From Mahalaxmi to Worli: Magic hues of spirituality, breeze and Mumbai’s glitter


Indulgence coated in simplicity has a name when it lands at your doorstep. The sea change for your step and the soul as you unravel the hidden gem and mystery of your city and country with a tinge of Divinity cum spirituality. Who needs luxury in one of the most expensive cities on the globe? No prize for guessing, downtown Mumbai has more for the eyes and doesn’t cost you a well of fortune. From Mahalaxmi Station to Nehru Planetarium and Worli sea face, you can hatch a conspiracy of joy and exploration as you take a spin along the stretches of the Arabian Sea.

Worli is a hub not restricted to the canvas of speed where the dock of life never stops but offers a wide canvas perched in the center amidst the stunning views and jewels, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Haji Ali and Nehru Planetarium. Considered to be a separate island forming part of the Seven Islands of Bombay given as dowry by the Portuguese to England in 1661 for a unique union, Worli was successfully known was Warli, Worlee, and Varli.

The Worli sea face nestled in the center of the city and holding in its embrace the palatial sky rises, attracting hordes of admirers in SoBo as the fluttering breeze wind caress the cheek and smack the lip craving for a glass of chilled falooda at Haji Ali Juice Center. Worli is nothing less than a wonder that has everything in place to offer from the magnificent and inspiring at the same time, pulling you inside the city’s cradle.

 

  1. Mahalaxmi Station

Image credit: Google

 

One of the most frequented railway stations in suburban Mumbai on the Western lines, scything from Churchgate to Andheri and Borivali, Mahalaxmi Station stands tall in the middle. Between Churchgate and Mahalaxmi Station, it’s a ten minutes train journey as you hop out of one of the busiest station that attracts commuters in lakhs on a daily average.

The unique and friendly pathway covered in tin sheet as you wade inside and outside offers a sense of comfort and familiarity to commuters that lead towards the crowded road overlooking the Mahalaxmi Race Course and a one-minute walk to the bus stops towards Haji Ali or the Worli Sea face.

 

  1. Mahalaxmi Racecourse

Image source: Google/alamy.com

The Mahalaxmi Racecourse is rooted outside the station and standing in its midst gives an angular view of the city as it is chaperoned by tall towers, the sea, and the highway. The race course is glitz and glitter affair in the city which is one of the biggest attractions frequented by the who’s who’s of glamor.

Sprawled over 225 acres of land and stretched over 2,400 meters of race, the Oval shaped land overlooks the sea and borrows its architectural finesse and state-of-the-art from the Melbourne Race Course. Built in 1883 on a land donated by Sir Cusrow N Wadia, the structure was supervised by Major JE Hughes and is home to five Indian classics where the main attractions are 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, Oaks, Derby, St Leger and Poonawalla Multimillion million, among others. Racing takes place between November and April.

Moreover, the spectacular Grandstand is ranked as a heritage structure that has under its roof, Club House and famous Gallops Restaurant for its patrons and guest. Glitz, power and its hall of fame witnessed not just the biggest Indian names in sport, politics, and cinema but also world personalities such as the Queen of England.

Standing tall in this iconic South Mumbai heritage is the Royal Western India Turf Club Limited (RWITC) considered to be the most ancient and vintage horse racing clubs in India. Tit-bits tell us that it was an exclusive club since its inception and boasted a staggering number of 7,566 members in June 2010.

 

  1. Worli Sea Face

Image source: Google/https://c1.staticflickr.com

 

The quaint, mesmerizing and picturesque view of Worli Sea Face where the blue azure water adds splash to delight lovers and admirers and evenings witnessing in drove the lusty congregation to gaze in delight the sun taking a dip in the pearl of the ocean. The water rising during every monsoon and wave lash coiling its might and unfurling its fury like serpents is a magnificent sight offered by the Arabian Sea that stretches and spreading its might. A moment to be captured as the salty water sprinkles and smothers on the face. Of course, SoBo is the queen courted by the sea of lovers. From the stunning view of Haji Ali at a distance and the architectural marvel, the Bandra-Worli Sea Face, you cannot just keep your eyes from the tale of love and obsession.

Tootling on the cobblestone promenade at Worli, the sight of the bounty waves crashing and surrounded by lovers snuggling, expensive houses strike the mind in offering a quintessential slice of SoBo. It offers comfort and brings alive a flurry of relaxed air by sitting on the bench and watching the sun bow out and tinting the sky with the dimming shade.

The evening walk offers a plethora of emotions that strikes your aesthetic senses that you cannot afford to miss in this part of SoBo. Waltz your way to a date that doesn’t cost much but makes for priceless moments, hither and yon at the promenade.

Of course, it’s a stunning view as you sit in Mumbai’s iconic yellow-and-blacks cab sashaying past the promenade and the breeze smearing your breath. It’s love at first sight.

  1. Nehru Planetarium

 

Image credit: Google

It was way back in 2006 that I visited the Nehru Planetarium at Worli and was dazzled by the serenity flowing in the surrounding. It’s hard to fathom that this place of immense beauty is anchored in the heart of the city that airs a complete view of SoBo. Surrounding by greenery and the splaying of palm trees that not only offers a scenic view but gentle air and breeze usher to make it a splendid affair.

There are 1000 various plants and trees sprouting in the spick-and-span garden to make it a grand and lovely affair to take a walk and to feel every single moment that runs deep down on one’s senses.  Spending one afternoon at the Nehru Planetarium soothes the soul and rejuvenate the mind. The state of the art architecture, cylindrical shaped building and the aesthetical dome is reminiscent of a tale concocted in heaven.

The Nehru Planetarium boasts of an art gallery, marble paneled auditorium replete with acoustic sensation, a wealth of diversity and knowledge in the library as well as exhibitions that make us discover the great Indian culture and heritage. As one is led to the vicarious discovery of astronomy, space science and the entire gamut of planets and gliding through the planetarium, equipped with Digistar 3, the planetarium projector transports us in a ubiquitous world, far removed from the earth. There is a certain sensation that draws one in this gibbous universe. It’s enthralling and mysterious, at the same time.

From the entire gamut of cubicles to be enthralled by the wonder of the solar system to the ‘Discovery of India’ science exhibition tracing the artistic and academic journey of India and the motley of activities such as science quiz contest, astro poetry and science elocution, tramcar, railway engine and supersonic jet demonstration the place is truly a one-stop-shop that has something for everyone.

  1. Haji Ali Darga

Image credit: Google/ http://twocircles.net

One of my favorite spots in Worli that gives the glimmer feeling of divinity and evoking spirituality is the Haji Ali Darga, the abode of the Iranian saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Constructed in 1431 to honor the saint, the tomb is covered with brocaded red and green chadar enmeshed in silver and coated with a pattern of colors, green, blue and yellow chip of glasses which emblazons tiny mirrors like a dotted pattern.  The colorful myriad beautifully represents the saint’s spiritual magnificence and the divine form the Indo-Islamic architecture.

Sprawled over an area of 5,000 square meters where the 85-foot minaret is rooted, the Haji Ali Dargah houses a Masjid, Sanatorium, and Dargah that showcases the vibrant Mughal architecture. The large main gate is coated in pure white marble and at the entrance visitors, seekers and devotees thronging in numbers can get everything under one roof, from Chaddar to flowers, incense sticks and caps or tabeez (holy thread) from hawkers as couple of street urchins and beggars could be seen hollering near the entrance. The human clutter and chaos surrounding this heavenly and pristine beautiful place rekindle hope in everyone seeking the Baba’s blessing.

The pathway is less than one kilometer where it is flanked by sea on both sides and witnessing life flowing in peace and removed from the hustle bustle of the city. I would regularly visit in quest of peace and walk at the pathway wherein the monsoon you would schlep your way is a spiritual undertaking. Sitting in peace and watching everyone seeking the blessing of Baba where everyone, irrespective of their religious faith is seen tying the sacred thread on the huge plinth and pillar structure or women praying from outside. It’s only recently that women are allowed inside the sanatorium which is good news.

I remember visiting during the Monsoon where I was completely drenched and sat outside the mausoleum facing the sea water and feeling the cool breeze. It brought so much peace and inner confidence. One of my favorites was the canteen where I would gorge on piping hot samosa and child that warms the stomach.

On the main road, the Haji Ali Juice Center offers exquisite taste of fruit cocktails from New Zealand Kiwi Juice, Watermelon or Pineapple, and chilled milkshakes. After a trip to the shrine and offering prayers at the dargah, you deserve a treat at the juice center. Of course, the Falooda is top class always.

 

Sources: Mahalaxmi Race Course (www.rwitc.com)

http://www.mumbai.org.uk/museums/nehru-planetarium.html

http://www.nehru-centre.org/planetarium/

www.hajialidargah.in

Love

V

#AtoZChallenge: Jet Speed


This post J for Jet Speed is written as part of  ‘Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2016). You can check related posts and alphabets down:

Letter I

Letter H

Letter G

Letter F

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Letter D

J for Jet Speed

It’s dark everywhere. Lights flashed on my eyes as lenses zooms in and out. I am running for my life zigzagging in the midst of horde of vehicles moving at jet speed and a plane closing on my heel. My heart is beating at pulsating rhyme. There is no stopping me. A voice inside me roars, ‘It’s possible. Run, Run, Run for there is a way out.’

The whole world is moving at jet speed above my head in the sky. There is not an inch of space as I almost fly in my shoes dangling in the air like the aeroplane, flitting at frenetic pace past buildings and vehicles. I stop for few seconds to visualize the entire scenery above the flyover with machines rotating and leaving no space for mortals to walk. No wonder, there is not a single space on the pavement and vast roads down as I look from above. I feel like a God observation life from afar moving in the cloud.

Tiny dots of lights are travelling faster than space ships in this world fascinated by ordinary mortals. I am no living soul right now. I find myself at the cross road of jet speed in a world where galaxies are moving in the fickle of time. I need to cross the waves of tiny lights wading at neck breaking speed and I am heckled, pushed by the waves of glittering lights. There are some unknown forces at bay and it feels like sea breeze as I lump my body forward that keep growing like a balloon at high altitude.

Striking little stars and magnets at the other end is calling for me and my inner sense propels me to reach out for them. I cannot even cross to that side to attain my destination. As I thrust my feet forward, the tiny stars zip ahead to shove past me and it gives me a heart attack. It’s now or never, I tell myself. My heart is beating furiously.

Finally, I take a leap and run with all my might to be stopped half way by the speed of light travelling past me. I stand like a statue, close my eyes convinced that they will hit me at any moment. It feels like vehicles zooming in speed at the highway and standing at the door of local train in Mumbai when another train flicks ahead, pushes your body with the strong accompanying breeze on your face and body.

Nothing has happened to me. I am still alive and I wonder whether death is better than braving those lights moving one after the other. I cannot stand like that for hours and it feels like the angel of death is calling. It’s nauseating. An unexplained and gravitational force pulls me and I defy the force, speeding up and flicking my body as if running away from the jaws of death. It seems they are not done yet. A bevy of lines in symmetry is blurring my vision and it feels like poles which are intimidating me like a foe hell-bent to destroy me. I keep running and throw my hand and body at the same speed to catch the stars.

I wanna leap in the air when the body is curled and turned upside down. A mass hit me on my face like thunder. I almost leap and dangle in the air when a cement pillar stood as a protective gear to save my life. I am wondering how on earth a slab would find its way to the sky but what I am seeing is horrifying. I am perched on the cement slab and see mass of vehicles down from afar. I feel dizzy. I am at the Bandra-Worli sea link and the very sight of a body almost hanging by the thread makes me weak. My body can be thrust down at any point of time and my hand is stuck on the metal corrugated fitting and what prevent me from falling is the concrete steel viaducts.

I hear the sound of a car screeching behind me. The crazy psychiatrist and Maya storm out to pull me out with forces and my hands stuck to the viaducts and metal steels. As I am ushered to the back seat, Maya caresses my forehead, “You are not too hurt, na. Are you ok? Gosh!! You’ve run that far to reach the Bandra-Worli sea link.” I am oozing blood.

The crazy doctor enthusiastically, “Awesome. It means my treatment is working. He sleepwalked right from time travel to the present…”

Maya is furious and her voice is blaring loud, piercing my ears, “Shut the fuck up, will you.” She has just rammed the psychiatrist who turns from eccentric to docile in no time.

Love

V