The vacation destination for 2009 was decided to be Mumbai. With dates rescheduled twice, I wasn't sure, if we will make the trip. So I did not plan much on what to be done after reaching Mumbai . Tickets were booked. To confirm my fears, the media was blaring non-stop about the spread of Swine flue. We had almost decided to drop the travel plans to Mumbai. Finally with some pushing from R mama, decided to go ahead. So reached the city of Amchi Mumbai on 21st of August.
The city was fully geared up to welcome their favorite God Ganesha. We saw both huge and small Ganeshas taken to the pandals/homes accompanied to the beats of drums and Ganapathi Bappa Morias.
At home too, we were busy with the preparations and on the day of Pooja, modak-both sweet and savory were made.
As practise at our uncle's home, Ganesha was taken for Visarjan, the next day, to Juhu beach.
On Monday, the 24th, we left to Shirdi by bus. Stayed two days at Shirdi. We had a lovely Darsan. It was less crowded, may be due to the ongoing Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations. Attended both noon and night Aarthis. The first time when I stood in the queue inside the mandir, I was choked with emotions. A longtime wish of mine was fulfilled. As Baba says, its only when HE wills that we can reach there. I have been reading Sai Satcharita , close to two decades. So all the chapters and incidents are almost kind of memorized. I was overwhelmed when I got to see the places and objects like Dwarakamayi, Chavadi, ever burning Dhuni, Neem tree etc. which I have only read about. I am sure when I read Satcharita again, it will be a different experience. Spent most of the day inside the mandir premises.
We went to Sani Shinganapur, a famous shrine for Lord Shani,which is 70kms away from Shirdi. It takes about 1 1/2 hrs by car. The road is good. The route is picturesque on both sides of the road with fields of sugarcane, bajra etc. You will get a picture of rural Maharashtra. The statue of Lord shani is a huge single piece of granite stone with no temple walls to around. Only male devotees are allowed to mount on the platform with wet clothes on and can do abhishekam on the statue with water or til/sesame oil. Women devotees can have darshan standing below the platform. One of the unique aspects of the village Shiganapur is that houses/shops have no door for safety. The people here believe that it is the benediction of the god that no crime ever occurs in this village. I found no doors in the shops I saw and also there is no gate to enter the temple premises.
On Wednesday night we returned to Mumbai with a peaceful mind. We visited few relatives. And for that, we had to travel the length and breadth of Mumbai. I had decided earlier, we will be visiting only the closest relatives. So we could cover the visits in 2 days. I managed to meet one of my blogger friend Harini. It was a wonderful meeting.
On Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the less traffic on roads and headed to have a darshan of Goddess Mahalaxmi and took the new Bandra-Worli sea route. It was a nice feeling to travel through the sea link -the new pride of India. We started at sharp 8:00 A.M from Malad and returned in flat 2 hours.
Did good amount of shopping artificial jewellery, clothes and some kitchen accessories. Sampled all kinds of Mumbai chaats, pasta, frankies, ice halwa, different flavors of kulfi (Liked chikko more) and various savories. Never missed a chance to drink Kesar Lassi to the extent that on the day of leaving, me and my husband had two glasses each. Infact R mama used to lure us with the mention of lassi, to visit Mumbai . L mami and our cousin M saw to that we sampled food from the various outlets which they frequent. M treated us to a wonderful Gujarathi thaali (unlimited) at a nearby restaurant. We indeed had an overdose of jamoons, malai sandwich and dahi wada. L mami also cooked variety of food at home.
All in all, it was a well spent, memorable vacation at Mumbai. On 1st we flew to Coimbatore to celebrate the annual visit of King Maveli/Mahabali.