I landed in Mumbai on time and was picked up by woman driver I had arranged through the hotel. She drove us over the Bandra–Worli Sea Link, officially called Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, a cable-stayed bridge that links Bandra in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in South Mumbai.
Despite the bridge cutting time off the journey, it still took over an hour to get to the hotel in Colaba. Home to about 19 million people, and the financial capital of India, modern Mumbai sharply contrasts with the crumbling Kolkata.
On Marine Drive, young people hang out, checking their cellphones.
Mumbai is home to some of India’s wealthiest families. The house behind the green arrow is the most expensive private home in the world. It is called Antilia and is owned by Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries. He employs a staff of 600 to maintain the 27-floor residence 24/7.
Somewhat unbelievable, that number. The woman who picked me up from the airport said it was a staff of 300. Another guide put it at 600, as does Wikipedia. Whether it’s 600 or 300, that’s a good number of jobs for people who could use them.
I took a half-day city tour, which brought me to Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya. This home, once owned by Mani Bhavan, has been made into a museum showing the highlights in Gandhi’s life.
Mani Bhavan was Gandhi’s friend and allowed him to stay in his home whenever he came to Mumbai.
One of the interesting displays is a letter Gandhi wrote to Hitler in 1939.
Next I visited a Jain Temple. Jainism is the second oldest religion in India. It does away with the caste system and the need for a Brahmin priest to intervene between the worshipper and God. Many of the lower castes joined the religion.
There are 23 Jain masters worshipped in the religion. I don’t know how that all works, except I do know they do not believe in harming living beings, so they won’t eat root vegetables because insects might get hurt in the harvesting. They wear face masks so they won’t inadvertently swallow a flying insect.
Next we visited Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill. The gardens are also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, and they were first built in 1881 over one of Bombay’s main water reservoirs. The gardens are primarily dedicated to Pherozeshah Mehta, a prominent Parsi political leader, activist and lawyer, a four-time mayor known as the Lion of Bombay.
I loved seeing all these old guys enjoying their park bench. Many joggers, but not these guys.
Next we visited Crawford Market, which was founded in 1869 by the British.
Until recently it was Mumbai’s main wholesale fruit market.
I don’t know what these fruit are, but I was told they grow under water like lilies.
The Spice King sells organic handmade masala. He opened jar after jar of spices, offering me a sniff of each. My cold didn’t afford me the full effect.
India’s first Train station is lit up with different colors depending on the occasion. For example, on Indian independence day it is India’s colors.
The Gateway to India is also lit up at night.
I got something for dinner at a famous street stall called Bademiya.