Every night, after a long day at work, when Amit Malvankar, a manager with an events management company, reaches home — in the Shri Omkar Society in Gorai — he stands at his window for a few minutes.
The view of the Peace Pagoda of the Vipassana Kendra at Gorai, rising out of dark expanse of the Gorai beach is balm for his soul, he says: “On a full moon night, the golden pagoda looks spectacular and the sight is soothing.”
Malvankar moved to Gorai last year. Three years ago, however, his mother had to goad him to buy a two-bedroom apartment here. For, this area was once known for its civic garbage dump that raised such a stink that few ventured in this direction.
“But at Rs 15 lakh this was one of the few places I could afford that did not resemble a pigeonhole in some dingy locality,” recalls Malvankar. Today, when the asking price for apartments like his is in the Rs 35 to Rs 40 lakh range, Malvankar cannot stop gloating.
Stench to scenic
There are two main reasons for this steep rise in Gorai property prices. First, the 50-acre garbage dump that gave Gorai a bad stench was closed down in December 2007. From a 32-metre high stack that was the accumulation of 2,200 tonnes of waste per day, it was transformed into a 26-metre hillock with landscaping and beautification already under way. The stench is truly a thing of a past here until you reach the Gorai creek where the receding tide leaves the mangroves smelling of fish and decaying matter. But it is no different from other creeks in Mumbai.
The second reason has been the Link road that ran from Andheri to Malad and has, over the past decade, extended from Malad to Borivli and now Dahisar and farther down to Bhayandar, says Jyotsna Khare, a housewife who lives in the Hiranya Keshi colony for Air India employees.
When Khare moved to Gorai from Goregaon in 1997, there was no other building between her society and the Gorai creek. “We could see Essel World across the creek from our society,” she recalls.
But there are many multi-storeyed buildings dotting the horizon now and the rising property prices — around Rs 6,500 per sq ft compared to Rs 1,000 per sq ft when Khare bought her flat in 1997 — are indicative of the changes that have come about in this area.
Gorai is also home to some good educational institutes like the Don Bosco School and the more recent Swami Vivekanand International School and Nalanda Academy with its professional degree courses.
Connectivity by local train is also good as Borivli railway station is the starting point for Churchgate bound trains and many of the north-bound trains, heading to New Delhi and Gujarat, halt here. Though Gorai creek is some five kilometers away from Borivli station, a number of buses ply the route and the share-an- autorickshaw fare is a very reasonable Rs 6.
Though the Global Pagoda has been in existence only since January 2009, it is the reason for Gorai’s growth in some way. The 325-feet high pagoda which houses a glassed hall with a capacity to seat 10,000 persons who practice the Vipassana meditation popularized by S N Goenka. Since Vipassana has its followers in many countries this pagoda is becoming a centre for international visitors as well as the local ones.
Says Rocky D’souza, a native of Gorai village who plies an autorickshaw from Gorai jetty to the amusement park at Essel World, “For forty years we waited but the road was asphalted only two years ago. Even the Essel World has existed since 1982, the roads improved only recently.”