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A Journey to Jerusalem by Parumala Thirumeni  

THE TRAVEL PARTY
           
The travel party consisted of Ramban Paulose, Vattassseril Geevarghese Kathanar, Thekkan Parur Thoppil Lukose, Thumpamon Karingattil Zachariah Kathanar, Kadammanitta Puthen Purakkal geevarghese Kathanar, Deacon Sleeba, the Surian and Parumal Thoppil Manalil Philipose, apart from Parumala thirumeni. Deacon Sleeba was the translator in the group. They had reached Bombay via Madras by rail before emnbarkinfg on the journey to oJerusalem,. They had to aboard the ship from Bombay, and passport had to be obtained from Bombay itself. The travel party had enough time to spend in Bombay. The interest and curiosity of the traveller in Parumala Thirumeni lis revealed even in the very beginning of the book.

            This is how he draws a wordy picture of the port of Bombay: 

            We never saw such a big and beautiful city anywhere else during out journey. The Bombay harbour has prime importance in the whole India. As the city projects into the sea, lit is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Ships can enter the bay, which is very deep, any time. The bay is divided into different segments, so that ships could be anchored in each of these segments, near the coast and safe from tempests raging in the sea. Each of these segments is protected by strong bunds. On both sides ofthese bunds there are roads wide enough for vehicles to ply. Ships can enter the bay through rivers, land there are iron bridges across the rivers. These bridges could be lifted by machines when ships enter or leave the bay. Ships lie so close to the coast that it is possible to get into them with the help of a ladder. Sometimes one could get into the ships without a ladder, with just a plank. When the ships are loaded with cargo and lie mostly submerged in the sea, the deck and the coast will be on the same level, and then it is possible to enter them without the help of ladder or a plank.

THE WRITER AS PHOTOGRAPHER
           
Only a traveller who cares for such minute details can give such an elaborate description of a port. The traveller is not merely a writer, but a photographer as well. As we are through the descriptions by the author,  picture of Bombay a century back lis revealed in our mind. 

            The Railway Station Bombay and the high-rise buildings there kindled the curiosity land imagination of the author. 

            Here is a specimen from one of the beautiful descriptions about the houses: 

            The entire city is full of high-rise buildings. Single storey houses are usually not seen except in the villages outside the city. Most of the houses are 4,5 or 6 storeyed ones. Some have seven storeys., Construction of the buildings is usually done with granite stones. Almost all houses have verandahs for each floor. Such verandahs have parapets made of iron and are decoratively printed. Roods of buildings are done with sandstone. The people of our region who have not seen such big buildings, and decorative works, may be very much interested in looking at them,. Almost all buildings have on top of them conical pillars parapet towers or obeautifully painted flowers or crosses. The beauty of such buildings standing in rows like this cannot simply be described. 

            I think no other literary work except this travelogue makes a mention of trams on iron rails being drawn by two or three horses. Parumala Thirumeni who spent a few days in Bombay, leads the reader through the nooks and corners of the city.

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