Marine Drive/Chowpatty Beach - Discover Mumbai as you stroll on the silvery sands of Marine drive while sipping a coconut.

must see | MUMBAI

Marine Drive/Chowpatty Beach
The Marine drive is a significant place in Bombay where most of the people throng in the evening.

From the moment I stepped off the plane, I could feel the intense humid atmosphere though cool breezes were flowing at intermittently. It was night and the city looked to me quit impressive under the starry night, against the backdrop of twinkling lights from the skyscrapers that are so much a feature of Mumbai’s skyline. I hired a taxi and asked him to drive to Marine drive. Luckily, I managed to get a room booked in one hotel at Marine drive. Tired from the journey, I put off the lights and went to bed.

Early in the morning after having my bed tea I started preparing for the day. I had my breakfast: bread, butter, milk and boiled eggs. After checking out at the hotel, I left the place.

Marine drive is a windswept promenade, flanked by the sea and a row of art deco buildings. Looped between the concrete jungle of Nariman Point, Mumbai's Manhattan, and the leafy green slopes of Malabar hill, Marine Drive was once called the queen's Necklace, strung with glittering street lights like an enormous strand of imperious jewels. It is also one of Mumbai's busiest roads, an important artery for the heavy suburban traffic heading downtown. Vehicles flow continually past the two-mile stretch, past love-stuck couples, hawkers and sellers, gleeful children and babies in perambulators.

A popular seafront, Marine Drive is where most of south Mumbai comes to breathe in some fresh air. Overlooking the Marine Drive are the beautiful Kamala Nehru Park - atop Malabar Hills with wonderfully cut hazes and roomy walkways; and the Hanging Gardens - built during the early 1880s over Mumbai's main reservoir at the top of the Malabar Hills.

I walked past marine drive till I reached its end. At the end of the marine drive where Chowpatty beach lies I crossed the road and headed the to catch a taxi to Bandra where I had some work with a Parsi gentleman with whom I had developed fairly good friendship over a period of time, though in a virtual world ie via internet. I bumped into his office and he was totally taken by surprise. Spent the day with him and at evening decided to make a move. He offered himself as my guide for the evening and we headed towards chowpatty beach in his car.

To my surprise, the evening scenes at Chowpatty were different from the morning ones. Chowpatty looked all together different to me as it was in the morning. In the morning the beach bore somewhat empty look but in the evening it was so crowded that I felt as if some procession or rally was going on. But then my friend told me that the beaches in Mumbai are empty throughout the day but in the evenings, these are hub of various activities. He continued,this beach is in the heart of Mumbai. and has rich historical links to the freedom movement; several important meetings were organized here during the freedom struggle.

The beach is at it's best during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, when the large idols of the elephant-headed God are immersed in the sea.

On this beach, I found Kiosks selling delicious kulfi (Indian ice cream) and Mumbai's signature dish bhelpuri (a combination of crisp noodles, puffed rice, potatoes, onions, puri, mint, coriander, chutney and chillies).

Pointing towards a small colony where fishermen were busy drying their catch, my friend said, “these are Koli fishermen- the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

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