#MumbaiList: Discover Solitude Within The City In Mumbai’s Hidden Villages

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House in Khotachi Wadi
Cottage in Mathar Pakhadi
Cottage in Mathar Pakhadi

At family gatherings, I’m usually the only one raving about Mumbai and the city life, until everyone finally has to ask me to shut up. But that did get me thinking, have we totally lost the ability to be really silent, quiet, tranquil in the hustle and bustle of the city? In the cacophony of trains, BESTs, taxis, auto rickshaws, fisher women,  chaiwallas and hawkers, who are surely an inevitable part of our life, don’t we all sometimes seek serenity. The same reason perhaps why we travel on weekends, to rejuvenate?

We all know that Mumbai is made up of many islands and it had many villages once upon a time. But did you know that some of those calm and equally charming villages still exist in skyscraper clad Mumbai? Here are some of those which I found while roaming around the city (or maybe I intentionally sought them out, just in case I need to argue with my cousins in defense of Mumbai, again!)

Ranwar village, Bandra
Ranwar village, Bandra Image courtesy- Anindo Ghosh, Flickr

Ranwar, Bandra
Save some time from your next shopping spree at Hill road or Linking road and visit Ranwar, a centuries old East-Indian village right here in the city. Take a left from Tata Agyari or next left from Hindu hotel on Hill road. It’s on Waroda road. If you continue walking, taking in the beautiful Manglorean tiled houses, you will reach the backyard of Mt. Mary’s church.

You will be amazed to see this other side of Bandra which is not about pubs, coffee shops, parties or shopping! FYI, many years ago, mango orchards in this village served as a parking space for bullock-carts that brought people to the famous Bandra fest. “This used to be a beautiful place man! Now all buggers want to build sky-scrapers! Peace has been lost”, Uncle Ivor, a family friend, got nostalgic while sharing his memories of Ranwar with me.

Crucifix at Mathar Pakhadi
Grotto at Mathar Pakhadi

Mhatar Pakhadi, Mazgaon
The name sounds funny, but this place in Mazgaon will definitely get you Instagramming for hours! This village used to be a transit camp set up by Goans who migrated to the city and now it is a beautiful village adorned with Portuguese-style cottages, narrow-lanes, and grottos at corner of the roads. You will have to get down at the crowded Byculla station on central line or not-so-crowded Dockyard station on harbour line! It has many Goan Clubs and Mazgaon, (or ‘Mazgon’ the way original residents call it) is also home to many fascinating churches.

Afternoon at Khotachi Wadi
Afternoon at Khotachi Wadi

Khotachi Wadi, Girgaon
When we say Girgaon, many of us envisage it as a populous place brimming with crammed chawls. But next time when you get down at Charni road station, instead of going to the usual Marine Drive, walk towards Grant road. Once you take the right into the narrow by-lane with the ‘Khotachi Wadi’ plaque, you’ll enter a different Mumbai altogether, a complete contrast to the swanky SoBo towers and plush ‘town’ atmosphere!

Khotachi Wadi entrance
Khotachi Wadi entrance

Khotachi Wadi is a heritage village in Girgaon and home to many Catholics and Maharashtrians alike (people who take extra pair of clothes along when they have to travel beyond Dadar!) Jokes apart, the residents from Khotachiwadi can be called the ‘ancient’ residents of Mumbai. People who still enjoy their afternoon tea sitting in a verandah chatting with friends. Most houses here have a courtyard and backyard. Too much space! Isn’t it? One can hear a  guitar playing in one of those pretty houses in evenings and there is a fat chance that you will get lost in the lanes of this wadi if you are visiting for the first time.

Next time if any of my Goan cousins brag about artistic Goan villas or the famed siesta, I’m going to take him to one of the villages above to redeem Mumbai! These were just some of the places in Mumbai where I found tranqillity and old-world charm, I’m sure there must be many more. Have you ever visited any of these? Or another such secret silence zone in Mumbai? Share your experiences and photos with us at story@mumbaimag.com or comment below.

Photos: Omkar Padwal

Post By Omkar Padwal (42 Posts)

Loves classical and rock music alike, passionate about painting, writing, photography, travelling and eating!

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Omkar Padwal

Omkar Padwal
Loves classical and rock music alike, passionate about painting, writing, photography, travelling and eating!
  • Sukrit Nagaraj

    There is also a “gaothan” in Juhu and Vile parle (East), though these places aren’t as pretty as the “gaothan”s in Bandra and Girgaon. Also, the small lanes near Malabar hill and Peddar Road show a different Bombay altogether.

  • sharda

    hi… I have been painting some of the bandra cottages…They are amazing!