This entry is a continuation of Mumbai Night (part 1): Chowpatty Beach.

Dinesh, our guide, Glance, Aulala, Gerard (my version of our driver’s name) drove past Chowpatty beach into winding alleys and up hills. I’ve visited Mumbai several times in the mid-2000’s and I’ve lived here for more than a year and a half. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never heard of Banganga Tank.

The jeep dropped our party off a corner, and we walked down a poorly lit alley. Along the way were shops, reminiscent of the medieval-like stores I’ve seen in Rajasthan. Tiny, perhaps around four by four meters, dark, peeling paint, three walls housing goods.

Maybe they're newspaper men preparing for the next day's distribution.

I took some shots of the tank and the shanty in front of it. It was eight pm so the place was empty except for a man who was taking a dip in a mini-pool with clean water springing from the stone walls. I also tried to take a shot of the man taking a dip but he promptly caught me, so I slowly put my camera away.

The tank

Dinesh asked us to sit beside him on the stone steps, and he proceeded to tell us the story of the Banganga Tank. “Built over a freshwater spring in the 14th century…the creation of the pool is based on the Ramayana story…Rama shoots an arrow and rescues his beloved Sita…spring created by an arrow shot…”

I nodded my head finding the story interesting, and like one of the fifth grade teachers in school said, not everyone thinks that the Ramayana is a myth. Many believed that the story really happened.

We climbed up the stairs and entered a temple where a ritual was taking place. I didn’t view the group of men engaged in the ritual because I was more drawn to the ladies in the temple, the ladies with their colorful veils and clothes.

“Do you mind if I take pictures of you?” Glance asked the ladies.

“Let him take pictures of me! So he can put me on his desktop!,” taunted the lady in fuchsia, who automatically donned a regal pose.

“Time to go!” Dinesh pulled the curious Glance who wanted to take photos of the chanting man with colorful paint on his face.

We climbed up the narrow alley, mounted the jeep, and whizzed off into the Mumbai night, where more storybook scenes awaited us.

More on the Mumbai Night Tour in the days to come.