Southern Mumbai is a treasure trove of architecture and history, making it an ideal place to explore by foot.
Mumbai, the western Indian city that is home to Bollywood, is also nicknamed India’s commercial capital. The city, not only an abode of high rises, has a rich and long history that has been left behind in its buildings, its people and establishments that live on to tell its tales. The Southern part of the city, home to landmark buildings of the city as well as a hotspot for the commercial activities that make this city among the most expensive places in the world to live in. However, despite the busy streets of South Mumbai that are lined up with expensive cars, or the UNESCO heritage site of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, famously known as Victoria Terminus, one can make a rather relaxed and fulfilling exploration of this part of Mumbai, soaking in its energy to their heart’s content.
Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, besides being host to some spectacular Victorian architecture, showcases Art Deco style profusely. The southern part of the city is where a majority of tourist attractions such as the Gateway of India and popular streets of the city are also located such as the Nariman Point. Some of the key places to follow are in the Heritage Mile, the art district of ‘Kala Ghoda’, around the Oval Maidan and finally the Marine Drive. Each aspect can be explored individually, or clubbed together for a long day’s walk, depending on your pace and preference to explore this part of the city.
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To enter into this world of Mumbai, it is recommended to arrive at the Victoria Terminus, which is a 19th-century Gothic style marvel and a railway station to remember. Proceeding to the ‘Heritage Mile’ of Mumbai, the DN Road, the Flora Fountain appears, which depicts the Roman Goddess Flora. Soaking in the beauty of it all, you can head to the Kala Ghoda district, a historic art centre in the city that will remain etched to your memories for its skyline of Gothic architecture and galleries where you can spend hours.
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The next part to see in the area is in and around the Oval Maidan which marks some of the major colonial establishments, such as the High Court, the Old Secretariat, the University Library and Convocation Hall. Oval Maidan has been marked as one of those landmarks from where directions to major spots around are asked. Next to the High Court is a wonderful example of Victorian and Gothic style architecture showcased in the building of Elphinstone College where balconies and gargoyles are bound to impress onlookers.
Ending with Art Deco
After these numerous buildings, the last part of the recommended walk would be to head towards the Marine Drive that can showcase some of the unique Art Deco structures of the city. Not too many people are aware of the fact that Mumbai is one of the largest sites of Art Deco style buildings in the world, with recent efforts being taken up to preserve this unique part of the city’s architectural heritage.
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Mumbai’s Marine drive is the stuff of legends, known as the ‘Queen’s necklace’, as it appears at night. The sea-facing street that has created memories for many, this is where the city’s chaotic, pulsating energy can be felt, day or night. Hence, this is perhaps the best place to wind up the walk and to relax with the pleasant sea breeze blowing across.