There are many beautiful places to visit in Mumbai, and to enjoy the full flavor of its beauty, one needs good health explore the city. It’s a pleasure to walk through narrow heritage lanes or walk by promenade overlooking the sea that surrounds Mumbai on three sides. My health permits me to explore only one area per trip.
Recently, I had guests from Bangalore. I decided to show them around Bandra, the most interesting suburb of Mumbai. Bandra has more than 600 restaurants, biggest Linking road and Hill road shopping areas, 9 cinema halls, various beautifully manicured parks, seafront promenades and then there is Bandra fort.
Bandra fort, at ‘Land’s end’ in Bandra, are the ruins of an old Portuguese fort-Castella de Aguada. It was built in 1640 as a watchtower. The fort guarded the northern sea route into Mumabi harbor.
After the decline of Portuguese in the early 18th century, The British partially demolished the fort as a precautionary measure against Marathas, who were the largest threat to British possessions. They wanted to prevent it from being used as military base to attack British.
During my school days, many of my friends would go to this isolated spot for some private moments of romance with their boyfriends.
The cooing couples are still there, but now in a different set up. There is no privacy now.
It has become the most visited site with many tourists exploring this area. In 2003, a conservation program was started by Bandra Band Stand Resident’s Trust to save the fort.
Included in the fort makeover are the preservation of the natural rock formations, providing pathways, and the creation of an amphitheater. The architect for the makeover was P.K. Das.
The nearby Taj Land's End Hotel is responsible for maintenance of the fort. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) owns the fort.
It is a rock garden with plants potted at different levels that makes this place so interesting. Unfortunately there are no handrails to climb the steep steps, I had to seek my friend’s help to climb up and down the stone steps.
But the view is spectacular and worth the effort at the top.
Castella de Aguada overlooks the Mahim Bay to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, the islands of Worli to the south and the town of Mahim to the south west. You can also see the beautiful Worli-Bandra sea-link when you reach to the top of the hill.
We climbed down the stone steps, passing through stone castle. I decided to rest, while my friends walked down to the sea to soak their feet.
Later it was a long walk down the Band Stand promenade, passing through the ‘Walk the Stars’ where you are likely to find tiles with palm-print and signatures of some Bollywood star.
We decided to wait in the children’s park and watch the sunset.
Friends went back with happy memories of the beautiful evening spend.