bollywood Cinema
Creative Commons AttributionBollywood Cinema - Credit: Nikkul

Mumbai's history as a major trading centre has led to a diverse range of cultures, religions and cuisines coexisting in the city. It offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle, with a variety of food, entertainment and night life. It is also the birthplace of Indian cinema and the Bollywood Film Industry, producing around 150–200 films every year.

Two boys in Dahravi Slum, Mumbai
Creative Commons AttributionTwo boys in Dahravi Slum, Mumbai - Credit: Wen Yan King

Despite its extensive development, Mumbai is also home to Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia. Prior to the late 19th century, Dharavi was predominantly mangrove swamps inhabited by communities of Koli Fishermen. However as the swamps dried up Dharavi's fishing town was deprived of its traditional livelihood and levels of poverty began to rise. The newly drained marshes provided space for new communities to move in, and migrants flocked to the area, putting extra strain on supplies and santitation facilities. An urban redevelopment plan is planned for the Dharavi area, with housing, schools, parks and roads to serve the 57,000 families residing in the area.