110 Magical Facts About Mumbai

Interesting and fun Mumbai facts

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the largest city and financial capital of India, and home to Bollywood.

Find out what else the “City of Dreams” is famous for with these fun and interesting facts about Mumbai!  

General Mumbai Facts

  • Mumbai is the capital and 1st/2nd largest city in India (depending on how you measure it).
  • It is the capital city of Maharashtra state, the second most populous state in India, after Uttar Pradesh (where Agra, the Taj Mahal, and Varanasi are located). Fun fact: in winter, the capital of Maharashtra officially moves 650 km (400 mi) inland, from Mumbai to Nagpur!
  • Mumbai is located on the central west coast of India, across the Arabian Sea from Oman.
  • Mumbai originally consisted of seven islands, which were merged though land reclamation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to form the city as we know it today. Today, the city still has some smaller islands, including Elephanta Island, Butcher Island, Oyster Rock, and more.
  • It is antipodal (on the opposite side of the world) to Santiago, Chile.
  • Mumbai has a population of 12.5 million (metropolitan 22 million).
Cityscape of Mumbao viewed at night
Mumbai cityscape
  • While Mumbai city proper has more people than Delhi city proper, the greater Delhi metropolitan area has nearly 30 million people, making it larger than the greater Mumbai metropolitan area (New Delhi, the capital of India, is part of the Delhi capital region). Greater Mumbai includes several nearby cities, like Thane, Navi Mumbai, and more.
  • Greater Mumbai is the 8th largest metropolitan area in the world. It is similar in size to Dhaka (Bangladesh) or Beijing (China).
  • The highest temperature ever recorded in Mumbai was 42.2°C (108°F) in 1952, while the lowest was 7.4°C (45.3°F) in 1962.
  • Mumbai’s name derives from the patron goddess Mumba Devi, who was worshipped by the Kolis, the city’s first inhabitants.
  • The main languages spoken in Mumbai are Marathi (the language spoken by the Kolis and the main language of the state today), Hindi, English, and Gujarati.
Buildings on the coast of Mumbai viewed from the sea, with some boats in the foreground
Mumbai used to be 7 islands
  • The Portuguese called the city Bom baía (“good bay”), which the British changed to “Bombay” when they took over the city in the 17th century. Bombay was the city’s official name until 1995.
  • Some common nicknames for Mumbai are “Financial Capital of India”, “Hollywood of India”, “Gateway of India”, “City of Seven Islands”, “City of Dreams” (like Vienna, Austria), and “City that Never Sleep” (like NYC, Berlin, Las Vegas, Moscow, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, and several others).
  • Mumbai city doesn’t have an official tourism slogan, but the slogan of Maharashtra (the state where Mumbai is found) is “Unlimited”.
  • Some proposed tourism slogans for Mumbai (non-official!) have included “I Smell Mumbai” (for the city’s many fine fragrances – not meant to say the city stinks!), “To Be Continued”, and “The City of Success”.
The coat of arms (seal) of Mumbai
The seal of Mumbai
  • Mumbai doesn’t have an official city flag. The city’s coat of arms shows the Gateway of India, a cog (for its industries), three ships, and a government building, with the city’s motto “Where there is Righteousness, there shall be Victory)” in Sanskrit and golden decorations around it.
  • A person from Mumbai is called a Mumbaikar, Bombayite, or Mumbaiite.
  • Mumbai has 15 sister cities, including Antananarivo (Madagascar), Yokohama (Japan), Shanghai (China), Nadi (Fiji), and Stuttgart (Germany).

Interesting Facts about Mumbai Places

  • The Gateway of India is one of the most prominent symbols of the city and country. It was built on the spot where George V, the first British monarch to visit India, arrived in 1911. It is considered the ceremonial entrance to India.
  • Unlike Hollywood, which is an actual neighborhood in Los Angeles, there is no actual place called Bollywood. The term refers to Mumbai’s (and sometimes all of India’s) film industry, or Hindi language films in general. But a large percentage of Bollywood films are shot at Film City (Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari) in Mumbai.
Crowds of visitors in front of the Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is a symbol of Mumbai and India
  • Bollywood produces around twice as many films as Hollywood every year.
  • Mumbai also has its own Walk of the Stars, which is located on Band Stand Promenade in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai.
  • Marine Drive is the most famous stretch of coastline in the city. Nicknamed “Queen’s Necklace”, the esplanade is lined with fancy hotels, art deco homes, palm trees, and cricket clubs.
  • There are several famous beaches in Mumbai, including Chowpatty Beach (at the end of Marine Drive) and Juhu Beach, where many famous Bollywood stars live.
Columns at the entrance to an ancient cave at Elephanta in Mumbai
Elephanta Caves on Elephanta Island
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the city’s iconic historical train station, was originally called Victoria Terminus. Its construction was competed in 1887, the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s rule. In 1996, it was renamed after Shivaji, a 17th century ruler who fought against the Mughals.
  • Another major landmark in Mumbai is Haji Ali Dargah, a mosque built on a small islet off the coast, with a narrow causeway leading to it.
  • Dharavi, a suburb of India, is often considered the world’s largest slum (other contenders are found in Pakistan, Kenya, Mexico, and South Africa). With around 1 million people living in an area of only 2.39 km2 (0.92 mi2), it is one of the most densely populated places in the world.
  • On the other hand, Mumbai is home to the world’s most expensive private home. Called Antilia (after a mythical island), the 27-story skyscraper mansion is owned by Mukesh Ambani, who owns India’s most valuable company. The house has a 168-car garage, 9 high speed elevators, a spa, a 50-seat theater, a snow room, and a ball room. It is valued at USD 1 to 2 billion and it located on Altamount Road, also called “Billionaires’ Row”.
Aerial view of shanty town rooftops in Dharavi Slum, Mumbai
Dharavi slum is considered the largest in the world.
  • The tallest completed building in Mumbai is Palais Royale, which has 88 floors and stands 1,050 ft (320 m) tall.
  • The tallest building that’s still under construction is MSRTC Maha Sentral T 1, which has 98 floors and stands 1,312 ft (400 m) tall. If this building were in NYC, it would be the 6th tallest in the city.
  • The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai (often shortened as “The Taj”) is India’s first five-star hotel. It was one of the scenes of the 2008 terrorist attacks and was featured in Hotel Mumbai.
  • Other famous landmarks in Mumbai include Bandra-Worli Sea Link (the longest sea bridge in the country), The Capital building, Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount Mary, Mumbadevi Temple, and Siddhivinayak Temple.
Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge across the sea with traditional boats in the water
Bandra-Worli Sea Link has 8 lanes and is 5.6 km long.
  • Some of the largest annual festivals and events in Mumbai include the Global Citizen Festival, Mumbai International Film Festival, Krishna Janmashtami, Dahi Handi Festival Mumbai, India Art Festival, and Oktoberfest Mumbai.

Mumbai Economy and Society Facts

  • Due to its extensive global reach and Bollywood, Mumbai is considered the commercial and entertainment hub of India.
  • Mumbai is the largest economy in India and 18th largest in the world, similar to Chongqing (China) or Singapore. It accounts for 6.1% of the country’s GDP.
Aerial view of the c-shaped Marine Drive in Mumbai on a cloudy day
Marine Drive in Mumbai
  • The city is home to the National Stock Exchange of India, Bombay Stock Exchange, and Reserve Bank of India.
  • There are 5 Fortune 500 companies based in Mumbai.
  • Mumbai is also home to some of the country’s most prestigious institutions for science and research, including the Department of Atomic Energy, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
  • There are 1766 colleges and universities in Mumbai, with the largest being the University of Mumbai. With over half a million students, it is the 15th largest university in the world by student enrollment (fun fact: the #1 largest in the world is in New Delhi). The University of Mumbai has over 700 affiliated colleges.
  • Mumbai is rated 45 on the Crime Index, which is similar to Denver, Colorado or Brooklyn, New York, and safer than Beirut (Lebanon), Milan (Italy), or Seattle (Washington).
  • Mumbai has 60,600 millionaires, 243 centi-millionaires, and 30 billionaires (the 8th highest of any city in the world).
Old buildings at The University of Mumbai
The University of Mumbai
  • Meanwhile, 60% of Mumbai’s population live in slums.
  • Mumbai received 12.4 million tourists in 2019, making it the 14th most visited city in the world.
  • With 47 million passengers, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport was the 41st busiest airport in the world, 14th busiest in Asia and 2nd in India in 2019.
  • Movies filmed in Mumbai include A Wednesday, Mumbai Saga, Life in a Metro, Hichki, Tenet, Hotel Mumbai, and My Name Is Khan.
  • TV shows filmed in Mumbai include C.I.D., Pavitra Rishta, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Sense8, and Outsourced.
  • Popular books set in Mumbai include Shantaram, Paper Moon, and A Murder on Malabar Hills.

Mumbai Sports Facts

  • The most popular sport in Mumbai is cricket, and Mumbai is home to the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The city’s two main cricket grounds are Wankhede Stadium and Brabourne Stadium.
  • Some of the greatest Indian cricketers of all time were born in Mumbai, including Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Sachin Tendulkar, Polly Umrigar, Vijay Merchant, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Sunil Gavaskar.
  • A modified version of cricket known as “gully cricket” is played in the city’s narrow bylanes, especially on Sundays.
Indians playing cricket on a field in Mumbai, with tall buildings in the background
A cricket game in Mumbai
  • The Mumbai Football League has over 300 teams in 5 divisions. It is the second oldest football league in Asia after the Calcutta Football League. Mumbai also has Mumbai City FC, which competes in the Indian Super League.
  • Mumbai even has a professional American football team, called the Mumbai Gladiators.
  • Other popular sports in Mumbai include kabaddi, field hockey, badminton, rugby, and table tennis.
  • Mumbai also has a yacht club and horse racing club.

Famous People from Mumbai

  • Salman Rushdie, considered one of India’s greatest writers, was born in Mumbai. Rushdie has had a fatwa (death warrant) issued against him by Iran and in 2022 was stabbed onstage.
  • Actors Chetan Hansraj, Krushna Abhishek, John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Farhan Akhtar, Vikrant Massey, and Jim Sarbh were born in Mumbai.
  • Actresses Nushrratt Bharuccha, Pooja Hegde, Kajal Aggarwal, Shraddha Kapoor, Chriselle Almeida, Madhuri Dixit Nene, and Freida Pinto were born in Mumbai.
  • Singers and musicians Kishori Amonkar, Clinton Cerejo, Taufiq Qureshi, and Kavita Paudwal were born in Mumbai.
  • The famous bands Instant Karma, Raaga Trippin’, Indus Creed, Bhayanak Maut, and Coshish are from Mumbai.
  • The writers and poets Ranjit Hoskote, Menka Shivdasani, Shobhaa De, Meena Kumari, and Adil Jussawalla were also from Mumbai.

Mumbai Food Facts

  • Mumbai cuisine is an extension of Maharashtrian cuisine, which is highly varied and influenced by Persian, Marathi, British, and Chinese cuisines.
  • Some of the most famous dishes invented in Mumbai include Bombay sandwich (a sandwich with veggies and cilantro/mint chutney), vada pav (deep fried ball of potato inside a piece of bread, served with chutney), and pav bhaji (bread with a serving of cooked, spiced vegetables).
Two buns with deep fried potato in them called Vada Pav, with green chili on the side
Vada pav, a famous Mumbai snack
  • Some Chinese-style dishes have been invented in Mumbai, such as chicken manchurian (and other versions like vegetable manchurian) and Chinese bhel.
  • Mumbai also has its own versions of dishes found around the country, such as bhel puri (a Mumbai version of a northern snack called chaat) and Mumbai pani puri (hollow balls filled with chutney and spiced water – the Mumbai version is tangier).
  • Other well-liked street food options include misal pav, a fiery curry made of germinated moth beans that is eaten with paav, and vegetable frankie, an Indian bread roll that resembles a bun.
A white bowl of bhel puri, a common snack in Mumbai
Bhel puri, a popular Mumbai snack
  • Among the desserts and drinks available on the streets of Mumbai are kulfi, an ice-cold dairy treat, and golah, an Indian snow cone that is occasionally served on a stick.
  • The dabbawallahs, or tiffin lunchbox delivery workers of Mumbai devised such an efficient lunch delivery system that it has been studied by scholars at Harvard.

Mumbai History Facts

  • Human inhabitation in the Mumbai area may go as far back as 30,00 years ago in the Stone Age.
  • Around 600 BCE, Marathi-speaking animistic fishermen were the first to settle on the 7 islands of Mumbai.  
Fishing boats on the coast of Mumbai
Fishing boats on the coast of Mumbai
  • Around 300 BCE, the Mumbai area came under control of the Hindu-Buddhist Maurya Empire, which ruled most of India. Around 10 other dynasties followed over the next millennium.
  • The Kanheri Caves were first carved out around 100 CE, while the Elephanta Caves followed in 450 CE.
  • Mumbai was under Islamic rule from 1348 to to 1534. In 1431, the Muslim Haji Ali Dargah mosque was built.
  • In 1508, the Portuguese Francisco de Almeida sailed into the Mumbai harbor. He called it Bom baía or “Good Bay”. The Portuguese took over the seven islands in 1534.
  • In 1661, the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza gave the seven islands to Charles II as part of her dowry. In 1668, the British East India Company took over.
  • In 1675, the Mumba Devi temple was built.
Buddha carvings inside the Kanheri Caves in Mumbai India
Kanheri Caves
  • The first newspaper was published in Mumbai in 1777.
  • Shree Siddhivinayak temple was built in 1801.
  • In 1822, the Bombay Samachar newspaper was first published. Still published today, it is the country’s oldest.
  • In 1853, the city’s first train ran from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Thane.
  • In 1857, the University of Mumbai was established.
  • In 1896, the bubonic plague struck in Bombay. Russian-French Waldemar Haffkine was brought in, upon which he devlopped a vaccine for it, which he tested on himself.
Some passengers standing at the door of a blue, red, and white train car in a station in Mumbai
A crowded train in Mumbai
  • The population of Mumbai reached 1 million around 1910.
  • In 1911, King George V became the first British monarch to visit India. Gateway of India, marking the spot where he arrived, completed construction in 1924.
  • In 1915, Gandhi returned from South Africa to India, arriving at Bombay.
  • In 1926, the first motorized bus ran between Afghan Church and Crawford Market.
  • The first electric train ran between Churchgate and Borivali in 1928.
  • In 1930, the Mumbai Cricket Association was established.
  • In 1942, Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement to free India from British rule. The meeting was held in Bombay.
Boats in the water with Taj Mahal Palace hotel and Gateway of India landmark in background
Taj Mahal Palace and Gateway of India
  • In 1960, Maharashtra state was formed, with Bombay as its capital.
  • The last tram made its journey from Bori Bundar to Dadar in 1964.
  • The population of Mumbai reached 10 million around 1982.
  • In 1995, Bombay was renamed to Mumbai. As a result, the University of Bombay was renamed University of Mumbai.
  • In 2003, 52 people died from car bombs placed at Gateway of India and in a jewelry market near Mumba Devi Temple.
  • In 2005, floods killed around 500 people in the city.
  • In 2006, over 200 were killed by a bomb on a train in Mumbai.
A metro winds its way through Mumbai at night
The Mumbai Metro
  • Also in 2006, a Google office opened in Mumbai.
  • The Bandra–Worli Sea Link, the country’s longest bridge across seawater, was inaugurated in 2009.
  • From November 26 to 29, 2008, terrorists from Pakistan killed 175 people at locations throughout Mumbai. It has been the subject of numerous documentaries and films, including Hotel Mumbai.
  • In 2014, the Mumbai Metro and Mumbai Monorail were inaugurated.
  • In 2021, over 30 were killed in a landslide in Mumbai.
  • In 2022, Lata Mangeshkar, considered one of the greatest singers ever in India, passed away in Mumbai.

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