The financial capital of India, Mumbai is a metropolis famous for its towering skyscrapers, illuminating nights, vibrant citizens, frantic commerce and fast-pacing music scenes and dining. The city of dreams is the country’s beating heart and they once you start living here, you will never want to leave. However, there are things that cannot go unnoticed amid this bustling city- the chaotic slums, pothole-ridden roads and noisy traffic.
Thankfully, there is a way to escape! We have brought together some of the best detours from Mumbai that will show you an all-new side of the city, unseen by many.
Go green in the city
Replete with varieties of flora and fauna, two large lakes and Buddhist caves almost 200 years old, visit the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Popular as an ecological hotspot in the city, the park is located in the northern outskirts and is also referred as ‘lungs of Mumbai’. It is indeed one of the greatest points of interest in Mumbai for people seeking escapade from the humdrums of the city. If you are a wildlife enthusiastic and nature lover, you will love the cycling tours, nature walks, cave rambles and of course, the zoo-like attractions in the park. You will be on a happy high while admiring the beautiful city from its highest point, Jambulmal at a height of 468 meters.
How to reach: Take an early morning local from Mumbai Central to Borivali West. An auto ride from Borivali railway station will take you to the entrance of Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Unveil the Portuguese legacy of Mumbai
Only at a distance of 40 kilometers from the city’s center point on the Mumbai map, is an ancient settlement of Bassein (presently called Vasai) of the 16th century. Discovered by the first colonials of the country in the West Coast of India, you can still find Portuguese relics lined in the neighborhood. Visit the Ancient Bassein Fort, a 500 year old structure that mostly lies in ruins but the crumbling edifices is a good place to wander around for a history buff. The edifices of the fort will give you a hint about the erstwhile inhabitants, constructors and rulers. Monsoon is the ideal time to visit Vasai or Bassein as it is during this season that the entire neighborhood turns green and lively.
How to Reach: Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), a nature conservation association renders wildlife walks in the area and guided tours to the Bassein Fort. If you want to go on a self-guided tour, board a train from Bandra, Dadar or Andheri (Western line) to Vasai station. From the station, it is just a 20-minute ride to the fort in an auto-rickshaw. If you are not a Mumbaikar, you can book cheap flights to Mumbai and experience the Portugese legacy of the city.
Know the Mexican connection with Maharashtra – Unexpected!
A 4-hours train journey will take you to the beautiful black-sand beach in Bordi. It is the place where Iranian refugees took shelter for the first time in India. The refugees fled from persecution from the Persian rulers, precisely the Qajar ruler of Yazd. For its Zoroastrian culture and delectable Parsi food, Bordi today attracts a good number of visitors turning into an “agro-tourism” destination. All thanks to the Mexican outlander – chikoo tree in the area. Chikoo or Sapodilla tree was introduced by Parsi farmers from Mexico in the 1920s.
Annually in January, the Parsi farmers in the village host a Chikoo Festival to pay homage to the fruit that brought a mode of employment and financial revenue for them. The village women are also empowered by making Chikoo products like pickles and chips. There are various popular farms and planations that provide tours showcasing the culinary traditions, art and tribal culture of Bordi.
How to Reach: Take a local train from Mumbai Central to Gholvad via Bandra and Dadar. Gholvad is 2 kilometers from Bordi for which you can get an auto-rickshaw or you can also book a taxi for a round trip if required. No matter if you are there by traveling in a business class flight for an important conference, it is always worth to explore a city like Mumbai. So, save a day for it.
Soak in serenity across the waters
Are you seeking to go on beach walks, hike to the historic forts, allure the spectacular sunsets, enjoy a jeep ride with friends, or just some me-time? Well, all of this can be experienced at one single place – Alibaug. An entire playground for the history buffs, an escape for the beach fans and a paradise for the sea-food lovers, the popular destination near Mumbai Alibaug is a place one must visit. Away from the buildings and slums of Mumbai, it is a serene place by the waters bringing your soul back to life.
How to reach: From Gateway of India, get a ferry to the Mandwa port and from the drop point, take an auto or bus to the beach area. If you are all excited reading this, just book cheap last minute flights and start unveiling the land of unseen Mumbai. You need not wait for the right time.