Marine Drive Mumbai is a scenic C-shaped 3-kilometer boulevard along the bay of the Arabian Sea in the central area of Mumbai city. It is a wide 6-lane concrete road that connects Nariman Point, Babulnath and the famous Malabar Hill. The bay makes the Marine Drive Beach, which is popularly referred to as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’. At nights, streetlights along the C-shaped beach create a spectacular view as though they were glittering pieces of jewelry and the beach a giant sparking necklace. People visit the beach throughout the day until nighttime, just strolling along or sitting at the shore, letting time leisurely pass by them. The beach is also dotted with children running around and playing, as well as vendors selling snacks and souvenir items.
The main attraction is the promenade. This is where locals enjoy their time the most. It is really amazing that people can enjoy themselves without modern, high-tech facilities here; just Mother Nature at its best as visitors sit for hours waiting for the sun to set. The sky turns from orange to red to purple while the palm trees turn into shadows that mark the horizon. It is a sight to die for. The sad news is that the beach is too polluted and sometimes gives out a foul smell; a crystal blue sea could have made a picture-perfect view. The good news is that no one needs to swim to enjoy the magical beauty of Marine Drive Beach and Marine Drive Mumbai.
Meanwhile, for visitors who truly intend to linger along the promenade for hours, there are several foods stalls to keep their hunger at bay. Locals love munching at their favorite chaats (Indian snack), especially a plate of bhelpuri. There are many top-class restaurants and upscale hotels in the area. The beach is always jam-packed especially over the weekend. They come for the lights and sunset in the evening, and the breeze and chaat during the day. There are no hassles reaching the beach, which is why people don’t hesitate to come. One may simply take a local bus or train going to the area. Others even decide to take a leisurely walk from their hotels all the way to the beach. Locating the famous drive on a map may lead to confusion since the boulevard’s official name is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, although not many people use that name. Some refer to it by its old name, Sonapur.
The old houses and buildings surrounding Marine Drive Beach were built by wealthy Parsi residents in the 1920s and 1930s. They are beautiful designed with an art deco look that is reminiscent to the seafront buildings in Miami, Florida.
To the northern side of Marine Drive Beach is an equally popular beach, Chowpatty Beach. The highly anticipated annual festival of Lord Ganesh is held at Chowpatty Beach, making this beach the most visited Mumbai beach of all. Other beaches in Mumbai that deserve a visit or two are Juhu Beach, Aksa Beach and Versova Beach. All of them may not have the white sands and crystal blue waters that Asian beaches are known for, but the fanfare atmosphere created by the locals, vendors and local festivities make these beaches top tourism draws.