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10 Cultural Differences Between Delhi and Mumbai

Updated on 30 April, 2015 at 8:01 pm By

The Delhi vs Mumbai debate is something that is perennial like a cuisine which is popular in all seasons. It is one of those topics like the CIA vs the KGB or India vs Pakistan that have been handed down from generations as pastimes. A touchy topic undoubtedly, but differences do exist whether in the form of non-existence of subtlety or something far more striking. So here is a list of some of the differences between Delhi and Mumbai.

10. Coarse or Decorous:

In Mumbai you can expect people to stand in a bank queue without retorting aggressively while the teller takes time to process each request. In Delhi however, the teller would probably be pulled out of the counter and even hurled abuses at. Patience is grossly missing among the people in Delhi and they make no apologies for crossing every line when it comes to showing that boorish side.

Coarse or Decorous

9. Mumbai’s vibrant Nightlife vs Delhi’s virtually non-existent Nightspots:


Mumbai never seems too tired for a pulsating nightlife. Delhi however is perhaps just the opposite. It is definitely not the city for those who include clubbing in their daily itinerary. Though there are nightspots, discos, bars, pubs and clubs in the city too but it is way lower in the entertainment quotient when compared to Mumbai. Mumbaites would rather choose to go for a drink to at a thriving hangout while Delhites probably wouldn’t.

Vibrant Nightlife

8. Bollywood vs Intellectuals:

Delhi has some of the finest colleges and educational institutions in our country. It is the bustling center of learning with students from around the country converging towards it. Mumbai could be said to be lagging in this respect; of course not lacking. The aura of Delhi is of an intellectual city while Mumbai breathes the Bollywood air. One can put it this way; a genteel Delhiite would savor theatre which is more cerebral as opposed to a Mumbaite.

Bollywood vs Intellectuals

7. Damsels vs Maidens:

One argument that has been there for generations is that the Delhi girls are more sophisticated and refined when compared to Mumbai girls. Well not sure how that is valid or even a matter of segregation but as Indians we never dodge doing that. So yes the “supposed” difference between girls depending on them belonging to Delhi or Mumbai is surely a sticking point.

Damsels vs Maidens

6. Cold Hostility vs subtle camaraderie:

There is always the risk of even the most trifling of arguments to go awry and turn almost fatal in Delhi. We never know what action of ours could attract dire retort from a bystander who more often than not is too conceited to do something as frivolous as move his car out of the way. However, Mumbai has a softer side to it and the by-stander there is more likely to move his car and perhaps even flash a smile while doing that!

Cold Hostility vs subtle camaraderie

5. Of Women:

The society in Mumbai can be perhaps called more pro-women, well at least higher up in the list when compared to Delhi. The direct result of this slight cultural perplexity is the degree to which Delhi is considered unsafe and unfriendly as a city for women. One reason could be the surrounding areas around Delhi are known to be overtly patriarchal. But yes a woman can expect to be treated with more respect in Mumbai than in Delhi any time of the day!


4. Political Centre vs Commercial Capital:

Delhi is the sanctum sanctorum for the political class of our country. It is the host to all kinds of partisan potboilers and is perhaps as many say the Washington on India; though purists might abhor the comparison. Mumbai is where the Sensex drives the show apart from Bollywood of course  It is the commercial capital, the New York of India. While Delhi has a very political undertone, Mumbai has more of a commercial nuance.

Political Centre vs Commercial Capital

3. Violence Quotient:


One needs no introduction to the lawlessness that thrives in Delhi where even an innocent toll booth attendant is killed for performing his duty. False pride often rules the roost in that city. It definitely leaves behind any other city in this race by far. Mumbai inspite of its very own thriving underbelly of crimes is a far innocuous society than Delhi at any given moment. Delhi is a violent city by far as compared to Mumbai.

Violence Quotient

2. Maratha vs Moghul:

Delhi was the seat of Mogul power in India and it is till today a very pertinent cradle of historical Moghul Architecture. Monuments like the Qutub Minar and Red Fort are standing testimonies of this legacy. Mumbai on the other hand is more about Maratha culture and Shivaji’s heritage. The difference is one’s connect is with Moghul while the other’s with Maratha.

Maratha vs Moghul

1. Cosmopolitan Mumbai vs Orthodox Delhi:


Mumbai is a wonderful mix of cultures right from Parsis to Gujaratis, Muslims, Christians and Hindus. Of course, ignoring the cacophonic noise pollution by certain leaders, it is by a large a more diverse and tolerant society. But when it comes to Delhi, the brazen political class and some newly-rich but largely uneducated fractions from the surrounding areas make it more orthodox and often a xenophobic as a society. These are like the few rotten apples that taint the entire picture when it comes to Delhi.

Cosmopolitan Mumbai vs Orthodox Delhi


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