Monday, November 5, 2012

The Backstreets of Bombay - Diwali Walk

We joined up with several ASB teachers for a Saturday morning walk to a Diwali Market.   We certainly had an interesting train trip downtown. The train hardly stopped at all - we had to haul Lex and Sharon on as the train was pulling out of the station. We knew that trains always have women's compartments (usually the first 2 of the train) but then we discovered we'd jumped on a train that was a WOMEN'S ONLY train!  Lex got some funny looks so we all had to get off at the next station and tak
e the next train. That one was horribly crowded, the doors were all open and people were hanging out of them. No wonder that about 5,000 people a year die in Mumbai from train accidents (mostly falling off/out the open doorways and hitting their heads on the railway poles though I also noticed people walking along and crossing the tracks which certainly can't be safe). It was quite an adventure but I could be persuaded to try First Class next time we travel by train.


We started our walk in the Khotachiwadi area of Mumbai - an old Portuguese area built in the 19th century and now a heritage village.  The houses were very "European" and extremely colourful.


Look at the amazing colours in this small courtyard.


Crumbling, but colourful.


Outdoor staircases take you up into the houses (which strangely are called bungalows here - even though they have 2 floors).





This is a chawl - a type of building about 4 to 5 storeys high with about 10 to 20 tenements, referred to as kholis, which literally mean 'rooms' on each floor. 

Many chawls can be found in Mumbai. They were constructed in the early 1900s to house the people migrating to Mumbai to work in the booming cotton mills.

As we got near the temple we could see lots of religious items for sale.


Door hangings for Diwali - I bought one!


Incense anyone?


This was at the Jain temple. They are often elaborately carved out of marble.



The Panjrapole - an infirmary that looks after hundreds of cows and other stray animals like donkeys, hens, birds, dogs, goats, parrots and ducks. Set up by Parsi businessmen, the aim was to protect animals from a shoot-at-sight started by the British to control the nuisance of stray dogs and pigs on Bombay roads. Cows were later brought in to provide milk for the strays. Now about 1,000 litres of milk each day is sold to local residents.


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