Our four hour tour today is called “Mumbai’s Religious Beats” aka “The Temple Tour”.
India is a very religious country and today’s tour gave us a quick glimpse of three places of Hindu worship.
The first temple we visited was the Babulnath Temple dedicated to the god Shiva. He is one of the three major Hindu deities: Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Protector/Preserver, and, Shiva, the Destroyer. His role is to aid a worshipper to rid themselves of their “demons” which prevents them from leading a better way of life.
Shiva in the form of the Lord of the Babul tree is worshipped here.
To reach the temple you may either climb a series of stairways or take an elevator.
In all three temples we were asked to remove our shoes. However at this temple we had to remove our socks as well. No photography was allow inside (pictures for this and the third temple are available on the Internet).
The second Temple was the Radhagopinath Temple and Krishna study center dedicated to the Lord Krishna. Just outside the shrine was a room in which about a dozen women worked to make the flower garlands used to decorate the images each day.
Our last stop was the Mahalakshmi Temple dedicated to the goddesses Mahalakshmi, Saraswati, and, Kali. For most worshippers the goddess Mahalakshmi is the most important because she is the bringer of wealth.
Along the street on the way to the temple entrance were a lot of flower vendors selling offerings. There also vendors creating boxes of candy to be used as offerings.
At this third temple, men and women entered the temple and shrine area separately. After exiting the shrine they rejoined. As we walked past the back of the shrine we saw worshippers pushing coins against the wall hoping for additional blessings from Mahalakshmi. Again, no photography.
As we walked back to the bus we passed this food stand making “dosa”. They look like a stuffed crepe. They smelled so good that Paul and I thought about ditching the rest of the tour to stay here and eat! Too bad, we didn’t.
On our way to the last stop we saw one of the famous dabbawalas or “tiffin wallahs”. Housewives all over the city prepare lunches in the morning and place them in the metal “tiffins”. They are picked up at home by a dabbawala and through an intricate distribution system, delivered to their husband’s office in time for lunch, without paperwork! Like the laundry service, they are notorious for their accuracy.
We had one more stop on the tour and it was Mahatma Gandhi’s home. Same stop as on yesterday’s tour. If you think about it, this home could qualify as a fourth temple.
We leave India tonight and arrive in Muscat, Oman, in a couple of days.