It was a US journalist, Paul Salopek, and his plan to do a 21,000 km walk across the globe that first caught my interest in walking the city streets, observing life, seeing new places, people, etc. That is how I began my journey of exploring Mumbai city on foot!
I wasn’t much of a “walking” person before, so I started with short 2-3 km walks on Saturday mornings from my home in the Wadala area, and going up to say, Matunga (5-gardens), Sion, Chembur, etc. Not being used to this, I was getting tired quickly, but I still enjoyed it as I saw the sunrise, people at work, the clean and largely empty roads, etc.
Slowly, I ventured out to longer distances by driving to different parts of the city, parking my car there, and going on walks in those areas. I ended up covering many exciting locations across the city – the fascinating architecture of South Mumbai (Fort, Colaba, etc.); the long stretches of the sea at Marine Drive, Worli, Juhu Beach; the unique sights at Banganga, Kothachiwadi, Mohammed Ali Road; Navi Mumbai (Vashi, Kharghar, etc.); up the Gilbert Hill in Andheri or the Upvan Lake and Yeoor Hills areas in Thane. Also, the many green patches across the city, the charming old areas such as the Worli village, the many Koli communities, the old Bandra village, the forts (Sion, Worli, Bandra, Sewri, etc.), and the most beautiful and long stretches of the Arabian Sea.
I took pictures and posted short notes about my walks and got a lot of positive feedback, which was the perfect motivation to keep going! I have now done 50+ walks across the city, including some long walks, like the one from Wadala to Juhu Beach! Now I am reasonably comfortable doing 10+ km walks, and even did my first-ever Mumbai Marathon recently (10K)!
Usually, it’s just me and my headphones and some good audio content, and 2-3 hours of undistracted me-time.
The hustle-bustle of morning life, the milk sellers and the vegetable vendors, children going to school, BMC street cleaners working diligently, the many places of worship, and the early morning worshippers, all make for a lovely view of Mumbai city life.
I hope to continue exploring more parts of our amazing city as each outing makes me fall more in love with the city.