Strolling along a side street in Juhu (I should explain, I'm spending the term teaching in Chennai but this was on my mid-term break in Mumbai), I chanced upon a step well or baoli.
And there sunning themselves, or swimming in the pea green water, were ... turtles. Dozens of them! I have always had a soft spot for these creatures, and it's so rare to see them in the wild in quite this profusion. ...
This is Brahma Kund on Gandhigram Road, a minute away from the world famous Iskcon 'Hare Krishna' temple and close by where many Bollywood stars live (I was on my way to visit one such star, I'll have you know, when I spotted the turtles). The step well seems once to have had a religious function, but no longer.
Locals are concerned that the stagnant water is a breeding place for mosquitos. But I guess people must be feeding the turtles, as I can't see there's enough food in this tiny pond to support them otherwise - so they do have some Juhu allies. Long live turtle power!
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