Category Archives: Mumbai/Bombay

Best of… Street scenes

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Everything in India feels so public–people living their lives right out in the open, due to the climate, poverty, culture and more. Fascinating to see. These photos are some of my favorite street scenes that we captured during our trip.


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One country, seven states, ten cities…..

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Here are some of our most memorable moments while travelling  in India!

spotting the leopard on the Kabini Safari

safari trip of a lifetime at Kabini! Sloth bears, elephants, leopards, otters, crocodiles, peacocks, oh my!

The lion blocking the way of our safari bus in Bannerghatta National Park

parasailing in Goa

houseboatig in Kerala

elephant encounters in Dubare

Young monks at Bylakuppe

palaces, temples, markets…and chess in Mysore

Kochi sunsets

Mumbai adventures with Kim and Leti–especially eating seafood!

Easter morning at the Taj Mahal

Camel riding at Chokho Dhani, Jaipur

snake charmers in Jaipur!

Elephant riding at the Amber Fort

Fun meals in exotic locales! Mango tree, Hampi

Elephant blessings in Hampi

Sitting amongst ancient history, Hampi

Mumbai, Oh My….

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When our responsibilities, we headed into Central Mumbai to do some sightseeing. While I had really, really hoped to see the Elephanta Caves, it took a long time to arrange a meeting with the TISS director and we were only able to get down into Mumbai at 5:30. First stop in any Mumbai tour–the Gateway of India. The Gatheway was built to honor British Royalty at the turn of the century. It is right at the edge of the sea.

  

Above is the first Taj Hotel, located right next to the Gateway of India. The Taj is one of the fanciest chains of hotels in India. It was built by an Indian businessman who was turned away from a British hotel. The Taj claims to allow anyone in it’s doors–if you have the guts to do so. They are very fancy, intimidating places!

  

Some people sitting by the Gateway of India. The guy in the white outfit was really giving me a look!

This guy was shouting “Samosa chat! Samosa chat!” If only we could eat street food and not get sick. They looked delicious.

Sunset at Nariman Point.

  

This section of land by the sea is also called the Queen’s Necklace was the lights come on and dot the curved bay.

   

As we drove about town, we saw this Wedding Chariot. Plus some gorgeous British architecture.

  

It is kind of sad that the most beautiful buildings in Mumbai are emblems of British dominance. Below is the Victoria Railway Station. It is now an official historic site.

Hali Aji Mosque–right at the edge of the sea.  You can only reach the mosque during low tide via a small causeway. The place is famous for snacks and juices at night for locals.

These horse rides reminded me of the carriages in New York’s Central Park. They paraded around the Gateway of India area.

We ended a very long day in fabulous fashion–an INCREDIBLE seafood dinner at one of the best seafood restaurants in Mumbai: TRISHNA

White Salmon–to die for

  

One of the best garlic butter sauces I have EVER had.

We thought our night was done, but then we saw a street lined with clothing stalls, just closing up for the night. Using the camera-as mirror trick, Kim and I ended up with $4 shirts. Leti got the steal of the day. Three elephant handbags for the price of one!

  

We left for Bangalore the next day after more meetings and a bit of shopping. I wasn’t a huge fan of Mumbai. Although I did LOVE the food that I had there. I think if I returned I would try to focus my visit on eating in as many fabulous places as I could! I also appreciated that the city was built to be a large city. The roads were the appropriate size for the traffic. The sidewalks were in better shape. Bangalore is a garden hamlet that has exploded into a large city and completely lacks the infrastructure to do so–the roads are too small, the water is insufficient. But still, I was happy to return to Bangalore–my home away from home!

On being an ambassador…

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Kim, Leti and I traveled to The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai as Ambassadors of Penn State. The two universities are in the process of developing a set of relationships. Our job as to come to learn more about TISS and to share our enthusiasm about the relationship.

Mumbai is most familiar in recent times in the U.S. as the setting for the movie Slumdog Millionaire. It is a city with vast wealth due to being the home of Bollywood and the Indian Stock Market. It also has great poverty, including one slum that hosts over 1 million people. This photo of a neighborhood near the airport shows the disparity of slums and fancy high rises that typifies the new India, and Mumbai especially.

While we had originally planned on booking a hotel, Venkatesh offered that we could be the guests of TISS and stay in their guest house. This was my room.

Here are a few of the buildings on the TISS campus.

 

Kim and Leti in a conference room, waiting for a meeting. We met with the Director (University President), the Dean, and a faculty member studying ways to improve women in leadership positions in Indian Universities. We also met  with former students who participate in Corporate Social Responsibility Hub–a government funded office that helps state-owned companies find ways to divert funds back into the local communities. All state-owned companies are required to divert funds to local development needs.  The Hub performs need assessments of the communities to help the companies make the best choices of how to spend their funds.

Below, view from the new building on campus. Right, a quadrangle on the old part of campus.

  

Below, we are walking from the Guest House to the Director’s office. The head of the Guest House took us the most direct route–through a construction zone! Kim is holding our gift to the Director–a Penn State mug and key chain.

The photo below demonstrates a significant struggle in modern Mumbai. The Rent Act and subsequent legislation allows anyone who squats on land for more than a year to maintain possession of that land. Even if they never owned it. This high rise apartment complex sits right in the middle of the new TISS campus–because they built it and were able to keep it for over a year despite TISS objections. TISS always owned the land but they were not pro-active enough regarding removing the settlement. After time, they lost the land

Kim and Leti enjoyed a quick Auto ride to lunch at an Indian/Chinese restaurant close to campus.