As India’s largest city, Mumbai is a buzzing hub of culture, food and heritage. With an array of tourist attractions around every corner, finding the perfect itinerary for your next trip can be a difficult task. Looking past the tourist attractions packed with people, we’ve selected some of the less traveled and special destinations in Mumbai that have captured our hearts. Here’s a look at the five magically secret places in the city:
Location: Walkeshwar Temple Complex of Malabar Hill
Meant for: The artistic ones
Banganga is an ancient water tank with a mythological background. Dating back to 1120 AD, it is believed that the tank was where Lord Ram, a major deity of Hinduism, felt thirsty and his brother Laxman shot an arrow (called a Bann) into the ground to give way to the tributary of the holy Ganges River, which explains the name ‘Banaganga’. To this day, the tank is well-maintained, has sweet water despite being in close proximity to the ocean and is very popular amongst artists, poets and filmmakers.
Location: Aarey Milk Colony, Goregaon East
Meant for: The whole family
Chota Kashmir, also called Mini Kashmir, is a recreational forest area in Mumbai offering a retreat away from the city, while still providing the feel of the Kashmir region. Named after its calm and scenic surroundings, lush greenery, flowers and lake, Chota Kashmir is the perfect location for a picnic on a day out with the family. In addition to having fun on paddle boats and grabbing a bite at the restaurant next to the lake, marvel at the area once used as a shooting location for a number of Bollywood songs from the 70s and 80s.
Meant for: The adventure seeker
Gilbert Hill is a 200 ft column of black basalt rock formation. Once made up of frozen molten lava 65 million years ago, the formation is one of only three known parallels in the world, including two in the US. An interesting sight for geologists and tourists alike, Gilbert Hill serves as a peaceful retreat away from the buzz and activity of central Mumbai. There are also two temples located on top of the hill – a perfect exploration for those looking for spiritual heritage.
Global Vipassana Pagoda
Location: Next to Essel World amusement park
Meant for: The meditator
Take a stroll away from the famous Essel World amusement park and explore this impressive monument dedicated to Buddha and his teachings. Serving as a meditation center for monks, Global Vipassana Pagoda holds the record for being the world’s largest stone dome without any supporting pillars and replicates the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar – the oldest pagoda in the world. In addition to a massive meditation hall, the center features a bookshop, library and art gallery. Looking for a meditation course? The meditation chamber offers a free 10-day meditation course.
Location: Gupha Tekdi, Jogeshwari East
Meant for: The explorer
Said to be the largest cave temples in Mumbai, the Jogeshwari caves are some of the earliest Hindu and Buddhist cave temple sculptures. Dating back to 520 to 550 AD, the caves are the perfect exploration activity to witness various pillars and sculptures along the walls lined with idols such as Dattatreya, Hanuman, Ganesh, and Shiva. Though concealed by the congestion and slums around them, the Jogeshwari caves are a must see for any explorer in search of beautiful carvings and sculptural grandeur.
Meant for: The laid back
Between the months of November and March, thousands of flamingos flock to the mudflats and mangroves of Sewri in the south of Mumbai. On a lazy day, sit back and birdwatch as the sun sets over the Sewri landscape. Existing despite the oil spills and mudflats, the Sewri Flamingo Viewpoint consists of around 15 acres of mangroves that line up between Sewri and Trombay.
Whether you are looking for a mystical exploration or just a place to relax with the family amongst the chaotic beauty of Mumbai, the above places are sure to offer an escape that is a different experience for every person.