Monday, July 2, 2007

Good Morniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing Mumbaiiiiiiii!

Since I had no luck at Leopold's last night in being "discovered," I decided to take a morning trip to a section of South Bombay called Malabar Hill. I was up early due to the wind whipping and howling quite loudly this morning and decided to go ahead and get moving.
I found a taxi driver at my hotel, a nice little Muslim man whose beard and hair was a very unnatural shade of red. As we drove along, I noticed other men whose hair looked similar. Is this a dye of some sort? Didn't ask--his English wasn't the greatest. So, we started off to Malabar Hill and first stopped at Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum. Gandhi lived in this Gujarati style house from 1917 to 1934 and it was here in November of 1921 that he conducted a 4-day fast in order to restore peace to the city. There is a library inside and hundreds of pictures depicting various stages of Gandhi's life. His room and spinning wheel are enclosed in a glass room which really preserves the spirit of this great man.
Next we stopped at the Babu Amichand Panalal Adishwarji Jain Temple. It is by far one of the most beautiful houses of worship I've seen. I don't know much about Jains or their religion other than they are peace-loving. Many of them wear masks to avoid breathing in even tiny insects. The temple itself is beautiful--elaborately painted and idols everywhere. I felt very weird taking photos, so I only took 2 on the outside of the temple itself. I was also not allowed in the inner sanctuary, but I was able to look in and see the people adorning their idols with flowers and ringing bells.
Back into the cab and we made our way to the Hanging Gardens and Kamala Nehru Park. It was at the Hanging Gardens that I met my new friend, Prantash. He was walking along and engaged me in conversation within minutes of my arrival in the gardens. He showed me the Cannonball Tree which produces Lotus Flowers (the flower of Lord Shiva). He was quite impressed I knew who Shiva is. He also showed me a quite beautiful flower of Lord Krishna and also a topiary of Lord Hanuman (the Monkey God). He was stopping everyone as they passed, so I met a group of people from Germany who are visiting Bombay for a wedding. (Sorry, Herr D, I didn't find out where they were from...but they weren't your type of birds anyway!) I enjoyed the gardens very much, it was nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.
We drove past the Haji Ali, a mosque dedicated to Mr. Haji Ali who drowned here whilst on a pilgrimmage to Mecca a few centuries ago. Then we just drove back to the hotel so I could have lunch and decide where the rest of the day will take me! Maybe this evening I will stroll over to the 5-Star Taj Mahal Hotel across from the Gateway of India and splurge on a cocktail at the Apollo Bar!
Pictures are up!


Gashwin said...

We lived right next to the Hanging Gardens (no one calls it Kamla Nehru Park) for four years.

And you know, I've never been to Mani Bhavan (Gandhi's house), though one of my best friends in HS lived four houses away.

Jainism is very strictly ascetical -- avoiding violence to the point, sometimes, of encouraging suicide. Strict jains won't eat anything that grows under the ground -- potatoes, onions -- because of the destruction of life that uprooting them might entail. [I wonder how Mahavir -- the founder -- would have done had he known the existence of microbes!]


Gashwin said...

Haji Ali is worth a visit. It's not a mosque per se, but the tomb of a revered Sufi saint.

Chip said...

Hey Jamie!

Will you be celebrating Indpendence Day there this 4th of July? ;-) Hope you remembered to bring some of S.C.'s famous fireworks with you -- just in case!

Have fun! See you when you get back!

Dogwood Dell said...

Regarding the 4th of July - If you are near a US Embassy, all US Citizens are invited to celebrate at the Embassy (just show your passport).

The ambassador typically has a theme (usually a state) and it's financed by the state or private entity.

If you're compelled to eat some free food that's American, this is an option. Who knows….they may have some SC fireworks.

City Yogin said...

Cool info on the Embassy! I don't know if I will be able to find one in Kochi. But what a cool idea!
I did pack my SC fireworks, but the dudes at Security were just not very nice and wouldn't let me have them! UGH--trying to keep the white girl down!

City Yogin said...

The Hanging Gardens are nice, it would be a nice place to live around for sure.
I was scared to go into Haji Ali because the tide was coming in, the water was crashing into that little sidewalk and I didn't want to fall in! HA!

Gashwin said...

Well, you're far from any Embassy -- the Embassy is only in the capital. There's a Consulate in Bombay. None in Cochin/Kochi though.