At over 4km in length, Marine Drive in Mumbai is one of the largest waterfront promenades in the world, and is also the site of the world famous Chowpatty Beach and its local street food scene. Oh, I do love to be beside the seaside!
Marine Drive links Nariman Point with Malabar Hill, which features a very famous tree-lined promenade along most of its length, which is a great way for the locals to enjoy a nice sea breeze as they go about their daily life. Yet, towards the end of Marine Drive you will find Chowpatty Beach. This is a very famous beach in India and every day literally thousands of revellers will enter the sea to cool down from the hot and humid Indian weather.
Along Marine Drive, there are a lot of rocks that act as a breakwater from the rolling tide. These rocks are also a favourite spot for the locals to sit and either admire the view, ponder about life, or perhaps even spend some quality time with their partners! Incidentally, the waves along Marine Drive can get VERY rough in adverse weather and during high tide, yet thankfully even though my day began drizzly and overcast, I didn’t see any large waves.
Chowpatty Beach is arguably the most famous beach anywhere in the Indian Sub-Continent and with good reason! Here you will find so many courting couples, elderly visitors, and screaming children from all over Mumbai. The one thing they all have in common is that they are enjoying the free public beach that is very close to Marine Drive itself. While the pollution here is quite bad (even by Indian standards), there are still large areas of sandy beach and it is a prime spot to view the Arabian sunset in the evening.
Street food in Mumbai is just as famous as its beaches, and it should come as no surprise that the streets lined near Chowpatty Beach (and Juhu Beach) are filled to the brim with vendors selling Indian snacks, such as Bhelpuri, Kulfi ice cream, and Ragda-Pattice. I just couldn’t resist trying some lovely Bhelpuri and enjoyed my stroll down the beachfront eating this traditional street food. It is a savoury snack made out of puffed rice and vegetables, then coated with a spicy tamarind sauce. Delicious!
As night falls in Mumbai, Marine Drive once again takes centre stage, as the entire 4km route is lit with lanterns, which many people claim look like a string of pearls, both from a distance and from above. The sunsets here are particularly gorgeous, and even back up at Chowpatty Beach, you can be sure that there are still local swimming the warm sea right up until the last rays of the sun have died!