Mumbai (Bombay), India
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 4¾ Hours
Meals not included
A very large majority of Indians (85%) are Hindus, believing in a vast pantheon of deities. The most popular of these are visible everywhere, not just in temples and shrines, but in shops, on the dashboards of cars, and on the packaging of a wide range of products. Today you will meet a few of them, have a look at the art and architecture they inspire, and observe how they are worshipped on a daily basis. As you drive through the city catch a glimpse of its Western monuments and experience its Eastern sensibilities.
Your day begins early with a spectacular audio-visual symphony -- a riot of colors, lots of freshness and the cacophony of sellers and buyers awaits you as you visit a local flower market. This temporary market comes alive as early as 4am and disappears by 9am. Flowers are everywhere -- orange and red marigolds heaped on tarpaulins and sold by weight, white champa in tiny baskets and sold by the number, and pink lotuses delicately wrapped in broad leaves. These are all sold to be offered to the gods. Pick your garland to be offered by you at your next stop.
Visit the historical Shri Siddhivinayak Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesh -- the elephant-headed god. Inside is a figure of Ganesh, visible from any point within the temple. Surprisingly his trunk turns towards the right unlike most other depictions where it points left. Plump little Ganesh, with a twinkle in his eye, is one of Hinduism's most popular gods. Revered as the remover of obstacles, his name is invoked before every undertaking. His image is often placed above gateways, and in shops and houses, where he sits on a throne or lotus holding a variety of objects in his four hands -- one of which is always a bowl of sweets. All the major Hindu deities have "vehicles" that attend them and carry them about. Somehow it seems apt that Ganesh's vehicle is a mouse.
Your next stop offers a visit to one of the ISKCON temples, or Hare Rama Hare Krishna temples. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, these temples across the globe are a tribute to Srila Parabhupada's perseverance to spread the Krishna consciousness. In 1965, at the age of 69, Swami Prabhupada boarded the steamship Jaladuta for passage from Mumbai to the United States to fulfill the mission of Lord Chaitanya and carry the message of Bhagavad-gita to the Western world. Today, ISKCON is comprised of more than 400 temples worldwide, 40 rural communities and more than 100 vegetarian restaurants. It also conducts special projects throughout the world, such as Food for Life -- the only free all-vegetarian relief program in the world.
Return to the pier with a deeper understanding of the Hinduism.