Comfy shoes – check.
Water Bottle – check
Umbrella (if in case it rains) – check
Power bank (I’m a phone photographer and all my pics are taken by my phone) – check
Sports Tracker (Android app) – (installed? Yes.) check.
Sunglasses – Not Check! ( I’d actually forgotten them 🙁 )
The alarm clock ticked away by 10 past 5 am and I was still reluctant to take a step ahead and go on for the somewhat planned 20 km walk with my friend! I don’t know what made me hesitant to go for this mind blowing experience that I had planned myself, however, after a lot of ‘self’ conversations, I decided that now; there’s no way canceling or postponing this piece of experience so I just rushed up and met my friend at the decided junction at 6:30 am and after treating ourselves with a light breakfast at Starbucks we decided to give the plan a head start.
Our major checkpoints-
- A heritage walk in the ‘Fort’ area, covering some of the beautiful heritage buildings.
- Cheetah Gate.
- Asiatic Library.
- Mumbai Samachar Building.
- St. Thomas Cathedral.
- A Mosque at the middle of the road. (Interesting isn’t it?)
- Parsi Fire Temple.
- Dhobitalao area.
- Crawford Market.
- Muhammed Ali Road.
- Grant Road.
- Malabar Hill.
A Heritage walk in the ‘Fort’ area-
We attempted to start from the ‘Fort’ area in South Mumbai and decided to proceed with the streets that came before us, as usual, we didn’t have an appropriate itinerary because the whole trip was planned just to explore the ‘somewhat hindered yet popular’ by-lanes of Mumbai.
So, our walk officially started at 7:30 am and the premier locations we covered was a rough street wandering of embracing the heritage buildings of the ‘Fort’ area (The ‘Fort’ area is one of the best options if you wish to go for a heritage walk). With capturing bundles of joy by the buildings and appreciating the urban impressions of heritage Mumbai, like coming across the ‘SBI Building’, ‘Cheetah Gate’, ‘Asiatic Library’, ‘Mumbai Samachar building’ and the’St. Thomas Cathedral'(after having been fixed by its culture)
An Interesting Inward-
Later, we headed towards the Marine Lines area and chose to opt one of the lanes that randomly stroked in front of us, luckily we reached to a point where the street got divided into five small ways with a ‘Mosque’ at the center of the road. (Yes! It’s a rare sight, I guess!).
A Religious Patent to only Mumbai & Gujarat-
As we kept on wandering by, we further came across a ‘Parsi Fire Temple’ ( aka Agyaari) (Needn’t worry, I’ll be posting a new blog on the Parsi Community (one of the minority communities of India, that migrated from Central Asia, that’s patent to only Mumbai.and Gujarat.! Yeah..) Since this was a whole sole street wandering experience we didn’t really bother to check out the locations, the main thing that kept us engaged was just the city’s presence in some of it’s hindered places.
Accordingly, we just walked and came up to the point of ‘Dhobitalao’ where I came across some of the oldest and totally dismantled buildings of South Mumbai. The walk went on smoothly until it was peak noon and the most tiring period of the walk was covering the city between the 12-2 pm slot. (Trust me we were literally exhausted!!). Not to forget we quenched our thirst and somewhat managed to not be hungry by just refilling ourselves with either sugar cane juice or fresh lime juice. Just the morning breakfast and in -between juice breaks attempted to suffice to our energy levels.
Hindered lanes and Crawford Market-
So, after the ‘Dhobitalao’ stop, we came across the streets of ‘C.P.Tank’, captured few good heritage buildings and decided to proceed towards one of the most popular wholesale markets of Mumbai- ‘Crawford Market’ (well, that was a raw choice!). No offense to the eye candies (like imported chocolates, toiletries, accessories and other fancy products) that treat your eyes pretty generously; I think the wanderer soul in me took me to one of the wackiest parts of the market- ‘The Pet Market’(which basically had almost all types of birds and fishes and cats!) just a cautious suggestion, if you’re a vegan and don’t really like pets or should I say specifically ‘birds’ please don’t visit the place; apart from that, even if you are a dog lover and wish to go to the ‘Dog Market’ interconnected from the ‘Pet Market’ please don’t go through that way because you will have to pass by the ‘Flesh Market’ which has like raw flesh hanging everywhere! Like I seriously, couldn’t stand by the place because I have this major dislike for birds and I’m a vegan. So I hope this suggestion comes in handy.
Muhammad Ali Road-
Somehow we managed to get out of that maze-kinda-market.. and headed towards another congested and one of the popular locations of South Mumbai- ‘The Famous Muhammad Ali Road’, which is basically a popular fixture among the Muslim community; right from the colorful mosques, breed of sexologists, narrow lanes, Shahi durbar type food joints, typical stand-by-stall perfumeries, traditional delicacies from Biryani, Sheer Khurma, Shahi Rabdi and Chakkara Choru to their attire stores you can just find them all! Trust me! It’s like an Islamic Isle in the heart of Mumbai. To mention, if you are used to regular shoving off from one side to the other you can definitely visit this site because it’s an incredible experience on its own, but you can really find good fragrances at a very reasonable rate like 200/- per bottle or lesser. It’s a sure shot if you are fond of Biryani and want to treat your taste buds. Some of the popular restaurants of ‘Muhammad Ali Road’ are ‘Shalimar, Delhi Darbar & Persian Darbar and many others.
Grant Road locality-
After rescuing ourselves from this beauty (:0) we headed straight towards Grant Road and spotted few more 90% dismantled structures and filthy streets; by the time; the Sun was shining bright and we were almost 40% tanned because of collecting this wonderful piece of a trial. However, we didn’t stop anywhere precisely, it was usually a 5 minutes juice break and not more than that.
A Breeze to the entire wear & tear-
..As we kept proceeding with bristles over my foot (though I was wearing comfy shoes, I think my feet had given up; yet we didn’t stop!)we came close by ‘Malabar Hill’ which is pretty close to the ‘Grant Road’ station and as the name suggests- It’s indeed a beautiful hill with engraving posh bungalows surrounded on both the sides and if you walk some more you’ll be welcomed with gateways of huge trees and of course! ‘The Tower Of Silence’ which is a Parsi Crematorium (Please don’t get impatient, I’ll definitely be updating a blog post on the Parsi Community). The ‘Malabar Hill’ walk was indeed a breeze to the entire tiring walk and with the welcoming verdant atmosphere we actually took a break and enjoyed our time for few minutes in the ‘Kamala Nehru Park’ which is located on the top of the ‘Malabar Hill’. After relaxing ourselves for a few minutes, we headed back to the nearest station which was supposed to be the ‘Grant Road’ station and by the time we reached we had completed our 20 km walk by 4:00 pm (at 3 km / hour) by just surviving on 3 glasses of juice and a sandwich and having almost more than 40% tanned skin throughout; which we realized later of course..!
My expenditure only included the train fare from Vasai (my residence) to Churchgate ( the last station towards South Mumbai in the Western Line) and apart from that, there was a round about expense of 300 bucks including Starbucks and other energy refreshments.
That was all of my ‘Street Wandering’ experience accompanied by my friend, I hope you have well got an insight of how random and spontaneous this piece of adventure is. I’m looking forward to you’ll to unleash the ‘City Nomad In You’, I can surely say that this post will pave out the first step in you.
Looking forward to knowing your share of experiences of ‘Street Wandering’.
Where would you prefer to take your 20 km walk to?