Marine Drive is a popular boulevard and tourist attraction in Mumbai that offers scenic views of the Arabian Sea and the city skyline. It is also known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road or the Queen’s Necklace, because of its C-shaped curve and the glittering lights that resemble a string of pearls at night.
Marine Drive is one of the most photographed places in India and attracts millions of visitors every year. Whether you want to witness the spectacular sunset over the Arabian Sea, take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, savor some delicious street food, enjoy the nightlife, or explore the nearby attractions, Marine Drive has something for everyone.
In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about Marine Drive, including its history, architecture, attractions, things to do, how to reach, and tips.
History of Marine Drive
Marine Drive is the result of a failed reclamation project that was initiated by the British Government in 1919. The objective was to connect Nariman Point with Malabar Hill through a promenade lined with office buildings, apartment blocks, and public squares. However, due to flawed planning and engineering, only a small area was reclaimed from the sea and 17 acres of land was used to construct the promenade. The rest of the land was left as open space for public use.
The construction of Marine Drive began in 1920 and was completed in 1924. It was named after Sir Hugh Hornby Fraser, who was then the Governor of Bombay Presidency. The road was later renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road after India’s independence in 1947. However, it is still popularly known as Marine Drive.
In the next couple of decades, several iconic buildings emerged along Marine Drive that displayed the Art Deco style of architecture. These buildings were designed by prominent architects such as G.B. Mhatre, D.N. Mirza, G.K. Mistry, S.H. Godbole, etc. They became home to some of the rich and famous personalities in the city, such as industrialists, film stars, politicians, etc.
In 2018, Marine Drive became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai. This site comprises 94 buildings that represent two distinct architectural styles that emerged in Mumbai during the 19th and 20th centuries. Marine Drive is one of the largest concentrations of Art Deco buildings in the world and showcases the modernist movement that influenced urban planning and design in India.
Architecture of Marine Drive
Marine Drive is a C-shaped boulevard that features a six-lane concrete road lining the natural bay along South Mumbai. It has a wide pavement on one side that serves as a promenade for pedestrians and cyclists. It also has a median strip that separates the traffic lanes and has street lights and benches for public convenience.
The most striking feature of Marine Drive is its buildings and edifices that showcase the Art Deco architectural style. Art Deco is a modernist style that originated in France in the 1920s and is characterized by geometric shapes, streamlined forms, bright colors, and decorative motifs. It reflects the optimism, glamour, and innovation of the interwar period.
The buildings along Marine Drive showcase various elements of Art Deco style, such as flat roofs, rounded corners, balconies, terraces, zigzag patterns, sunburst motifs, etc. They also have distinctive names that reflect their owners’ personalities or aspirations, such as Ram Mahal Building (House of God), Kapur Mahal Building (House of Camphor), Keval Mahal Building (House of Perfection), etc.
Attractions near Marine Drive
Marine Drive is not only a scenic spot but also a hub of attractions that cater to different interests and preferences of visitors. Whether you are looking for some cultural, historical, religious, or recreational experiences, you will find something to suit your taste near Marine Drive. Here are some of the main attractions along or near Marine Drive that you should not miss:
A famous beach at the northern end of Marine Drive that is known for its street food stalls, cultural events, festivals, and recreational activities. You can enjoy some of the best snacks in Mumbai, such as pav bhaji, bhelpuri, pani puri, kulfi, etc. at Chowpatty Beach. You can also witness some of the most vibrant celebrations in the city, such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Janmashtami, Holi, etc. at Chowpatty Beach. You can also indulge in some fun activities, such as camel rides, horse rides, balloon shooting, etc. at Chowpatty Beach.
India’s oldest aquarium that houses a variety of marine and freshwater fish species as well as aquatic plants, coral reefs, and sea shells. You can see some exotic and rare fish, such as lionfish, clownfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, etc. at Taraporewala Aquarium. You can also learn more about the marine life and conservation efforts at Taraporewala Aquarium.
Kamala Nehru Park:
A public park located on Malabar Hill that offers panoramic views of the city and features a giant shoe-shaped structure inspired by a nursery rhyme. You can enjoy some greenery and tranquility at Kamala Nehru Park. You can also climb up the shoe-shaped structure and take some pictures at Kamala Nehru Park.
Also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, these are terraced gardens situated on Malabar Hill that have animal-shaped hedges, flower beds, fountains, and a sunset point. You can admire some beautiful flora and fauna at Hanging Gardens. You can also watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea and the city skyline at Hanging Gardens.
An ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that is located on a small hill near Chowpatty Beach and attracts devotees from all over the city. You can offer your prayers and seek blessings at Babulnath Temple. You can also marvel at the intricate carvings and sculptures at Babulnath Temple.
One of the oldest colleges in India that was established in 1832 and is affiliated to Mumbai University. It has a Gothic style architecture and offers courses in arts, science, and commerce streams. You can visit the campus and see the heritage building of Wilson College. You can also attend some of the cultural events and festivals organized by Wilson College.
Rajabai Clock Tower:
A 19th century clock tower that stands at a height of 85 meters and is modeled after Big Ben in London. It is located within the Fort campus of Mumbai University and has a fusion of Gothic and Indian styles. You can see the clock tower from various points in the city and hear its chimes every 15 minutes. You can also learn more about the history and significance of Rajabai Clock Tower.
A stone fountain that was built in 1864 and is named after the Roman goddess of flowers. It is located at the Hutatma Chowk (Martyrs’ Square) and is a symbol of the city’s heritage and culture. You can see the fountain lit up with colorful lights at night and pay tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for India’s freedom struggle.
Asiatic Society Library:
A library and a cultural institution that was founded in 1804 and is housed in a neoclassical building. It has a collection of over 1 lakh books, manuscripts, coins, maps, and paintings. You can access some of the rarest and oldest books in India at Asiatic Society Library. You can also attend some of the lectures and seminars conducted by Asiatic Society Library.
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Things to Do at Marine Drive
Marine Drive is not only a place to see but also a place to do. There are plenty of activities that you can indulge in at Marine Drive to make your experience memorable and enjoyable. Whether you want to relax and unwind, have some fun and adventure, or learn something new and interesting, you will find something to suit your mood at Marine Drive. Here are some of the things to do at Marine Drive that you should not miss:
Watch the sunset:
One of the most popular things to do at Marine Drive is to witness the spectacular sunset over the Arabian Sea and admire the changing colors of the sky and water. You can sit on the promenade or the rocks and enjoy the view with your loved ones. You can also capture some amazing photos and videos of the sunset and share them with your friends and family.
Walk along the promenade:
Another common thing to do at Marine Drive is to take a leisurely stroll along the 3.6 km long promenade that runs parallel to the road and feel the breeze on your face. You can walk at your own pace and observe the people and activities around you. You can also interact with some of the locals and tourists and make some new friends.
Eat street food:
Marine Drive is also a great place to savor some delicious street food, especially at Chowpatty Beach, where you can find a variety of snacks, such as pav bhaji, bhelpuri, pani puri, kulfi, etc. You can also try some of the local delicacies, such as vada pav, misal pav, kanda bhaji, etc. You can also quench your thirst with some refreshing drinks, such as coconut water, lemonade, lassi, etc.
Enjoy the nightlife:
Marine Drive is also a lively spot to enjoy the nightlife of Mumbai, as it is illuminated with lights that resemble a string of pearls and create a stunning contrast with the dark sea. You can also see the city skyline lit up with colorful lights and feel the energy and vibrancy of the city. You can also visit some of the nearby pubs and cafes that offer music, drinks, and entertainment.
Take a drive:
Marine Drive is also an ideal place to take a drive along the six-lane road and enjoy the views of the sea and the city. You can also rent a bike or a car and explore the area at your own pace. You can also stop at any point and take some pictures or relax for a while.
Cycle along the promenade:
Marine Drive is also a good place to cycle along the promenade and enjoy the fresh air and scenery. You can rent a cycle from one of the vendors near Chowpatty Beach or bring your own. You can also join some of the cycling groups or events that are organized at Marine Drive regularly.
Take selfies with statues:
Marine Drive is also a place where you can find statues of some famous personalities who have contributed to the city’s history and culture, such as Lokmanya Tilak, R.K. Laxman, Ramon Magsaysay, etc. You can take selfies with them and learn more about their lives and achievements.
How to Reach Marine Drive
Marine Drive is easily accessible from various parts of Mumbai by using public or private transport. You can choose any of the following modes of transport to reach Marine Drive:
The nearest railway stations to Marine Drive are Churchgate and Charni Road on the Western Line of Mumbai Suburban Railway. You can take a local train to either of these stations and then walk or take a taxi or an auto rickshaw to Marine Drive. The distance from Churchgate station to Marine Drive is about 1 km and from Charni Road station to Marine Drive is about 2 km. The fare for a taxi or an auto rickshaw is around Rs. 20-30.
There are several buses operated by BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) that ply to Marine Drive from different parts of the city. You can board a bus that passes through Marine Drive or get down at a nearby stop and walk or take a taxi or an auto rickshaw to Marine Drive. Some of the bus numbers that go to Marine Drive are 1, 3, 11, 40, 66, 80, 83, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 94, 100, 103, 105, 106, 108, etc. The fare for a bus ticket is around Rs. 10-20.
The nearest metro station to Marine Drive is Girgaon Metro Station on Line 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) of Mumbai Metro. You can take a metro train to this station and then walk or take a taxi or an auto rickshaw to Marine Drive. The distance from Girgaon Metro Station to Marine Drive is about 2 km. The fare for a metro ticket is around Rs. 40-60.
By taxi or auto rickshaw:
You can also hire a taxi or an auto rickshaw from anywhere in the city and reach Marine Drive directly. However, this may be more expensive than other modes of transport. The fare for a taxi or an auto rickshaw depends on the distance and the traffic conditions. You can also use online apps like Ola or Uber to book a cab or an auto rickshaw.
By car or bike:
You can also drive your own car or bike or rent one from a service provider and reach Marine Drive by following the road signs and maps. However, you may face traffic congestion and parking issues during peak hours. You can park your vehicle at one of the paid parking lots near Marine Drive or at some of the hotels or malls that offer parking facilities.
Tips for Visiting Marine Drive
Marine Drive is one of the most enjoyable and memorable places to visit in Mumbai. However, to make your visit more comfortable and hassle-free, you should keep in mind some of these tips and information:
1. The best time to visit Marine Drive is during the evening or night when you can enjoy the sunset and the lights. However, you can also visit during the day if you want to avoid the crowd and the heat.
2. Avoid visiting Marine Drive during the monsoon season (June to September) as it may be flooded and unsafe. You may also face waterlogging and traffic jams on the road.
3. Be careful of your belongings and avoid carrying valuables as there may be pickpockets and beggars in the area. You should also beware of touts and scammers who may try to sell you fake or overpriced products or services.
4. Do not litter or pollute the beach or the sea and follow the rules and regulations of the authorities. You should also respect the privacy and sentiments of the locals and do not indulge in any inappropriate behavior.
5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and carry sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, umbrella, water bottle, etc. as per your need and preference. You should also carry some cash as some of the vendors may not accept cards or online payments.
Marine Drive is one of the most iconic landmarks and tourist attractions in Mumbai that you should not miss. It is a place where you can experience the beauty, culture, history, and spirit of the city.
It is a place where you can relax, have fun, learn, and explore. It is a place where you can create some unforgettable memories with your loved ones.
We hope this guide has helped you to plan your visit to Marine Drive and make it more enjoyable and memorable. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us at Tripoto. We would love to hear from you!
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