Port of Mumbai

Lifeline of India’s maritime trade

Port of MumbaiIndia has 64 shipping companies, of which 19 operate from Mumbai, and the Port of Mumbai handles 33% of India’s total trade. The port of Mumbai is a salt water port and major fluctuations in the density occur on account of tide. Density mainly varies in the monsoon period viz. June to September. The month of February is very pleasant and usually dry. The average temperature varies between 19 and 28 degrees centigrade.A ship docked at the Port of MumbaiIndia has been a great maritime nation. During the 8th century BC, shipbuilding was a skilled craft and traveler’s such as Marco Polo and Nicolo Conti recorded great admiration for Indian teak built ships. The finest wooden ships in the world came out of the Wadia shipbuilding yard in Mumbai. Between 17th and 19th centuries, they constructed 300 vessels, including schooners, ghurabs (grabs), sloops, pilot vessel, brigs, frigates, gunboats and steamers. The Mumbai harbour was known for its spaciousness and safety. However, a harbour alone does not make a great port which also requires docks and ships. The Bombay Port Trust was established to plan and expand this natural harbour in 1873. Ever since, it has been actively occupied in trying to meet the growing needs of maritime trade

In 1880, the first wet dock, the Prince’s Dock, was built on reclaimed land. This was followed by the building of Victoria Dock, Alexandra Dock (now Indira Dock ) and Huges Dry Dock in 1888. However, India’s long and glorious shipping tradition took a downturn during the British rule. Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Young India in 1931 that Indian shipping had to perish so that British shipping might flourish. The Scindia Steam and Navigation Company was inaugurated in 1919 and the first Indian-owned ship set for sail from Bombay to London on its maiden commercial voyage in that year. After independence, shipping was re-energised and a National Shipping Board was set up which has helped the Port of Mumbai to regain its past glory and exercise its influence on India’s maritime trade in the new Millennium.

Festivals Mumbai celebrates

Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is a melting pot, known for its ability to blend different castes, creed and religion and celebrate all festivities with pomp and splendour.

Mumbaites are earthy people, who treat life itself as a celebration. Most festivals in Maharashtra are celebrated with abandon.


Makar Sankranti

It marks the beginning of the sun’s movement northwards. Sweet and crunchy ladoos or tilgul made of sesame and jaggery are the favourite treats distributed during the festival. Maharashtrians celebrate Makar Sankranti and believe thatTilgul ghya god god bola” (eat sweet and talk sweet too).



Holi, the festival of colours, is a spring festival celebrated each year after a successful winter harvest. ‘Holi’ or bonfires are lit at night as people gather to worship the Fire God, who is believed to burn evil. The day after Holi is known Dhulendi or Rangpanchami. On this day, people playfully drench each other with coloured water and powders. Music, dance and sweets are part of the celebration.


Gudi Padwa
Gudi Padwa or Maharashtrian New Year marks the arrival of prosperity and is considered one of the most auspicious days in the year. On this day, Maharashtrians erect Gudi (a bamboo staff with a coloured silk cloth and a garland atop it, symbolising triumph) on Padwa (first day of the Hindu New Year) and welcome the new year by distributing a prasad (holy offerings) of tender neem leaves, gram-pulse and jaggery.



Farmers celebrate Pola or harvest festival all over Maharashtra. On this day, bullocks are bathed and decorated with colours. They are then taken out in processions in villages, accompanied by music of drumbeats and lezhims (musical instruments made of wooden rods and iron chains covered with metallic pieces). This festival is an important embodiment of Hindu culture, where cattle are not looked upon as beasts of burden, but treated with dignity and gratitude.



Celebrated all over the city, Id-E-Milad marks the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. The Muslims in the city offer prayers, distribute sweets and mark the day with celebrations.


Nag Panchami

According to Hindu mythology, the cobra having a special significance, and believes that the earth rests on the head (Shesha) of a thousand-hooded cobra. Snake worship is considered an important ritual by Maharashtrians. The festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated by worshipping clay idols of cobras. Snake charmers carry cobras in baskets and collect offerings from the public.

Narali Pournima

The full moon day in the month of Shravan is known as Poornima. On this day, fishermen make offerings of coconuts (naral) to the Sea God and hence the festival is called Narali Pournima. Since this festival marks the start of a new fishing season, fishermen pacify the Sea God before sailing out in their gaily-decorated boats by performing this ritual.

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of the relationship between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters tie ‘rakhis’ or beautifully decorated threads on their brothers’ wrists. The ritual recreates the bond of love between siblings and signifies a brother’s responsibility towards his sister.


Gokul Ashtami

Gokul Ashtami or Janmashtami is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Krishna. One of the fun-filled rituals of the day is breaking the dahi-handi. Clay pots filled with curds, puffed rice and milk are strung on ropes high above the streets fastened to buildings or lampposts. Groups of enthusiastic young men (and women too) form human pyramids to break these clay pots. This ritual is an imitation of the way Lord Krishna and his friends stole butter from the houses of milkmaids.

Ganesh Chaturthi Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of the God of Wisdom, Lord Ganesh, who is considered to be the patron deity of Maharashtra. The 11-day festival begins with the installation of beautifully sculpted Ganesh idols in houses and public places under large tents, which are colourfully decorated and depict religious themes or current/cultural events. Cultural events are organised on all the 10 days. On the 11th day, the idols are taken to either the sea, nearby river or lake accompanied by music and dance for immersion by voicing slogans like “Gannpati Bappa Morya. Pudhachya Varshi Lavkar Ya (Oh Lord Ganesh, please come back soon next year).

Parsi New Year Mumbai’s Zoroastrian community celebrates this day when their forefathers fled Persia by attending fire temples, visiting friends and indulging in legendary feasting.


This nine-day festival celebrates Lord Ram’s victory over the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Dussehra is the day when Lord Ram killed Ravana. A symbol of the victory of good over evil, the festival is a time when giant paper-made demons are set on fire on the last day of the festival. In the evenings, the leaves of the Apta tree are exchanged among friends and relatives as a symbol of luck.

Diwali Diwali or Deepawali, a celebration of lights, is one of the most beautiful of Indian festivals. Illuminated streets with rows of clay lamps, homes decorated with rangoli (coloured powder designs) and aakash kandils (decorative lanterns of different shapes and sizes)make Diwali the most eagerly awaited of all. Diwali is celebrated over five days and each day has a unique religious significance. This joyous festival is celebrated to eliminate the darkness of misery and bring the light of prosperity and happiness into human life.

Salutations to Mumbai ka Raja

CelebrationCelebrate the festival of Ganesh, Mumbai’s favourite god. While the mighty Lord sits majestically on his vahan, thousands of Mumbaites busy themselves anointing him.
Who will make the biggest and best Ganesh idol this year? Will the Lalbaug Ka Raja score again? Which mandal will attract the longest queue? The competition hots up. Ganesh Chaturthi heralds days of joy, reverence and festivities in Mumbai.
Sculpting clay Ganesh idolsEarly in September, on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated. Months earlier, thousands of clay idols of Lord Ganesh are made in Mumbai. To many Mumbaites, the festival offers an alternate source of income as they get down to the task of sculpting clay Ganesh idols. Ajay Bandekar, who has a sandwich and fruit juice stall in Prabhadevi, changes his profession to sculptor from July to September.

Sale of Ganesh idolsA Ganesh idol can cost anywhere between Rs 100 for a palm-size idol to thousands of rupees for large idols. Even with the escalating prices of the clay idols, the number of orders each year only increase, giving rise to more artists and more factories.

The renowned patriot Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak initiated this community Ganesh festival in 1892. He recognised its appeal amongst India’s vast population, and used it to create a public festival and thereby propogate the struggle for independence.

Ganesh DarshanA number of exhibitions in the city showcase both traditional and unique forms of abstract idols. The World Trade Centre has an exhibition-cum-sale of some of the best collections every August. Ganapathy Darshan displays a collection of unique wood and stone carvings and traditional bronze icons at the Sachivalaya Gymkhana opposite the Mantralaya.

Women get busy making steamed modaks (sweets made from flour and stuffed with coconut and sugar) and other festive dishes.

Immersion The Ganesh idols are immersed on the second, fifth, seventh or 11th day (Ananta Chaturdashi), or the day preceding the full moon day of Bhadrapad, which brings one phase of the Chaturmaas festive season to an end.

Amidst picturesque processions, with the rhythm of bells and drums, the Ganesh idols are immersed by midnight.
And Mumbai waits for the excitement to return next year. . . .

Places of Worship

Mumbadevi Temple The temple was built in honour of the Goddess Mumbadevi, from whom the name of the city Mumbai is derived. Kolis (fisher folk) built the original temple. It was later demolished in the year 1737. A new temple was erected in its place at Bhuleshwar, which included a modern shrine with an image of the Goddess.Getting there:Nearest Railway Station: Marine Lines (Western Railway)Walkeshwar Temple  Situated on Walkeshwar Road, the Walkeshwar temple is one of the oldest in the region. As legend goes, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman came to Bhuleshwar in search of Sita. Rama had vowed to worship the Shiva lingam (the symbol of Lord Shiva), which Lakshman brought for him from Benaras. One day, Lakshman was late in bringing the lingam, so Lord Rama made one out of sand. Years passed and a temple was erected above it, which came to be known as Walkeshwar (Sand God).Getting there:Nearest Railway Station: Marine Lines (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ Jain Temple Jain Temple Located on Ridge Road, Malabar Hill, the Jain temple is a 15-minute walk from Hanging Gardens. Built in marble in the year 1904, the inside of the temple depicts the lives of 24 Jain Tirthankars (prophets) through statues. The best feature of this temple is its architecture – intricately carved birds and beasts.Getting thereNearest Railway Station: Marine Lines (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ Babulnath Temple Situated at the end of Marine Drive and south of Malabar Hill, Babulnath temple was built in the year 1780. In 1900s a tall spire was added to the original temple. This temple is renowned for the worship of a stone lingam of Lord Shiva. The main day for worshipping the deity is Monday. Getting thereNearest Railway Station: Marine Lines (Western Railway) ________________________________________ Mahalaxmi Temple  Mahalaxmi TempleThe Mahalaxmi Temple sits atop a long flight of steps that rise abruptly from the path. Dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, the temple comprises of images of Goddesses Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati. Since Mumbai is said to be the city of wealth, it isn’t surprising that the Goddess has a large following.Getting thereNearest station: Mahalaxmi (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ Siddhivinayak Temple The historic Shri Siddhivinayak Temple is nearly 200 years old with the idol of Lord Ganesh carved in black stone. The idol has a height of 30 inches and width of 24 inches. It is considered rare since its trunk is turned to the right. The speciality of the temple is that the idol is visible from any point in its premises.Getting thereNearest Station: Dadar (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ Afghan Church  Established in 1847, the Afghan Church is a befitting example of a war memorial, in honour of those who were killed in the first Afghan war. The names of the dead are inscribed on the epitaphs lined under the stained glass windows of the church. This impressive structure lined with ‘whispering’ banyan trees is situated near the Colaba Bus Depot.Getting thereNearest Railway Station: Churchgate (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ St Thomas Cathedral St Thomas CathedralThe St Thomas Cathedral lies in the vicinity of Horniman Circle and is said to be the city’s premier Anglican Church. It was built in the year 1718, to improve the moral standards of the growing British settlement. The high box pews of the church, replaced now by more ordinary ones, were allotted to the people in order of social rank with the front row reserved for the Governor and the rear ones for ‘strangers’ and ‘inferior women’. Here, many Britishers were laid to rest under marbled tablets engraved with touching rhymes.Getting there Nearest station: Churchgate (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ Mount Mary Church  The Mount Mary Church at Bandra is one of the most prominent churches in Mumbai and the venue for the popular weeklong Bandra Fair. People of all faiths come here to seek favours from Mother Mary. Opposite the church, stands a statue of Mother Mary where devotees light candles and seek blessings. One can get a breath-taking view of the Arabian Sea and the sunset from here.Getting thereNearest station: Bandra (Western Railway)  ________________________________________ Jumma Masjid  Jumma Masjid is tucked into the far end of Abdul Rehman Street near Crawford Market, one of the most important places of worship for Muslims in Mumbai. This is a small mosque with a cluster of white domes, which was built entirely out of marble in 1770. On Fridays, nearly 10,000 Muslims gather to offer namaz on the streets.Getting thereNearest station: Masjid (Central Railway)  ________________________________________ Haji Ali Dargah  Situated next to the Mahalaxmi temple, the Haji Ali Dargah is the tomb of a wealthy Mohammedan merchant who renounced worldly ways before embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Though the structure is only sixty years old, the tomb is said to be around for eight centuries. It is located in the middle of the sea and can be reached by a narrow path only during low tide.Every year, the tomb is washed with fragrant rose water, which is then distributed among the ailing for its curative properties. The tomb is covered with a richly embroidered cloth where the devotees pay their respect by praying and touching their foreheads and lips to it. The dargah has a separate section for ladies to pray.

Getting thereNearest station: Mahalaxmi (Western Railway)