Malabar Hill Walking Tour (Self Guided), Mumbai

Malabar Hill is the highest point in the south of Mumbai, and it's one of the city's most exclusive residential areas, being home to several movie stars and rich tycoons. It's also the location of the well-known Hanging Gardens and the Walkeshwar Temple with the Banganaga Tank. Take our tour to see the most beautiful and impressive places in Malabar Hill.
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Malabar Hill Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Malabar Hill Walking Tour
Guide Location: India » Mumbai (See other walking tours in Mumbai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Author: naomi
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Mani Bhavan
  • FD Alpaiwalla Museum
  • Tower of Silence
  • Hanging Gardens
  • Kamala Nehru Park
  • Jain Temple
  • Shree Balaji Temple
  • Banganga Tank
  • Walkeshwar Mandir Temple
1
Mani Bhavan

1) Mani Bhavan (must see)

Located in the Gamdevi precinct, on Laburnum Road in Mumbai, is a two-storied building which was the epicentre for several movements during India’s freedom fight, Mani Bhavan. Initially owned by Shri Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri, this historic old-style building was taken over by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi in 1955 to preserve it as a veritable memoir of Mahatma Gandhi. A museum, picture gallery, the Library and the Terrace together draw an almost complete picture of the freedom struggle as well as the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

For a period of 17 years (1917-1934), the Bhavan served as Gandhi’s Mumbai headquarters and some of the movements crucial to Indian history like the Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Civil Disobedience etc. were initiated here.

The museum captures and portrays Gandhi’s dynamic personality and life through 28 tableaux of dioramas prepared by Sushila Gokhale Patel, along with models of Sabarmati ashram, Phoenix ashram, etc. The gallery also has preserves copies of letters written to Franklin D Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler along with documents and articles written about and by Gandhi, appropriately captioned in both Hindi and English.

A room in the Bhavan on the second floor was formerly the work place for the Mahatma and has been preserved closest to the original setting. Gandhi’s association with the charkha began in this Bhavan and the auditorium plays recordings of Gandhi’s speeches. For historians and biographers, Mani Bhavan is a treasure chest of knowledge.

Hours: 9.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. on all days
2
FD Alpaiwalla Museum

2) FD Alpaiwalla Museum

Housed in a sandstone mansion in Mumbai is India’s only community museum, the FD Alpaiwalla Museum. Opened in 1952, this museum was formerly the house of Parsi bullion merchant Framji Dadabhoy Alpaiwalla and is named after him. The museum is currently run by the Parsi Panchayat of Bombay who restored it in 1984. The museum was an original land grant from the time of Emperor Jehangir and houses odds and ends collected by Alpaiwalla from around the world along with artifacts and relics contributed by other Parsi families. The museum is the the place where one can witness the history of the Mumbai’s Parsi community and their significant contributions.

The museum exhibits rare pieces of art like a toilet seat which is converted into a unique chair, a specially embroidered pair of ladies footwear matching her sari which are used in Parsi rituals hence giving a glimpse into contemporary Parsi life. The museum also houses Sir Dadabhai Naroji’s archaic chest and Sir Jamshedjee Jejeebhoy’s silver clock. Along with these rare artifacts, the museum also exhibits some great archaeological findings from Iran like the ancient astodan (large clay container) used for bone storage which was found by Parsi scholar Jamshed Unwalla at an archaeological digging site in Susa. Persian antiquities, paintings of pre-Zoroastrian myths, coins, stamps, photos of well-known Parsis, Chinese porcelains, and glassware are some other exhibits of this museum.
3
Tower of Silence

3) Tower of Silence

There are many fascinating structures and monuments in the city of Mumbai. With its diverse blend of cultures and people, Mumbai has some of the most intriguing monuments on its soil. One such monument is the Tower of Silence, which is the final resting place for the Parsi community.

The Zoroastrians first migrated to the Indian subcontinent during the 10th century AD and have since been an integral and important part of the Indian community. The city of Mumbai has always been home to a large population of Parsis. The Tower of Silence was built in 1672, by Seth Moti Hirji. The Tower is where the Parsi community performs the last rites for the departed. According to Zoroastrian belief, the earth – Zam and fire- Atar are considered pure and divine. The body of the dead is considered as a pollutant and hence the dead are disposed off atop of a tall tower, to be putrefied by the sun and birds of prey. The Tower of Silence is strictly off limits for unauthorized personnel, but the surrounding area is open for visitors and tourists. Despite the obvious nomenclature for the place, the Tower of Silence must not be looked as place of peace and tranquillity.
4
Hanging Gardens

4) Hanging Gardens

Mumbai is one of the most crowded cities, not only in India but the entire world. With its fast paced lifestyle clubbed with swarming streets, the city can get quite overwhelming for a first time visitor. However, one can still find ample places to get away from all the hustle bustle of the city life within Mumbai. One such place is the Hanging Gardens.

Located in South Mumbai, the Gardens are very close to the Tower of Silence. A favourite amongst morning walkers and joggers, the Gardens offer a quiet hideout and a place to rejuvenate oneself. Also, the breath taking view the Gardens offer of Mumbai and the Arabian Sea make this site a must visit when in Mumbai.

The Gardens were first laid out in 1881 and were renovated in 1921. Built over three reservoirs, the Gardens were built as a brilliant veil over the storage of over 30 million gallons of water underneath. Although the Gardens are popularly known as the Hanging Gardens, due to their location over the Malabar hill, the official name of the park is Pherozeshah Mehta, who was an important politician and activist of that time.

Apart from the breath taking view and tranquillity, the Gardens are filled with well-cut animal shaped hedges. A fun visit with friends and family!
5
Kamala Nehru Park

5) Kamala Nehru Park (must see)

Perched on Malabar Hill is the green getaway within the city of Mumbai, the Kamala Nehru Park. Spread over just 4000 square metres, the Park is a common picnic destination for school kids and families. Reachable by all means of public transport, the Kamala Nehru Park is well maintained park for a quiet day with family and friends.

In contrast to modern day parks, the Kamala Nehru Park has little to offer in terms of amusement rides. Instead, it offers a place away from hustle bustle of the city and the open spaces and green lawns encourage one to play some long lost picnic games. The Park has a shoe shaped structure, believed to have been inspired by a nursery rhyme, which always manages to fascinate the younger visitors. For the older ones, the location of the Park offers a panoramic view of the city. One can see the tall rise buildings, the rushing waters at the Chowpatty shore and lighting up of the Marine Drive necklace of lights when the sun sets. Open from 5 in the morning, the Park is a favorite with the city dwellers who like to take time away from the malls and multiplexes sprawling around the city. All in all, the Kamala Nehru Park is a perfect hangout for families.
6
Jain Temple

6) Jain Temple (must see)

Like any other metropolitan city, Mumbai is filled with noise, pollution and known not to rest, whether day or night. Thankfully, places like the Jain Temple provide some sanctity to the city dwellers. Built in 1904, the Jain Temple is also known as Babu Amichand Panalal Adishwarji Jain Temple and is dedicated to Lord Adishwar, the first Jain Tirthankar or Arihant (omniscient).

The main entrance of the temple has two delightfully sculpted stone elephants and the sheer beauty of the temple mesmerizes its visitors instantly. The beautiful frescoes on the walls depicting the life of the 24 Jain Tirthankars capture the attention of the tourists as well as devotees alike. The serenity of the place instils a sense of belonging to the temple. The peace and quiet inside the temple premises release one from all the worries of the world and therefore the temple is a premier religious destination too.

This temple is much larger than any other Jain temple and has idols of Shri Ghantakaran Mahavir, Ganesha and the black marble shrine dedicated to Lord Parsvanath. The idol of Ganesha takes us back in history to the common origins of Hinduism and Jainism. The dome of the temple is decorated with zodiac signs. For the beauty of the temple and the architecture and the inner peace, it bestows upon all its visitors, the Jain Temple in Mumbai is a must visit, not only if you are in the city but also if you are visiting any other part of the country.
7
Shree Balaji Temple

7) Shree Balaji Temple (must see)

The Shree Balaji Temple, which is one of the oldest in the whole city, stands out from a distance due its unique design. It's worth visiting if your are interested in seeing the rituals performed at religious celebrations, and inside you can also see several statues of Hindu divinities. When you're there look out for the great flower sellers on the street outside.
8
Banganga Tank

8) Banganga Tank (must see)

Banganga or Banganga Tank is an ancient water tank which is part of the Walkeshwar Temple Complex in Malabar Hill area of Mumbai. The tank was built in the 1127 AD, by Lakshman Prabhu, a minister in the court of Silhara dynasty kings of Thane. It was rebuilt in 1715 AD, out of a donation for the Walkeshwar Temple by Rama Kamath. The main temple, has been reconstructed since then and is at present a reinforced concrete structure of recent construction. According to local legend, it sprang forth when the Hindu god Ram, the exiled hero of the epic Ramayana, stopped at the spot five thousand years ago in search of his kidnapped wife Sita. Today the tank represents a rectangular pool structure surrounded by steps on all four sides. At the entrance there are two pillars in which oil lamps called diyas were lit in the ancient times.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Walkeshwar Mandir Temple

9) Walkeshwar Mandir Temple

Another fascinating temple in South Mumbai is the Walkeshwar Mandir. Dedicated to an incarnation of Lord Shiva, the temple is believed to be one of the oldest temples in the region.

Constructed during the reign of the Silhara dynasty, who ruled the region of Mumbai between 810 and 1240 AD, the architect of the temple was Lakshman Prabhu who was a minister at the King’s court.

Like every other temple, this, too, has a unique and interesting story about its origin. According to legend, Lord Rama on his journey to Lanka, in pursuit of the demon King Raavana, is said to have stopped here. Raavana had abducted Sita, the wife of Rama. On his long journey, Rama was advised to worship a Shivalinga, the idol of Shiva. Failing to get an idol, Rama constructed a linga out of sand, which is believed to be housed in the Walkeshwar Temple.

Close to the temple is a tank called the Banganga Tank. The tank today is a rectangular pool filled with sweet water with steps to lead you in. In spite of its proximity to the sea, the tank is filled with sweet water. The spring surfaced only after Lakshman, the brother of Ram shot an arrow (ban in Sanskrit) when the latter was thirsty.

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