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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Welcome to India!

Day 101/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Mumbai, India. Day 3. Part 2

As I write today’s blog about India, we are on our 3rd sea day of 5 sea days on our way to Saudi Arabia. I’m doing the usual things like Art Class, and Team Trivia of course and going to the gym. Those are not as exciting as our last day in Mumbai though! I’m also trying to keep track of what is going on at The Masters since of course I’m a golfer and The Masters is my favourite tournament to watch. You would think that Viking might have figured out that there are a whole bunch of people of the demographic that take a World Cruise that might want to watch The Masters, but no, Viking got it wrong. No Masters will be televised on the Neptune. Instead, we got to watch NCAA Basketball for the month of March, because of course that is more important than a golf major tournament…said with a lot of sarcasm. I’m not happy Viking and neither are some other people either! The Masters is something that the Neptune staff should have gotten the license to watch. Instead I’m watching through The Masters app on my phone, which does show each shot for each player, but it is a painful way to see what is going on with the tournament.

Ok. Enough ranting about not being able to watch The Masters….. Back to Mumbai on the second part of our optional tour through Viking called “The Hidden Charms of Old Mumbai” which we paid $90CAD each for the tour.

After a short drive from Bangaga Road, our bus dropped us off outside the small area of Mumbai called Giragaon in South Mumbai. Originally settled by the Portuguese who came to Mumbai, the area still has St Teresa’s Church or the Portuguese Church as well as many Portuguese houses still standing, which do look very different to the homes we had seen in the Banganga Road area of South Mumbai.

Portuguese style home of James Ferreira, an Indian fashion designer who was hosting us for a snack in his home. The home is over 210 years old!

Beautiful detailing on the front porch of this home.

James Ferreira giving us the history of his home and why he hosts people still to this day in his home.

When James was younger, his mother would speak to the tourists who would come to the heritage village of Kotachi Wadi, in the Giragaon area of Mumbai, invite them in for a cup of tea, and try to get them to join her cause against the gentrification of the neighbourhood. Many of the older, original Portuguese style of architectural houses are being torn down by developers and James’ mom wanted to make sure that the neighbourhood stayed as it was, without high rise developments popping up. Formed in the late 18th Century there used to be 65 of these homes and now there are only 28 homes, as old buildings are being pulled down for new skyscrapers. The distinguishing feature of these homes is they are made of wood, with a large open front verandah, a back courtyard and an external staircase to access the top bedroom. James is the president of the Khotachiwadi Heritage Trust to preserve the heritage buildings in the neighbourhood.

James’ father Owen Ferreira was an Olympic hockey player and his maternal ancestor was a Portuguese ambassador to India.

Outside staircase on the home of James Ferreira leading to his boutique.

This unique framed piece is actually old cigarette cartons woven into a wall hanging and placed in a glass frame. Very unique!

Our snack at the home of James Ferreira. Look at the beautiful wood trim inside this heritage home!

Gene and Margaret had been on the same tour the day before and Margaret had warned me that as soon as we were told to go in and get something to eat, I should run upstairs and see the boutique run by Mr. Ferreira. So that is exactly what I did. With only 20 minutes to visit this beautiful home, and have a quick shopping opportunity, I could not waste any time!

The decor was stunning in the boutique! Those colourful lights were amazing!

Where oh where do I begin?

James Ferreira with his clothing line, in his loft boutique. Many famous Indian Bollywood stars and Freida Pinto have worn his designs.

Besides carrying his own line of clothing Mr. Ferreira also carried lines by up and coming designers. I did try on a few items by Mr. Ferreira, but nothing fit me, so I ended up buying a long tunic by a brand called ‘YAM’.

This tunic by YAM is made with gorgeous fabric and I love the vibrant print! A modern Indian design!

With 5 minutes to spare we came back downstairs into Mr. Ferreira’s home and enjoyed some delicious savory and sweet treats.

A designer’s home with beautiful decor!

Mr Ferreira and me….what a kind man to open up his home to our Viking tours!

After our short visit to James Ferreira’s beautiful home, it was time for us to walk the neighbourhood and try to understand the architecture and way of life in this community.

A small Catholic shrine in the Khotachiwadi neighbourhood.

Wooden railing in the stylized Portuguese manner on the outside of the home, leading up to the top bedroom.

Portuguese style wall tiles on a wall in front of a home in Khotachiwadi, Mumbai.

Look at the detailed metalwork on this gate. If you look closely you can see tarps holding down the roof on the house in the photo.

Holy basil or tulsi growing in pots on the fence posts in the neighbourhood.

Portuguese style home with a rear courtyard. I loved the colour of these window shutters; weathered by the elements over many years.

A really busy entrance to this Catholic home in Khotchiwadi, Mumbai.

A cool pink metal gate leading to a very neat and tidy home with traditional Portuguese architecture.

I am not sure what this place was, but I loved the narrow opening, carving on the old wooden doors and the weeds growing through the cement entrance.

One of my favourite shots from our tour today. The bike propped up against the old, weathered wall, with the washed out windows and the electricity lines wound up and hanging randomly under the rusted tin roof of the window covering. Mumbai definitely is a photographer’s delight!

The Khotachiwadi neighbourhood was one of the first neighbourhoods to embrace community housing when the garment makers of India needed a place to house their workers. Dating back over 200 years, these community housing buildings had a very small living area, one bedroom and a community washroom, down the hallway.

A community housing building in Khotachiwadi.

Boys playing cricket in the street near their community housing building. I asked them why they were not in school and they told me they were off for exams. One of them said he had a history exam of an area of India he was studying for. I gave 2 of the boys $1 USD so they could buy some sweets. One boy asked me how he could exchange this for Rupee and I told him he should check with a taxi driver as they often have foreign currency from tourists. I was all out of Rupee or I would have given him rupee.

These boys on their small balcony wished me a “Welcome to India, we hope you are enjoying your visit!” I offered them $1USD and they ran excitedly into their home screaming and running around because they had some money for some sweets! We could have stayed and visited this beautiful Khotachiwadi area of Mumbai for a lot longer than our tour allowed. Our guide hurried us back to the main street in due course, to catch the bus back to the International Cruise Terminal. We still had to go through Indian Immigration with our passports and Indian tourist cards before we could get back on the ship, before our 1pm back on board time.

Nice graffitI in South Mumbai.

Traffic everywhere as we made our way back to the Neptune for our back on board time of 1pm.

We made it!

The upkeep never stops when the Neptune is in port! Painting the ship while the Crew had the chance in Mumbai.

Wow! What a fantastic way to end our time in Mumbai! We had such a great tour today on “The Hidden Charms of Old Mumbai!” Other people we have spoken to since we returned to the ship all agree that this tour was one of the best Viking has offered along this World Cruise. I’m so glad we were able to spend the day learning about some really unique neighbourhoods of old Mumbai.

And now I’m going to see what’s happening with The Masters on my Masters app! Go Rory!!

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2 comentarios

Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
07 abr 2023

Was James Ferreir home part of the The Hidden Charm of Old Mumbi tour?

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06 abr 2023

I love the tunic. I am 6 feet tall as well and it looks perfect!

Loving your blog

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