An evening stroll along the Juhu Beach

Whatta crazy week I had! Seems the day has been cut short though it’s Summer already (I am talking about 42 degrees of Summer here in Ahmedabad 😀 which I love the most! Don’t judge!). We complain a lot about many things in life. Struggling to manage and fix everything everyday and forgot to be grateful. But, I have learn so many things this past week. One of it is – trust the route of meditation and mindfulness that help me to find inner peace. Anyways, story for another time 🙂 let’s catch up with another travel story of Mumbai.

Juhu Beach is the longest beach in Mumbai. The surrounding area of Juhu is one of the poshest localities in Mumbai and is home of many famous Bollywood and TV celebrities – the most famous being Amitabh Bachchan’s Bungalow – Jalsa. It’s been an important landmark since past many years. Amitabh Bachchan’s regular Sunday routine when he waves to the awaiting fans at the gate of his residence, popularly called his Sunday Darshan. But what really caught my attention all these years here, at Juhu Beach? The beach? YES. But what else? ISKCON Temple and Prithvi Theatre 

Juhu was called “Juvem” by the Portuguese. At its north point, nestled the village of Juhu, inhabited by Bhandaris (toddy tappers), Agris (salt traders) and Kulbis (cultivators) and at its south point, opposite Bandra island, lived a small colony of ‘fisher folk and cultivators’ (Koliwada). The inhabitants of Juhu were mainly Koli people and there was a small section of Goans. The Church of St. Joseph was built by the Portuguese in 1853.

READ: BANDRA – SWEET LITTLE HAVEN OF MUMBAI

Interesting Fact: Founded in 1928 as India’s first civil aviation airport, Juhu aerodrome served as the city’s primary airport during and up to World War II. Today, the aerodrome handles all helicopter operations out of Mumbai. It also hosts the Bombay Flying Club and several executive and light aircraft and gliders.

Long time back I got a chance to stay at Ramada Plaza Palm Grove Juhu for one night. A five star luxury hotel located exactly at Juhu Beach. Apart from a delicious grand buffet breakfast (it was Brunch for me!) I had lately, the room was cozy and cute! I am not really much into luxury pampering stuff but sometimes it is fascinating though for a short time. Ramada Plaza Palm Grove have an outdoor pool overlooking the Arabian Sea. Tall palm trees be the added glorious for the beach stay.

Breakfast at Ramada

Juhu beach is full of entertainment. There are Yoga and Meditation classes early in the morning arranged by different groups. Some people love to do beach jog while some prefer to sit peacefully here. Witness Horse riding. The dancing monkeys are sure to enthrall the crowds. One of my friend Zakwana, an aerialist dancer (you can follow her HERE), took me to have delicious Pav Bhaji at the food stalls and snack joints set up at the beach. It was so delicious that each one of us end up having 6-7 pav’s (no kidding!).

Pav Bhaji at Juhu Beach snacks stall

I and my mother favorite thing to do at Juhu beach apart of long walks is visiting ISKCON Temple. Appx 1.5 kms walk from Ramada Plaza Palm Groove, which is also the main entrance to the beach. Pleasant evening, crashing waves, splendid sunset and evening peaceful chants with the fragrance of burning incense sticks which changes the emotions at the temple. One of the best experience one could ask for ❤

From past 5 years I have been practically choose which religious places I should go. Not really every temple give you this kinda of positive vibes. Loud noise, over crowded with people pushing each other and bunch of security guards which ready to throw you out the fourth second you dare to stand near the idol. That really never seems logical to me. A temple should be a quiet, sacred and peaceful place not a loud, violent and business space. I don’t agree with the statement that ‘visiting a Hindu temple in India can be a powerful cultural and religious experience.’ Sometime I does, depends upon which temple you are visiting. I have been to several ISKCON Temples across India and found the sacred and pure environment. Since time immemorial Hindu dynasties have commissioned the temples which could be termed as the flagship of their inclination towards art and culture as well as elements to make statement about their possessions of wealth. The truth!

Do you know, Thiruvananthapuram’s (Kerala), Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the richest temple in the country. The shrine of Lord Padmanabhaswamy possesses wealth of around $20 billion in six vaults of Gold. The Golden idol of Mahavishnu, found in this temple worth Rs. 500 Crore. The treasure that was reported to be found in Padmanabhaswamy Temple includes antique gold ornaments, Golden Crowns, Golden Bow, Sack full of Diamonds and thousands of antique jewellery studded with diamonds and emeralds. The Gold necklace adding charm to the divinity of the deity is 18 ft long and weighs around 2.5kg. I wonder why India is still have more number of homeless people?? (is that your question too??)

READ: SUNDAY MORNING, SOUTH MUMBAI CHURCHES WALKING TOUR.

ISKCON TEMPLE

In the early 1970s, when Juhu was considered a remote and obscure part of the city, to envision a temple rising here was beyond anyone’s imagination. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Srila Prabhupada) acquired the Juhu property (which is presently Hare Krishna Land) and promised Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Deities who were then housed in small shack that he shall build a beautiful temple for them. Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to construct a silver and teakwook simhasana for Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari on a marble altar and Their temple should have marble domes more than a hundred feet high. The temple complex opened in 1978 and includes a spacious marble temple, an auditorium, restaurant and a twin towered seven-storey guest house where visitors can stay and participate in the daily spiritual programs of the temple.

I have been here several times and the first time I ever been here was on Govardhan Puja in 2017. Govardhan Puja (or Annakut Puja) is celebrated on the next day after Diwali. Though there are many mythology about this, some says Govardhan Puja is celebrated to cherish the victory of Lord Krishna over the King of demigods Lord Indra some tells a different story. The myth will continue 🙂 Belief is all about.

Govardhan Puja

When it is Festival time, we always cherish lights the most. Glitter and beautiful things. The gratitude. One person brings kindness to a dark corner of this world. Here at ISKCON, the whole place lit up with fairy lights and oil lamps. All you could here the sound vibration chanting.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Chanting has been around for millennia in some form in most cultures around the globe. Traditionally invocations or prayers in praise of the earth, the spirits or God(s), the words and melodies tend to be shorter and simpler than a song, repeated rather than developed. There are chants for waking and for the close of day, for blessing food, and for helping in times of difficulty. In two words, chanting bring us “inner peace”. Zen.

While traditionally part of devotional spiritual practice, the benefits of chanting on mind, body and spirit can be experienced in an everyday, secular context. The most obvious and practical reason for someone living in a bustling 21st century city would be to decrease stress and negativity and increase calm and well being. It is so good to be here every time I visit Mumbai.

PRITHVI THEATRE and CAFE

I have many memories here 🙂 Starting from meeting celebrities Javed Akhtar Ji, Shabana Azmi Ji, Farhan Akhtar, Sharman Joshi and Suchitra Pillai. Not exactly a fan moment but so good to be around them. As well Prithvi Cafe serves delicious shakes and food!! They have been serving on banana leaf plates and paper cups long before “ban plastic” things happen.

Located in the middle of residence, Janki Kutir and 2 mins walking distance to Juhu Beach, Prithvi Theatre was built by Shashi Kapoor and his wife Jennifer Kapoor in memory of Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Shashi’s father. Prithvi Raj Kapoor founded ‘Prithvi Theatres’ in 1944, which originally consisted of 150 members and was set as a travelling troupe. The aim was to stage productions all across India. It debuted with “Shakuntala”, a classical work, and later on presented about 2,662 plays. Prithvi Raj Kapoor always wanted to have a permanent theatre set up. He even succeeded in getting a land for lease in Juhu, but sadly, his health deteriorated, leading to his death in 1972. Years later, when the land was up for sale as the lease expired, Prithviraj Kapoor’s son Shashi Kapoor and daughter-in-law Jennifer bought the land. Finally, the Prithvi Theatre was inaugurated on 5 November 1978.

The events in Prithvi Theatre are held throughout the year. It remains closed only on Mondays. An annual ‘Prithvi Festival’ is held every year, in which many famous artists and maestros participate from all across India. Prithvi Theater has broadened its scope for art lovers of all backgrounds. I have attend two events / shows here: “Kaifi aur Main” – story teller by Shabna Azmi Ji, Javed Akhtar Ji and Jaswinder Singh. Such a wonderful story of an Urdu Poet Kaifi Azmi who was father of Shabhana Azmi ji and “Gaa Re Maa” – a humorous class of generations, music, lovers and mothers.

I warn you Prithvi Theater have really strict rule and if you don’t follow them, they don’t care who you are, from which background you have come, they won’t let you in! Mind it. You are not allowed to take picture inside the auditorium. You are not allowed to go out in the middle of the program, if you do, stay out only. You are not allowed to come late. Advisable to buy ticket early as well come 30 mins before the show starts.

How to get here: If you are traveling in local train, board train to Vile Parle and make sure exit on West gate. It is 10 mins auto ride from the west gate.

The other best thing I love about Prithvi Cafe apart of fairly lights and amazing food – they believe in sharing tables with other people 🙂 you are never alone here! This reminds me of Viva Panjim, Goa.

I believe in live in the moment but also take bunch of photographs for memories 🙂 (lots of Déjà vu’s) and in the end the only thing we cherished is, re-live those moments again. Rushing towards weekend! the 14th week of the year flew. Hope you all have had make the most of life till now. If not, it’s okay, go with the flow 🙂 Ciao y’all super soon. Have a good night peeps!! Ta-da.

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