Bombay vs. Mumbai

What's the Difference?

Bombay and Mumbai are two names for the same city, located on the western coast of India. Bombay was the original name given by the British during their colonial rule, while Mumbai is the name used by the locals. The change in name from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995 was a reflection of the city's cultural and historical identity. Despite the name change, the city remains a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant energy, diverse population, and thriving industries. Both names are used interchangeably, and whether referred to as Bombay or Mumbai, the city continues to captivate visitors with its rich history, iconic landmarks, and cosmopolitan atmosphere.


Photo by Parth Vyas on Unsplash
Official NameBombayMumbai
LocationWestern coast of IndiaWestern coast of India
PopulationApproximately 12.4 millionApproximately 20.7 million
LanguageMarathi, English, HindiMarathi, English, Hindi
Former NameBombayMumbai
Colonial HistoryBritish RajBritish Raj
Financial HubYesYes
Major IndustriesFinance, entertainment, textilesFinance, entertainment, textiles
LandmarksGateway of India, Marine DriveGateway of India, Marine Drive
Photo by Satyajeet Mazumdar on Unsplash

Further Detail


Bombay and Mumbai are two names that refer to the same city, the financial capital of India. The name "Bombay" was used during the British colonial era, and it was officially changed to "Mumbai" in 1995 to reflect the city's Marathi heritage. Despite the name change, both terms are still used interchangeably by locals and visitors alike. In this article, we will explore the various attributes of Bombay and Mumbai, including their history, culture, economy, and infrastructure.

Historical Background

Bombay has a rich history that dates back to the 2nd century BCE when it was a part of the Maurya Empire. Over the centuries, it witnessed the rule of various dynasties, including the Silhara dynasty, the Gujarat Sultanate, and the Portuguese. In 1661, Bombay was ceded to the British as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II of England. Under British rule, Bombay flourished as a major trading port and became the capital of the Bombay Presidency. After India gained independence in 1947, Bombay became the capital of the newly formed state of Bombay. However, in 1960, the state was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat, and Bombay became the capital of Maharashtra. The name change to Mumbai in 1995 was seen as a way to reclaim the city's pre-colonial identity.

Cultural Heritage

Bombay/Mumbai is a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions. It is home to people from all over India and has a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. The city is known for its Bollywood film industry, which produces the largest number of films in the world. Mumbai is also famous for its thriving theater scene, with numerous theaters hosting plays and performances throughout the year. The city celebrates various festivals with great enthusiasm, including Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, and Eid. The street food culture of Mumbai is legendary, with iconic dishes like vada pav, pav bhaji, and bhel puri being popular among locals and tourists alike.

Economy and Business

Mumbai is the financial and commercial hub of India, contributing significantly to the country's economy. It houses the headquarters of numerous national and multinational corporations, making it a major center for business and trade. The Bombay Stock Exchange, one of the oldest stock exchanges in Asia, is located in Mumbai. The city's economy is diverse, with industries ranging from finance, entertainment, information technology, textiles, and manufacturing. The presence of major financial institutions and the availability of skilled labor make Mumbai an attractive destination for both domestic and international businesses.

Infrastructure and Transportation

Mumbai has a vast and complex transportation network that caters to its massive population. The city's suburban railway system, known as the Mumbai Local, is one of the busiest in the world, carrying millions of commuters daily. The local trains connect various parts of the city and its suburbs, providing a lifeline for the residents. Mumbai also has an extensive bus network, with both government and private operators running services on different routes. The city's iconic black and yellow taxis and auto-rickshaws are a common sight on the streets. In recent years, Mumbai has witnessed the development of metro rail lines, easing the burden on the existing transportation system.

Education and Healthcare

Mumbai is home to some of the top educational institutions in India. It has prestigious universities, such as the University of Mumbai, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The city also has a wide range of schools, colleges, and professional institutes offering quality education in various fields. In terms of healthcare, Mumbai has a well-developed medical infrastructure with numerous hospitals, clinics, and specialized healthcare centers. The city attracts patients from all over the country and even abroad, seeking advanced medical treatments and procedures.

Tourism and Attractions

Mumbai offers a plethora of tourist attractions and landmarks. The Gateway of India, built during the British era, is an iconic monument that welcomes visitors to the city. Marine Drive, also known as the Queen's Necklace, is a scenic promenade along the Arabian Sea, offering breathtaking views and a vibrant atmosphere. The Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on an island near Mumbai, showcase ancient rock-cut cave temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other popular tourist spots include the Haji Ali Dargah, Siddhivinayak Temple, and the bustling markets of Colaba and Crawford Market.


Bombay and Mumbai, despite the name change, represent the same city with a rich history, diverse culture, and a thriving economy. The city's transformation from a trading port to a global financial center is a testament to its resilience and adaptability. Whether you refer to it as Bombay or Mumbai, the city continues to captivate visitors with its vibrant energy, iconic landmarks, and the spirit of its people.

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