Awesome old Bombay video showing history of Mumbai

This old Bombay video depicts the massive changes the city of Mumbai has witnessed over 100 years.

I came across a rare footage of Mumbai city that belongs to the 1920’s. It is a group of shots put together as an 8 minute long movie produced and narrated by James A Fitzpatrick. It is a travelogue so I decided to feature it here in the travel section.

It was originally published by an organisation called Maitree in 2013. Unfortunately, the video takes very long to load so I decided to host it on Instagram for quick rendering. Original source of the video is unknown.

Have a peek into the bygone era and see for yourself the glory it beheld. This old Mumbai video will give you a glimpse of the beautiful past.

Bombay renamed to Mumbai

In 1995 Bombay officially became Mumbai. To mark the occasion Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray installed a marble plaque with the name on the Gateway of India.

The seven islands that constitute Mumbai were originally home to communities of Marathi speaking Koli people. The name Mumbai is derived from Mumbā or Mahā-Ambā—the name of the patron goddess  Mumbadevi of the native Koli community.

old bombay video, Seven Islands of Mumbai
7 islands that formed today’s Mumbai

100 year old video depicts a life very different from ours

It reminds you of the era when Colaba shore was not lined up with jetties and boats, when vintage cars used by the affluent, and majority of the people used when the horse carts and bullock carts were the favourite modes of transportation, when the city ended after Sion, and Andheri was not yet born.

The video shows that the race course was the hub of entertainment.

A street entertainer showing off the skills of his tamed bird that could stitch and sew was an everyday man’s break from routine.

The life of Kolis was the way of life, catching fish, curating them, preserving them and selling them in the market.

When dignitaries came riding on elephant with mahouts instead of shining bullet proof fancy cars.

The shore line didn’t have the hustle bustle of the chowpatty that is seen at the present. Life was simple, people were simple, lifestyle revolved only around earning a living.

The lost beauty of the vintage era

Bombay of the 40s was beautiful there were trams, buses Ghora garis (horse carts), few people on the road, clean and neat.

Chowpatty was a delight to go after dinner for Malai Kulfi or evening spent on the beach and enjoying the lovely chaat and special paans.

Marine Drive was a walkers paradise. Even in the 60s it was not so bad. Bandra was a sleepy little suburb with bungalows, no high rise buildings.

Khar, Juhu and Santa Cruz were popular picnic spots.

South Bombay is still unbeatable with all the old heritage buildings and wide roads and not forgetting the Oval.

Cricket matches at the Braborne stadium was a delight to watch.

At Mahalaxmi race course you could see a live fashion show – Parsi ladies got Saris specially made for the Derby day.

Fun facts about Mumbai

Mumbai is the financial, commercial, and the entertainment capital of India. 

Mumbai is the second-most populated city in the country after Delhi and the seventh-most populated city in the world.

Mumbai is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the city’s distinctive ensemble of Victorian and Art Deco buildings.

Mumbai has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires among all cities in India.

Mumbai city is also home to Bollywood and Marathi cinema industries.

In the past Mumbai was known as Kakamuchee and Galajunkja.

The Mahakali Caves in Andheri were cut out between the 1st century BCE and the 6th century CE. The Kanheri Caves in Borivali were excavated from basalt rock in the first century CE.

In the 3rd century BCE, the islands formed part of the Maurya Empire, during its expansion in the south, ruled by the Buddhist emperor Ashoka of Magadha.

Haji Ali Mosque was built in 1431.

Gilbert Hill is a 200 ft (61 m) monolith column of black basalt rock at Andheri that was formed by molten lava during the Mesozoic Era about 66 million years ago. 

You can also read about 15 unique things to do in Mumbai.

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