Beach Life, Rickshaw Rides, Indian Swag, and a Monk

Miami students studying abroad in India standing on the beach, sand spells out 'Miami.'

Dr. Lalvani had told us that we would be trying to go to the Colaba market in downtown Mumbai, however, our plans changed because the market closes on Fridays. He had a new idea - lets to Juhu Beach, which was a 15 minute rickshaw ride to the north. These tiny vehicles are the epitome of Indian transportation and are by far the most popular method of getting around Mumbai with a 20 minute trip costing around $1.50- $2.00. Three of us squeezed into each rickshaw and began our journey with baited breath.

A short walk down the street and through an alleyway took us to one of Mumbai’s few sandy beaches. Due to the time of day, the beach was nearly empty with only a few inhabitants populating it. A brief trip to wet our feet in the water was followed by a walk down and back along the beach.

When we left the mall, a Krishna temple would be open, so we proceeded there. The building was a stunning marble white with intricate patterns carved into them. People were packed in the main area with a large line forming to pay homage to Krishna. We soon found ourselves drawn to this large line where a temple monk noticed how out of place we looked. He pulled our group off to the side, saving us from an awkward experience in the front of the temple, and offered to teach us the history of the Krishna following and the temple itself. We gratefully accepted his guidance as he led us into a roped off section close to the front of the temple where we were able to witness the rituals being performed. Once the lessons and rituals were over, we were led out of the temple where we were able to collect our shoes and be on our way.

Hopping into a rickshaw once more, we attempted to head back to the hotel. The program I am in is partly run by CIEE. During our orientation, we were given our final schedule and were introduced to the program director and our guide. Later we returned to the hotel, where we crashed from an exhausting day.

My accounts do not do any of these experiences I had justice, but hopefully they give a small glimpse into the beauty of Mumbai that I have been able to witness on this trip.

- Ian Shelburne