South Mumbai – Heritage on a Run
In my city of Mumbai there aren’t many heritage running trails, but there are some places of historical significance that I love running at – mostly road running. South Mumbai is one of my favorite places to run at. Home to many of the historical precincts, since historically, access to the city was through the port here.
I take a train down to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (earlier Victoria Terminus) station and start my run from there. CST is one of the world heritage sites of UNESCO. It has a museum inside but you can’t run inside the station; you can visit post run. Running down the Fort area makes you feel like you’re in the 19th Century. You pass by a lot of old buildings, leading to the Flora fountain that has its own place in history.
There are 2 possible routes you can divert to from the fountain. A right takes you to the Churchgate station, where you can carry on either to the NCPA (National Centre of Performing Arts) on one side, or towards Chowpatty beach on the other. Sometimes I like running on the Marine Drive seafront, so I carry on to the NCPA and then come back towards Chowpatty.The second option is continuing straight from Flora Fountain. You run towards Kala Ghoda, passing the Prince of Wales museum (now called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya – CSMVS), and then the Gateway of India and The Taj Mahal hotel – the most iconic landmarks of Mumbai. You could also take a right from Kala Ghoda, and pass the Regal cinema and some old restaurants like Leopold. Regal has been noted as an Art Deco structure. Trivia states that Mumbai has the largest number of buildings in any city in this style after Miami. The CSMVS is listed as a Grade 1 heritage building with an architecture of Indo-Saracenic style. Opposite Kala Ghoda there’s also the Mumbai University and Rajabai Tower in the Gothic style architecture. A left turn from Kala Ghoda leads to the Asiatic Society Library, also a notable structure. Also keep an eye out for the many old Irani cafes on this route where you can make a quick stop for Irani chai.
Closer back to CST is the Crawford Market, and closer to Chowpatty is the Babulnath temple, both historically significant structures. For me, early morning is definitely the best time to take the second route, where you can glimpse the rising sun in the Arabian sea at Gateway. I find an evening run more suitable for the first route option; you can catch the sunset at Chowpatty.
All-in-all the lanes of South Mumbai have something to offer for all lovers of history and architecture. There’s a story behind every lane and building that takes you back in time. And running is a great way to get around the city and breathe in all that the past has to offer, and hope that our present conserves this heritage.
CST -> Flora fountain -> NCPA -> Marine Drive -> Chowpatty -> Loop back
CST -> Flora fountain -> CSMVS/Prince of Wales Musuem -> Kala ghoda -> Mumbai Uni. -> Rajabai Tower -> Gateway of India -> Taj Mahal hotel -> loop back
Highlights on the routes
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