Posted on 23rd January, 2016
Noisy yet spiritual, flashy yet humble, Mumbai manages to cram so many extremes into one city it's no wonder that it leaves most visitors exhilarated and entranced. Tower blocks spring up and the newest mall beckons a new crowd. Yet in this fast-growing city, some things never change, such as the gothic spires and gargoyles covering the immense UNESCO-protected Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and Sunday evenings on Chowpatty Beach where families flock to snack on pani puri on the sands. Here are 10 wonderful weekend destinations within Aamchi Mumbai, that you didn't know about!
The Sewri Fort is a fort in Mumbai built by the British at Sewri. Built in 1680, this fort served as a watch tower, atop a quarried hill overlooking the Mumbai harbour. The fort was built primarily for defence, and embellishments are absent. It is bordered by high stone walls, including an inner ring for added protection. It is landlocked on three sides, and sits atop of sheer cliff of about 60 m (197 ft). Architectural highlights include pentagonal room along with a long domed corridor, and linear vaulted structures.
The Dana Pani beach is located in Malad, at the very end of Madh Marve road. On the road to Madh Jetty there is sharp right turn after few minutes of driving after aksa beach. It is far from main roads and only private vehicle or rickshaws can reach here. The beach is clean and has great view of Pagoda (Gorai) and sea. Since it is very secluded, it is not safe to visit this place after sunset. There are no eateries around this place - so take your food along if you're visting.
I’m not sure what is more fun: the existence of flamingos in Mumbai, or the fact that, just as a group of fish is called a school, a group of these pink birds is called a flamboyance. Either way, the seasonal Mumbai flamingos have been one of the city’s secret gems since they magically began appearing in the 1990s on the Sewri-Mahul mudflats on the island city’s eastern waterfront. Urban birders better be quick, though: waterfront development is coming soon and a new train line is set to barrel right through the habitat. Flamingo season runs through Mumbai’s winter—roughly, October to March.
Gilbert Hill is a 200 ft monolith column of black basalt rock at Andheri. The rock has a sheer vertical face and was formed when molten lava was squeezed out of the Earth's clefts about 66 million years ago. Disregarded by numerous, this hill is actually one of the main two slopes found in the whole world, of the same kind. The other is the Devil’s Tower in northeastern Wyoming in the US.
Did you know that there is a Chinese Temple in Aamchi Mumbai? It was during the times of the East India Company's rule that the Chinese residing in Mumbai created this temple. Drenched in red (the Chinese auspicious colour), this temple is indeed a gem hidden in the bylanes of Mazgaon. Although it is a very small temple, it still holds the mystical Yin-Yang and the Fortune Bamboos that provide us valuable insights into the Chinese culture. The temple is active throughout the year, but is a visual treat during the Chinese New Year and Moon Festival.
Note: The temple is closed all the time, so if you want to see go on 1st floor and ask for keys. There is a Chinese family who has the keys of the temple.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a Meditation Hall near Gorai in Mumbai. It is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. Its traditional Burmese design is an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar for preserving the practice of Vipassana. The shape of the pagoda is a copy of the Shwedagon Pagoda (Golden Pagoda) in Yangon, Myanmar. It was built combining ancient Indian and modern technology to enable it to last for a thousand years.
The center of the Global Vipassana Pagoda contains the world's largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. The height of the dome is approximately 29 metres, while the height of the building is 96.12 meters, which is twice the size of the previously largest hollow stone monument in the world, the Gol Gumbaz Dome in Bijapur, India.
Khanderi (also known as Kanhoji Angre Island) is located 20 km south of Mumbai. The island consists of two high hills, once facing north and the other facing south. Most of the fort is still intact the most prominent structure being a lighthouse built by the British in June 1867 and the two storey building upon which the lighthouse is located.
Arnala Fort is built on a small island of the port town of Arnala, located around 8 miles north of Vasai. Being an island fort, it is also called Jaldurg or Janjire-Arnala. The Portuguese, who owned this fort rebuilt and gave it the name Ilha das vacas. There is a large octagonal fresh water reservoir inside the fort. Inside the fort are the temples of Ambakeshwar, the goddess Bhavani, Lord Shiva, and the tombs of Shahali and Hajjali. The 'paduka' or sacred sandals of Shrinityanand Maharaj are housed in a dome on the eastern face of the fort.
Bassein Fort is also known as Vasai Fort and is a monument of national importance and is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort and the village are accessible most easily through the Vasai Road Railway Station, which itself is in Manikpur-Navghar, a part of the newly raised City of Vasai-Virar, and lies to the immediate north of the cities of Mumbai and Mira Road-Bhayander.
The ramparts overlook what is alternatively called the Vasai Creek and the Bhayander Creek and are almost complete, though overgrown by vegetation. Several watch-towers still stand, with safe staircases leading up. The Portuguese buildings inside the fort are in ruins, although there are enough standing walls to give a good idea of the floor plans of these structures. Some have well-preserved facades. In particular, many of the arches have weathered the years remarkably well. They are usually decorated with carved stones, some weathered beyond recognition, others still displaying sharp chisel marks.
The fort is often used for shooting Bollywood film scenes. The films shot here include Josh, Khamoshi, and Ram Gopal Verma's Aag.
The Jogeshwari Caves are some of the earliest Hindus and Buddhist cave temples sculptures located in the Mumbai suburb of Jogeshwari The caves date back to 520 to 550 CE.These caves belongs to the last stage of the Mahayana Buddhist architecture. According to historian and scholar Walter Spink, Jogeshwari is the earliest major Hindu cave temple in India and (in terms of total length) 'the largest'.
The caves are located off the Western Express Highway, and are surrounded by encroachments. The caves are used as a temple by the encroachers. The caves are classified as endangered as sewage and waste enter the premises. The caves are accessed through a long flight of stairs into the main hall of this cavernous space. It has many pillars and a Lingam at the end. Idols of Dattatreya, Hanuman and Ganesh line the walls. There are also relics of two doormen. The cave also has a murti and footprints of goddess Jogeshwari (Yogeshwari), whom the area is named after and also considered as a Kuladevi to some Maharathi people.
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Goranka is a hardcore techie with a penchant for new and emerging technologies. He's an avid traveller and loves long drives. His philosophy is that weekends are meant for exploring new places. You can follow him here.
Mumbai, Weekend Getaways, RoadTrips, Bassein Fort, Dana Pani Beach, Sewri Fort, Khanderi Island, Jogeshwari Caves