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Marine Drive : Mumbai
I, frankly, would like to clear the first thing that might trouble many people. That title I have selected is for the reason that marine drive is not at just Mumbai but also at other parts of India as well as the world hence I appended the term 'Mumbai'.
Mumbai is a city which is unique in nature and cannot be compared in the world at any rate. Internationally acclaimed as Alpha city it has some of the best destinations in the world to visit. Marine Drive about which I will begin some moments later falls in the category of those wonderful destinations.
Marine Drive has it`s own charm.When you enter in Mumbai you see nothing but the swarm of people hasting towards their destination.But when you come to the Marine Drive you relax and feel that this is something exactly very different from the Mumbai`s urban atmosphere.
The plan for reclamation of the land, where the Marine Drive is present, was proposed in Early 1860`s but the civil war in America led to the economic crash which shattered the dream of the British Government and plan could not be moved forth. It was again in 1919 that work started for reclamation of the land in Backbay. Later we would find that how the proposed plan was not completed instead it was modified.
History of Marine Drive
The history of the Marine Drive is not very different from many projects which are initiated for profiteering the developers. The Britishers after having seen the great Plague decided to ease the congestion of the city by reclamation of land at the Cuffe Parade, Southern Bombay.The success of the project led to expanding it to the Backbay. The project was continued under the auspices of 'The Great Backbay scheme,' in which, it was planned to reclaim the whole western side at the southern tip of the city.It was decided to built a beautiful Promenade which would have not only various types of apartments but also public squares in the manners of Oxbridge (The Oxbridge is a portmanteau which stands for Oxford and Cambridge) squads. The project was planned for the rich but also it served as a mean to ease congestion in native areas.
In the Year 1917 it was planned that nearly 1500 acres of Land to be reclaimed from Colaba to Backbay. The plan, at first, was an initiative taken by syndicate of prominent citizens and a private company. But finally the Development Directorate took it over and decided to reclaim 1145 acres of land.
There were many hurdles from the inception which finally resulted in an incomplete version of the project initially planned.For the project to begin it was needed that the BB&CL(Bombay,Baroda and Central Railways) should shift their terminus to the Bombay central,where it is at the present,from Colaba, but they were not able to do so in time. In the mean time the Consulting Town Planner, W.R. Davidge, had proposed the reclaimed land for the wide open spaces area which could be used for the residential as well commercial purposes.
The progress of the work, plagued from delay and loses, was further deteriorated due to the depression of 1920`s which led to the fall in land prices and in 1926 it was estimated that if continued at current pace the project would be completed in 1945 with total cost 11 crores, four times of estimated cost !
The inquiry committee was set up and was spearheaded by Khurshid F. Nariman and Manu Subedar. They found out that the funds that government of India had sanctioned for the project was obtained by incomplete presentation. They further divulged that Dredging craft was inefficient and was bought even before the sanction. The sea wall built had irregularities and nearly 900,000 cubic yards of mud had escaped through it. They held Advisory Engineer, John Buchnan, responsible and recommended only 3 blocks to be completed. The overall scandal is also known as Lloyd Folly, after Sir George Lloyd, then Governor of Bombay.
Nevertheless the project was completed in 1929 in which 4 blocks were completed, a total of 439.6 acres. Out of the total reclaimed land 234.8 acres was sold to the Military for 2.06 crores.
The location of Marine Drive
Do you like Marine Drive ?
Is Marine Drive the best place in Mumbai ?
How to reach Marine Drive
Once you are in Mumbai, to reach Marine Drive is never a tedious task. You can avail various modes of transport that can drop you to Marine Drive.The modes of transport of course depends upon the number of bucks that you can part.
If you are an International Tourist and you have to go to Marine Drive you can Just hire a taxi at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and ask him to drop you at Marine Drive. And it is of course a better idea to go to your lodging place at first, if you have taken your lodgings in Hotel Taj, which most of the rich tourists like to have, then from the Hotel it is at fair distance which can be covered by stalking. But there is one more wonderful option. You can have you sojourn at Oberoi Hotels which is just situated aside Marine Drive. The good point is that in this case you get the view of the ethereal scenic beauty of the Arabian Sea and the Marine Drive from the window of your room.
If you belong to a bourgeois family then you can catch bus or train but I would recommend that you should take the local train which takes you to the station Marine Lines.The Marine Drive is at walking distance from the station. Another station which can be taken by you, in case, your train does not go up to the Marine Lines station is Churchgate. But please if you are a newcomer then it is recommended that you take Marine Lines since that is just aside the Drive.
One wonderful aspect that I found out there was Taxi and the meter system. There is no need for negotiation and you may go wherever you want paying the charge of the taxi as displayed on the meter. Although it is a tough to get a taxi for nearby destinations from Marine Drive because the Driver won`t get enough money displayed on the meter due to the proximity. But it`s my recommendation that you do hire a Taxi. It just gives a feel of leisure.
Marine Drive in night
The Queen`s Necklace
Marine Drive is very beautiful promenade and there are certain things of this esplanade that makes it identity of Mumbai and hence unique in the world. At the one end of the drive is Nariman Point which,literally, is the concrete jungle(Lots of Buildings) whereas on the other hand are the Malabar Hills which are resplendent beauty of nature.
I would recommend that you go to enjoy Maine Drive when it is dusk if you have limited time. The reason for it is the fact that in this way you can enjoy the setting of crimson sun in Arabian Sea as well as soon after when it becomes gloomier and the street lights start flashing then you can watch beautiful lights arranged in curved manner which look like the shining gems of a necklace. Hence it was named as Queen`s Necklace. Now presently, the road is known as Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose Road.
Marine Drive at Night
The Backbay at Marine Drive
Maine Drive in Bollywood
Bollywood has been very interested in Marine Drive since 1950s. The obvious reasons are that Bollywood industry is located in Mumbai and the second thing is that the for the most of the movies whose shooting was finished in the Mumbai, there was no other spacious and beautiful scene than the Marine Drive.But now it seems that, since, in many Bollywood movies, disco and pubs have replaced the natural scenes hence the craze of Marine Drive seems to have lessened to some extent.
But nevertheless Marine Drive has been featured in many Bollywood films.The movie Guide`s song "Leke pehla pehla pyar" was shot on the very esplanade. In this movie the late actor Dev Anand persuades the actress who seem to have annoyed. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has special memory related since he slept on the bench of Marine Drive when he first came to Mumbai to try his luck in the celluloid world. Amitabh Bachchan featured title song "Muqaddar ka Sikander" was shot on the Marine Drive. There are lots of other songs or parts of other movies which have taken Marine Drive as their background.
Some facts of Marine Drive
The real estate prices in this location are considered to be the highest in country and one of the highest in the world.In terms of art deco houses it comes next only to Miami in the world.
At the time it was completed not much people traveled this beautiful road and it was by chance that one or two vehicle passed but now the scenario has completely changed.There is lots of traffic on the road as well the pavement is very crowded.
This fact which I am going to lay, though I detest it, but a fact is a fact. Marine Drive is some of the places in India where the couples find solitude and they sit intimately without caring for the public. The public too does not care about them. Although in my personal opinion I see it with contempt for the two reason. The first one that they obscure the beautiful scene and the second is that making love at public places,at least in India, is Obscenity.
It is 4.3 Kms long and C shaped six lane concrete road. At every 100 meters we find written on the pavement the distance that one has traveled, akin to the milestones that one finds on the Highways and freeways.
The famous cricket stadium Wankhede Stadium(Sheshrao Krushnarao Wankhede Stadium) is just situated near the Churchgate which is in the vicinity of Marine Drive.
Demographics of Marine Drive
Some may pronounce this section to be trivial or unnecessary but I insist that though it may not act as a travelling guide but this will be beneficial as a source of knowledge.The area in the proximity is dominated by the Parsi community.The Patels fom Gujrat are also in large numbers. When I went Marine Drive, I met an old figure. He explained me that all his life he spent his evening hours coming to the Nariman Point. He was an Industrialist.At the time of partition many, specially Sindhi came here and they settled. They selected it because in some way it resembled to their home, Karachi, from where they came.