Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) Political capital of Maharashtra, and commercial capital of India, Mumbai is many cities in one. As the world's largest textiles market, a major industrialcentre and the country's busiest port handling over 40 percent of India's maritime trade, it contributes around 50 percent of the national exchequer. The city hums with activity, and its more than eight million residents and three million commuters seem to be constantly on the move. Natural increase and steady rural migration have quadrupled Bombay's population over the last 40 years. Theoriginal island of Bombay consolidating a number of earlier islands-is only 24 kilometres (15 miles) long and some four kilometres (2.5 miles) wide at its broadest point, and has a population density of over 43,000 persons per square kilometre (100,000 per square mile), amongst the highest in the world. Pavement dwellers and slums coexist with modem skyscrapers and gracious colonial buildings, obsolete textile mills with impressive modem factories, Christian churches with Hindu temples in a medley of contradictions that makes Mumbai a product of the Indian past that holds the key to the present and the future.
Perhaps the appropriate place to begin exploring Bombay's colonial legacy is the Gateway of India. Built to commemorate the royal visit of George V and Queen Mary in 1911 but only completed in 1924, the gateway is a combination of European and Indian ceremonial architecture. The last British troops marched out through this gate when India became independent in 1947. Today it is a favourite haunt of tourists.