Mumbai is a vibrant, bustling city filled with so much fascinating history! It’s rich and complex culture is reflected by its larger than life festivals and numerous temples, synagogues, and churches. It’s home to the colourful and flamboyant Bollywood films, whose popularity has hurled India even further into the tourist spotlight. Eager to know more? Dive in to learn 50 astonishing facts about the city of Mumbai.
Fact 1: Mumbai is India’s largest city with a population of 20 million people.
- By 2020, the city’s population is projected to skyrocket to 28 million people.
Fact 2: More than 200 trains travel every day across Mumbai.
- The trains make over 2,000 trips along the city’s 300-kilometre track daily.
Fact 3: The city’s trains carry over 6 million people every day.
- The entire population of Israel is almost this much!
Fact 4: Mumbai has a railway line designed specifically for women— ‘The Ladies Special’.
- This is to keep women out of the extremely packed Mumbai trains during peak times.
Fact 5: At peak times, 409 trains, all with 4,500 passengers, have to move along just 4 train tracks.
- Meaning 1 delay affects dozens of following trains.
Fact 6: Mumbai has one of the best train safety records in India.
- On the Western line, not a single crash has occurred in living memory.
Fact 7: 35000 anti-collision device (ACD) units are set to be installed across India in the next four years.
- This helps reduce accidents and increases rail capacity.
Fact 8: Mumbai trains are powered by miles of wires, that run above the tracks, carrying electricity through a complex network of substations.
- This unique DC system was installed in 1925, making it India’s first electric rail system.
Fact 9: Mumbai is a city of Firsts.
- India’s first airport, the Juhu Aerodrome, was built in Mumbai in 1928, and in 1903, the country’s first 5-star hotel, the Taj Mahal Hotel, was also built in the city.
Fact 10: Mumbai is made up of 7 islands.
- However, some northern regions beyond Mahim remain largely disconnected and inaccessible.
Fact 11: The city is filled with secret tunnels and escape routes.
- In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the British built a secret underground tunnel to Mumbai Fort, as a precaution against a possible French invasion.
Fact 12: Mumbai trains carry about 200,000 custom-made lunches every day, delivered around the city by 5,000 couriers called “Dabbahwallahs”.
- Interestingly, most ‘dabbahwallahs’ can’t read, and instead, they use a colour coding system to navigate the lunches around.
Fact 13: Mumbai was once rented out for just 10 GBR (pound sterling) for an entire year.
- In September 1668, the island of Mumbai was granted to the East India Company at an annual rent that equalled roughly GBR 1,500 today, which works out to about 1,48,000 rupees.
Fact 14: Through vast 19th-century landfill projects, British engineers combined the seven islands around Mumbai into one landmass.
- Mumbai soon became a very valuable port city and became one of the world’s leading cotton markets.
Fact 15: Mumbai is named after the popular goddess temple, ‘Mumba Devi Mandir’.
- The temple is located in Bori Bunde, Mumbai (now Chhatrapati Shivaji).
Fact 16: Mumbai witnessed India’s very first train movement on April 16, 1853.
- The train had 14 carriages & 400 passengers, and left Bori Bunder for Thane, in Maharashtra.
Fact 17: India’s biggest theme park is found in Mumbai.
- ‘Imagica’ is spread over an area of 300 acres, and is near Khopoli, on the Mumbai-Pune highway.
Fact 18: Often referred to as ‘Bollywood’, Mumbai is the hub of the Hindi film industry in India.
- Bollywood churns out 1,600 films each year.
Fact 19: ‘Antilia’, a 27-story house owned by a business tycoon is also found in Mumbai.
- The colossal house is owned by India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, and is currently priced at around $1-2 billion.
Fact 20: The Mumbai sea link, officially known as ‘Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link,’ stretches up to 5.6 km in length.
- The architectural wonder was built with over 90,000 tons of cement and steel wire.
Fact 21: Mumbai is home to the world’s largest and most expensive slums.
- Moreover, 42% of Mumbai’s population reside in the slums.
Fact 22: The first person in India to own a car lives in Mumbai.
- Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, India’s apex business tycoon and founder of the Tata Group, was the first person to own a car.
Fact 23: Located at the heart of Mumbai is a National Park that is home to 6,300 species of flora and fauna.
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park divides the Western and Central part of the city, and covers a 104 square km area.
Fact 24: Mumbai is also home to India’s Biggest Street Festival.
- Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular 10-day festival in Mumbai, which brings the whole city out onto the street.
Fact 25: There’s a lack of toilets in the city.
- Mumbai is currently facing a huge shortage of toilets, leading to unhygienic conditions in the city.
Fact 26: Flamingos make their way to Mumbai every winter, between October to March.
- Flamingos are pink coloured large birds that have long necks. They usually migrate from Afro-Eurasia parts to Mumbai.
Fact 27: Located in Mumbai’s Andheri West is Gilbert Hill, a 200 ft hill of black basalt rock that formed around 66 million years ago.
- The geological structure was named after a geologist Grove Karl Gilbert.
Fact 28: A woman was responsible for finishing the railway line from Mumbai to Pune in 1863.
- Alice Tredwell, wife of Solomon Tredwell, took the responsibility of building the railway line after Solomon’s passing away.
Fact 29: The author of the best selling book “The Jungle Book” was born in Mumbai.
- Nobel Laureate, Rudyard Kipling was born in Mumbai in 1865.
Fact 30: With Mumbai’s skyrocketing population, the city has virtually no space to live.
- It estimated that the available open space for each person in Mumbai is only 1.28 sqm.
Fact 31: The first motor bus route in India was started in Mumbai on July 15, 1926.
- The bus route ran between the Afghan Church and Crawford Market.
Fact 32: “Vada Pav” is a famous delicacy in Mumbai.
- It’s a pillowy pav, stuffed with a golden-fried spiced potato vada, covered with a lick of tamarind and coriander chutneys, and a sprinkling of garlicky masala.
Fact 33: Built during British rule, the Gateway of India is one of the most iconic tourist places in Mumbai.
- The Gateway was inaugurated on December 4, 1924, and was erected in honour of King George V and Queen Mary’s landing at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India.
Fact 34: Mumbai trains carry three times their intended maximum capacity of 1,700 passengers.
- This often leads to such notorious crowding that railways have given peak hours a special name: the Super Dense Crush Load.
Fact 35: In 2008, Mumbai was named an alpha world city.
- Mumbai is also the wealthiest city in India, and is home to the highest numbers of millionaires and billionaires in the country.
Fact 36: Mumbai is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Namely, the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the Victorian and Art Deco buildings.
Fact 37: Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of 7 islands.
- The islands were: The Isle of Bombay, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli, and Old Woman’s Island.
Fact 38: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the main aviation hub in the city, and is the second busiest airport in India.
- In 2014-2015, the airport handled 36.6 million passengers, and 694,300 tonnes of cargo.
Fact 39: Mumbai is home to numerous churches, temples, gurudwaras and mosques.
- In the city’s older areas, you’ll also find temples and synagogues.
Fact 40: Human pyramids are highlights of the Dahi Handi Festival.
- The festival celebrates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna, and the highlight of the festival involves groups or Govindas, forming human pyramids with the sole aim of breaking a clay jar filled with curd, suspended high in the air, for money amounting to thousands of rupees.
Fact 41: Mumbai has an ever-increasing backlog of court cases.
- The city’s High Court is actually saturated with cases going back as far as 20 years ago.
Fact 42: Mumbai is a hub for traditional festivals, food, music, and theatres.
- The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment, and nightlife, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other world capitals.
Fact 43: It was Dadasaheb Phalke who laid the foundations of Bollywood with silent films.
- His films were followed by Marathi talkies, and the oldest film broadcast took place in the early 20th century.
Fact 44: Cricket is the most popular sport in the city.
- However, due to a shortage of grounds, various modified versions of the sport are played.
Fact 45: The biggest cricketing event to be staged in the city this far is the final of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
- The event was held at the Wankhede Stadium.
Fact 46: The term “Bollywood” is a blend of Bombay and Hollywood.
- The 2000s saw a growth in Bollywood’s popularity overseas.
Fact 47: In 1903, the Taj Mahal Palace, in Colaba, became India’s first-ever 5-star hotel.
- The hotel was the first in India to have electricity, Turkish baths, and German elevators.
Fact 48: The largest park in Asia is found in Mumbai.
- The Central Park in Khargar, Navi Mumbai, is also believed to be the third-largest in the world. While the park is still being developed, it already has theme parks, jogging tracks, water sports, cricket and football grounds, and botanical gardens.
Fact 49: The city is home to 32 billionaires, with a net worth of $115.1B.
- That places Mumbai in the sixth position on the world’s list of cities with the highest number of billionaires.
Fact 50: 6 major lakes supply water to the city.
- The 6 large lakes include: Vihar, Lower Vaitarna, Upper Vaitarna, Tulsi, Tansa and Powai.