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A cursory web search for Chowpatty might throw up results to disappoint the traveler in you. On the other hand, if your soul is of a Mumbaikar, a web search is the last activity you would do to understand Chowpatty. It is more than a beach; it is an emotion like any other.
Chowpatty, or Chau-pati, means ‘four channels or creeks’ and was likely coined to signify the supposedly four inlets from the sea to Girgaun, which existed at some point in the past. At this point, it is an outlet for the people of the city to the sea.
You just need to step aside from the road and walk on the sand to feel that time has slowed down its pace. Although the space is famous for hosting Ram Leela and is host to the multitude of devotees who flock here for immersion at the end of Ganesh Festival, there is another facet to the beach.
It’s a space where your evening lingers on, moving bit by bit with each successive step on the sand. A space where one can witness the evening unfold and watch the madness of the city from its comfort. As the cars zoom by, you feel blessed to be there, doing nothing in particular except for savoring the moments. Once there, you’ll be greeted with one of the best street foods in Mumbai. After you are done with the usual distractions, you proceed towards the shore. If you are lucky enough, you may spot colorful fishing boats idling on the waves. A gradual feeling of being a part of this beach begins to sinks in.
For locals, the beach is an extension of daily life, an outlet for the daily grind. They revel in its sands and shores while the city rushes by. For the travelers, Chowpatty is not just a beach spot. For a beach, it’s relatively small in area. There are many other glorious beaches around Mumbai to visit like Aksa, Gorai, and Manori. One will find a vast expanse of clean sand and clear water to unwind. In that regard, Chowpatty fares poorly. However, what it holds is the ability to slow down your daily life, your routine existence, for you to sneak in leisure at no extra expense. Chowpatty holds the power to slow down the evenings, make them last longer, and when the sun goes down the Arabian sea, you know Mumbai a whole lot more.