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(24) Page [1] - Part I. Introductory
PART I.-INTRODUCTORY.
CHAPTER I.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BOMBAY.
Section 1.
1. The City of Bombay, the capital of the Bombay Presidency and the
principal seaport of Western India, is situated on an island on the shore of the
Arabian Sea in 18 55' N. and 72 54' E. This island forms one of a group
lying off the coast of the Konkan. It is now permanently united to a larger
island, Salsette, and the mainland by means of causeways, bridges and break-
waters. Originally seven small islands, separated from one another by narrow
channels and enclosing a large central lagoon, occupied the site of the present
island, as may be seen by reference to map No. II; but gradually these islands
were connected by causeways and, embankments and, after the construction of
the great Hornby Vellard, the island of Bombay assumed its present form.
Since that time a considerable area of foreshore has been reclaimed and a large
amount of low-land has been filled in, but even now much of the central portion
of the island is below sea level. Reference to map No. III, in which the shaded
portion represents land below sea level, will show this.
2. Physically the island consists of a low-lying alluvial plain or shallow
valley between two parallel ranges of low broken hills. To the south these
two ranges are represented by the respective promontories of Malabar Hill and
Colaba Point, which jut into the sea and partly enclose a large shallow expanse
of water known as Back Bay. The hills on the island are all small, reaching
an elevation a little more than 150 feet. There are no rivers or permanent
natural streams ; but as the centre of the island, towards the north, forms a basin
shaped depression, it is subject to temporary flooding during the rainy season.
3. The climate of Bombay is warm, equable and humid. The average
mean annual temperature is 79.6 Fah., January being the coldest month with
an average mean temperature of 73.9 and May the warmest with an average
mean temperature of 84.7. The seasons may be conveniently divided into the
wet and the dry. The wet season usually begins in June when the monsoon
bursts and continues until the middle or end of October. After the onset of
the rains the temperature falls slightly, but remains remarkably uniform,
almost within 1 of the mean of the year, until October, when a slight rise
occurs. From October the temperature falls gradually until January, after
which it rises again to the maximum in May. Table I in the appendix gives
the average temperature observed from 1873-1905 and the actuals recorded
during 1906-1910.
There is no forest or jungle and little natural undergrowth on the island.
Up to 1872 more than half the island was under cultivation, large areas being
used for rice, plantations of toddy palms and market gardens; but in 1909 only
a little over 2,000 acres was cropped, chiefly in the north of the island. Of
this area over 800 acres were covered with toddy palms, nearly 500 acres
with rice and the remainder was used for market gardens.
4. The average annual rainfall for Bombay is 71.15 inches. The
maximum fall recorded in one year is 114.89 and the minimum 33.42. The
average number of rainy days in the year is 103.
The following table shows the annual rainfall of Bombay for a number of
past years:-
Year.
Inches.
Year.
Inches.
Year.
Inches.
1843 ... ...
52.24
1853 ... ...
62.60
1863 ... ...
77.68
1844 ... ...
62.71
1854 ... ...
82.14
1864 ... ...
45.57
1845 ... ...
54.12
1855 ... ...
41.18
1865 ... ...
77.85
1846 ... ...
73.93
1856 ... ...
65.92
1866 ......
78.44
1847 ... ...
76.00
1857 ... ...
51.27
1867 ... ...
62.30
1848 ... ...
75.86
1858 ... ...
62.45
1868 ... ...
62.12
1849 ... ...
114.89
1859 ... ...
77.16
1869 ... ...
91 66
1850 ... ...
50.25
1860 ... ...
62.15
1870 ... ...
66.21
1851 ... ...
96.07
1861 ... ...
76.31
1871 ... ...
40.58
1852 ... ...
69.27
1862 ... ...
73.63
1872 ... ...
76.48
B 136-1

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