The floating mosque and Mahalaxmi Temple 海に浮かぶモスクとマハーラクシュミー寺院

On our last day in India, we woke up early and tried to go to the Elephanta island. As we were staying in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, we were right in front of Gateway of India and thought we’d be easily able to get on the boat to the island. We had lovely breakfast at Sea Lounge looking over the gorgeous view of Gateway of India and boats, we were so excited about the idea of going there. I took the photo below then. Many people were hanging about already before 9am.

I warn you that the crowd around Gateway of India is crazy. After shaking off pushy guys selling tour packages, we managed to get to the ticket counter only to find out that there was no boat for the day. It was Monday. Yes, on Mondays, the island is closed apparently! We were gutted, so just walked about the gateway and decided to take a taxi to see other places. By the way, taxis in Mumbai are really cheap and convenient! They use a meter system so you won’t be ripped at all. Just to make sure to get on one with the metre and tell the taxi driver to turn it on. Don’t even ask how much it will cost to get to your destination before he starts driving. If you ask, the driver wouldn’t turn on the metre and give you an outrageous price.

So we headed to Haji Ali Dargah through Marine Drive. The mosque known as the floating mosque looked stunning from the distance. As we started walking a long causeway, we saw the reality of Mumbai. Unbelievable about of rubbish was damped in the sea and really sad-looking people in really bad state are begging money on both sides of the causeway.

This Indo-Islamic mosque is beautiful indeed. But obviously I wasn’t allowed to get inside, so we felt guilty about even being there and left there quickly.

From there, we walked to the Mahalaxmi Temple. This temple is dedicated to Mahalaxmi, the goddess of wealth. The path to the temple was full of colour and crowded with many shops that sell food and decorations for offering.

We saw the entrance of the temple at end of this path. But before we get inside of the temple, we were asked to take off our sandals. After queueing for a luggage check, we were asked to queue separately. Men and women go and pray in different areas. The inside of the temple was really lavish and colourful, yet the whole atmosphere was calm. This temple is within walking distance from the mosque, so I recommend visiting both if you’re in the area.

After this temple, we took a taxi to go to Mani Bhavan, the house of Gandhi. I’ll write more about this place in the next post.

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