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!