The city of Bollywood. Of riches. Of chaos. Of slums. If Delhi is DC, then Mumbai is NYC, and the atmosphere is palpable from the second you begin to see the skyscrappers.
From all the places I have seen in India, this is the one I would see myself living in. Yet it seems like all of the 1.7 billion Indians agree with this fact and they are all trrying to cram themselves in here.
We were lucky to stay in the original Taj, where sadly a terrorist attack by happened in 2008. The hotel has the best view of the city, as it faces the famous Gateway of India built by the British to honor King George the V. My mom and I happily took photos from our balcony with the Gateway in the background, as we awed at the bustling of people who looked like ants congregating around the monument. As always a vast amount of people, wherever we go.
In this city, TATA’s prescence is even more palpable. The cars, the hotels, the buildings. The Indian magnate is omnipresent and not one day will pass without me seeing something branded with his name.
We ate at Leopold cafe, a great place if you want to see backpackers. Since I was with my mom, it was probably not the wisest choice. She ordered a soup and sent it back, but I ordered a plate of pasta and was pretty happy with what I got.
I would say the highlight of Mumbai is going to Elephanta Islands. After walking up some ridiculous amount of stairs (there is also the option of getting carried up by four Indian men like an Egyptian pharaoh, but this is another of those disturbing colonial images I can’t seem to shake off) you reach amazingness. Mainly a temple to Shiva, the caves are sculpted in perfect detailed and very well preserved. Shiva’s holly day had recently occurred, so the unkistakable smell of inscence still lingered in the air.
My favorite sculpture is kind of expected, the Trimurti, carved in relief at the back of the cave facing the entrance, is e Described as a “masterpiece of Gupta-Chalukyan art. The image of about 6.1 m in height, depicts a three-headed Shiva, each side said to represent three essential aspects of Shiva — creation, protection, and destruction. This confused me since I though the act of creation and protection belonged to the other two gods of the trinity, but I think I give up oin trying to understand all the subtleties of the religion.
At night we went to dinner with these two Colombian ladies, wives of oil men, who live in Ghana. We met them on the boat to Elephanta and decided to go dine with them. We went to Trishna, reccomended by the hotel staff. Absolutely delicious! I had a marinated crab that I devoured.