Mumbai Under The Covers.

Mumbai! Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

The gushes of the sea waves, the windy breeze by the Mumbai skyline, the cosmopolitan aura, the nightlife,  the B-Town gossips, the Celebrity paparazzi, and all the other jazz that makes Mumbai – ‘A Life in its Own’..is what makes it sound like a dream, doesn’t it?

Well, let me be downright.

Being a ‘Mumbaikar’ that chic street shopping by the Colaba Causeway, Spending hours of embracement by the Marine Drive, or adorning the Mumbai Skyline, isn’t really what elicits me about Mumbai.

I surely love Mumbai; let be our reasons different in its own way.

How..? Well, lay eyes on the spots whilst I dig into the hindered lanes to explore ‘Mumbai under its true covers’, unveiling few of Mumbai’s phases:

  • DIG Modern Art Gallery – The Naked & The Nude, Kala Ghoda.

Just like you, I too might have crossed over many times by this beige and white building paying no heed of attention to what it holds within, Unless it was this one sunny afternoon I finally gazed upon it and quite spontaneously chose to step in. To my surprise, it stunned me!

While the infamous rat-race of Mumbai plays a wide role in the life of its inhabitants, I surely, ought to admit that even though it’s located in our daily route towards our office building, yet we might have totally turned a blind eye to this three-storeyed art gallery which occasionally tends to exhibit the nude paintings. I chose to ditch the more infamous closely located Jehangir Art Gallery this time, and rather chose to go for this one which of course has not only showcased some of the beautifully artsy nude paintings feminising the idea of ‘loving a female body’ but also is encompassed by white walls, cozy wooden interiors, and sheer silence, accommodated with a bantam artistic library; I’d surely choose this one as my go-to office; by the city lanes.

  • A 150-year-old Jewish Heritage -Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, Kala Ghoda.

*Who are the Jews?

Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India. The Jews of India are a religious minority but unlike many parts of the world, have historically lived in India without any instances of prejudice from the local majority populace, the Hindus. The Jewish community of India is the fourth largest Asian Jewish community after Israel, Asian Russia, and Iran.

The history of the Jews in Mumbai began when Jews started settling down in Bombay during the 18th century, due to its economic opportunities. Bombay is home to the majority of India’s rapidly dwindling Jewish population. At its peak, in the late 1940s, the Jewish population of Bombay reached nearly 30,000. Less than 4,000 Jews live in Mumbai.

Today, the majority of Mumbai’s Jews reside in Israel.

Jews being one of the population compositions of Mumbai, Jew synagogues are acutely located in parts of Mumbai. Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue was established in 1884 by Jacob Elias Sassoon. The building’s significance is attributed to its Jewish traditions as well as Indian and English colonial influences. This one is situated at a prime spot & surrounded by the noted touristy destinations of Mumbai, the building of blue charm; quite fails to imprint its impressions over the city people as well as the tourists! As an offbeat street wanderer as I caught a glimpse of the building, I fancied entering it. After which I was all the more stunned to see the carvings, the Jewish culture, the Hebrew scripts, & the ornate,  in the interiors of the prayer hall.

The place where the women offer prayers

Written in Hebrew Script

  • Esplanade Mansion, Kala Ghoda

Photographing this winsomeness from the street across, my heart shudders in rebuke of how ‘we’ have no courtesy of preserving our heritage! The walls of the building now look drained of outcasting the shadows of the city, the stairs look doleful with darkness spread all over the stairways, Within all the honking of the vehicles and the rushing of the crowd, I could still sense a string of silence as I passed by it.

Standing tall in one of the most prime official areas, is the ‘Esplanade Mansion’ – and is India’s only surviving cast iron building which is targeted as yet another negligent heritage property. The Rs.450 crore property is now under the notice of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on the grounds of it being unfit for habitation and hence is on the verge of redevelopment.

Artistically created and embrace worthily structured I totally adorn the construction of the building which is erected straight with steel structures and has extensively survived the glances of the people for two centuries. Presently, This building only houses offices of lawyers and advocates.

  • Dhobighat, Mahalaxmi

As I pass by the tiny little narrow lanes, I catch a glimpse of cute little kids jumping across the washing pits, laundrymen carrying gunny bags of heaps of clothes over the carriers, some of them unloading the cloth potlis from the carriers and yet few of the local ladies chatting with each other and exchanging side-looks as we pass by their small shadowy rooms.

This being Asia’s largest laundromat attracts tourists yet lies under the covers when compared to the other touristy spots. Allayed with narrow passages, extremely congested rooms and merely a living space for two kids, pretty obviously catches my sight (& I bet, it will get your eyes struck too!). Laundrymen starting off to do their laundry ‘manually’ from 5 am to 7 am (IST) is surely worth a watch. However, with the changing times, they have upgraded to using more of washing machines and less of manual laundry. 

They reveal that most of the men working in the laundromat are migrants and their forefathers too had been working here.

In Mumbai where one can find any job listed, Isn’t it a great example of sustaining fatherly heritage?

** Essential Information-

  1. Nearest Railway Station to Modern Art Gallery, Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue & the Esplanade Mansion – CST and Churchgate, Dhobighat – Mahalaxmi Station.
  2. Timings – (IST)
  • Modern Art Gallery – 10 AM – 5 PM (located right opposite to the synagogue)
  • Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue – 11 AM – 3 PM
  • Dhobighat – 6 AM – 4 PM
  1. Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue – One needs to submit a photocopy of their ID Proof in order to enter the premises. Also, photography charges will cost up to Rs. 100 per camera.
  2. Dhobighat – Mostly surrounded by the locals it is advisable to go along with a tourist guide or a person who is well aware of the entire place, or else the locales might cost the tourists; charges for clicking pictures or entering the place which isn’t really permitted.

Also, read – A Newbie in my own city

Isn’t it surely beautiful to admire that beauty and slow-down a little bit in our lives?Because it’s the trivial things that gush our souls with utter joy & brings in happiness.

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