Content feed Comments Feed

Malad's Mindspace Garden, Space for your Mind

Situated on the banks of Malad creek, in western suburbs of Mumbai, is the Mindspace Garden, which was originally a garbage dumping ground. But now its a huge garden with space for everyone to relax or do their own thing! The park has different species of blooming flowers, a zodiac walk, kids park, jogging track, and much more that provides that extra space for your mind!

Banganga Tank: Heritage in a Concrete Jungle

Situated in Walkeshwar temple complex on the southernmost tip of Malabar Hill in South Mumbai is the historical Banganga tank. It has holy significance, dating back to the 14th century, and today it shows the contrasting landscape of Mumbai. With traditional temple complex and slums on one side and towering buildings on the other, Banganga is the oldest surviving structure in the city.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali

A city where trees and open spaces are being destroyed and replaced by concrete structures, Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a jewel and a quick getaway from the maddening urban life. We wanted to visit Kanheri Caves, the ancient Buddhist caves, unfortunately a pretty bizarre incident at the park ruined the plan.

Dharavi the Industrial Slum in Mumbai

Dharavi is known as the largest slum in the city, but apart from that we have never cared to know what happens in those slums. Dharavi is just not a slum, its the recycling super-hub of Mumbai, believed to be host to at least 15,000 single room factories dealing with at least 80 percent of Mumbai's plastic recycling as well as other recyclables.

The Ingenious Dabbawallas of Mumbai

Who would have imagined that a food delivery service started century ago would gain so much popularity that it is considered to be a successful business model at present. It has helped to salvage the traditional habit of eating home-cooked food for lunch in a rapidly globalized city. Yes, I am talking about the popular Mumbai dabbawallas.

Mumbai's Super and Vintage Car Rally

The vintage and super car rally in Mumbai had a line-up of beauties adorning the roads. The Supercar Show had cars that cost Rs 1 crore and above, so you had the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches, Bentleys, and many more, on parade. On the other hand were the gleaming vintages that welcomed us with their big round eyes and long faces! We were fascinated to see so many beauties from the past.

The Karigars of Dagina Bazaar

Posted by Bhavika
Dagina Bazaar, the jewelery market of MumbaiOne of the most populated areas in Mumbai, which is also reminiscent of the old town, Dagina Bazaar near Mumbadevi temple, is home to several jewellery shops existing for over four decades. Outside these shops are small sheds made for a person or two where they make stunning-looking strings with adjustable clasps for necklaces.

Ramprasad Chaurasia, 35-year old skilled artisan, has been working in his small shed for the past 20 years, taking care of what was left behind by his forefathers. Originally from UP, he has seen his father make such nicknacks and sell it shops on that road.

decorative threads with clasps for necklaces
cutting the thread
“I have been running this family business since 1968, it’s a laborious task,” Ramprasad happily informs, while coiling the golden thread around the beaded clasp. He is one of the many migrants who have settled in dilapidated areas of Mumbai to make a living. There are around 30 odd shops nestled on the pavement outside the numerous jewellery shops; making it difficult for passer-by’s to walk without being nudged.
artisans making clasps dagina bazaar
At each shop you can see the same process, their eyes completely focused on their work.
making tassles at jewelry market dagina-bazaar
Ramprasad takes anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour to make a single piece; doesn’t sound difficult, but when you see a big pile of different types of threaded clasps hanging on top of his shed, it leaves you stunned.
golden clasps at jewelery market in Mumbai
The cost varies depending on the style, material etc., the simplest one could be as low as Rs 5, and the most expensive one would range from Rs 40 to Rs 50. “We use silk and brocade, cotton threads, pearls all sourced from local markets.”
dagina bazaar shed on the pavement
artisan threading needle
People from around the city visit these shops to buy in bulk or just few pieces for the traditional necklace or to even decorate Ganesh idols with it. This old part of the city maybe crammed up for space, but the diverse flavours of Mumbai still exists in these lanes.
Jewelery market in Mumbai
In a city riddled with chaos and confusion, one seldom finds the time or the space to stand still and reflect upon the lives we lead. Once a beautiful tropical island, Mumbai is now home to some of the most congested living spaces in the world. But that doesn’t mean the city hasn’t preserved its share of beautiful open spaces where life still moves at a simpler pace. And right in the heart of such a space, stands tall Mumbai’s contribution to world peace - the Global Vipassana Pagoda.

Located right next to Esselworld in the heart of Gorai, the 325 ft. tall Global Vipassana Pagoda soars into the empty sky around it, easily spotted from many rooftops across the city. The massive structure, that took 11 years to build, houses the world’s largest unsupported stone dome, 280 feet in diameter. This was accomplished using 2.5 million tons of stone from Rajasthan, each cut with horizontal and vertical grooves on  the side, thereby enabling them to defy gravity by interlocking in all directions and holding each other up, an ingenious idea for an otherwise impossible task.
The very sight of this dome can humble even the mightiest of men. At the centre of the dome, above the Chakra, genuine relics of the Buddha have been enshrined. The dome shelters a giant meditation hall, with a capacity of 8000 people.
All the structures here are heavily influenced by Burmese designs, honouring the people of Myanmar for preserving the tradition of Vipassana. In fact, the Global Vipasana Pagoda is an exact replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda located in the city of Yangon in Myanmar.

A giant bell held by four Burmese statues adorns the front, resounding in all directions the arrival of another seeking soul. This bell weighs 14 tons and was donated by Myanmar, with the bell being cast there and then shipped to India.
The wooden doors of the Pagoda were hand-carved in Myanmar and then brought here, another generous donation from the Burmese.
The Pagoda has two more domes on top of the main one, the topmost one housing an umbrella-like structure with suspended bells.
A Buddha statue carved out of a single piece of marble stands next to the main entrance of the Pagoda, beautifully painted in a warm golden robe.
The Pagoda has been built as a centre for spreading the teachings of Vipassana, the Buddha’s path to self-realization and freedom from all suffering, as taught by Mr. S.N.Goenka. The centre offers 10-day free Vipassana courses, where one has to follow a strict regime throughout, you might have to book in advance. Visitors are allowed everyday between 9 am – 7 pm, but are required to maintain a healthy level of silence while on the premises.

Although construction of the main Pagoda is complete, a lot of smaller structures around it are still being built. But the sheer open space coupled with the awe-inspiring size of the Pagoda itself make the entire experience of being here one of solace and unadulterated peace. A refreshing change from the choked veins of the big city, the Global Vipassana Pagoda offers exactly what the people of Mumbai need; some peace, quiet, and a chance at a happier life.

How to Reach?
  • One can easily reach the Pagoda from Marve beach next to Malad. There are ferries operating to Esselworld till 5pm, from where it’s a short walk up to the Pagoda.
  • Alternately, bikers can take the ferry from Marve to Manori and ride straight to the Pagoda, about 20 minutes away.
  • People with cars must go the long way round and drive around from Mira Bhayandar and then south to Gorai.
spices on display at mirchi gali
Making your way through old parts of Mumbai can be both exhilarating and chaotic; mainly because the narrow roads of the city have little space for walking without nudging the next person but at the same time it holds those ancient stories which have been missed in the age of modernity.

Located in the one of the crowded areas of South Mumbai - Crawford Market - is Mirchi Galli (also known as Marcha Galli) and as the name suggests its the place where you will find all kinds of spices (whole and ground) and dry fruits available in Mumbai. From variety of Kashmiri chillies to turmeric, cumin seeds, cinnamon, mustard seeds and much more, Mirchi Galli is the place that is lost in time.

Its a narrow alley close to Jumma Masjid and it is easy to miss due to the number of hawkers sitting outside it. As soon as you enter you would be convinced its the right place due to the variety of spices on display at the entrance of each shop.
mirchi gulli gali
I was really keen to know a bit of history of this spice land, so the person who willingly shed light on this was Mahesh Parekh, owner of Shamaldas Jivandas & Co. "There were 110-odd shops in Mirchi Gali at one point, selling dry fruits, spices etc., and now there are only about 11 shops left. This is mainly due to the fact that the younger generation aren't interested in carrying on with their father's business. My shop has been selling spices for 84 years, handed down through four generations," said Parekh.
almonds and dried coconut for sale at crawford market
Mirchi Gali has undergone transformation over the decades. Parekh informed that the shops use to be more like sheds with metal roofs and spices were stored in gunny sacks and sold by wrapping in paper. "By mid-seventies business began to develop, spices were stored in glass jars and sold in plastic bags. Gradually trade opened up with other countries and people from Saudi, Gulf etc., started purchasing spices from here."
variety of masalas sold in mirchi gali
So where do all these spices come from? Its from all over the country, to name a few - turmeric is sourced from Sangli, cardamom from Kerala, the popular chillies from a village in Karnataka, jeera and saunf from Gujarat. You will find the prices to be a bit higher for some spices like Kashmiri chillies or even dry fruits are a bit expensive, as compared to other stores, but its the quality that one can vouch on.
spice market in mumbai
Another old shop that has been around for 80 years in Mirchi Gulli is Shah Gabharubhai Uttamchand, also known as Rainbow shop, and the owner refused to talk during business hours.
rainbow spice shop at mirchi gully in crawford market
Also available here are namkeens, mouth fresheners, pan ingredients, sweets etc.
pan masalas, mouth fresheners sold at mirchi galli
As I moved further ahead the shops changed and only one thing remained constant, the narrow size of the lane that makes it impossible for more than two people to walk side by side.
narrow lane at crawford market in mumbai
Mirchi Gulli is not only about spices, there are several other shops that deal in imitation jewelery, toys, household items and so on. This particular shop, whose name I can't recollect but its at the end of the lane, just at the turn, sells household items at discounted rates. The owner, who choose to remain anonymous, landed in Mumbai from Sindh after the partition, and opened this shop, which is around 60-odd years now and is run by the owner's son.
household items on discount sale in mirchi galli
This was a short walk through the old, unknown alleys of Mumbai that took me back in time to showcase the actual essence of this city.

Heritage in Chaotic Bhuleshwar

Posted by Bhavika
hindu temple in bhuleshwar The old lanes of Mumbai conjure up an image of a city within a city; shops selling a wide range of wares from vegetables, flowers to fancy jewellery. Clusters of buildings housing thousands of people, ancient temples for the devout worshippers, commercial establishments dealing in garments and lots more.

Bhuleshwar in South Mumbai is a place where ancient customs fight for space with modernity. Its a crazy walk through the narrow streets and by-lanes of Bhuleshwar, where you have a different view with every step you take.

At the center of it is Kabutar Khana, one of the many that exists in Mumbai, where pigeons are fed all kinds of grains by the locals and bird lovers. kabutar khana pigeon feeding place in bhuleshwar Feeding pigeons is an old tradition in Mumbai and in fact they are also taken care of by doctors, who regularly visit Kabutar khana and vaccinate them to eradicate any infections or diseases. pigeons on a street light near kabutar khana The places of worship probably give you some peace but on stepping outside, it is chaotic, especially during evening hours when each lane is buzzing with a different activity. crowded street of bhuleshwar The road leading to Madhav bagh has shops lined up on either side and hawkers outside the shops who sell household items, bags, bangles etc., at a reasonable rate. mumbai bazaar We made a trip to Bhuleshwar to purchase a turban from a shop that lies in one of the most constricted lanes we have ever seen. Named Bhagatwadi, the size of the lane is quite deceiving when you consider the number of shops it holds. narrow lane of bhagat wadi There is a fruit seller just as you enter, followed by a beautiful earthenware shop that has myriad clay creations. Then there are a couple of shops that rent out various costumes, a good place to go if your kid has a fancy dress competition at school, theater and film costumes as well.

There was so much to see in Bhuleshwar, so we soon moved out of Bhagat wadi to experience more of this place. Rows of buildings on either side of the road, a common sight in this part of town stretching from Princess Street, Kalbadevi, Zaveri Bazaar to Bhuleshwar. Some of the buildings are in a dilapidated condition as well, with chawls dominating the housing scenario.cluster of buildings in south mumbai The landscape of Mumbai is incomplete without hawkers selling vegetables and fruits placed in ethnic cane baskets. vegetable sellers bhuleshwar fruit sellers in bhuleshwar Opposite to the market area is the 130-year-old Laxmi Narayan temple. A famous temple in Bhuleshwar, it is believed that all wishes come true here.laxmi narayan hindu mandir The scenes change rapidly as we crawled our way through the streets. So many commercial establishements there has to be a tea shop closeby providing shop owners with their daily dose of chai. waiter giving tea at shops Close to Laxmi Narayan temple is the popular Flower market or Phool Galli where variety of flowers are sold at wholesale rates. Of course morning is the right time to come as most of the shops were closed. phool gully flower market in south mumbai roses sold at phool galli in bhuleshwar One of the flower sellers happily posing. wholesale flower market While some of them were sleeping in the available space. sellers sleeping in their shops at flower market Move in the opposite direction and there were series of garland shops, used in the temples, marriages or any festive occasion. You can get customised garlands too! I bought a beautiful garland from here for my marriage. :) garlands or malas sold at bhuleshwar An old man weaving flowers to make these colorful garlands. old man making garlands Some more floral delights on display at the start of Bhoiwada. flower seller near bhoiwada Not only flowers there were also some fancy, bright colorful ribbons and beads being sold at one of the shops. ribbon and lace shop in mumbai bazaar sun rays falling on a old building As the sun set in this neo-gothic vicinity that has so much to offer, we moved on from there, not without getting stuck in traffic, pondering over the myriad shades that makes Mumbai a highly vibrant city.
variety of earthen oil lampsIn the narrow gullies of Bhuleshwar, in South Mumbai, lies a tiny little shop filled with earthen treasures. As luck may have it we were suppose to find a shop selling safas (wedding turbans) for our wedding.

Just outside this gully was a woman selling some interesting earthen ware, not captivating but enough to attract any one looking for some ethnic home decor or gift items. As we walked down this tiny by-lane, that could barely accommodate two people walking side by side, we reached a shop displaying a lovely range of assorted pottery , besides that were vast range of oil lamps, which was fascinating.
woman selling earthernware
assorted earthernware outside shop
Outside the shop there were piles of the common earthen lamps or diyas used especially by Hindus for Diwali, Pujas or other festivals as oil lamps.
oil lamps
The entrance to the shop was tiny, so you might have to hunch a bit to avoid banging into the hangings at the door. Once in you have to avoid carrying any baggage cause every turn you make, there's a good chance to bring down some art work to the ground.
mask to hang on the wall
Assortment, variety, unique, beautiful, simple, it was all there in a shop that spanned not more than 6 by 10 feet. Every corner had a spot for something, every something had a spot of beauty, some had many.
clay fruits and vegetables
There were flower pots, fruits and vegetables, lamps, lanterns, chandeliers, Gods, wind chimes, vessels, wall hangings, decorations, candle stands, jugs, piggy banks, everything made out of clay. Some of them were painted, while some were plain and they also take orders if you want a piece in a specific colour.
a sculpture of goddess kaliAn attractive and yet simple oil lamp was priced at Rs 35 while a wind chime, which we picked up included 9 bells, parrots, leaves and beads, was priced at Rs 360. Yes it seemed very steep even to us, but there's a sign that said fixed price and the owner stuck to it.
artifacts displayed on the wallsWorking with earthen ware to him was an expensive task, he had to recover the cost for the goods that broke during the manufacturing process. Plus he has to get his stuff transported from his kiln on the outskirts of Mumbai in Badlapur.
clay coconuts or modaksAccording to him 40% of his produce is worthless, a figure too high for us to believe, but we choose to take the wind chime any way. The sad part, its been 6 days since we have put it up and there hasn't been any breeze strong enough to make it chime!
wind chimesIf you perhaps have a fetish for earthenware we definitely suggest a visit to this place. Although we have no clue what the rates are elsewhere, but we assume this place is cheaper than most. The earthen ware shop can be found at Bhuleshwar, Bhagat Wadi, Shop No. 11, (its close to Kabutar Khana) have fun shopping there!
The Streets of Mumbai

Recent Comments

Recent Posts