I thought it was Bombay, but when I wanted to buy a ticket to Bombay, I learned that it was Mumbai then. Anyway, the name isn’t so important. What is important is that I had a great time in India. It was a colorful city full of flea markets, museums, parks and many other things. After a few hours of flight, I was at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. As I learned later, its name was Sahar International Airport formerly. I thought: “Do they love changing the names? I hope my name will still be the same when I leave the country.” I went direct to my hotel. It was a centrally located hotel
called Sahil Hotel 22 km from the airport. I enjoyed my stay in that homey atmosphere. Next day, I made a plan: I would first visit cultural centers& religious sites, and then I would enjoy the beaches and parks. I visited the Elephanta Caves where I could see many rocks carved by Hindus. I found them really interesting. There was a souvenir shop just beside the caves, so I could buy a few small gifts for my friends. I then went to the magnificent-looking temple called Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Temple (God, what a long name! Did they change it too or is that the original name of it?). Then I went to the Tower of Silence which was really silent. I understand why, because it must be difficult for the deceased to talk! As I learned from my guide, some Indians put their dead into that tower and left them to be eaten by birds so as not to “pollute” the environment! That sounded scary for me and a little cruel. Well, the dead cannot feel they are eaten, but I wouldn’t like to be eaten by a bird anyway! Though a little scary because I was alone, the view there was still really beautiful. My next direction was the famous Haji Ali Mosque. I found it beautiful even from afar. Inside was another beauty. The mosque was all white as if it had been snowing. I covered my head with my scarf (to be respectful) and entered the mosque. The ornamented ceiling took my breath away. I also saw some people performing prayer in the mosque. They all kneeled and sat at the same time; so I was very surprised to see such an order. Anyway, that was not time to stop; I had some museums to visit. I found history, art and nature in the Bombay Museum. I quite enjoyed myself while learning about the city. Anyway, I felt very tired and hungry at the end of my little cultural visits. My friend who was one of the local people of Mumbai had advised me to go to the Noorani’s Restaurant to taste the best food there. I followed his advice and never regretted it. It was very close to the mosque. They had a meal called chicken biryani that must have dropped from the Heaven!
I know that the next few days were the days of parks and beaches, but I couldn’t have missed the Chor Bazaar. Boutiques, antique shops and souvenir shops all ornamented the bazaar. It was like a haven for the shopping-lovers. I bought lots of things. Ok, maybe I exceeded the limit that I should have obeyed while shopping, so what? I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I started next day bright and early. Chowpatty Beach was very nice; once I went there at night and saw that it was full of food stalls, entertainers, vendors and children’s rides. It was awesome. I had even more fun than children. As for the parks, I liked the Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens the most. We even had a chance to picnic.
All in all, Mumbai is a gem. I will certainly go there again if I find the chance to. And yes I still had the same name when I left the country I was lucky, huh
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