Mumbai’s Secrets: We Bet You Didn’t Know Of These Hidden Treasures In The City


Vasai Fort

Or maybe you know one of these! Even so, a post is in order. Our city might be over populated with people in every nook and corner. But there are still a few places that go unnoticed by us are indeed hidden treasures in the city. Here’s a list of a few places and facts about Mumbai that we found very interesting. Did you know of these?

Vile Parle Railway Station

A railway station built by a businessman
It’s broadly known that all railway stations are constructed by the government, but here’s a twist, Vile Parle station did not always belong to the government. The land where Vile Parle railway station stands actually belongs to Gokuldas Tejpal, a renowned businessman who donated his land along with rupees onw lakh 11 thousand to the British Railway Company to construct a railway station that connected all through the suburbs. Built in 1912, the land was donated for public welfare and was inherited by Mr. Tejpal who is known for his philanthropic work. He has donated to several charity homes in our city and also built a school and hospital using his initials ‘GT’. The Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, GT High School and the Tejpal Hall are a few structures built/ donated by him.
Did you know?
Another intriguing fact about Vile Parle station is its name. Popularly believed that the name comes from the biscuit factory (Parle-G), the name Vile Parle originates from two Shiv templesVirleshwar and Parleshwar – located in Vile Parle. In Marathi, it is clearly pronounced as ‘Virle Parle’ but its translations have caused a false impression.

Gilbert Hill at Andheri West

A 65-million-year-old hill in Andheri West
A 200 ft monolith column of black basalt rock built about 65 years ago in the Mesozoic era known as Gilbert Hill is still standing in Andheri West. Named after a British officer, Gilbert Hill is a vertical rock and a one of its kind to be found anywhere in India. Ignored by many, this hill is in fact one of the only two hills found in the entire world, of the same kind. The other is the Devil’s Tower in north-eastern Wyoming in the US. Currently, the hill is covered by slums and over-grown creepers. It is barely noticeable and many are unaware of his significance. It offers a panoramic view of suburban Mumbai.

Back in 1952, this hill was declared a National park by the then government under the Forest Act and was also given the status of a Heritage site in 2007 by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM); in fact it was a Grade-II structure. However, due to lack of maintenance and awareness, the hill is still ignored. The pre-historical monument is still surrounded by tiny houses, construction sites and no respect for a one-of-a-kind structure. It’s time to save this structure from encroachment and make it a tourist attraction.

Bharatmata Cinema

Watch a Marathi movie for 30 rupees
Sounds odd when a movie ticket costs only 30 rupees? But surprisingly, Bharatmata Cinema in Parel, one of the oldest theatres in Mumbai that screens only Marathi movies sells tickets 30 rupees onwards. Kapil Bhopatkar, managing partner of Bharatmata cinema says, “My grandfather took over the theatre in 1940 in a plot sub-leased from United Mills Private Ltd. We were earlier threatened to shut down since our lease has expired but our struggle has borne fruit. Our cinema is more of a heritage structure and signifies the importance of Marathi cinema in our city. It has to be preserved.” The cinema covers 1800 sq metres and screens movies at around 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 6:30pm. So next time you want to catch a Marathi movie in its pure essence, visit the Bharatmata cinema and enjoy watching a movie with whistles and hoots!

Vasai Fort

Vasai Fort: Witness to a long history
Vasai or Bassein Fort is a 35 feet tall structure and a great spot for nature lovers. Less explored, this fort has great historical significance. It was originally built by the Bhadurshah of Gujarat, further conquered by the Marathas and finally neglected by the British the last rulers of Vasai pre independence. In historical records, it is known that the Vasai fort was actually built to compete with churches, hospitals, college institutions, and other administrative and community places. The Portuguese are also known to use the Vasai fort as their military base as. Surrounded on three sides by sea and accessible by land on one side, it was tough to conquer. The fort was also used as an official residence of the Portuguese Governor when he made his visits to the North. Today the fort site is governed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and awaiting the much delayed restoration process.

Also check out our earlier posts on the hidden villages in Mumbai and forts around Mumbai, that make for perfect day trips and weekend getaways. Know of another such hidden gem? Tell us!

Images: Ville Parle: Newsbullet Bharatmata Cinema: Midday Vasai Fort:


Post By Syrah (76 Posts)

Always curious, writing was something she discovered accidentally which she now enjoys. Loves reading fiction, dislikes staying idle and enjoys spontaneous trips or treks over weekends.



Always curious, writing was something she discovered accidentally which she now enjoys. Loves reading fiction, dislikes staying idle and enjoys spontaneous trips or treks over weekends.
  • Asha Bhardwaj

    Very interesting

  • Yashraj

    pretty interesting… lived in vile parle for more than a year and never knew about those facts..