When you are new to Mumbai and cross into the town (south Mumbai island) from Worli, you would notice a mausoleum in middle of the bay on the left side of the road. This is Haji Ali. There would also be many pictures of Haji Ali in the guide books, a solitary building in the middle of the sea connected by a thin strip of land. The beauty of Mumbai is that the culture changes with every sub community and Haji Ali is no different. The entry to the Mausolem is next to a petrol pump, just after a picturesque police station which is built like a hut. You move forward on the kachha road (paved road) with shops on one side exhibiting and selling cloth and other offerings for the religious place. You notice the sequined chaadar (offering cloth) among the aroma of the halwa. Souvenirs dot the entire way till you reach the thin strip of walkway built in centre of the rocks. At high tide and monsoons this place would have water on both sides. Birds like the egrets and gulls would be flying around or foraging.
After 200 meters or so you will see the entrance and steps leading up the structure. After depositing the shoes with a safe keeper, you are allowed inside to pay respects to the saint. Some people buy a shiny cloth called the chaadar or a string to tie at the gate. Most crowded days are Fridays and during festivals.
Border of the Minaret
Islamic Jaali pattern
This wasn’t a history tour today nor was it site seeing. I had ten seconds to take this picture from my smartphone before hopping into the cab standing infront that took us home. We could’ve walked, it being a beautiful day. What is this building? It’s the central railway station. A longer post about Victoria terminus is here.
When you are not in a hurry like the average “mumbaikar” ( Bombay-ite) and its not yet peak traffic time,( and the weather is fine), its a pleasure to be here. With the crowds shifting to the suburbs, the south island of Bombay is an island of peace on the weekends. We learned last evening to our dismay, that our favorite ice-cream shop had shut shop. Ditto with a food chain we had just discovered. Now the nearest we can go for an ice-cream, is near this monumental structure. And if you be nice to the taxi-wallah, he is very well behaved too and will drop you wherever you want. Being a local-ite has its advantages. You learn more than one way to get to the destination. And all the bylanes too! People recognize you when you go for a walk. And chances are that even in a so called crowded place like Bombay(south) you can still run into friends or neighbors. Maybe in some ways unnoticed, South Mumbai is shrinking.
The first time I created this blog, I assumed it would be a discussion on Fashion and Management , the two things I thought I knew pretty well about. As it grew over time I found it evolving into a photo travel blog. The few posts that I wrote about design got somehow hidden in the species of birds I had identified on the way or the nuances of the cities I was exploring. I was also encouraged by your response and comments to add more and more topics and have been thoroughly enjoying the journey.
If you are following me here on “The Wanderer” for design related posts, you would like to follow the new blog here: A pursuit of Imagination. This blog is an effort to consolidate the thoughts in one place and make it more focused to Design, management and other articles which may seem an aberration here.
For those who are here for the travel, nature, architecture and other inspiration pictures, I’m five years strong and planning to add more posts!Sit tight!
When you mention “Goa” to many people in India, an image of a stereotypical person wearing a Hawaiian shirt, bermuda shorts and a cane hat arises in the mind. A “Goan” person would be this person (generally a goateed man) sitting in the sun, sipping a feni on the beach. In fact the entire existence of this character was visualized on the beach. Lets blame the media for this and their rigorous campaigning of false stereotypes!
Nothing could be more far from the truth. Most locals I know of, avoid these touristy beaches and hardly can I imagine any of them stepping in the sun to pick a cane topi. But markets flourish. On the beach. In the city center, selling false stereotypical items. ( for example, peacock feathers…. when was the last time we ever bought a peacock feather?) Take Fashion Street in Mumbai for example. The Mumbai-Goa buses are strategically parked right outside this market, dolling out “costumes” that the ignorant tourist will “definitely need” at the end of their journey. These aren’t much different from the street market in colaba causeway selling afghan pants or Janpath in Delhi, selling stuff that many Indian homes haven’t seen.
A look at Anjuna market and you will know what I mean. The 60’s and 70’s tees and kurtas. Overflows and rejects from the once flourishing textile exports markets. They all seem to find a market here. Fulfilling just one purpose, accentuating the stereotypes and giving the experience that ignorant tourists demand. It builds for itself an ecosystem, different from the rest of Goa, but unique on its own. And its good. The economy depends on it.