Robin's Adventures

Adventures in the Asian Subcontinent

An Indian Adventure

We expected India to be very different from anywhere we had traveled before and it did not disappoint. India was vibrant and colorful with a rich history and many culturally diverse customs that sort of blended together into a uniquely Indian experience.

Getting to Mumbai

Getting to India was our first adventure. We first flew from LAX to San Francisco. The next morning we departed for India. The first leg of the journey, which took us to Delhi, was 15 1/2 hours. Our flight from Delhi to Mumbai was cancelled, so we had a 3 1/2 hour wait for our next flight. Then we flew for 2 1/2 hours to Mumbai and had a one hour car ride to our hotel, arriving in the wee hours of the morning.

After nearly 23 hours of travel, we were happy to check in to our hotel. We stayed at the Oberoi Mumbai.

Important Buildings

Mumbai, which was called Bombay until 1995, is the largest city in India. It has a population of 18.4 million people.

There is an 85 foot tall basaltic arch structure called the Gateway to India that is located in Mumbai's harbor area. It was built in 1911 to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary.

The High Court of Bombay, established in 1862, is one of the oldest high courts in India. There are assistants for each judge that wait at the entrance of the building for the judge to arrive. These men wear traditional kurta tops, churidar pants, and red turbans.

We also saw the University of Mumbai which was established in 1857. One of the city's landmarks is the university's Rajabai Clock Tower which was built in the 1870s by a businessman in honor of his mother. The woman, who was blind, lived near the university and used the chimes from the clock to determine the time.

Crawford Market

Crawford Market, which was named for Mumbai's first municipal commissioner, has a series of stalls where people sell fruits, vegetables, and household items. The market covers nearly 15 acres and if you do not want to carry your purchases, you can hire a porter for a small fee to follow you around and carry your goods as you do your shopping.

More Crawford Market

Spices were on sale throughout the market. Each vendor wanted to impress potential buyers with the taste and smell of their wares. Spices were sold in various forms, depending on their intended use: whole, chopped, ground, or roasted. Cardamom, Cumin, Coriander, and Red Chili Peppers were common along with a large variety of other spices that we had never heard of before.

Drinking Fountains

There were public drinking fountains throughout India. Many thoughtfully provided cups attached to a chain so that the cups would remain in place for each person to use.

Mahatma Gandhi Museum

The Mahatma Gandhi Museum is located in the former home of Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, Gandhi's friend who provided a room for him from 1917 to 1934. The museum houses a large research library and a gallery of photos from Gandhi's life.

The room used by Gandhi is set up as it was when he lived in the home and includes a pair of his sandals, his bed, and two of his spinning wheels.

There were also numerous press clippings and letters written by Gandhi. Two noteworthy letters were ones written to Adolf Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt.

Lunch Delivery System

Dabbawalas are people that deliver lunches to office workers. This practice, which began in Bombay in 1890, currently involves an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 lunch boxes each day.

The dabbawala collects the hot lunches from residences in the late morning, brings them by train or bicycle to a sorting area, and then regroups the lunches according to where they are to be delivered.

Once sorted, the dabbawalas load the boxes onto bicycles or carts and deliver them to office workers. In the late afternoon, the process is reversed and the lunch boxes are returned to their homes.


Dhobi Ghat is considered to be the world's largest open air laundromat. The Dhobis, or washers, work at large concrete pens that are filled with water. Each pen also has its own flogging stone where the clothes can be pounded to remove the excess water before hanging them to dry.

This neighborhood, which was founded in 1890, comprises several city blocks and consists of cramped living quarters for the workers as well as the laundry facilities.

More Laundry!

Freshly washed clothes are hung on lines strung between poles or laid out on just about every available surface to dry in the sun. There is also a small room where ironing is done.

The laundry service includes pick up of the dirty laundry at your home as well as drop off of the items when they are clean.