By Somali K Chakrabarti
Neither by service nor fee
Come I to mine estate —
Mother of Cities to me,
For I was born in her gate,
Between the palms and the sea,
Where the world-end steamers wait.
~Excerpt from To the City of Bombay, By Rudyard Kipling
A home alike to the richest and the poor, Mumbai is marked by its typical chaotic, cosmopolitan and dynamic spirit. The narrow wedge shaped metropolis, surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides, attracts a large number of tourists all over the year.
Beaches and coastlines offer a respite from the frantic life to us, the locals of Mumbai, and are a major attraction for the tourists. Naturally, alongside other tourist attractions, beaches are the must see spots in the itinerary of any of my friends or relatives who come to Mumbai.
For those of you planning to visit Mumbai, here are some of the popular beaches in Mumbai.
The sprawling Juhu beach stretches for about six kilometres from Juhu to Versova.
Walking on sand, along the shore of the Arabian Sea, you see the vast expanse of the sea meeting with the horizon. The beach is lively with joggers and walkers who come in the mornings and evenings, and it gets crowded on the weekends as people flock to picnic and unwind on the beach.
The ISKCON temple in Mumbai is at a stone throw away from Juhu beach.
Located in the heart of the city is the Chowpatty Beach, popular for its street food (Bhel Puri, kulfi and Pav Bhaji) and for the Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations. You can savour the local delicacies sitting on the rugs spread out in front of the stalls or while strolling on the shore.
A varied range of hotels are available in Mumbai to suit the pockets of all travellers.
Besides the well-known 5 Star or 3 Star Hotels, you also have several mid- segment hotels in Mumbai, available at reasonable prices.
If you are planning to visit Mumbai anytime soon, here’s a list of boutique hotels in Mumbai.
The Versova beach, situated in the suburbs of Andheri is a secluded beach, which is actually an extension of the Juhu Beach, which is separated by a creek. Huge boulders, bordering the beach, buffer the buildings from the enormous waves that cover the beach during high tide.
Residing at one end of Versova beach, are the Kolis, the native fisher folk of Mumbai. However, due to the lack of basic amenities such as lifeguards, the beach is not frequented by tourists.
Worli seaface is one of my favourite promenades for walks in the evenings. The promenade right across the Bandra Worli sea link is neat and well maintained and provides an ideal stretch for walking / running. The statue of RK Laxman’s common man greets you at two places as you walk along the sea shore. During high tides the waves come crashing over the wall, sprinkling water on face of the onlookers.
At around 1.8 km from the Worli Sea Face is the revered Siddhivinayak temple.
The necklace (or C) shaped coastline at Marine Drive, has a beautifully laid boulevard along the shore of the Arabian Sea. Situated at the foot of Malabar Hill, the 3 km long Marine Drive is a natural bay, and forms a portion of the skyline of Mumbai. The pathway stretching from Chowpatty Beach to Churchgate, is protected by tetrapods.
Marine Drive is full of life in the evenings, crowded with promenaders of all age groups, who are out for a stride along the breezy pathway.
One of the popular weekend getaway is the scenic Madh Island beach, at a distance of 32 kms from Mumbai. One of the cleanest in the state, Madh Island beach is made of a cluster of little villages and farmlands situated on the North-Western coast of Mumbai.
The shore is surrounded by mangroves which adds to its scenic beauty.
The 17th century Madh Fort (Versova Fort) and the ancient Portugese church, St. Bonaventure Church, located on the Erangal beach are the prime attractions of Madh Island.
The next time you are in Mumbai, make it a point to visit these popular beaches. If you want to stay around any of these places, you may want to decide upon your hotel bookings in Mumbai accordingly.
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