Hanging Gardens

When searching TripAdvisor for popular sites in Mumbai for families, we came across a listing for the Hanging Gardens (Ferozeshah Mehta), in the center of downtown.  I asked to take the car for the afternoon so we could see the gardens. The drive downtown was surprisingly quick, but finding the gardens turned out to be more difficult than expected.  We went in circles looking for the gardens and our poor driver had to get out and ask for directions 3 times.  We finally noticed a large staircase that many locals were either climbing or descending.  Jackpot.

I had read of the beauty of this park and it did not disappoint. The park had a circular track around the edge of the park with paths that crisscross throughout.  The paths all had plenty of benches to sit and relax, and cute gazebos to escape the sun.  All over the park is beautiful green grass and colorful flowers.  Throughout the park you can find bushes that have been landscaped into the shapes of animals.  Since the park is at the top of Malabar hill, many sides have a beautiful view of the bays and tall buildings the make Mumbai such a unique city in India.

Can you see the donkey?
Can you see the donkey?
Lovely gazebo that provided shade from the sun and a place to rest (and play trains)
Lovely gazebo that provided shade from the sun and a place to rest (and play trains)
At a far corner of the park we found the hanging gardens.  These were plants that grew up on  a columns and formed beautiful vine tunnels.  I was initially disappointed because it was such a small section.  Wasn’t this called the “hanging gardens”?  Turns out its called the hanging gardens because the garden “hangs” over a reservoir (hence the steep steps up to the park).
A vine covered tunnel in the hanging garden
A vine covered tunnel in the hanging garden

As my husband proceeded to document as much as possible with his camera, my son went to find every surface that a train could crash off of.  I took the time to people watch.  Sitting in an upscale neighborhood on Mumbai you could see an amazing cross section of modern India.  I saw many older folks walking in traditional dress on the tracks.  Older ladies deep in conversation as they walked or sat on a bench.  Older couples walking close together but never touching, the wife slightly behind.  I also saw the new India.  You couples in western clothing, cuddling and holding hands on the grass.  (But never kissing, that’s still taboo).  Young girls wearing jeans and a salvar (long tunic shirt), mixing the old and the new and making it their own.  I liked watching the older grandmas who sat on the bench and loved to interact with my son and daughter.  Many wanted to play trains with my son, and a smiling baby, well that’s always fun.

A young couple catching a moment together
A young couple catching a moment together
My daughter, the flirt
My daughter, the flirt*
Everyone found this cute and wanted to play with him
Everyone found this cute and wanted to play with him

We left the park and went in the car to pick up my brother in law and drive home.  As we sat in the maddening traffic that defines Mumbai, I had a picture of the green oasis to keep me sane.

* Stared photo taken by Atma Photography

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