Juhu Beach is one of Mumbai’s main tourist destinations. It is not your typical white-sand Asian beach with crystal blue sea and colorful underwater life, yet it is visited by hordes of local tourists. It is also quite polluted but it has an appeal that is unique to Mumbai residents and captivates the curiosity of foreigners. Juhu’s sand and water may not be reasons for boasting, but the sunsets and local foods are enough to make hundreds of visitors come every day.
Located in the central suburb of Mumbai, Juhu Beach offers a cool and refreshing break from the heat and chaos of the metropolis. It is not far from the city proper. You just need to get on a local bus, train, taxi or auto-rickshaw to get there in a few minutes. Many Mumbai residents simply get their on foot.
Since it is nearby, the beach gets specifically crowded on weekends and just before the day ends. Locals come here every night, not really to swim, but to see some of the most spectacular sunsets in India. The sky burns in red and orange colors as the sun slowly disappears into the vast Arabian Sea. Then the party begins.
People spend the evenings here for the local snacks and just for the fun of it. Every night there is a feeling of fanfare as people walk along the beach and line up for a delicious bhelpuri, pav bhaji, kala khatta, ice gola or pan puri in any of the food carts and kiosks. It gets even more exciting on weekends with acrobats, dancing monkeys, and more vendors selling foods, trinkets and unique souvenir items. The place turns into a fun ‘mela’ (Indian fair) enjoyed by locals and must be experienced by foreigners when in the city. There are even horses and donkeys offering rides for a fee. Slowly galloping down the Mumbai coastline on a horse during sunset is an amazing experience. Most beach bummers come here for the fanfare, primarily since the waters are not really for swimming. It is dirty, and most of the pollution is coming from the city.
The other well-known beach in Mumbai is Chowpatty Beach and the two share many similarities. While Chowpatty is more popular for the annual festival that is held there for Lord Ganesh, Juhu Beach has its own edge – the rich and famous Bollywood superstars live nearby. Juhu has been the location of a number of Bollywood movies in the past, and many of the actors have fallen in love with the place that they decided to live not very far from it. And because the area of Juhu has become known for its famous celebrity-residents, a number of posh hotels and restaurants have mushroomed on the beach’s southern side. Meanwhile on the northern side is another beach called Versova Beach, which is popular for its fishing community. Mumbai is an island-city, which is why it has a number of beaches. None, however, may be compared with the blinding white-sand beaches of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The busiest Mumbai beach is definitely Juhu Beach. You should visit it at least once when vacationing in India. It also has a special place called Gandhi Gram where teenagers hang out for a game of cricket, football or basketball.