Sunday, August 09, 2015

Navi Mumbai

And I stay in a city that is in the top three in the country – in the Swachhata sweepstakes. We are the third cleanest city in India. Yipeeee . . .

Er . . . hmmm . . . Not really. This is actually an award based on the extent of open defecation, solid waste management, waste water treatment, drinking and surface water quality of water bodies and mortality due to waterborne diseases. So it’s not really an award for a city that looks spic and span.
Nonetheless it is a city that has its own charms.

Of all the cities that I have stayed in I have stayed the longest in Navi Mumbai and I have grown to like the place. Of course travelling to Mumbai for work from here has been a huge pain in the ass, but in general I have no regrets about moving to the City of the 21st Century.

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For one, it is much greener than most other cities. Even the morning jog can be amidst green environs. 


The Parsik hills running right through Navi Mumbai, or whatever is left of the hill range, with the waterfalls during the monsoons give the city a natural charm.

And in how many places in and around a metropolis can you take a short drive to a trekking spot? 

Though Padavkada is out of bounds now for safety issues it is a delightful place which can both challenge the veteran trekker and allow the beginner to enjoy nature. 
The Ghansoli waterfall is a bit dangerous though it is just as beautiful as the one at Pandavkada.

I guess Lutyens Delhi is greener than Navi Mumbai but then again the issues of Delhi – pointless aggression and pollution and lack of safety etc. are not the issues that one faces in Navi Mumbai.

The other thing is that it a planned city. While driving through Vashi in the evenings is a nightmare, by and large Navi Mumbai is nowhere as chaotic and unplanned as Mumbai or any other big city. I am eagerly looking forward to the Metro starting which will make commutes even better.

But are there no gripes that I have? Hmmmm . . . . Well, actually I do.

I am a big history buff and it is in this area that Navi Mumbai falls flat. The only place to explore that has any historical significance is the Belapur fort. The entrance to the fort is a forgotten and utterly neglected stump. The interiors – well, they are not taken care of either and like most small forts across the country are in an extremely dilapidated condition. It is sad indeed. I am not so sure of any other historical monuments that are in existence within Navi Mumbai. I wish there were.

I also wish we used the sea front better and that the catamaran service that was in existence more than a decade ago is re-introduced. Elephanta caves is just 15 minutes away from Uran by sea. Why can’t there be regular services to the island. And more importantly, how about having catamaran services from Vashi or Belapur to the Elephanta caves? It could prove to be a good weekend visit for a lot of people here.

Just two gripes from cynical old me? Well . . .

Had I been a party animal or a shopaholic or a theatre buff I am sure I would have been depressed about the state of affairs here, but lazy me likes it just fine in here.

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