Return to India
Trip Start Jul 26, 2006
109Trip End Apr 01, 2008
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And Mumbai, exemplifying so much of what India was, is, and is becoming, makes for a fascinating point of embarkation. Formerly known as Bombay and rented to the East India Company for 10 pounds back in the 1660s, today it is the economic epicenter of the country, and something like 40% of India's GDP is reputedly related to its goings-on
I meandered my way through Mumbai's bustling port (Nhava Sheva), survived customs mostly unscathed, then past the napping guard and *almost* slipping by the over-priced taxi driver who tried to convince me that each and every officer we encountered along the way needed a little "baksheesh" (a "tip"). Then on to a ferry for an hour-long trip to the Gateway of India, the archway that the last British regiment exited through back in 1948. As I would learn later during a visit to Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's residence from 1917-1934, Bombay was also an important center of the Indian independence movement. It was the site of the first Indian National Congress meeting in 1885 and a launching pad for pro-independence campaigns such as the "Quit India" campaign of 1942.
Aside from a day-long visit to pore through the library of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, I didn't have a reason for sticking around Mumbai, nor even much information about the city. Still, it felt rude to just fall through without at least giving the place a look-see, so I spent a few extra days wandering aimlessly about.