Sunday, December 16, 2012

Colaba Causeway Heritage Walk

Prince of Wales Museum
Today Lex and I went to the Prince of Wales museum to see the Paramparik Karigar, an exhibition devoted to the heritage and tradition of Indian craftsmanship.  Twelve traditional art forms were on display together with 14 artists who are working in these styles today in different parts of India.

Flora Fountain
We'd taken the train downtown (we're getting quite the experts at this - it only takes 15 minutes on a fast train as opposed to an hour by car).  We decided to do another of the Heritage Walks of Mumbai.  This one started at the Prince of Wales museum and continued down Colaba Causeway past the Flora Fountain dedicated to the Roman Goddess of flowers.  Colaba was one of the original 7 islands of Mumbai.  In the eighteenth century it was leased to a Briton and developed into an important British cantonment.  A causeway was built to connect the main island with the southern islands and Colaba was the first island to be connected by this causeway.  An elevated road was built and then later widened.  The area is a mixture of old and new, smoky cafes, vibrant restaurants, streetside bazaars, trendy boutiques and upmarket residences.

We walked down Colaba Causeway to Sassoon Docks.  This dock was built by Albert Sassoon in memory of his father Sir David Sassoon.  Here the fisherfolk trade their fresh catch, and women work to prepare the fish for selling all over the city.  What we saw were people peeling thousands of shrimp that were just lying around on the dock.  Amazingly after this sight, Lex actually ordered a seafood lunch!

Sassoon Docks
We continued down Colaba Causeway until we reached the Afghan Church on Colaba Point.  This was the entrance of Bombay harbour and adjoined the military parade ground of Colaba Defence Station.  The church was built in 1842 in memory to the martyrs in Afghanistan, after the conquest of Kabul.  The tower and steeple are now a landmark for incoming ships.  Every piece within the church is dedicated to a deceased soldier.

We turned and walked through Cuffe Parade, an upmarket neighbourhood built on reclaimed land in the 1960s and now with tower blocks over 30 storeys high.  On the edge of Cuffe Parade is Dhobi Ghat - the world's largest open-air laundry.

Dhobi Ghat
We walked back.  Our original aim was to get lunch at Leopold's Cafe, but it was heaving with people, so we walked a little further to the Indigo Deli instead before catching the train back.  My stepometer is showing I've walked over 20,000 steps today!

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