Wednesday, 3 July 2013

India: a second time round

After a long flight from New Zealand, I arrived once more in Mumbai India to blistering heat and humidity with the monsoon season just about to kick in. I had a free day on the Sunday so I decided to head to South Mumbai to see the sights and visit the beach.

So after a truly hectic train ride down to the Apollo Bunder area, I could finally see the striking monument of ‘The Gateway of India’ located on the waterfront overlooking the Arabian Sea.  The monument was built during the British Raj and erected to commemorate the landing of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary when they visited India in 1911.

Just next door is the magnificent The Taj Mahal Palace, a five-star hotel located in Colaba.  The hotel has hosted notable guests such as The Beatles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger and Deep Purple. So I added my Hurricane wine to the long list of rock n’ Roll visitors!

I then headed to the beach for a bite to eat. Bhel Puri is the popular seaside dish of Mumbai and is made out of puffed rice, vegetables and a tangy tamarind sauce; quite delicious

The beach is a lively place with stalls of fruit and, for me, many unidentified objects. Plenty of beautifully coloured saris made a lovely contrast to the searing hot sand and the smog-filled city backdrop.

I wandered into the shopping area to get some presents and literally stumbled upon a working bakery and much-welcomed fresh bread aromas!

To finish off the day I made an intriguing visit to BangangaTank. According to local legend, this holy watering hole apparently came about when the Hindu god Ram, the exiled hero of the epic story of Ramayana, stopped at the spot five thousand years ago in search of his kidnapped wife Sita.  Legend says he was so overcome with fatigue and thirst Rama asked his brother Lakshmana to bring him some water. Laxman then shot an arrow into the ground, and water gushed forth from the ground, creating a tributary of the Ganges, which flows over a thousand miles away.  It is so named Banganga because Ganga (The Ganges) was created by a baan (an arrow).

Looking forward to the return visit tomorrow to taste the 2013 wines harvested back in early March in Nasik.

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