Things to know about Mumbai
Mumbai is India's melting pot — a confluence of people from various parts of India, but dominant are people from the west, then north, and followed by the south.Marathi is the state and city official language used by State Government agencies, municipal authorities, and the local police, and also the first language of most locals.
However, being India's largest city and main commercial centre, Mumbai is now also home to migrants from other parts of India who do not speak Marathi. A local variant of Hindi, with strong Bollywood influence, called Bambaiya Hindi serves as the "lingua franca" and although almost everyone can understand standard Hindi, you may get an interesting reply from some. Most educated locals will be trilingual in Marathi, Hindi and English.
English is widely used in the corporate world and in banking and trading. At most places, you will be able to get by with Hindi and English, as most people you will encounter can communicate in broken English at the very least. However expect to hear more regional languages including Gujarati.
Culture and attitudes
Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan city in India. In comparison with the rest of the country, the city is quite liberal. With a regular influx of immigrants from rest of India, the citizens, popularly known as 'Mumbaikers', have shown remarkable tolerance towards other cultures, making it a true cultural melting pot. However in recent times, this tolerance has sometimes bowed under external pressures. Between the 60s and 80s, there was resentment about the non-Marathi speakers taking away jobs. The 1991 and 1993 riots between Hindus and Muslims did affect this spirit; however, the city managed to recover from these, once again proudly highlighting true 'spirit of Mumbai'.
- City Map, Eicher has an excellent city-map of Mumbai with detailed listings. Familiarize yourself with it before you begin, or alternatively trace your route on it. ₹30.
- BEST Route Map, Thanks to the density of bus routes in the city, the map is quite hard to decipher. Although bus routes are listed in the itinerary, you may have to find out about a few others if you plan to mix/match the order of the sights. People are very helpful in general. Check the BEST Route Finder for detailed information on the routes. The map is available at news stands. ₹10.
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