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Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach

Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg, better known as Marine Drive, is Mumbai’s seaside prom, an eight-lane highway with a wide pavement built in the 1920s on reclaimed land. The whole three-kilometre stretch – still often referred to by Mumbaikars as the “Queen’s Necklace” after the row of lights which illuminates its spectacular curve at night – is a favourite place for a stroll; the promenade next to the sea has uninterrupted views virtually the whole way along, while the peeling, mildewed Art-Deco apartment blocks on the land side remain some of the most desirable addresses in the city.

Chowpatty Beach, at the top of Marine Drive, is a Mumbai institution. On evenings and weekends, Mumbaikars gather here in large numbers – not to swim (the sea is foul) but to wander, sit on the sand, munch kulif and bhelpuri, get their ears cleaned and gaze across the bay while the kids ride a pony or a rusty Ferris wheel. Once a year in September the Ganesh Chathurthi festival draws gigantic crowds as idols, both huge and small, of the elephant-headed god Ganesh are immersed in the sea.

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