Where IS THE ONE PLACE you’d go to view sunset in Mumbai? If you love a place which is away from worldly tensions, and yet not far in kilometers or miles, which is comparably, if not equally, serene like some of the beaches in North Goa, where will you go? Where will you go if you had a tough workweek and have limited time, like half a-Sunday to spare?
Riya is rather inquisitive. She is like Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, a perfectionist, and wants to always be the first in college, quickest in her job, and there is a lot of Virgo to her than to perhaps most others I know. So when she told me she was coming to Mumbai for a day, I was pretty sure I couldn’t take her to all the places. When you talk of a city as magnificent as Mumbai, it is easier to pick say 10 spots you would definitely show to a very good friend of yours, but to pick one? Wow.
I made my life easier, by limiting myself to an ocean side promenade or a beach. Riya lives inland, in heart of Delhi, she has worked in Bangalore, so she has seen the North, and visited numerous hillstations around the Deccan too. But apart from Pondicherry, she has seen very less of the sea. Anyways, all that is for explanations’ sake, I picked an ocean side view for my own love for them. The question now was, which one?
I continued shortlisting. It HAD to be a sunset, show her the sunset, what’s better on the western coast! I had seen them all, and so it was now time to pick one. Kashid / Alibaug would have been too far, they need a ferry, and a one day trip would have not been so good. So I chucked those, I had to look closer. From the south, I had Marine Drive, then the magnificent Bandstand, the everlasting Juhu, and one final fourth candidate, which when I told Riya about, she was like, “What, ye kya hai? Kidhar hai? Kahi bhi le jaoge kya?” The final candidate on my list was Aksa Beach, Mumbai.
So I evaluated my options. I browsed through all these places, to find what exactly it meant to be there. Marine Drive almost won. Wow. It is so serene no matter what time you go, and you are never short on options to fill your stomach with, from the keri they sell by the drive, or the brilliant outlets like Bademiyan, just by the corner. The coffee lover in me also was very much tempted (primarily due to the presence of Starbucks Fort), then I had a look at the pics I took there. This is what a sunset looks like at the Marine Drive:
This pic is one of the most beautiful I’ve taken, for Facebook fanatics it is a social media “LIKE” collector, the one to brag about my phone, and the one to print and set in your drawing room. The pic though didn’t tell the efforts behind it! I took this pic standing just near Pizza by the Bay, and it was so crowded in the evening, that it took some five shots in fifteen minutes to get a clear road. The privacy at Marine drive, especially which you long for when you meet a friend after a very long time, and you want to talk endlessly, can be a bit disturbed, and for a person with short attention span like me, presence of food outlets, or fancy cars, amongst others, could have been a mood dampener for Riya. Told you, she was a perfectionist, and this was no way near the perfection which the occasion demanded.
I then thought about the Bandra Bandstand. It is one of the most beautiful walkaways, in one of the most serene areas in Mumbai. You can have much more privacy there, and there is very less to divert your attention. All you need is to brave some slippery stones and reach ahead near the crashing waves.
But then I browsed through a few more pics. And there was something particular in them which made me shift it to call it one of the BEST SUNRISE PLACES IN MUMBAI rather than sunset! Have a look at this view from the fort ahead of Taj Lands End:
The promenade, the clear view of sunrise, and the fittingly lesser crowd made me sure that I shall take Riya there just before her flight the next morning. So today’s sunset candidate was still left to be figured out.
The third candidate, was the Juhu Beach. For the love of Kala Khatta I visited it earlier (though now, I have absolutely stopped having it, All India Bakchod have spoiled it for me!), and this is what it looks like to my S4:
As I said this is what it looks to my S4. A little to the left or the right, you will find perhaps much more crowd, and a little ahead, you’ll find not so clean waters. Apart from the chowpatty, Juhu is very commercialized, and by the arguments I gave to reject something as fabulous as Marine Drive, Juhu had to be cropped off from my list. It just, again, didn’t suit the occasion.
The final candidate, was the much lesser heard of, Aksa Beach. I had gone there twice before, and the first time I had gone with no expectations, but came back with brilliant memories. That is what I like about Aksa, you go there with nothing in your mind, and it will definitely surprise you. An element of surprise cannot be associated to Marine Drive, Bandstand or Juhu – they are all so famous that they have to be good for a first timer. That is not the case with Aksa, which can totally overwhelm you. All you need is a set of friends, a Frisbee, and you are ready to go.
Aksa has all the elements. It has nariyal paani stalls to begin with, bhuttas which are sweet and soft, and then you walk in to the stream which leads you to the ocean. The stream is only knee deep, and so you can comfortably walk inside it. It was an accidental discovery for me, as my Frisbee had accidentally landed in the middle of the beach.
What makes Aksa special
- Soft sand beach, light in color
- Privacy and lack of crowd
- Sunset view
- Still water in which you can go
- A small part of beach is also rocky, to give you the Bandstand feel
- Brilliant parking space outside the beach
A few words of caution:
- You cannot be near ocean after it gets dark (lifeguard rules)
- Foodstalls are traditional, but don’t expect a chowpatty. You shall get papads, tea, chana, bhutta, coconut water, cotton candy, etc.
If you a little ahead of the stream, you will notice that to the right there is a sandy beach, and straight in front of you will be a rocky beach. So it has both the elements. You can comfortably sit and watch the sunset (I call it sunset-on-the-rocks), and you can also have a playful sunset with the ocean waves.
It had to be Aksa. I convinced Riya, and she absolutely loved it. If a Virgo is pleased with a place, trust me anyone would be! Truly one of the best quick getaway beaches in Mumbai. If you are worried about location, here it is. It is 8 km from the Malad Station:
You are very patient indeed, if you have completely read it. I’d be much more than happy if you visit Aksa when you come to the city of dreams. And if you are in Mumbai, hop on any weekend!