From the bustling Lokhandwala shopping district to Versova beach and the ancient, rock-cut caves of Mahakali, Andheri has something for everyone.
“Over the years, Andheri has become a melting pot of old and contemporary culture, with malls, shopping districts, temples and heritage properties alike,” says Nalini Shukla, 78, a homemaker, who has lived in Andheri for most of her life.
One of these protected landmarks is the Gilbert Hill monolith, a 60-metre basalt rock the height of a 22-storey building. The volcanic structure is believed to have been formed from molten lava a whopping 65 million years ago and is now a tourist attraction, as are the two temples atop the hill.
If you’re playing tourist in Mumbai, you should also check out the magnificent rock-cut Mahakali or Kondivita caves, built and inhabited by Buddhist monks between the 1st century BC and 6th century AD. Carved out of black basalt rock, the group of 19 caves bear carvings and sculptures of Buddha and figures
from Buddhist mythology.
If you’re a Bollywood fan, you can head to Fun Republic, which is frequented by filmstars and often hosts Bollywood film premieres and foreign film festivals.
“If you’re looking for one place where you can spend your whole day, you can also head to Infiniti Mall,” says homemaker Krupali Mahorey, 34. “There’s a big gaming parlour for the kids and a lovely terrace where you can lounge with a coffee and chat with friends or family.”
Another good, if gimmicky, family destination to check out is jungle-themed restaurant Pratap’s Wild Dining, which offers humdrum fare but throws in robotic animals, simulated thunderstorms and waiters dressed as forest guards that are a delight to children.
“Andheri has a lot of cool places for youngsters to hang out at, like Pop Tate’s, Kaffe Kona and Crepeteria,” adds Vaishali Gandhi, 22, a college student who has grown up in the area.
If nature’s more your thing, you can do some bird-watching or go for a walk at the Nana-Nani park at Seven Bungalows or Lokhandwala Garden.
Shopaholics should certainly head to Lokhandwala, where streets full of stores stock everything from trendy ethnic skirts and costume jewellery worth Rs 200 to lingerie, sports shoes and even furniture and antiques.
As the sun sets, head to Versova’s Rock Beach at Seven Bungalows for some quiet time, a walk or a game of catch with the kids.
The more high-spirited can end the day with a few drinks and some pulsing trance music at the many nightspots in the area, including Rio - The Met Lounge, WTF and Sheesha Sky Lounge.
“Andheri has a sparkling night life,” says businesswoman and local resident Zarine Ninan. “Working hard and partying harder is the spirit of the people of Andheri.”