India - Hare Krishna in Mumbai
Updated: Nov 22, 2021
India for the second time - we were quite curious what India had to offer us this time. It started with a strange and complicated flight: Zurich to Amann, Amman to Dubai, Dubai to Mumbai due to some flight changes. I (Nina) was travelling nearly 3 weeks in advance for another ayurvedic treatment. Markus will join me for the last days of the treatment and after we will go on the road together for another 3 weeks.
It was pleasantly cool when I stepped out of the plane in the morning in Mumbai. Happy that my luggage had arrived with me, I took it slowly. I was tired from the night in the planes and airports and not really ready to face the famous taxi hassle in Mumbai. Luckily, the arrival hall was empty. So I found an ATM and then I started to ask for the price of a prepaid taxi to Juhu. 1.300 IR was the answer. I had already checked that a taxi to Colaba, which is a much longer journey, is about 600 IR - and I tried to bargain. But with theses guys this is impossible. So I went to the famous Meru Cab in the arrival hall. They have metered taxi - correct ones according to the Lonely Planet (yes, sometimes the LP is useful)! I had to pay a 80 IR fee and got a voucher for the cab. SO I just decided to take this risk. The driver was very nice, showed me the meter without me asking for it (I already had an eye on it). The journey was about 30 minutes in rush hour and finally it cost me 200 IR in total. Here we go! I can only recommend Meru Cab!
And here I was - in the Ashram, or better: the Iskcon Temple in Mumbai. I had booked a room for one night and was greeted with great smiles and "Hare Krishna". I wanted to experience this temple with all its ceremonies as I good start of a quite spiritual trip this time. And what a start it was!
I settled down, took a shower and went outside of the temple to buy some water and some snacks to eat till lunch. As it was quiet at the temple, I decided to walk to the nearby beach. Juhu beach was really pleasant. I got some nice views of some parts of this mega city and went for a little walk. For lunch I went back to the temple and enjoyed some holy food (blessed by Krishna himself). It was delicious and a lot! After a short sleep, the first Aarti ceremony started. The temple is really beautiful with great murthis (statues of the gods). It was very impressive and really cheerful. I had put on my sari and had made my tilak (sign on the forehead). Well, for all those who do not know this: we regularly go to a temple in Switzerland and sometimes also visit our guru Sri Swami Vishwananda. So it was not new for me getting dressed up and taking part in the ceremony. But being the only white person in the temple, it was definitely a new experience for the others that I took part in the ceremony and even knew how to dance and chant. But after some starring I was in the middle of the action which was nice, cheerful and very lively. Finally a Swami found me and started talking to me. He was quite impressed what I told him about my spiritual experiences. So he showed me around the temple, explained everything to me and finally brought me to the private rooms of Sri Swami Prabhuprada, the founder of the temple. He died in the 1970s. Now, only few people can visit his private rooms in the temple. So I was really blessed. I took the chance to meditate there for some time and could feel a wonderful energy. Later, I went down again to the main temple for other ceremonies. The later the evening the livelier the ceremonies were. There was loud singing and dancing and a lot of people were around. All were blessed individually by the Swamis. There were snacks offered. It was an amazing experience.
was even a wedding in another part of the temple. I could not see a lot of the
wedding as it was private. But all the guests were sleeping (or mainly talking and slamming doors) on my floor. So it was really loud. But I was so very tired of the night before without sleep that I managed to fall asleep deeply. The next morning I met the Swami again who showed me around. He gave me a book of the temple as a present and a lot of videos and songs which I could copy on my computer.
I had to leave much to early. I would have loved to stay another night. But I had my flight to Kochi. The next day already my ayurveda treatment was about to start.
Unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures in the ashram. So sorry for just very few impressions. I promise, the next blogs will be a bit more "coulourful".