7 most popular waterfront public locations

Mumbai is a city surrounded by water. And it is not a surprise that Mumbaikars love to find their bit of solace by the sea side. It may be just an outing on a Saturday or Sunday with the wife and kids, or maybe some low cost lovey dovey time with your girlfriend, or just to unwind yourself with your friends, the sea side is one of the first choices for Mumbaikars. Even the tourist have all the sea side location prioritized in their must visit places, even though in a weird way they are seeing the same sea every time i.e. Arabian Sea. So what makes these various sea sides of the same sea different? Actually it is not much of the sea that people look forward to but the flavor each place by the sea has to offer. So here we go with the 7 most popular waterfront public locations of Mumbai.

Mumbai is a city surrounded by water. And it is not a surprise that Mumbaikars love to find their bit of solace by the sea side. It may be just an outing on a Saturday or Sunday with the wife and kids, or maybe some low cost lovey dovey time with your girlfriend, or just to unwind yourself with your friends, the sea side is one of the first choices for Mumbaikars. Even the tourist have all the sea side location prioritized in their must visit places, even though in a weird way they are seeing the same sea every time i.e. Arabian Sea. So what makes these various sea sides of the same sea different? Actually it is not much of the sea that people look forward to but the flavor each place by the sea has to offer. So here we go with the 7 most popular waterfront public locations of Mumbai

Gateway of India
Mumbai’s most famous monument, this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, complete with four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone. Ironically, when the Raj ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph: the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway. Today this symbol of colonialism has got Indianized, drawing droves of local tourists and citizens. Behind the arch, there are steps leading down to the water. Here, you can get onto one of the bobbing little motor launches, for a short cruise through Mumbai’s splendid natural harbor.
Marine Drive
Marine Drive is a 3 km long avenue in South Mumbai, shaped like an inverted ‘C’. It has six lanes and run along the coast and is a natural bay on Arabian Sea. It connects Nariman Point to Babulnath and Malabar Hill. The chief attraction of Marine Drive is the Promenade, officially known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road. Sunset views here are just fabulous and palm trees line the Promenade. During weekends ppl from various parts of the city (even suburbs) can be founf found here taking a stroll enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Many restaurants and famous hotel groups can be found here. Walkeshwar on Marine Drive, houses the governor of Maharashtra is another elite area of Mumbai. Marine Drive boasts of highest real estate prices in India. The art deco buildings from 1920s and 30s on the sea front, belong largely to wealthy Parsi community, and are second only in number to Miami in the United States. Its shape has also earned Marine Drive the title of the Queen’s Necklace, as the street lights lit in the night look like sparkling diamonds from a high point. It is also said to be the world’s largest viewing gallery.

Chowpatty
Chowpatty is Mumbai’s most famous beach. During the day, it is the hangout of the happily unemployed who snooze under the shade of its stunted trees. But in the evening the atmosphere is more like a carnival: kids screaming on Ferris wheels or taking pony rides, wayside astrologers making a quick buck, monkey shows, and even the odd self -styled gymnast who will demonstrate amazing yogic postures for a small fee. At one end is a row of bhelpuri shops hawking Mumbai’s most popular snack: crisp puffed rice and semolina doused in pungent chutneys, all scooped up with a flat, fried puri. You might even catch a film shoot or a street play. In short, for most tourists Chowpatty is where the action is.
Juhu Beach
Juhu Beach has practically everything that Chowpatty offers and is a favorite place to visit for all Mumbaites. Juhu Beach has Arabian Sea to its west and Santacruz and Vile Parle to its east. Children simply love this place and it is a vendor’s delight. It has an open-air restaurant, innumerable food counters, various amusement games, horse/camel ride and electronic robots who will predict your future. It is also a popular venue for immersions during the famous festivals of Bombay or Mumbai such as Nariyalpoornima and the Ganesh Chaturthi. You can splurge on spicy Bhelpuri, Sevpuri, Pani Puri, Chaat, local icecream known as Kulfi and golaas (try the milkmaid golaa, they are superb).

The variety of fun and amusement available here includes professional masseurs, shooting galleries and fun rides for kids, contortionists, snake charmers, pony leaders and monkey trainers. You can buy balloons, flowers, seashells and other trinkets here too. Unfortunately the beach is pretty much polluted these days. There are various NGOs who are trying to get this place back in decent shape.

It is also very popular among the elite living in the residential apartments and bungalows in the surrounding area for morning walks and it is not uncommon to see famous Bollywood celebrities on Juhu, jogging in the morning, albeit with their security guards and dogs surrounding them.

Haji Ali Mosque
Situated at the end of a 500m causeway protruding into the Arabian Sea is the whitewashed Haji Ali Mosque, containing the tomb of a Muslim saint Haji Ali who is believed to have meditated on these very shores. It is said that Haji Ali was a wealthy Muslim merchant who renounced all his worldly belongings before embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He died in Mecca and the casket miraculously drifted and came to the spot where the mosque and tomb were built by his devotes in the early 19th century. The Mosque lies opposite to the famous Mahalakshmi temple and can be approached from Lala Rajpatrai Marg.
Haji Ali is a handsome example of Islamic architecture standing on an island. In fact, this holy place is visited by many devotees as well as visitors who are attracted by the beauty of the site. The widespread belief is that whoever prays to the deity here is never disappointed. A number of pilgrims come here for thanksgiving. Haji Ali’s sister also followed her brother’s footsteps and became his companion in ascetic suffering. There is a mausoleum built for her a little distance away on Worli Bay.
The mosque has a narrow concrete pathway about a kilometer built over water to reach the shrine and can only be reached at low tide. A short flight of marble steps leads into the dargah where the body of the saint is enclosed in a semi-circled tomb,in an exquisite silver frame engraved with all the ninety-nine names of Allah. The top of the tomb is covered with a zari cloth and flowers and other offerings by devotees lie scattered around the tomb. The devotees pray and touch their heads and lips to the cloth. Ladies, as is the case in all mosques, have a separate room for prayers. All visitors need to remove their shoes before entering the shrine.
During high tide the walkway to the mosque is submerged in the sea making the impression that the mosque and the tomb are floating in water. Check the tide times in the local paper before visiting.
The courtyard of the mosque is surrounded by refreshment stalls and other kinds of shops which take away the solemnity of the place. Haji Ali is dargah is an integral part of Mumbai’s heritage and Indian culture. The rocks exposed at low tide behind the mosque are a favorite spot if you are interested in catch sea breezes. The best time to visit is on Friday or on Thursday.
Bandstand – Bandra
The Bandstand Promenade is a kilometer long walkway along the sea on the west side of Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai, India. Less than a decade old, it is simultaneously a popular hang out spot, a jogging track and a park.
The promenade starts from St.Andrew’s Church and ends at Lands End — which it literally is — a protrusion of land surrounded by the sea.
Visible along the promenade are expensive bungalows and flats, some of which belong to Bollywood movie stars like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Shabana Azmi, Rekha among others.
Manori, Gorai, Marve and Erangal beaches
All these are excellent, safe suburban beaches, linked by a rocky headland and accessed across a small creek from mainland Mumbai. The Gorai creek barge looks like a jalopy but is sturdy and serviceable. On the other side, Manori beach is a ten minute rickshaw ride away, fringed with swaying palm trees and a row of beachside cottage hotels. The most famous of these is Manori Bel, a cluster of white washed Spanish-style villas with clean bright rooms and charming wicker furniture. Some of the houses in Manori village also double as hotels where you can dump your belongings and order lunch before heading for the beach. Nearby Gorai is less expensive. The shacks for rent here are usually occupied by couples or picnic groups and the beach is full of dodging balls and flying frisbees. The sand is relatively clean and the water inviting.
Across the creek from Manori, on the mainland itself, Marve is the retreat of Mumbai’s beau monde. This is where most of India’s big industrial houses have their weekend bungalows — beautiful, sprawling mansions tucked along the winding coastal road. Hotels on this stretch mainly cater to corporate types who want to get away from the rat race and offer the standard five star amenities. Futher down at Erangal, the road peters out into a large fishing village inhabited by koli fisherfolk. At its southern tip there’s a derelict seventeenth century Portuguese fortress that affords an unbroken view of Mumbai’s famous skyline.

3 Comments so far

  1. anish (unregistered) on August 21st, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

    Loved your post
    Viewer you rock!!
    i will be back for more :)


  2. Ted (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

    Could anyone with courtenous, please tell me the full address of Haji Ali Tomb in Mumbai.

    Many thanks.

    Mr. Ted


  3. Ted (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

    Could anyone with courtenous, please tell me the full address of Haji Ali Tomb in Mumbai.

    Many thanks.

    Mr. Ted



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