Those in this city still devoutly call it Bombay.
Those elsewhere call it Mumbai.
Call it what you will, it’s the rock’n’roll capital of India – the centre of Bollywood – the glam city – with enormous wealth, enormous poverty, enormous charisma.
A whole different energy to all the other places we’ve been to.
We’re here for a huge festival tomorrow – Ganpati – when literally millions of people will take gigantic paper mâché statues of the Hindu elephant God Ganesh down to the Arabian Sea and immerse them in the waters off Bombay.
Some of these statues will be two or three stories high, and will take a dozen men or more to carry them.
This will be my third Ganpati. And I will be taking our group into the madness and hurly burly of it all.
Today Marie left us early to return home to France, for pressing work reasons. It was very sad to see her go.
After breakfast, we did some sightseeing of Bombay – the famous Gateway of India / the Colonial Victoria Railway Station / the massive, and fascinating, Crawford Markets /
We had lunch at one of Jennifer and my favourite haunts – The Tea Centre. We could have been back in the time of the British Raj!
In the late afternoon we headed off on foot to visit the famous Haji Ali mosque, situated on a tiny island about 300m off the beach, accessed by a raised concrete walkway.
On the way we found a small community that were preparing their Ganesh for the ceremony tomorrow –
Possibly because of Ganpati, there were hundreds of thousands of people there, everyone pushing and shoving to get to the mosque by sundown.
Even though it was at times uncomfortably crowded, it was beautiful nonetheless- and those of us that went inside the mosque were moved by its energy.