Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mumbai: Mount Mary I

I was staying in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai, a stone's throw away from the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, commonly known as Mount Mary. This is a popular pilgrimage site and like Haji Ali it is visited by all religions alike, but especially Christians and Hindus, who come there to ask favours of the Virgin Mary. The church, or rather the statue of the Virgin inside it, is linked to miracles, so it's no wonder it is popular.





Friday, March 25, 2011

Mumbai: Pink temple

I'm not sure where in Mumbai I spotted this pink temple, since I visited several on the same day, but I think it's charming. I think it is located near the Banganga Tank and the Walkeshwar temple.




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mumbai: Taxis and rikshaws

All of Mumbai's rikshaw fleet seemed to be brand new, whereas the taxis were all in various states of disrepair and grunginess. I seriously want to buy one of those black rikshaws - which look a lot sturdier than the yellow ones you see in Delhi - and take it home with me. Maybe I'll turn it into an adventure, like the two women who bought a tuk-tuk in Thailand and drove it home to Britain.




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mumbai: Haji Ali, IV

Entering the compound is like stepping into a fantasy of Mughal India. The site is a gem of Indian Islamic architecture, but the buildings have become quite badly eroded because of the proximity to the sea. Because it's a mosque, shoes and socks must be removed before entering.




Monday, March 14, 2011

Mumbai: Haji Ali, III

The shrine and mosque are situated inside a compound, but one gets a glimpse of the charming buildings even before entering:




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mumbai: Haji Ali, II

Before reaching the shrine, the visitor has to run a gauntlet of merchants and beggars. The system is simple: going out to the island, the merchants are on the left and the beggars on the right. I imagine the best selling and begging spots must be near each end, which was borne out by the comparatively prosperous look of the beggars in those positions when compared with those at or around the middle. Near the ends, most beggars had some kind of shelter, e.g. an umbrella, but the near the middle they were sicklier and more ragged and most had no shelter. I imagine that the competition for good begging spots must be fierce, and this is a good begging spot: the weekly estimated number of visitors is around 80 thousand, and pilgrims tend to be generous when it comes to giving to beggars.




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mumbai: Haji Ali, I

I was able to take the bus directly from close to my hosts' home and step out across the road from the Shrine of the saint Haji Ali, a popular Mumbai pilgrimage site. While Haji Ali was a Muslim, his shrine is visited by people of all faiths who come to seek his blessing. It was low tide when I arrived, and I thought these little boats made an interesting contrast with the tall modern buildings across the bay.


Looking in the other direction, you could see the shrine at the end of the walkway that makes it accessible even when the tide is in.





Friday, March 11, 2011

Mumbai: Victoria Terminus

You'd be excused in thinking that this grand neo-Gothic structure is a church, but it is, in fact, part of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the central railway station in Mumbai, which every Mumbaiite I spoke to still called Victoria Terminus, despite the name change having taken place a dozen years earlier. When my friend asked me what I thought of the building, I decided to be honest and told her I had found it charmingly ugly with a great deal of character. This made her laugh because this is exactly how she feels about it.



Á röltinu sá ég margt áhugavert, ekki síst þessa skemmtilega ljótu ný-gotnesku byggingu sem Bretar skildu eftir sig innan um fleiri ljótar byggingar á sama svæði. Þetta er Viktoríu-lestarstöðin, sem hefur haldið því nafni í hugum Mumbai-búa þrátt fyrir að hafa verið endurskýrð Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus árið 1996. Ég fór ekki inn í þetta skiptið, en á eflaust eftir að koma í hana einhvern tíman seinna...


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mumbai: The Taj Mahal Palace hotel

I was in Mumbai about a year after the terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, and, as you can see, repairs were still ongoing. Behind me was the Gateway of India, but I didn't get any good photos of it because the sun was directly behind it. The original plan had been to take a boat trip out to Elephanta Island, but I decided to save it for another visit and instead just soak up the atmosphere of the city, which is unlike any other I visited in India. For one thing, nobody bothered me at all, except for one tout at the Gateway and one taxi driver/guide, but even they weren't very persistent. It was nice to be able to just disappear into the crowds for a while. The architecture of the houses in the city centre is such that I could have been in Europe, although one could see Mughal and Saracenic influences in many of the older buildings.


Það var Taj Mahal Palace hótelið sem varð fyrir hryðjuverkaárásinni í nóvember 2008. Ég var þarna ári síðar og þá stóðu viðgerðir á hótelinu enn yfir. Á bak við mig þegar myndin er tekin stendur eitt af þessu hroðalega ljótu minnismerkjum sem Bretar hafa dritað niður út um allt, Gateway to India. Þaðan er siglt út í Elephanta-eyju, sem mig hafði langað til að heimsækja síðan ég las um hana í ferðabók Sigvalda Hjálmarssonar, Tunglskin í trjánum (eða kannski var það í bók Sigurðar A. Magnússonar, Við elda Indlands). Það var frekar heitt þennan dag, og mig langaði mjög lítið að fara að rölta á milli loftlausra hella úti í eyjunni, þannig að ég ákvað að fresta för þangað til síðari tíma, og fór í staðinn á röltið um miðborgina. Það var frábært að geta horfið inn í mannhafið um tíma, því að ég var nánast alveg látin í friði þarna.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Leaving Udaipur

I'm back, only a couple of days behind schedule.

My next stop after Udaipur was Mumbai. I had an invitation to stay there with the family of one of my Indian friends. The cart in the photo is a common sight on train platforms all over India, or rather carts similar to it. This type is a mobile kitchen, selling snacks to train passengers. I think I took this photo on the platform in Udaipur, but I may have snapped it at one of the stops along the way.



Næsta stopp eftir Udaipur was Mumbai (áður Bombay). Þar var ég með heimboð til fjölskyldu annarar vinkonu minnar. Maðurinn í rauðu skyrtunni var að selja nýsteikt snarl á lestarstöð á leiðinni. Þetta er eitt af því sem mér finnst svo frábært við að ferðast á Indlandi: það eru alls staðar lítil ferðaeldhús eða sölukerrur þar sem hægt er að kaupa sér eitthvað í svanginn, og götumaturinn þar einskorðast ekki bara við pylsur og kók eins og hérna heima.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011