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Mumbai, India

We docked at Indira Dock at 8am Thurs.28.I was on the tour "Highlights of Mumbai"We had to have face to face contact with Immigration first.All this security as a result of the bombing of the Taj Hotel in 2008.
Mumbai is made up of 7 islands and has a population of 18 million.It is the financial capital and is home to Bollywood,the largest film industry in the world.The city never sleeps and teems with people.Traffic is a nightmare but there are very few accidents because everyone knows how to negociate the traffic.240,000 people come in by train every day.

The trains are so crowded that commuters cannot bring their lunch so a system has evolved whereby the hot lunch is picked up from the person's home,brought to the railway station,put on a special train,picked up at the other end and delivered to the person in his office.It takes 4 people for one lunch.The lunch boxes have 3 compartments for the curry,rice and vegetables and are identified by a letter,a number and a colour.
The men who do this are usually illiterate and never make a mistake.They can be seen riding their bicycles with trays of lunch boxes all over the city at noon.They have a union and are known by their Nehru caps.

One can be fined for honking without cause.One sees the occasional cow on a grassy plot but it must be accompanied by its owner.A cow alone is taken by police and the owner must pay a fine to get it back.
We visited the Gandhi Museum.It was the home of a good friend and Gandhi used to stay there when in Mumbai.

The gateway of India was erected hurriedly to welcome King George V and Queen Mary in
1911.Artisans later added decorative carvings finishing in 1923.

Opposite is the famous Taj Mahal Hotel.Construction was present for an upcoming event.
We saw a Jain temple with a lovely decorated ceiling.

The Jain are strict vegetarians,have no priests and when praying cover their mouths with a cloth tied behind the head to prevent any drops of saliva from touching the statue or any bug from entering their mouth.They believe every creature has the right to live and they wont kill anything.
Another group are the Parsi who worship the elements.Tata,the wealthy industrialist is a Parsi.They do not bury or cremate their dead but leave the body on top of a special tower
(there are two)surrounded by trees and greenery.The vultures pick the bones clean which fall into the pit below where lime disintegrates them.
Our next stop was to the Dhobi Ghat.This is the open air laundry for those who don't have a washing machine.The laundry is picked up,sorted,washed in stone troughs,rinsed dried and ironed and returned to the owner the next day.

We went to the Prince of Wales Museum,named for King George V who laid the cornerstone in 1903.One section had miniature paintings,really beautiful.
We then went to the Hanging Gardens,so called because they are irrigated from a reservoir underneath the ground.

While walking through the gardens we were pointed out the home of the richest man in India who built the home according to Feng Shui principles.
It has a glass top and a strange looking base difficult to see from a distance.It looked like an odd apt building.
I took a picture of Bombay University from the coach.
The architecture in Mumbai is most interesting.The large buildings were built by the British with Muslim overtones,a style called Indo-Saracenic.The main railway terminus,called Victoria terminus,or VT by everyone has been renamed but noone uses the new name,which is hard to pronounce.It is Victorian with a dome and minarets,very ornamental,technically an architectural nightmare but very endearing.
Marine Drive winds around and is called the Queen's necklace because of its resemblance to a string of pearls when lit at night.

Getting back on the coach I took a picture of this bright sari.

The heat and humidity were getting to all of us by this time,I had already drunk 3 bottles of water,so we were all glad to return to the ship where I threw all my clothes into the washing machine (after lunch,of course)
A film of the Royal wedding will be shown this afternoon,so I'll probably watch it.

permalink written by  edoyle on April 28, 2011 from Mumbai, India
from the travel blog: World Cruise
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