The mercury levels rise everyday as the sweat keeps trickling down the back of one’s ear. The office goers who take a walk around the office campus everyday during the lunch break no longer do so. The heatwave reports from the rest of the country make the Mumbaikar shudder and consider themselves fortunate. The Arabian Sea keeps then at least a few degrees cooler.
The temperature keeps getting higher and higher until Mumbaikar can’t take it no more and start praying for the rain gods to show mercy. Then one day, as a perfect anti-climax, the city wakes up to overcast skies. The anxieties of people as to whether these are just passing clouds are cast away by the first showers sometime in the afternoon. The monsoons have arrived.
Potholed roads, traffic jams and mucky streets are a common sight. And despite the dirt and grime Mumbai has never looked more beautiful. Here are 3 things that I love about the Maximum city during the rains.
Welcome the monsoon at Marine Drive
As soon as the rains arrive throngs of people make their way to Marine Drive. A 4 kilometer stretch of a road along the Arabian sea, in downtown Mumbai it stretches from Girgaum Chowpatty (One of the most famous beaches of Mumbai) in the north to NCPA apartments in the south. Marine drive is the place to enjoy the first showers that hit the city. As couples take a walk int the rain holding hands, sharing an umbrella you cannot help but recall numerous Bollywood songs for which this scene must have been an inspiration.The sea swells and as the waves hit the walls along the promenade, they go up in a huge splash on the sidewalk drenching everyone who’s arrive here just for that.
How to get there: Get to Churchgate railway station and ask anyone around. And then walk along the sea to Girgaum Chowpatty where you can have some of the best ‘chaat’ eats like bhelpuri, sev puri, pav bhaji. Another alternative is to get to Charni Road railway station and start your walk from Girgaum Chowpatty.
Have a picnic at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
A 104 sq.km protected forest area in the northern part of the city, SGNP is rightly referred to as the lungs of Mumbai. As soon as you enter the gates, the traffic, the pollution, the noise of this concrete jungle magically disappears and you are greeted by sights, smells and sounds of the real jungle. And monsoons make this place all the more beautiful. Along various trails through out this lush green forest, numerous species of birds, butterflies, reptiles and insects can be spotted to the trained eye. Or you can just choose your spot along the banks of the season stream that runs through the forest and have a picnic. The forest is also home to Kanheri Caves, rock cut monasteries built by Buddhist monks close to 2000 years ago. The rain water flowing down from the mountains behind of the caves gives rise to small waterfalls where you’ll find college kids and families thoroughly enjoying themselves. Recently the authorities at the park have started renting out bicycles and its the best way to move around in the park
How to get there: The entrance to the national Park is located in the suburb of Borivali which is well connected by train or bus to various parts of the city. From the train station the park is a 10 min walk while most of the buses to Borivili have a stop at park gate.
Trek the Western Ghats
A new season of trekking starts with the arrival of monsoon. The summer deters teven ths most entusiastic trekkers of the city to venture out into the wilderness of forts, mountains and ghats on the outskirts fo the city. But the monsoons turn these very mountians lust green. The nature lover, the adventurer, the amatuer hiker or a pro mountainer or all of them can be spotted along with various train terminals of the city on the weekends. With rucksacks on their backs they make their way to the next historical fort or some obscure hill along the Western Ghats ( that have been recently declared as UNESCO world heritage sight). With the altitude ranging 1500 – 5500 ft on these mountains you’ll be walking in the clouds as you reach the summit.
How to get there: The number of forts, mountains and other trekking trails number in hundreds. Its better to get in touch with some trekking group in the city. Mumbai Hikers or YHAI Mumbai/Malad are good places to find groups to go along with small treks during the weekend.
So that’s my take on how to enjoy Mumbai during the rains. Leave a comment and let me know how you enjoy the Mumbai or any other city during the rains!
Marine Drive image source : www.representingthecommon.blogspot.in