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MARINE DRIVE AND AROUND

The bustling Marine Drive (renamed Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road) sweeps along a sea-facing promenade that runs from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill. Built on land reclaimed from the sea in the 1920s, it is also the main arterial link between the suburbs and the city’s prime commercial and administrative centres. People flock to the area for their daily walks, couples meet here after work and families gather around vendors selling coconut water and bhelpuri (a savoury puffed rice snack) in the evenings.

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Visitors at the Marine Drive promenade at dusk

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Marine Drive and Around

NEED TO KNOW

prac_info Soona Mahal: access only to Pizza by the Bay; open 7am–midnight; www.pizzabythebay.in

prac_info Cricket Stadiums Oval Maidan: Maharshi Karve Rd, 022 2204 4040; Wankhede Stadium: Vinoo Mankad Rd, 022 2279 5500

prac_info National Centre for the Performing Arts: Nariman Point; 022 3989 5050; www.ncpamumbai.com

prac_info Royal Opera House: Mama Padmanand Marg, Girgaum; 022 2369 0511

Google Map

  • After watching the sunset at the beach, head to Bachelorr’s for their famous ice cream.

1. Art Deco Buildings

Sea-facing, concrete structures built to a uniform height of five floors dot this lovely promenade. Financed by the area’s wealthy residents, these Art Deco buildings sprung up in the 1930s and 1940s, and made this the most chic residential area of the time.

2. Soona Mahal

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The late Parsi businessman Kawasji Sidhwa built this Art Deco palatial structure in 1937. In the years that followed, it was a plush B&B. Today it is home to many residents, as well as to a café, Pizza by the Bay.

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The Art Deco façade of Soona Mahal

3. Girgaum Chowpatty

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The southernmost of Mumbai’s beaches has recently been revamped and remains lively till late at night. Devotees throng this venue for the immersion of Ganesha (elephant-god) idols into the Arabian Sea.

4. Cricket Stadiums

Google Map

Google Map

To the east is the Oval Maidan, nursery of the famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Wankhede Stadium, which witnessed India’s 2011 World Cup win, is also close by.

5. Marine Drive in the Movies

No stranger to the world of Bollywood, the area has been home to many film stars and singers in the past. It has also featured in films; Amitabh Bachchan once famously rode a motorcycle down Marine Drive in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.

6. Khotachiwadi

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The low, tile-roofed cottages have timber eaves and open verandas with cast-iron balconies that retain the flavour of a sleepy coastal village, despite its location in the heart of Mumbai.

7. National Centre for the Performing Arts

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Mumbai’s most active venue for theatre, music and dance, the NCPA regularly hosts the best of local and international talent. It is home to the Symphony Orchestra of India, the country’s first professional orchestra.

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Auditorium at NCPA

8. Malabar Hill

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A posh residential area once dotted with bungalows, today its apartments are home to Mumbai’s elite. The Banganga water tank and the Tower of Silence are also located here.

9. Tetra Pods

Installed in phases from 1998 to 2004, these interlocked boulder-like tetra pods along the coast of Marine Drive act as wave breakers to stop the erosion of the coastline.

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Tetra Pods at Marine Drive

10. Royal Opera House

Google Map

This opulent Baroque structure, completed in 1916, is the only surviving opera house in the country.

QUEEN’S NECKLACE

Colloquially, Marine Drive is known as the “Queen’s Necklace” after the glittering streetlights that line the road. Late-night ice-cream stalls along with peaceful sea views offered from the boulevard and the nearby beach, make for an inexpensive evening out for tourists and locals alike. The flickering night lights and the moving traffic can create a beautiful time-lapse.

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