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Maharashtra:Mumbai - A Travel Guide, Part 2
Kamala Nehru Park, on the slope of the Malabar hills, had been formed very recently in 1952 and has slowly become one of the chief attractions of Mumbai. The name of the park was derived from the name of the 1stwife of Jawaharlal Nehru. Even though it’s a children park, but overseas visitors are greeted and welcomed warmly and tenderly here in this park. Revisit your childhood days and cherish every bit of it by climbing up the colossal Old Ladies Shoe (Almost has a height of 2 storied building) or Tea cup. The Park looks pretty during the festivals of the Republican Day and the Indian Independence Day as countless numbers of lights illuminate the Park. The panoramic view of Marine Drive, Back Bay, Queen’s Necklace and Chowpatty can be enjoyed from the park.
The riveting Hanging Garden is situated at the opposite side of the Park. The Hanging Garden is placed on a small peak of the Malabar hills. The Garden was refurbished and modernized later on again in 1921. Stand on the Garden premise and wait to take pleasure in the captivating sight of the sunset. Shapes of animals, formed by cutting the trees are entertaining children. The Hanging Garden, however, has been renamed now as Feroz Shah Mehta Ground, about 5.6 km away from the city of Mumbai. A lot of buses are regularly going to the Feroz Shah Mehta Ground from the city of Mumbai. Bal Gangadhar Kher Mark is acting as a barricade between Mumbai and the Feroz Shah Mehta Ground.
The Funeral Tower of Silence or Dokhmas, located right beside the Feroz Shah Mehta Ground, has 7 circular shrines of stones. This is the Persian burial ground which is spread across 1 km of rambling territory. Persians are really concerned about the environment and that significantly is visible in their burial ground. Countless numbers of spirited and cheerful birds assemble on the Funeral Tower of Silence to get their foods. People who belong to the other communities are not permitted to get into the complex. A miniature model of this Funeral Tower is kept inside the Prince of Wales museum.
Walk down from the Park to watch the splendor of the holy Jain temple (1904), about 1 km away from the Park. 1stJain Tirthankar, Adinath, carved out of marbles, is residing in this temple. The temple is a worshipping paradise and is well ornamented with glittering mirrors and colorful portraits. You can purchase prasadam of the deity from the stall of the temple.
Walk along the coastal lines of the Arabian Ocean, getting down from the Malabar hills, to access the sanctified Mahalakshmi temple, atop the Kamballa hill. It is said to be the oldest temple of Mumbai. This is probably one of the best places of Mumbai to visit during the festivity of Navaratri. To enjoy the holy ambiance of the temple premise, spiritual batches flock to the temple in abundance.
One of the most wonderful attractions of the world is Mahalakshmi Race Course which is not very far away from the Mahalakshmi temple. Horses run with their enormous pace on the ground of the race course on every Sunday and on every holiday during November- March and plenty of race lovers bet on them.
Adjoining Willingdon Club is worthy of mention as well. The Haji Ali Mosque, atop the white dome, is located in between the Willingdon Club and Race Course. Blue feral waves of the neighboring Arabian Ocean are hitting the walls of the mosque. It would really be a treat to watch. It is believed that an Afghan saint used to stay and meditate here in the consecrated mosque and later on, he drowned in the ocean. To recall that great saint, a commemorative has been erected here. Even though the concrete balcony of the Mosque gets inundated most of the times with the water of the ocean but when the water level goes down a bit, spiritual people and tourists can comfortably walk on the balcony.
Trains and buses are regularly traveling to Mahalakshmi from the Church Gate railway station of Mumbai. The structure and shape of the Church Gate Railway Station are pulling huge numbers of people. Local trains of western railways are regularly traveling to the Church Gate railway stations from various parts of Maharashtra. Walk down in the subway of the Church Gate railway station to watch its elegant decoration. It resembles the cave of Ali Baba of the Arabian Nights.
In Worli, near the Haji Ali, the Nehru Planetarium is a coveted destination on Dr. Annie Besant road. The Planetarium is closed on Mondays. The Nehru Science Museum is located adjacent to the Planetarium.
The paradise of International Cricket, the Wankhede Stadium is another charming destination for the sports’ lovers. On the way to Juhu, you can move around and watch the spectacle of the Santacruz Airport.
The oval shaped Victoria Garden on Babasaheb Ambedkar Marg has become one of the sought after allurements of Mumbai. Victoria Garden, which is now popularly known as Veermata Jijabai Bhosle Ground, was formed on a straggling 48 acres of land which was gifted by throng of city dwellers. The Veermata Jijabai Bhosle Ground comprises of zoo, botanical garden and museum.
Tourists who visit both the Victoria Museum and Albert Museum can witness the appealing Victorian Gothic architectures. The cultures and mores of the primeval Mumbai (1661-1931) have been depicted through portraits, Photographs, Maps and Coins. The collection of vegetations and animals are worthy of mention as well. The name of the Victoria Museum, however, has been changed now to Bhau Daji Laud Museum. The elephant, made up of marbles, had been shifted in 1863 all the way from Elephants to this Museum. This impressive and spectacular elephant idol is positioned right at the entrance of the museum. The architectural grandeur of the gateway of the museum would surprise you for sure. The Clock tower, built way back in 1865, is significant and worth mentioning. The museum is open during 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Wednesdays. Once upon a time the garments industry of Byculla was immensely popular and was profitable at the same time. But, the whole scenario had been changed now.
Veermata is well connected to Colaba and Flora Fountain by bus.
Mani Bhavan, on Laburnum Road, is a historical house where the Indian patriot and freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi enjoyed his stay during 1917-1934. The exhibition in this house showcases pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and books. Assortments of substances, used by Mahatma Gandhi in yester years, are kept here and are given a lot of importance. To recall the bygone era and the great patriot Mahatma Gandhi you can purchase books, cards and slides. The historical value of the neighboring Kranti Maidan is massive as this was the ground which was used to convey the message (on 8thAugust, 1942) to the British that they had to leave India. It was the spot where from the famous slogan “Karenge Ya Marenge” (Do or die) was spread across India, thanks to Mahatma Gandhi.
Tourists who want to witness the historical evidences of Mani Bhavan can avail a bus from Mumbai.
The Chowpatty beach resembles the splendor of the Hyde Park of London. It is a pleasing beach for the evening walkers. But, there is no provision of enjoying a bath though. Commemorative of two of the great Indian freedom fighters, namely Tilak and Ballavbhai Patel are helping the throng of tourists to recollect the history of the pre-independence era. The cremation of the patriot, Tilak, had taken place near the memorial of Tilak in 1920. The best time to view the spectacle on the Chowpatty beach is the time when innumerable Ganesh idols are immersed at the end of the 11 days long festivity of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is one of the most congested beached of Mumbai. Tourists enjoy their foods in the food stalls and watch various small performances that take place on the lingering beach of Chowpatty. For the entertainment, you can hire a pony to ride on and move around the sea beach for some time.
Chowpatty, the place of fishermen, can be accessed from Mumbai by bus.
About 30 km away from the city of Mumbai, the Juhu beach, is one of the most popular sea beach of India. It is one of the biggest beaches of the world. 5 km long beach of Juhu looks enthralling as it is well covered with golden sands. The best time to take a dip in the salty water is during October- May but the water is certainly not dirt free. Most give the waters a miss, owing to the heavy pollution. However, to watch the beguiling sight of sunset while taking a walk along the beach, plenty of city dwellers regularly flock to the beach of Juhu. The Mumbai airport is a neighboring destination for the interested holiday makers. The main temple or the office of ISKCON is located at the northern side of the Juhu road. Huge and astonishing homes and bungalows of film stars titivate the entire terrain of Juhu.
Juhu can be accessed by bus from Santacruz which is well connected to Church Gate by train. A number of hotels are there in Juhu beach.
The green Elephanta Island, nestled in the blue water of Arabian ocean, looks lovely. It has now become a sought after tourists’ destination. Elephanta is located at a distance of 9 nautical miles towards the north- eastern side from the Gateway of India. It is a one hour journey from Mumbai by water transport.