Mumbai or Bombay (call it whatever you want), with its little over 400 year old history is the financial and cultural capital of India. A city of many colours and faces it is, without doubt, the place where fortunes are made and dreams are realized. From being the birthplace of Indian cricket to the spiritual home of 'Bollywood' and Indian Cinema it is a vibrant cosmopolitan melting pot.
The Raconteur Walks Tourism Company Pvt. Ltd. was established in mid 2010 by Viraat Kasliwal with the aim of promoting theme based walking tours in Mumbai city. Assisted by his mother, Manju, Viraat founded Raconteur Walks Mumbai to enlighten tourist and locals alike about a city that he's proud to call 'home'. It aims to take them beyond the regular guidebooks and show them the real Mumbai city, the history, culture and life of Mumbai and all Mumbaikars. From history to culture, sports to entertainment and more all at team Raconteur Walks Mumbai aim to give their guests the best experience of touring Mumbai. In one short sweet sentence we want our guests to really – LIVE THE CITY!
Take one part Hollywood from Los Angeles, Six Parts Traffic Jams straight off the roads of NYC, stir in a dozen odd Victorian Gothic architectural masterpieces from London and add a dash of swish bars and restaurants from Paris, to this put in equal parts of mayhem and order; as many ancient bazaars as you have lying around; a handful of Hinduism; a dash of Islam and a dollop of every other religion one can find on planet Earth and add some Indian curry masala for flavour, throw it all into a pressure cooker and presto: Mumbai!
Mumbai formerly known as Bombay is the capital of the state of Maharashtra and by being home to almost 17 million people is India’s most populous city. It is the country’s financial powerhouse and its vogue centre of fashion, film and after-dark frolics. The birthplace of Bollywood and the great Indian dream, Mumbai is the place everyone comes to from all over India to make it big. As of 2009 it has been designated an Alpha World City.
Mumbai’s fairytale story began on 11th May 1661. Princess Catherine of Braganza was married to King Charles II of England and as part of the dowry, the Treaty of Surrender was signed which transferred the islands of Bombay from Portuguese to English hands. The English established Bombay into a major port of trade and commerce and it was built from 7 small islands into a bustling cosmopolitan city first by the British East India Company and later by the Royal crown. The British went on to develop Bombay into a centre of culture and learning, arts and sciences were promoted and some of the best colonial architectural masterpieces were built.
In 1947 India was granted independence and Bombay became the capital of the erstwhile Bombay State. The 1950’s saw feverous demands by the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement for a separate state of Maharashtra. Following protests during the movement in which 105 people were killed by the police, Bombay State was reorganised on 1st May 1960 into the state of Maharashtra with Bombay as its capital.
In 1996 Bombay was renamed Mumbai and as Mumbai the city grew into the financial, cultural and sporting powerhouse that it is today. Mumbai is host to some of the most important financial institutions of India including the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of India Headquarters. It is the home to Bollywood and the Indian film industry which is arguably the biggest in the world with super stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. In the sporting arena Mumbai is the host city to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team and the Mumbai Indians IPL team in cricket and has produced some of India’s finest cricketers in Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar. In the I-League (the local football (soccer) tournament), Mumbai is represented by three teams, Mumbai FC, Mahindra United and Air-India.
Mumbai has sister city agreements with Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg, Stuttgart and Yokohama.
Only once the initial shell shock of Mumbai’s chaos subsides, can one start to appreciate the city’s allure: a wealth of Art Deco and grand colonial relics; cacophonic temples; warrens of bazaars; and the odd spiritual bastion of tranquillity. In Mumbai you can dine at some of the finest restaurants in the country, and work off the appetite gyrating at ultra chic bars alongside Bollywood starlets and wannabes. With a pinch of gumption, a dash of adventure, an open wallet and a running start, there’s no excuse not to dive into the Mumbai’s madness head-first.
Facts, Figures and Trivia
Population : 18 million, projected to reach 28.5 million by 2020 Location : Mumbai lies on the western coast of India, in Maharashtra state Longitude : 18.96°N
Latitude 72.82°E Climate : Summer-35°Cto23°C
Monsoon - between June and Sept, annual rain 2,200 mm Best time to visit : October – February Airport : Sahar/Chhatrapati Shivaji International Air Port and Santacruz Domestic Airport Railway : Station Bombay Central Railway Station (Western Railway) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Formerly Victoria Terminus) Intra-city Transportation : Mumbai Suburban Railway, BEST buses, Taxis, Auto rickshaws, Ferry Services. Language Spoken : English, Hindi, Marathi, Electricity : 220Volts; 50 Hz Religion : Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Jainism and Buddhism STD Code : 022 ISD Code : +91 22 Time Zone : 5:30 hrs ahead of GMT
1. The name Bombay was derived from Bom Bahia (The Good Bay), a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508.
2. It took 60 years to merge the seven islands of Bombay into one landmass between 1784 and 1845.
3. Mumbai's first ever meteorological observatory was built in Colaba in 1826.
4. The original Walkeshwar Temple was destroyed by the Portuguese, but was rebuilt by Rama Kamath in 1715.
5. The wooden pole in the centre of the Banganga Tank in Mumbai signifies the centre of the earth. Legend has it that Lord Ram created the tank by piercing the earth with his arrow.
Why tour with us ?
Raconteur Walks Mumbai is without doubt the foremost tours company in Mumbai. The research that has gone into making Raconteur Walks Mumbai a reality has spanned over a year and a half and has covered over 110 books, 150 journals, magazines and periodicals and countless number of websites – we are thorough in what we do. Our extremely well trained guides speak immaculate English and are carefully handpicked based on their personal attributes and qualities –Language and formality will never be a problem if you tour with us. We restrict our group sizes to a maximum of 10 guests per group. This enables us to give each and every one of our guest’s personal attention and ensures that everyone can easily hear the narration and can understand what’s being said. Thereby we ensure that we provide the best value for your money – The quality of our tour and the smiles on our guest’s faces are what is most important to us. We want our guests to live breathe and feel the real Mumbai. Be it a historic tour or a cultural one we try our best to recreate the actual environment that relates to the tour - We don’t just take you for a tour; we take you on an experience which allows you to really LIVE THE CITY!
RANJIT SHAHANIRanjit Shahani is Country President Novartis India responsible for the overall operations of the Novartis AG Companies in India
He started his career with ICI in India in their businesses of Fibres & Speciality chemicals. Later, he rose to the position of General Manager with ICI / ZENECA in the U.K., overseeing their Asia Pacific and LatAm operations for their Petrochemicals and Plastics division.
This was followed by a period as CEO at Roche Products Limited, after which he moved to Novartis in India in 1997, following the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy.
Mr Shahani is President, Organisation of Pharmaceuticals Producers of India (OPPI), an organization he also lead earlier from 2001-2007, is Past President of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, President, Swiss Indian Chamber of Commerce, and was on the Council of the International Federation of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA, Geneva). He is a thought leader in the Pharmaceutical Industry and has been actively involved in lobbying for a strong Product Patent law in the country and Data Protection and liberalization of the price control mechanism for Pharmaceuticals. He has also strongly canvassed for deterrent legislation against counterfeit drugs.
A Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kanpur and MBA from JBIMS, Bombay, was born in Kanpur, India, is married and his wife is a well known educationist and currently also the Sheriff of Mumbai - they have one son - who works with McKinsey in London.
SHARADA DWIVEDINoted Mumbai historian and former member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee, Mrs. Sharada Dwivedi was a principle architect in the guiding us towards starting these tours between 2009 and 2012. We thank you for the great guidance and invaluable contribution you have made in making Raconteur Walks Mumbai a success.