We get it.
These old neighbourhoods are actually a hub of diversity, with monuments, parks, museums and lots to do on Sunday.
|Which Bandra are you familiar with? The one of Hill Road and Linking Road, with it’s shopping stalls and Bangkok-maal shops? The hip by-lanes with their organic cafes, expat stylists, film-star penthouses and creative types? Or the modest Catholic Bandra of churches, cottages, local buggers and seaside cemeteries? While you walk, listen to the sounds of 90.8FM, a community radio station from a local residents association. |
West of Bandra station, take a bus going down Hill Road to catch the last morning service at St Peter’s Church at 10am so you can check out the magnificent interior. Built of yellow Rajasthani stone, the church is designed in the Romanesque style. Two windows depict scenes from the life of St Stanislaus and the other stained-glass windows look splendid in the sunshine.
Back down Hill Road, keep a look out for the entrance to little Waroda Road on your right. It leads to one of Bandra’s oldest neighbourhoods: 400-year-old Ranwar village. Unlike the chaos just a street away, Ranwar is happily lazy. It’s conducive to a slow stroll, with views of single-storied cottages, tiled roofs, open balconies, public crosses to ward off the plague of the late 1890s, and at least one backyard garden with the sign ‘Beware of the dog’.
There’s also some cool graffiti on a few walls in the neighbourhood – a huge portrait of Madhubala, Rajnikanth holding a water gun, a nerdy Mona Lisa and then some. This cheerful street art is the product of a local group called the Wall Project.
Come back out to Hill Road, and make your way to St Stanislaus School. Why? Because the school’s 150th-anniversary celebrations include the opening of the Casale Museum, named after the former school principal and geologist. Escape the midday sun to see samples of ancient rocks (some have fossils on them), coins from over 90 countries (including one from 160 BC), different wood varieties and other curiosities.
Next up, a new view. Take a bus terminating at Fr Agnel Ashram, and walk up ahead passing the the Taj hotel to get to Bandra Fort. Castella de Aguada (the old Portuguese name, which means ‘castle by the sea’) is the vantage point from which to see just how high central Mumbai’s skyscrapers have risen and how magnificent its Sealink looks against Mahim bay and the skyline.
If not, see Bandra’s bookish side. Cut across to D’Monte Park Road to get to the Maharashtra Mitra Mandal or MCubed library (right next to the Bandra Gym) to browse through great books for kids and adults. But be warned: to borrow a book to take home, you’ll have to open your wallet (though the sums are nominal).
Need some action? It’s off to Carter Road, where Mumbai’s BMX riders practice along the promenade. Once you’ve had your fill of their thrills, walk on to the Ram Mandir side of Khar Danda to see the colourful boats moored by the edge of the sea. Wait for the fishermen to bring in the fresh catch. Or just watch the sunset.
Here, The concepts of ‘south Mumbai’, ‘suburbs’ and ‘downtown’ are pretty fluid. People bustle on, paying no heed to their west-coast neighbours, as they delight in local gardens, wide roads and better- planned neighbourhoods. Everyone is out on Sunday, which makes it great for people watching too.
Far away Bhayandar is still close enough for you to take in a green mini-vacation without really leaving the city. Plus, there’s a dose of spirituality in store too.