Mumbai, fondly known as the ‘City of dreams’ is as charismatic and dynamic as any other metropolitan, perhaps even more. The British, which governed Mumbai since the 17thcentury have left their imprints on the architecture here, especially in South Mumbai. From colonial buildings to sprawling gardens to landmark railway stations, the southern belt of the city has it all.
Let’s take a look at some of the coolest neighbourhoods to explore in South Mumbai.
Fort should be your first and last stop to explore the colonial architecture and culture of the city. It has some of the city’s finest buildings like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a World UNESCO Heritage Site or the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s headquarters, Bombay Stock Exchange and not to forget the Asiatic Library and Horniman Circle. The coolest part of the Fort area is undoubtedly the Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct which is flanked by art galleries, museums, handicraft and antique shops, exclusive boutiques and some amazing restaurants.
Colaba was originally a part of the seven islands that formed Bombay during the erstwhile Portuguese rule. Now, it is a major tourist and local hotspot. From the glorious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, to the majestic Gateway of India, from the happening Colaba Causeway to the famous Regal Cinema Hall, Colaba is always buzzing with visitors. Colaba has one of the oldest and largest wholesale fish markets in India, at Sassoon Dock. The neighbourhood has iconic art-décor and regal feels.
3. Malabar Hill
Home to the rich with views of the expansive Arabian Sea and Marine Drive, Malabar Hill is one of the richest areas of South Mumbai. Head straight up north from Girgaum Chowpatty and you will land amidst abundant tree cover, posh buildings and quieter roads. This neighbourhood houses some of the top government officials, including the Governor of Maharashtra who lives in the Raj Bhavan. Look beyond the modern charms of the locality and you will discover the Banganga Tank, a little piece of culture, nestled between high-rises, a mini-Banaras of Mumbai.
A chance shortcut, on a busy day led me to uncover this small hamlet located in Girgaum. Away from the noise and pollution of the adjacent lanes, this small village will instantly remind you of Goa. Narrow bylanes, Portuguese-style colourful houses, a small chapel complete this village. If you visit this locality around Christmas, you will find it donned with lights and festive cheer.
5. Lower Parel
Once home to several textile mills, Lower Parel has been one of the most rapidly growing modern localities of Mumbai. Today, many of the closed down mills; Todi Mill, Kamala Mills, Raghuvanshi Mills have been revamped into office districts and ultra-modern resto-bar hangouts. This fast paced locality gets completely transformed by the night and during the weekends when the city-goers let their hair down.