By Aishwarya Iyer:
Having been brought up in Delhi, I have never been too fond of Mumbai. Delhi is home for me and I was always surprised to hear people talking so soulfully about Mumbai’s greatness when all I see is the stench, congestion and horrible climate. I might not be able to fall in love with the city in this lifetime but I found some interesting facts about the most populous city in India. Here are ten things you might not know about Mumbai:
1. Bombay was actually named by Portuguese explorer Francis Almeida from Bom Bahia, literally meaning ‘the Good Bay’. The present day Mumbai is named after goddess Mumba devi of the Koli community.
2. The erstwhile ‘Bombay’, which is actually a set of 7 islands, was not part of the British Empire but was given as dowry by the Portugese when Princess Braganza married Charles II of England.
3. The famous dabbawallah system is more than hundred years old and the lunchboxes are still delivered without any computerized system. Magazines like Forbes and The Harvard Business Review have given it the ‘six sigma’Â rating, which implies that there is less than one error in a million transactions!
4. Bhendi Bazaar area has nothing to do with bhindis (okra)! The British referred to this area, which was situated in the northern part of the famous Crawford Market, as ‘behind the bazaar’. The local people mistook that for ‘bhendi bazaar’ and thus the unique name.
5. Mumbai initiated the first of many amenities we enjoy today including the Juhu Aerodrome which was the first airport of India, the Taj Mahal Hotel, founded in 1903, which is India’s first 5 star hotel and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station, which was the first railway station in India. Even today, Mumbai is the only city to have skywalks!
6. Mumbai doesn’t just have the largest slum in Asia, but probably the most expensive one also. Building a house in Dharavi could cost more than three lakhs!
7. The number of skyscrapers in Mumbai is equal to the number of slums there. Navi Mumbai is the largest planned township on the planet in recent times which was especially planned by the government as a result of all the congestion.
8. The Churchgate railway station in Mumbai neither has a church nor a gate. Several other places have ironic names; Victoria Terminus (where Queen Victoria never resided), Mahalaxmi Temple (which is at Haji Ali and not Mahalaxmi), Breach Candy (where there is a hospital, no candies), Lohaar Chawl (which has no ironsmiths) and several others.
9. The ‘B’ in Bollywood is derived from the city’s older name: Bombay.
10. Ajmal Kasab, who killed more than 50 people in the heinous 26/11 attacks in Mumbai has a case registered by the Mumbai police for entering CST station without a ticket.