Mumbai, India, home to sprawling slums and glitzy Bollywood, was sheer madness.
Mumbai was sheer magic.
|A holy man on the steps of a Hindu Temple - Mumbai, India|
We had two days in this city that up until 20 years ago was known as Bombay. It was one of two ports of call in India on our 34-day Oceania Nautica cruise from Bangkok, Thailand to Istanbul, Turkey.
We’d opted on our first day to take a cruise-sponsored shore excursion that gave us an overview of India’s second largest city; a place said to be home to more billionaires than any other place in the world. Cruise sponsored shore excursions are not inexpensive. This eight-hour tour cost $209 per person and that's why I recommended in the 'repositioning' cruise post last week that benefits like on-board credits which can be used toward the cost of these tours are important.
|Cows on the Corner|
As we rode in the air-conditioned comfort of a large tour bus we enjoyed a kaleidoscope of scenes and everyday settings ranging from classic British colonial buildings to Hindu Temples, a public market and museum. We set out on our own the second day.
|Families on the Sidewalk - Mumbai, India|
While we didn’t do extensive research about the place before we visited, I’ve since spent a bit of time reading about its history since our return home. One of the best concise accounts was written by Leo Mirani, for The Guardian newspaper in 2008:
“Bombay was ‘discovered’ by the Portuguese in the early 16th century, ceded in dowry to the English in 1661, and transformed into a thriving metropolis over the next 300 years by the East India Company, the Crown, Parsi, Gujarati and Jewish businessmen, mills, movies and money.”
|Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel - Mumbai, India|
|Interior sitting room near the pool area - Taj Mahal Hotel|
|The floral arrangements were spectacular - Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai, India|
That iconic Gateway to India (pictured on the left) just across the street from the hotel was built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary. As we approached the Gateway we were swarmed by tourist touts; several who came up while I was taking a photo to tell me not to bother – I could buy one from them.
|We didn't need a warning to keep us from eating street food in Mumbai, India|
|Dabbawalas at work outside Santacruz train station - Mumbai, India|
Our ship's tour was of Old Bombay and it was when we stopped at Khotachiwadi I knew more research about the history of this amazing city was in order after I got home. Such an interesting stop it was, it deserves its own post which is coming soon.
|As we lost track of days and locations the Ship's Navigational map was helpful|
We weren’t in Kansas any more, Toto! as Dorothy would have remarked about Oz. We were heading to the HRA – High Risk Area and it was time to turn our thoughts to security aboard the ship and on land . . .but that’s another story. . .
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Linking up this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings