Mumbaiwale: Tour and taste Maharashtra before you board your plane at T2
I think of Jaya He as the world’s most expensive museum. It spans several kilometres at the Mumbai airport’s T2 terminal, with gigantic installations, breathtaking dioramas, even cow-dung sculptures. But the price of admission is a flight ticket.
This also means that, if you are taking a flight out of T2, the museum is free. “When it comes to dwell-time [spare time between check-in and boarding], we’ve found that domestic fliers have 15 to 20 minutes, and international fliers have as much as 45 to 90 minutes at the terminal,” says Rekha Nair the airport service and museum director.
It’s plenty of time to take in some exhibits. And like the best museums in the world, the T2 has a special show in addition to the permanent collection, all through July.
Paaoolkhuna – Imprints of Maharashtra showcases what passengers and transiting visitors don’t usually see. The exhibits cover the state’s coastal Konkan strip, and distinct inland regions of Khandesh, Desh, Vidarbha, and Marathwada. “Each region has its own traditions, history, food and cuisine, art, architecture and textiles,” says Nair. “The airport is a wonderful vantage point from which to see India’s cultural and artistic diversity.”
Check out the display of upcycled Paithani textiles, which offer a closer look at the weave than a sari would. There are genuine handcrafted Kolhapuri chappals from Kolhapur, exhibits featuring Mumbai’s distinct Art Deco architecture, and the Ajanta templefront recreated in corrugated cardboard. Sit by the white 3D-printed banyan tree, a venue for performances and other events. And if you like a mix of highbrow and lowbrow, they’re serving vada pav in the lounge.
Passengers have loved the exhibits, says Nair. “Locals like to think they know a lot about their home state, but even they love to be surprised. And those who aren’t from this region are thrilled that there’s more to see at the airport.”