Bombay ruck

December 1, 2006

Just as our domestic flight from Kerala to Mumbai arrived yesterday, a genial chap warned us to take care because of the rioting. It had kicked off across the country after a religious slight (I saw some news coverage of it earlier, but can’t find the details online now – maybe it’s just another dose of violence for this vast, temperamental country), and involved trains being set alight in Mumbai.

Fran was anxious, but we made it to our hotel in Colaba without noticing anything afoot in the city. (We made it eventually I should add, as our taxi driver didn’t seem to know the name of the hotel, or of the street it was on, or of any of the streets in the area, and had no system, other than a disconnecting phone call to a friend, to find it.)

Marvellous when we did get there though – Colaba is an area with myriad old colonial tenements. Arriving at night, the more residential streets felt strangely European, as did a view this morning from our balcony, down the street with a Brunelleschi-esque dome poking over the rooftops. (It turned out to be the famed Taj Mahal Hotel.)

Wonderful hotel and a unique area. Lord knows what’ll happen to it over the years, as its state of disintegration is already pretty advanced. As is the state of many of the old colonial buildings. The big gallery and museum in the middle of town, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum, now the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, is very grand but similary decrepid. The state of the paintings in the European galleries is very sad (though most of them aren’t notable. More notable are the Indian miniatures, which look like they can cope with the condiations a bit better than incongruous over-sized oil paintings).

Plane to Singapore soon. A radical change of scene methinks.


One Response to “Bombay ruck”

  1. helen etherington Says:

    Absolutely fascinating Dan. And the photos are wonderful. Wish I was there! Keep it coming.

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