I wasn’t the most active child. My idea of exercise was walking, book in hand, from one part of my house to another which wasn’t very big to begin with The very thought of physical exertion filled me with dread. That all changed the day my mother dragged me to a park to get some fresh air (if such a thing exists in Mumbai). The minute I set foot, my irritable disposition was shed and I was transformed into a giggling child who tried to see how far up in the air her feet would reach while testing out the swings. It was the day I became a hardcore believer in the magic of open spaces, slides, swings and monkey bars.
If you’re anything like me and desperately need an escape from Mumbai’s noise and claustrophobia, here’s your essential city park check list:
Jogger’s Park, Bandra
Home to the city’s entire duck population. Head here for some much needed quiet and to watch the beautiful sunset over the Arabian Sea. With a jogging track, two playgrounds and space for yoga, you can choose to exercise or just sit and take in some fresh air.
Grab a bite: The park is situated at one end of Carter Road while Khao Gully is at the other end but if you don’t want that workout to be wasted, you’ll look for the mobile juice van situated along Carter Road in the early morning and some late evenings. You’d be hard pressed to find Wheatgrass Juice at such a reasonable price elsewhere.
Rajesh Khanna Gardens, Santacruz
Known to 90’s kids as Train Park because of the big toy train that used to run around its circumference, the park has the best and tallest monkey bar framework in the suburbs. Although no one’s really sure if the train still works, kids and adults alike will enjoy the giant holes in the wall by the playground that double as reading nooks and spots to contemplate life’s great mysteries.
Grab a bite: You can’t leave the area without trying Manju Dosa’s Butter Masala Dosa. I haven’t heard a soul complain about his generosity with butter.
Priyadarshini Park and Sports Complex, Napeansea Road
It would be hard to traverse this 20-acre stretch in South Mumbai but you won’t even want to once you find a nice grassy spot underneath some shade. Catch up on your week’s dose of people watching, take a nap or be productive and head to the gym.
Grab a bite: Head to Santosh Sagar nearby for some pav bhaji, which Napeansea Road residents and park visitors just can’t stop talking about.
Amarsons Garden, Breach Candy
With a recently opened kiddie playground, the park is well maintained and still quite popular amongst the silver-haired population of Breach Candy. Head here for some quiet meditation facing the sea or to reclaim your childhood spent frolicking in the sandbox.
Grab a bite: There’s no shortage of food carts outside the park but the makai wala is every frequenter’s favourite. If you’re looking for fancier fare, Under the Banyan Tree’s falafel wrap is only a 10-minute walk away.