Family-friendly entertainment, street food, flamboyant festivals and spectacular sunsets await at lively Girgaun Chowpatty (Chowpatty Beach). This is one of Mumbai’s favorite beaches and a great place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Girgaun Chowpatty is a pretty curve of golden sand set at the foot of Malabar Hill and overlooking Back Bay.
By day the beach presents a serene environment; workers take midday naps beneath palm trees and stall owners prepare for the evening ahead while others wade in the seashore. Although locals swim at the beach, due to contamination it isn’t advisable for tourists to do so.
As the sun drifts down over the bay the beach’s ambiance turns into that of a vibrant fair. Couples, families and groups of friends come to breathe the fresh sea air after a busy working day. Arrive in time to marvel as the sun sets and turns the sky into shades of red and orange.
Stroll along the soft sand to see children having fun on carousels, Ferris wheels and mini roller coasters. Pause to observe circus-style entertainers such as snake charmers, monkey trainers, contortionists and gymnasts. Curious visitors might want to have their fortune read by one of the self-proclaimed astrologists.
Go to the southern edge of the beach, where pungent aromas drift out from a collection of food stands. Be sure to sample bhel puri, an iconic Mumbai street snack. It’s a mix of puffed rice, vegetables and lentil noodles topped with tangy sauces.
A great time to visit Chowpatty Beach is for the colorful Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, which takes place in August or September. Watch as thousands of devotees celebrate Lord Ganesh by releasing statues into the water.
Girgaun Chowpatty is a 20-minute drive from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai’s central train station. Getting here is easy via affordable auto-rickshaws, taxis and public transportation such as buses and trains. The nearest train station is Charni Road Railway. Alternatively, walk here via Marine Drive, a waterfront promenade lined with crumbling art deco buildings and street vendors.