Hidden in the midst of skyscrapers of this chic and upscale locality ( Malabar Hill ) in Mumbai (Bombay) is a well hidden secret, the holy Baanganga Tank.
Walking through narrow lanes you are transported back in time.The picture below showcases the ancient and the modern.
Within but a few hundred metres from the salty waters of the sea , the water of the tank is mysteriously sweet.
Embalmed in the fables of Ancient India , the history of the tank goes back to the time of the Ramayan ( the immortal Epic of India) ie. about 4000 BC.( time period is not ascertained to date , some fix it at 2500 BC) .
Within a few days of writing this post all of India will erupt into celebration and the story of the Ramayan will be reenacted across the length and breadth of this country.
In the quest for his consort Sita, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman reach the top of the Malabar Hill at the site where the Baanganga tank now exists. Lord Rama asks his brother for water, who releases an arrow ( a baan in hindi) from his bow. The arrow releases the sweet water of the underground river Ganga, called Bhogvati.
The twin towers ( do not mix with the Lord of the Rings) are the entrance to the Baanganga tank. The towers reflect the unique architecture of the Marathas and are in fact oil lamps.
The Baanganaga tank is today part of the Walkeshwar Temple Complex.
It is today a site of pilgrimage and many immerse the ashes of the departed in the tank.
The area is extremely interesting as it tells the story of Mumbai and the various communities who inhabit this region even today.
An elderly lady looks out from the window of her terracotta tiled roof home,as pedestrians walk by the Peepal Tree little realizing they are walking through History.
Lord Rama created a Shivling from the sand of the Baanganga and offered his respects. Sand is called Waluk in the local language and Ishwar is God , hence the name Walkeshwar.
Many residents living in the posh Walkeshwar Area of Mumbai today are probably unaware of this legend.
A hen pays obeisance to Lord Shiva. ( Shivling in the centre)
The vast sweet water tank is now surrounded by skyscrapers all around.It is fed by an underwater stream.
Numerous priests were offering prayers around this vast tank during the time I took these pictures from my mobile.
Swans and ducks ( white specks in the picture below) swim gracefully near the trees.
I strongly recommend a walk through these parts after reading about the History of Mumbai. A metal plaque at the entrance of the tank details the history and layout of the Baanganga region.
Thank you Vivek and Arpita for unraveling this secret destination.
There is another legend of the Baanganga in the Himalayas near the famous Vaishnodevi temple in Jammu & Kashmir. But that is another story…