Of late, people have become increasingly health conscious. Everywhere you go, you will find advertisements for all kinds of ‘keep fit’ classes. Gyms offering crossfit, pilates, zumba, and even water aerobics are now commonplace. But, what if indoor fitness is not your thing? What if the idea of going to a gym seems cumbersome and boring? Fret not! Here’s a list of picturesque stretches in Mumbai for the Forrest Gump in you.
Commonly referred to as ‘PDP’ by locals, this park, located on South Mumbai’s plush Napeansea road, has a 400-meter eight-lane running track. Twenty acres of greenery and spectacular views of the Arabian Sea draw fitness junkies to its sprawling grounds every day. The park, part of the Priyadarshini Sports Complex, has a variety of programs and competitions hosted through the year. Head here to jog your way to fitness, with some sea breeze to cool off after.
Marine Drive is an iconic area in the city, and is probably the most postcard-worthy stretch on this list; the promenade is thronged by runners, young and old throughout the day. You can start your run from Nariman Point and head on north to Chowpatty, all the while taking in the sea-view on one side and historic landmarks of Mumbai’s cityscape on the other. Dubbed the ‘Queen’s Necklace’ since the British Raj, it provides stunning vistas for a nighttime run, too.
Another feather in South Mumbai’s cap is the Worli Sea-Face Promenade. Located in the high-end residential district of Worli, it attracts the crème de la crème of the city’s social circles. Savor the delights of yummy nariyal pani and chana chorgaram along the way, or simply relax on a bench and take in the glorious sunset; the sea-face will never let you down.
On Mumbai’s western fringe is Bandra Bandstand, where Bollywood’s royalty resides. If you’re lucky, your everyday jog will be livened with some celebrity-spotting. A relaxing way to cool down after your run is to head to Bandra Fort at Land’s End for beautiful views of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. A run down this stretch is sure to fuel poignant introspection about life, beauty, and other such things.
A fun place to hang out, Cater Road also has a very runner-friendly promenade. Hip cafes, juice bars, and froyo joints line this road that offer up some of the best post-workout meals and drinks. It’s almost as if the promenade is enticing you to come out for a run. What’s special about this particular running stretch? It is one of the few promenades that has a children’s play area, as well as a doggy-park. Parents can leave their kids at the park, while they enjoy a brisk walk or run, while pet-owners can walk their dogs and get a good cardio at the same time!
Offering respite among the concrete-clad buildings on the Western Express Highway is the Aarey Colony of Goregaon. The area is a haven of biodiversity, with its green carpet-like expanse of trees, bushes, and other flora; the area also has a mini lake, offering many-a-picnicker with spots for relaxation. The tree-lined roads that are almost swallowed by the dense vegetation offer the perfect environment for an early morning run. Make sure to avoid this place after sunset though, as it can be quite desolate and unsafe!
The western suburb of Borivali is home to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a large wildlife reserve, comprising diverse flora and fauna. The park is beautiful throughout the year, although it truly comes alive during the monsoons, with gurgling streams sprouting up intermittently throughout the dense thickets. It also offers various walking trails like Ashok Van, Gaumukh, and View Point trail which gets you to the highest point in Mumbai. For the more adventurous, there’s always the trek up to Kanheri Caves!
A weekend haven for the average Mumbaikar, Juhu Beach is one of the landmarks of the city. Running on sandy terrain is extremely strenuous and is a great way to burn off those weekend calories. It’s probably best to venture out in the early hours of the day to avoid the rush of tourists and vendors, who throng the beach. The soothing murmur of waves and scattered boats that hypnotically bob on the horizon are perfect companions for a relaxing morning jog on Mumbai’s favorite beach. Use the Cleartrip app to sign up for marathon-training classes that are held at the beach twice a week.
The Royal Western India Turf Club maintains and manages the 2400-meter Mahalaxmi Race Course, which hosts Mumbai’s derby season, from November to April. It is located in Mahalaxmi, right next to Haji Ali, so it has gorgeous sea-facing views, with a tinge of spirituality. On non-racing days, members are free to use the track for walks and runs. There is also a public garden at the center of the course, which has a walking track that can be used throughout the year.
In Mumbai’s suburb of Powai, are the Hiranandani gardens; resplendent gardens, nestled within a residential complex of ivory-colored skyscrapers. The beautiful landscaped gardens contain well-maintained paths, benches amidst trees, and some, like Nirvana Park, even boast ponds with colorful fish jostling about the water. A run in these parks is sure to provide a peaceful workout and some much-needed relaxation.
In a bustling megalopolis it can be quite a task to find a quiet and peaceful spot, but Mumbai has her fair share of stunning promenades, beaches, and urban parks for those looking to get in shape. Visit any of these breath-taking stretches for a refreshing run.