It was the day to leave Mumbai for Aurangabad. I was scheduled to travel by train from Dadar Railway Station in the afternoon, and the journey would take about 6.5 hours. I had the morning to myself but didn’t make any sightseeing plans except that I wanted to make a brief visit to Kotachiwadi.
Kotachiwadi is a heritage village in Girgaon, Mumbai where the houses are built in old Portuguese-style architecture. I read about this village from a magazine article and was intrigued by the narratives on this village. I had completely forgotten about this until 2 days prior to leaving for Mumbai, I remembered about Kotachiwadi (I wrote the name down in my little notebook of travels) and made a mental note to visit this place if I had the time.
Kotachiwadi is not exactly on the must-see places in Mumbai. In fact, when I mentioned to the hotel reception and driver that I wanted to go this village, it took a while for them to figure out where was this place.
The driver knew how to get to Girgaon but once he reached there, he asked for directions. We arrived at the village but no vehicles could enter the narrow lanes of the village, and so I got down from the car and walked into Khotachiwadi.
Here are some of the photos I took while meandering around in this little hamlet.
I was invited by this lady (pic below) to enter her house. I secretly wished I had taken photos but wasn’t sure if it was appropriate especially when she was so kind to offer Indian sweets and tea to me. The interiors of the house were very colonial style and full of antiques.
There used to be 65 of these Portuguese-style houses in Kotachiwadi but now reduced to 28 as old buildings are being pulled down to make way for new skyscrapers. The downside of urban development 🙁
After Kotachiwadi, I moved on to the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest outdoor laundromat. Dhobis (washers) wash clothes in an open-air wash pens, rinsing, wringing and flogging clothes against the concrete stone. The Dhobi Ghat is located next to Mahalaxmi railway station and is juxtaposed with skyscapers, giving the city a contrasting landscape of traditional (old way of washing clothes) versus modern (skycrapers).
Just before heading to Dadar railway station, I stopped by the Basilica of our Lady of the Mount in Bandra. Bandra is a cosmopolitan suburb in West Mumbai and has a long seafront. It is also home to many churches including this Basilica which is commonly known as Mount Mary Church.
The church is located on a hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea and attracts many devotees and pilgrims especially during the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is then followed by the Bandra Fair, a week long celebration. During the Bandra Fair, the entire area is decorated with buntings and stalls selling religious articles, flowers, snacks and sweets.
As I finally sat in the train, waiting for my journey to another city in Maharashtra state, I wistfully wished I had stayed longer in Mumbai. To explore the suburbs or at least, not to have a very rushed itinerary. I was very busy with work last couple of months though I had managed to squeeze in travels like Bangkok and Sri Lanka in between work, but I never really got to plan my Mumbai trip properly. As such, I had thought 1.5 days was good enough.
However, during these last few weeks of writing the Mumbai Diaries posts, I reminisced my moments in that metropolitan city. I have come to realise that what I saw and experienced during that short period was good enough for now. And as my friends would say confidently to me with a wink, “Oh don’t worry Kat, we are pretty sure you will return to Mumbai again” 🙂
Thanks to my readers who had Liked and shared their comments with me about Mumbai Diaries. Really appreciate it! It’s time to move on to a different theme for the next few weeks – another city in Maharashtra.