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About 300 years ago, the area of Bombay was nothing more than seven islands occupied by small fishing settlements. Today this bustling city offers a seemingly endless array of sights and cultural activities. Mumbai is the glamour of Bollywood cinema, cricket on the maidans on weekends, bhelpuri on the beach at Chowpatty and red double-decker buses. It is also the infamous cages of the red-light district, Asia’s largest slums, communalist politics and powerful mafia dons. This pungent drama is played out against a Victorian townscape more reminiscent of a prosperous 19th-century English industrial city than anything you’d expect to find on the edge of the Arabian Sea. Mumbai has vital streetlife, India’s best nightlife, and more bazaars than a visitor could ever explore.

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