Sunday in Mumbai
Elephanta Caves, Bollywood, Fashion Street and dinner with Jewish community members
Sunday, February 28
This morning we’re off to sea! An hour’s boat ride takes us to the Elephanta Caves, a large group of Hindu caves containing rock cut stone sculptures dedicated to the god Shiva. But before we can get to the caves, we are met with two exciting firsts. One is wild goats, cows and monkeys galore. The second are 200 stone steps to the caves lined with our first real exposure to shopping and bartering; and the prospect of being carried up said 200 steps by four willing and eager Indians on a throne-like contraption. No takers from our group today, fun as it seemed!! At the top, we are in awe. Carved-out columns in the side of the island invite us into the cave where gods have been intricately whittled into the stone some ten to fifteen hundred years earlier. We only make the round of one cave in an hour before we have to get back to the boat, but not before we do a little damage on the way back down the steps.
Far across town, we take a turn off the highway, down an alley and through the tall gate into a Bollywood studio. We are greeted by Ambika Hinduja, a powerhouse of the industry who along with her mother and sister make up the only all-women studio in the Mumbai Film Industry, the preferred moniker of Bollywood insiders. One of their head architects ushers us around the building to six different sets - three empty, three working and filming while we move through – all glorious.
After our tour we meet the Hinduja women for a very candid Q&A and if you close your eyes you swear you’re hearing your own mothers, aunts and grandmothers bickering, only with a lot more authority and knowledge of film.