Mumbai's picture perfect places
Most of these places are on Mumbai's tourist circuit or listed in the Lonely Planet. They are popular with tourists but Mumbaikars have no time to visit them due to their hectic life in the city.
Here are 10 such places and if you have not been here, it is still not too late. It's worth a dekko.
Banganga tank and temple precinct
Banganga located at Walkeshwar is a rectangular water tank surrounded by stone steps. It was originally constructed during the era of the Silhara dynasty (810-1240 AD). It is located within a temple precinct with eight temples like the Walkeshwar, Venkateshwar Balaji and Rameshwar temples. Go here and you will be far away from the city noise, with just serene water and the occasional quacking of ducks and geese for company.
Khotachi wadi and Matharpakhadi
Walk around these heritage precincts located in Girgaum and Mazgaon before they vanish. Both these 'quartiers' have some quaint 19th century-houses with beautiful balconies, verandahs and wooden staircases. Wander around through the narrow lanes and the quietude will make you feel that you are not in Mumbai.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu sangrahalaya
The Museum located near Kala Ghoda was designed by George Wittet in the Indo-Saracen style. It was built in 1914 but formally opened in 1923. The museum has a vast and rare collection of antiques, Indian miniature paintings, sculptures, a natural history section, Nepali and Tibetan art, decorative art, bronzes, textiles and much more. You might need more than a day to see this place thoroughly.
Mani Bhavan is located on Laburnum Road at Gamdevi. The residence of Shri Revashanker Jhaveri, it served as Gandhiji's headquarters in Mumbai from 1917-1934. It has now been converted into a museum that houses a research library, a photo display gallery, an exhibition in mini-figures on Gandhi's life called Glimpses of Gandhi, an auditorium and Gandhi's room.
Haji Ali dargah
You must have seen this early 19th century shrine from the bus on your way to work or home but have never visited it. Built in the Indo-Islamic style, this is the tomb of the Sufi saint Hazrat Haji Ali. A narrow walkway through the sea, not accessible during high tide, would lead you to the dargah which is on an island in the middle of the Arabian Sea.
This church, consecrated in 1858, was built in memory of the British soldiers who died during the Sind and Afghan wars of 1838 and 1842-43. It is located beyond Colaba towards R C Church. It has been restored recently and has some beautiful stained glass windows. It remains shut most of the time but would be open on Sundays.
Maharashtra Nature park
This lush green park located at Dharavi on the banks of the Mithi River was created from a garbage dumping ground. It was opened to the public in 1994. You will find more than 14,000 plants, 115 species of birds and scores of butterflies. It also boasts of its own water-harvesting project.
The Gate of Mercy synagogue
Also called Juni Masjid, this 1796 synagogue located at Samuel Street lends its name to Masjid station. It is the second oldest synagogue in India. Go here to find out the interesting history behind its name - 'Gate of Mercy".
Yes, all of us have heard of the Mahakali Caves road or gone to SEEPZ using it, but must have seldom visited the caves. This could also be because of the poor roads and the filth around these caves, which were formerly known as 'Kondivita'. These Buddhist caves date back to the 1st century.
Borivli National park
Mumbai's biggest 'green lung', this forest covers 140 sq km and is home to more than 1,000 species of plants, 40 species of mammals and 251 species of birds. Kanheri caves, that date back from the first to ninth century, are also located in this forest.