Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum, Manori Mumbai

Waiting for the boat - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Waiting for the boat

The East Indian Museum is in Manori. So we need to cross the Marve Creek by ferry to get to Manori Jetty. It’s 10 am and there’s a boatload of people already coming off it from the other side to get to work.  And there’s another load of us waiting to go to Manori – to work, to picnic, and some to get back home.

The boat ticket across the creek is INR 15 per person. Really cheap for a boat ride.

A waiting tonga - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
A waiting tonga

There are tongas(horse buggies) and ricks waiting on the other side. The share ricks are approx INR 20 per person to the church and INR 30 to the East Indian Museum. The tongas take INR 30 to the church and INR 50 to the East Indian Museum that’s located in Theresa Villa. And this is just one way. The return fare is double.

Local ladies - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Local ladies passing by with coconut branches

We pass a few local ladies carrying coconut sheaves. They’re so much stronger than us city people.

Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum

Finally at the Mobai Gaothan’s East Indian Museum, we see that it’s called the Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum in homage to Kaka. If you don’t know who Kaka Baptista was, you need to read more about it. He was a great East Indian lawyer and freedom fighter who defended Lokmanya Tilak. He’s also the one who really coined the term, ‘Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it.’

Information about famous East Indians - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Information about famous East Indians

There’s a board that lists the famous East Indians and their stories.

Map of East Indian Villages - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Map of East Indian Villages

There’s also a map of the erstwhile and current East Indian villages.

Old fishing boat - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Old fishing boat

And in front of the board, an old fishing boat. The bigger ones were called balyav or machchwa. The book says the smaller ones are called  hodi, sipil, sipur, toni, burakin, or sandaks. Dad calls them hori or nav. What were they called in your dialect?

Village Scene - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Scene from East Indian life – with farms painted in the background

There’s a scene from the East Indian life with fields drawn in the background. So many of us would have still been farmers now had we not lost our lands.

Village Scene - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Scenes from East Indian life

On the right of the scene are mill stones. And a wheelchair! I’m not sure what the wheelchair has to do with East Indian life. If you do, please tell me.

Village Scene - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
East Indian boating life

On the left side of the scene are a few fisher folk or kohlis.

Standing by the old carts - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Standing by the old carts

There’s also a cart carrying hay in the next compound. Brings back memories of riding in them when we were younger.

An old tijori or locker - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
An old tijori or locker

An old tijori or locker lies in the museum compound. Nowadays if you need to put stuff in a locker, you’d probably have to go to a bank. Right or wrong? Or is there something else about the lockers?

Maybe once upon a time, our people were so well off that the lockers were a necessity?

East Indian Jewellery - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
East Indian Jewellery

Talking about rich, we did have or do have many traditional jewellery patterns, don’t we? And we’re just real Indians in that. We love our gold.

Admiring the Lugra - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Admiring the Lugra (Traditional Wear)

And our sarees. Our girls in lugras always shine. 🙂

East Indian Lugra - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
East Indian Lugra

There’s a bust of someone, probably an East Indian of note. Who is he?

Soopli, movali, karwat and more - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Soopli, movali, karwat and more

The soopli or hapda for winnowing aka cleaning rice and grains, or for resting the handbreads before baking. The movali, a soft broom used for sweeping and the bovatra, a broom made of coconut leaf ribs.

Lonchecha barni or wine barni - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Lonchecha barni or wine barni

There are so many old household items that we still use in our kitchens here, tizals, barnis, sooplis, movalis, and more.

Old East Indian pots - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Old East Indian pots and vessels
Old EI Pots and Pans - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Old EI Pots and Pans

There’s a pot for making aitolas or honey balls too, and a ghoda right behind it.

There's a morli for cutting fish on the left centre - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
There’s a morli for cutting fish on the left centre

We even spotted a morli for cutting fish and meat. We didn’t see the version of the morli that’s also used for scraping coconut, aka the khavni.

Old East Indian artifacts - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Old East Indian artifacts – Clocks, plates, pots
Spot the toddy tapper - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Can you spot the toddy tapper?

Outside the museum, on the other side of the boat there’s someone watching you in secret.

Close up of the toddy tapper or bhandari - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Close up of the toddy tapper or bhandari

On closer inspection you see that he’s a replica of a toddy tapper, just getting ready to climb. 🙂

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church Manori - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Manori

On the way back we stop at the Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Manori like we’ve done so many times before. The children always search the names on the older graves and look for familiar ones.

Christ the King Statue at Manori Church - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Christ the King Statue at Manori Church

In the church yard, the statue of Christ the King is always there to bless us.

Grotto of Our Lady at Manori Church - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Grotto of Our Lady at Manori Church

And there’s a lone child playing near the Grotto of Our Lady while a dog looks on.

Remember the boras - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Remember the boras

On the way back we have to stop for boras and star fruit like in our younger days.

Gola time! - Pic by Abby from TheWingedFork
Gola time!

And see the golas, but not have them this once. 😉 We tried our best.

All in all, a morning of memories.

If you are planning on going to the East Indian Museum, it’s located at Theresa Villa in Manori. Most of the rickshaw drivers and tonga men know where it is. If you would like to call ahead before going there, you can reach Arun the caretaker at +91-7738591079.

Timings are 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 5.00 pm

Note: This post was written with the help of my mom and dad. Pictures courtesy of my cousin Danroy who prefers to be called DFon. 

Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum - By Abby from TheWingedFork

The original inhabitants of Bombay, India - By Abby from TheWingedFork

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Post Author: Abby

I'm a foodie and travel blogger, still making my way out of the daily 9-to-5, or 9-to-7 rather. But I make time to travel as often as possible. I've travelled across parts of Europe and Asia, and love writing about my experiences with people and cultures. And naturally, I love food, wine and travel, and have an endless bucket list of places to go to, and experiences I must blog about. My favorite things - nice rainy days, the smell of cakes in the oven, playing in the snow, glasses of wine and dark chocolate.

1 thought on “Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum, Manori Mumbai

    Joseph Machado

    (15th March 2019 - 1:18 AM)

    Keep me posted on your development. East Indian culture losing its sheen.

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