Mindless Mumbai is a Photo Blog from Mumbai, India by Kunal Bhatia. Art Architecture Food Street Urban Festivals Travel People Portraits Signs Photojournalism Candid

all set for 200EIGHT

shop window display for new year at shoppers stop juhu mumbai

here's wishing a fabulous 2008 for all of us (hey, i'd like to direct some of the good wishes to myself too, hence the us). i'm spending new year's eve with extended family at extended family's home; what's your plan?

spotted these pretty girls at shoppers stop, juhu

all set, and ready to go

ready to go

well, mindless mumbai is here with a revamped look for 2008:
- the template has been tweaked to allow for larger display of photographs on the main page itself
- an option to follow / bookmark / favourite this blog with all the popular websites (del.icio.us, technorati, digg, facebook etc): see RHS bar
- translate the blog in 8 languages: see RHS bar
- a new rating system to rate each individual photograph (example: see the stars at the end of this post) and another to give an overall rating to the blog: see RHS bar
- a new chat box, for anyone to leave a message: see RHS bar
- a new randomly generated header image snippet, clicking on the snippet will take you to the random post: see top most bar
- and obviously, a new photograph every single day

have a great 2008!!!

photo clicked at chor bazaar, neighbourhood kids riding a parked scooter; credit goes to kalpit ashar for urging me to take this photo

city lights

mumbai skyline by night by kunal bhatia

put this picture up as my desktop background, and on first look people ask me which city is this? guesses pan the world from singapore to new york. only on taking a closer look do people realise its mumbai.

the city's skyline can be as stunning as that of any metropolis. one just has to probably just dig around a bit more for spectacular sights. mumbai has its own unique character, its about time the powers that be stop harbouring shanghai dreams.

pic shot at girgaon (yet again!). taken northwards, in the foreground is the inner city area, in the background are the upcoming high rises of central mumbai.

adaptive public spaces

adaptive public spaces
mumbai is infamous for having very few public spaces. a direct result of this is that people adapt to the existing architecture around them to claim a spot for themselves. this is predominantly seen in case of hawkers on footpaths, the homeless sleeping on dividers, railings being used to dry clothes etc.

this photo is from within a residential society in juhu scheme. the society constructed a metre high wall along its spare gate to prevent water gushing in from the road during the monsoons. this low wall now serves as a seating spot for hawkers, rickshaw drivers and urchins. the gate and the side walls form the perfect backrest, and an adjoining tree provides adequate shade...

time for celebration

wedding procession at girgaon mumbai

mindless mumbai is now a part of city daily photo blog , a global photo-blogging community of over 250 photo-bloggers, from all the five continents posting a daily photo of the city that they inhabit. for a complete list of all the participating cities, click the + sign next to the continent, in the menu on the right hand side frame of this blog. cheers!

pic shot at girgaon. a hindu wedding ceremony, complete with a musical band, a decked up venue and a horse for the baraat (a wedding procession conducted by the groom's side of the family). more wedding pix coming up this january

girgaon.. yet again

girgaon chawl common passage interior mumbai

another one of the chawls in girgaon... i guess i'll never grow tired of these spaces. even randomly clicked pictures here capture a lot in the frame.
previous girgaon posts here and here
come to think of it, if there have been just two previous posts about girgaon, then there have been too few... you can expect more in the coming days :)

christmas goodies

christmas goodies: wine and chocolates
wine and chocolates, in my refrigerator

pizza hut - issues with cleanliness

dirty plates in pizza hut, juhu, mumbai

pizza hut doesn't seem to be very particular about hygiene. this pic was sometime in january, at the juhu-tara road outlet. used plates stacked up on the floor, along with pizza pans, right outside the elevator, bang next to the dustbin.

today at the lokhandwala outlet, the ketchup bottles had traces of ketchup all over the caps, and the oregano and chilli-flakes containers were greasy. can't they wipe all these clean before a new group of diners seat themselves?

twilight - mumbai sleeping #2

construction workers labourers sleeping in mumbai homeless by kunal bhatia

construction workers sleeping under a mosquito-net, atop the shuttering of an under-construction floor slab

out of my window

early morning sunlight out of window in mumbai

early morning sunlight coming in. the box-grills may look ugly from outside, especially when each grilled-window on an elevation has its own design, but from the inside they are a great way to bring in some greenery. of course, with the double walls and flower beds in the newer constructions, box-grills aren't needed.


a photo to go with this post
this was at yari road, last december


as i mentioned some posts ago, chor bazaar is very photogenic. this particular street had vendors selling only winter wear: pullpvers, shawls, wind-sheaters, scarves, sweaters, jackets, monkey caps etc. wonder what transformations occur in the summer season...

mumbaidevi mandir

the shikhar (spire) of the mumbaidevi temple in the background on the right, with the intersection of mumbadevi marg and abdul rehman street in the foreground.

mumbadevi temple is one of the sites for the steel workshop, a joint exercise between us and a group of students from nottingham university, uk. once they go back home, these sites will be subsequently used by them for their design project over the next semester. bustling is a good word for the streets in this area. poor joe didn't know what to click on site today, in his words, there was just too much happening all around for him to think rationally...

palmer family reunion

print on a t-shirt for sale
at chor bazaar

ring of fire

@ venkatesh balaji mandir, banganga, walkeshwar
more banganga pix coming up soon


stacked chairs
while the auditorium gets ready, the chairs were kept outside

photo clicked in college

annual exhibition of students' work

its time to put up the annual exhibition in college again. this time though there seems to be a lot of confusion, both among the instructors and the executors. the post is of last years exhibition, that dipie and me were in charge of.


overlooking into the graveyard at girgaon


a cylindrical reinforcement cage used in pile foundations

spiritually organised parivar

sign at versova beach


another pic from chor bazaar. scroll two posts down to see the earlier one.

on the median

sitting on the road divider in churchgate mumbai
what do we do when we've got to wait for someone? we sit right on the divider ofcourse!

after 4 years of being in krvia, we have the confidence to seat ourselves on any seat-able surface. this includes foot paths, bus roofs, chajjas (concrete weather shades over windows) and now road dividers
at churchgate, while waiting for the rest of the class and the group from u.k. to return. from l-r: divya, saloni & jeet

chor bazaar

went to chor bazaar for the first time today, along with the group of students from nottingham university. chor bazaar is one of the sites for the steel workshop. the variety of curios, objects, books, photographs, spare parts, machinery, tools etc being sold is mind bogging. we also encountered a cock-fight in one of the gullies.

need to come here many more times, especially during one of the pre-dawn markets. and the whole area is very photogenic!

domestic airport - ii

tensile structure outside the domestic airport. we went to pick up a group of foreign exchange students today, the international terminals are far worse than the domestic ones.

see an interior shot of the domestic terminal here


another pic of a chawl in girgaon, this time with the structural system made of steel.

see another girgaon pic here

face painting

results of face painting, one of the pre-annual events at krvia (my college)


steps lit up with red LED

steps lit up with LEDs...

see another pic in this series, titled "blue"

photo clicked at cinemax, infiniti mall, lokhandwala

rhyme in a rick

saw this sign in a rickshaw it reads:
main sundar hoon, mujhe najar na lagana
jindagi bhar saath doongi, pikar na chalana

cloud number nine

sometimes the feeling on loneliness sinks in terribly... but look around, and there is always a companion; in some form or the other, in some manner or the other...

travel beckons

backpakers at the gateway of india reading a guide book, probably the lonely planet.

im off to vijaynagar and hampi for the weekend. we leave tomorrow evening, will try to post tomrrow, or else, c ya all on monday

recycling and reusing

workers in a metal-scrap workshop punching coins out of thin metal strips. because of what seems to be an imbibed tradition to sell all kinds of unused items to the local raddi-wala (loosely translated as the guy who collects all kinds of worthy, but not working items) i'm sure we have a high percentage of recycling, though its done via informal means

it's been back to college and back to work today.

flying high

aerial photograph of south mumbai by kunal bhatia
today has been a good day :)

this is the first aerial photo that i'm posting, was clicking in flight for the first time while going to cochin, kerala. i love the number of spots that i can locate in this photography. the predominant curve that you see is marine drive, mumbai's longest sea-facing promenade, and amongst the best in the world.

at the absolute bottom of the photograph is the malabar hill - walkeshar area. and the large rectangle to the bottom left with brownish strips cutting across green patches along with the dense tree cover around it is the hanging gardens and the kamla nehru park.

further on, the large stretch of sand by the water is girgaon chowpatty, mumbai's most famous stretch of beach. in the left half of the photograph (that looks very dense) are the inner city areas.

just beyond chowpatty beach, along marine drive, the three rectangular green plots on the left are the gymkhanas. further ahead are the two stadia, wankhede and brabourne.

at the very end of marine drive, is south mumbai's business centre, nariman point; a patch of reclaimed land that has amongst the highest real estate value on earth.

the large empty patches of land behind marine drive are the three maidans: oval, cross and azad. 150 years ago these were part of the esplanade, an open stretch of the land that separated the english town from the native town. beyond these maidans lies cst - fort - dn road etc, all major commerce and business districts.

finally, to the absolute top of the picture, is the sea again. that's part of mumbai's easter water front, and seen here are the mumbai port trust docks, and the naval docks

hey i just realised, if anyone's planning to visit mumbai, then you'll probably be spending more than three-fourth of your visit at some place located within this pic!

photo clicked in-flight, while on way to cochin.

by the meter

only once one is out of the city for a while does one appreciate some of the most mundane and inane benefits of living in mumbai. take the rickshaw meters for example. in mangalore and more so in bangalore, every time we had to catch a rickshaw, we'd have to argue and hassle about the fare before we got in. the concept of charging the passenger a fare as read on the meter seems to be non-existent, at least when it comes to non-locals.

and as per the official rule book, in bangalore rick fares go up one and a half times post 9 pm and double post 11 pm! do they think that the city is a three yr old kid who is supposed to be confined to home three hours before mid-night?

domestic airport

i'm back from the study trip. i had to come back my flight, and just landed a few hours ago. this pic is at the mumbai domestic airport. i'm seeing it for the first time after the recent renovation.

while its much better than what i remember was there earlier, the new structure of trusses, space frames and angular columns is a bit bulky and clumsy to me.


(continued from the previous post)

and the passengers' seats also wear a deserted look...

meanwhile, i am off to south karnataka for two weeks for the (last) college study trip. will get back to photoblogging once i come back on the 25th. c ya.

waiting... for the driver

B.E.S.T. is mumbai's public transit service and amongst the best public-bus services in the country. the shot is of a rare tranquil moment in a BEST bus, while its parked at a depot

@ yari road bus depot


the last few days have been hectic and full of activity. i decided to photo blog a simple picture. this is the signboard mentioning the city's name "mumbai" at the gateway of india. so theoretically, if anyone were to arrive into the city by ship and be powerful enough to enter via the gateway, he would know where he has reached.

one can of course experience a similar sense of arrival, on alighting from the ferrys that go to and fro between the gateway and alibaug or elephanta

sinful binging

4 days of festivities, ensures a lot of sweets...

welcome 2064

diwali is here, and everything and everybody is all decked up. today was lakshmi pooja, which we duly did at office + at home. its also new years eve, year 2064 as per the hindu calender. happy new year to everyone!!!

guilt free binging - right off the streets

all of us hog on street food, and more often than not its either deep fried (vadas, samosas, bhajias) or has doubtable liquid contents (chutneys, sauces, golas, pani-puris). but in some parts of the city are vendors such as this one, who sell plates of assorted cut-fruit.

this was outside the taraporevala aquarium, and i opted the water-melon plate over the oily thali in the aquarium's canteen. in the fruit plate: water-melon, pineapple, chickoo, cucumber, papaya, beetroot, apple all for 15 rupees

sewri fort

for tourists and mumbaikars alike, the city's fortifications remain quite unknown. along the western as well as the eastern coastlines, are remnants of mumbai's forts. this pic is of the fort at sewri, in the midst of the warehouses, oil storage tanks, defunct factories, mud-flats and mangroves, having a magnificent view of the eastern water front.

the forts are now thankfully being given a makeover, under the Mumbai Fort Circuit plan of the MMRDA, and the plans for sewri fort include a flamingo observation centre.

for more about the sewri fort, how to get there, and things around it, see my article here

tetrapods along the shore

reclaimed in the 1920s, marine drive (on wiki) is today mumbai's most famous promenade. along most of the 4 km stretch are placed concrete tetrapods that help soften the tide's erosive action on the promenade's wall

this pic is at the far south end of marine drive, near the ncpa

sea food, mumbai style

the kolis are amongst the earliest inhabitants of mumbai. today, this fishing community is restricted to enclaves in gorai, versova, juhu, bandra, colaba etc. untreated sewage being let out into the sea, infrastructure projects that traverse the coasts and stiff competition from north indian vendors who provide home delivery of fish have all threatened the community's way of living.

as a part of the mumbai festival which takes place every january, a 'koli sea food festival' was held at versova and at colaba fishing villages. i had covered the versova festival for mumbai mirror online, and these women, dressed in all their finery were running one of the stalls. despite being vegetarian, the aromas & sights were tempting...

town hall

mumbai's erstwhile town hall is a neo-palladian structure, built in the early 19th centure. today, it houses the asiatic library. more about the town hall / asiatic library here

community service

the marble-board in the background has a list of phone numbers of important amenities and persons of the area, like the police station, hospitals, doctors etc.

in the foreground is a barber with his client wrapped in a white cloth.

pic shot at girgaon

say cheese!

'hanging gardens' are a group of gardens built over a water reservoir in south mumbai, and are a popular recreational area. they are also a stop on the mumbai darshan tour buses.

many first time visitors to the city get a polaroid photo of theirs taken with the sea, marine drive and high-rises as the backdrop, at this particular spot in the gardens.


'dassera' marks the end of the nine nights of dancing (navratri) and celebrates the triumph of the good over the evil. traditionally, people used to worship the tools that were essential to their occupation. today, with everything being computerised, the computer monitors seem to be the lucky ones bestowed with flowers.

this pic is within the college computer lab.

rock and mass

not many cities, and even fewer megapolises, in the world can boast of an evergreen forest within the city limits. mumbai is probably the only city in the world to have a national park within its limits.

and in the sanjay gandhi national park lie the kanheri caves, a splendid example of rock-cut architecture. these were carved out of rock by buddhist monks over two millenia ago. there are caves that were used as prayer halls - chaityas and some that were used as residencec - viharas.

more about kanheri caves here


gangaram khatri wadi

space between two chawls

bombay being an important trading centre for the colonial powers, merchants and traders from the hinterlands were encouraged to migrate and settle in the city. there settlements grew to the north of the then english town.

these areas, such as girgaon, bhuleshwar, kalbadevi, null bazaar, kamathipura etc today form the inner city areas of the city. they are characterised by unique, high-density, medium-rise residential and commercial structures.

the images are from girgaon, which has a pre-dominantly residential character, with the chawl and wadi typology being the most common for the structures

more about wadis over here