It’s no surprise that Mumbai has been called the City of Dreams, being such a vibrant metropolis. Tourist spots like the Gateway of India and Hanging Gardens are impossible to miss. But this isn’t all Mumbai has to offer. Take the road less travelled and discover the best-kept secrets of India’s greatest megacity. Dargah, caves, pagoda etc are some of the secret places you can visit. Click to read more.
1. Hasnabad Dargah
We just can’t seem to stop gazing at the Taj Mahal, right? Mumbai has its own version, the Hasnabad Dargah, the “little Taj Mahal” found in Mazagaon. The brilliant white stone, arched doorways, towering minarets – the beauty of this place overflows with history and majesty. It’s accessible through both the Central or Harbour Railway Lines or via cab ride from the Lower Parel Station.
2. Gilbert Hill
Speaking of history, how about a 66-million-year-old black basalt rock to kickstart your travels? Perhaps you’re wondering how a chunk of stone can be so important. Well, Gilbert Hill is something else entirely. It rises 200 ft from the ground, formed when moulted lava shot up from beneath the Earth’s crevices – a rare geological phenomenon. It has two Hindu temples nestled atop it, accessible only through a steep staircase carved directly from the stone. Make sure you get there either by sunrise or before sunset to get the best view of the suburbs at the top. You can reach it via the Andheri train station.
3. Jogeshwari Caves
Mumbai shows us the beauty of her natural landmarks yet again through these caves in the Jogeshwari suburbs. Here you’ll see some of the earliest Hindu temple structures filled with thick pillars and relics of the gods carved into the walls. You’d also find the temples of Hanuman and Ganesh. The vibe of this place is more reflective and mysterious. It’s filled with bats so be prepared for that. To get here, go down at the Jogeshwari train station (just right after Andheri station).
4. Banganga Tank
For a more lively experience, celebrate the colourful and lively February music/cultural festival in the Banganga tank, a vast rectangular pool surrounded by steps and temples. Hindustani music takes centre stage during this event. On quiet days you can just relax by the poolside, offer flowers at the temple or take gorgeous photos. You may travel here by Central Railway via Dadar station or Charni Road/Grant Road stations from the Western Railway. It’s also easily accessible via cab/car ride from the Gateway of India or bus ride from Walkeshwar.
5. Chota Kashmir
Located within the Aarey Milk Colony of Goregaon East, Chota Kashmir is a scenic park and lake where you can take picnics and boat rides. Here you can see colourful birds and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of this no-vehicle oasis. Nature enthusiasts would fall in love with its lush forest. Avoid visiting during the monsoon season to get the best outdoor experience. The site is a rickshaw ride away (about 5 km) from Goregaon station.
6. Cathedral of the Holy Name
If you’re looking for a more enclosed sanctuary, this century-old Roman Catholic shrine in Colaba is just the place. This is the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Bombay known for its display of artefacts like a bell from Pope Paul VI and a gold-embroidered stole given by Pope John XXIII. Its pipe organ, Gothic architecture and detailed ceiling frescoes are magnificent to behold. It’s a short cab/car ride away from the Gateway of India.
7. Global Vipassana Pagoda
This Burmese monument is perfect for those who seek a Vipassana spiritual immersion. You can sign up for guided meditation courses that last for days. If you have no plans for a spiritual trip, just seeing the impressively pillarless dome structure and gilded facade of this site is well worth it. Inside you will find the relics of Buddha and a massive 8,000-seater hall – the largest of its kind in the world. The pagoda can be accessed via a ferry from Gorai Creek or MBMT bus from Bhayender Station.