|The famed Girgaon Chowpati and Marine drive as seen from Kamla Nehru Park|
My kids wanted to visit Mumbai since a long time, but I was a bit sceptical about the visit, being more of a nature lover, I could not fathom any good reason for visiting another metropolitan City. However, an opportunity arose when we planned a visit to Goa and hence I decided to accommodate my kid’s wish and planned the trip via Mumbai.
The visit was scheduled for first week of April, 2019 as there was no other appropriate window available during the year, due to academic issues of the kids. Although it was perceived that the season would be rather hot in those parts of the Country, yet we decided to push ahead with our plans.
As planned we reached the airport and as the boarding was completed well in time, the Captain announced early take off, which was about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. The flight was uneventful and we reached Mumbai 35 minutes earlier than the scheduled time of arrival and landed at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal. The availability of App based Taxi service has made a dent in Mumbai as well and one can just use the App to book your taxi at appropriate rates without hassling. We had booked a hotel in the Santa Cruz area, as I was a bit apprehensive about the Mumbai’s notorious traffic jams and wanted to stay as close the airport as possible to avoid any kind of traffic trauma while taking my flight to Goa.
|The approach to Worli Sea Link|
Having reached early, we checked into the Hotel room by noon and after freshening up had ordered early lunch and enjoyed a brief siesta, as the afternoon was quite hot. Thereafter, we called for a Taxi for four hours duration and started for our evening excursion at around 4.00 P.M, to visit some parts of Mumbai, as we had planned to visit the famed Elephanta Caves the next day. It was my wish to visit the famed ‘Siddhi Vinayak temple’ and accordingly, we first headed for the destination. But enroute the taxi driver informed us that since the day we had chosen to visit was the New Year day in Maharashtra and locals celebrated it as ‘Gudi Pawda’ and that there would be a huge rush in the temple. Despite his advice we decided to take a chance, as we had started at an off-beat time and decided to take the Worli sea link to reach early. However, when we reached the temple complex, we found that the queue of the devotees had spilled right across to the road adjoining the temple and that it would take about 2-3 hours to visit the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine, so time being a constraint, we decided to skip the visit and paid our obeisance from outside the precincts of the temple itself.
|The famed Siddhi Vinayak temple in Prabhadevi|
Siddhivinayak Temple is located in Prabhadevi area, near Dadar railway station. This temple was constructed way back in the year 1881. The temple receives thousands of devotees on daily basis. The small hall or mandap has the idol of Lord Vinayaka or Lord Ganehsa who it is believed fulfils wishes of all his devotees. While the huge wooden doors have sculpted carvings of the 8 manifestations of Lord Ganesha as Ashtavinayak, the inner roof is gold plated. The beautiful idol of the Lord Ganesha is in black stone and stands in the middle of the sanctum sanctorum. On the both sides of this idol, there are idols of the better-halves of Lord Ganesha known as Riddhi and Siddhi.
|The Hanging Garden in Malabar Hills|
Thereafter, on advice of the taxi driver we visited the famed Hanging garden also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens. Hanging Garden is a layered or terraced garden, placed on the western top-side of the Malabar Hills, right in front of Kamla Nehru Park. The garden offers some amazing sunset views over the Arabian Sea. Established over a reservoir by Ulhas Ghapokar in 1881. The garden is also popular amidst locals for walks and yoga sessions, as we found that there was huge crowd of people enjoying in the park. It is one of the best places to enjoy in Mumbai tour.
|Panoramic view of Girgaon Chowpati from Kamla Nehru Park|
Thereafter, we just strolled across the road and visited the Kamala Nehru Park, which has a viewing gallery and therefrom one can view the entire vista of the Girgaon Chowpati/beach and the famed Marine drive. The viewing gallery is a three storey structure and one has to use the staircase to reach to the top and is not an easy access for the old, as the lift was closed at the time we visited. However, we enjoyed the views and shot videos and took photographs.
|Families enjoying the evening breeze in Girgaon Chowpati|
|The food stalls in Girgaon Chowpati|
|As the Sun sets across the Girgaon Chowpati|
Therefrom we headed for the Girgaon Chowpati and it was teeming with people as many locals had come to the beach to enjoy the festive mood of ‘Gudi Padwa’. Located northwards of Marine Drive, the Girgaon Chowpatty/beach bustles with activity as a picnic spot, on all the days of a week. One can not only indulge in fun activities but can also gorge on sumptuous street food of Mumbai such as sev puri, bhel puri, batata puri, pao bhaji and so on in the stalls that are situated on one side of the beach entry. One is free to quench one’s thirst with fresh coconut water or various kinds of cold drinks or ice creams and local chuski’s being served by various stalls, each of which cries out loud for attention, not only as a metaphor but literally too, as various agents approach you vigorously with the menu card of their stall and harping on its’ specialties. During our visit in the evening hours’, we found children and their families enjoying rides such as ferry wheels, taking a leisure stroll, riding a pony and enjoying the cool sea breeze by the sea side sitting on mats being rented out by agents. Having enjoyed some local snacks at the Chowpati, it was time for us to head back home and since we could not locate any local Parsi Restaurant, on advice of the driver again, we picked up our dinner from the famed Lucky Restaurant in Santa Cruz area itself and the food served was really lip smacking. Thus, ended our first day in Mumbai.
|The commendation certificates given by famed personalities on walls of Lucky Restaurant|
Here is the link to a short video of this part of the visit –
© S Roy Biswas