Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tourist in my own city - Vile Parle East

Was getting bored last Sunday and kept wondering what could I do in half a day????
I decided to check out a part of Mumbai that I didn’t know well….just like a tourist…in my own city!
Armed with a small camera, walking shoes and my new shades I ventured out in the middle of the afternoon. As luck would have it…Dharmesh Jhaveri (my friend from CouchSurfing) decided to show me around. Pranay Patel from Borivili (and Ulana from Hospitality club) joined us as well.
Here’s what I learnt about Vile Parle East….
We met at café Coffee Day near the Gujarati eating joint ‘Tosa’. There used to be a school which was brought down and these eateries came up.
We crossed over to the ‘Shri Jain Yuvak Mandal’. Dharmesh is the President of this Medical Center. It is wonderful to see that all top doctors (who charge Rs. 550 per sitting) of Mumbai come here to treat patients for at a very small sum (Rs. 30 per month per patient).
Then we took a walk down the lane to the Parle Biscuit Factory, which till date I had only heard about & taken a whiff off in the trains. I never knew a factory actually existed right in the middle of the residential area. There is a shop nearby which sells biscuits from the factory which are broken while making, at a much much cheaper rate :)
(Do not miss the Parle logo on the gate)
Dwarakadhish mandir was on our way but closed. A reminder that most temples close in the afternoon.
Took a U turn, crossed the East-West connecting bridge and walked towards ‘Shaan’ Movie Theater. In its completely dilapidated state, it still stood proud with the statue of ‘Sai Baba’ & other Goddesses standing witness to changing times. Apparently ‘Love Story’ starring Kumar Gaurav was the first film to be played in this theater for which his father Superstar Rajendra Kumar had come to inaugurate the place.

As if mocking the old times, bang opposite the ‘Shaan’ theater stands the spanking new ‘Sun City’ Multiplex now.
Then we went to the municipal garden where a few were already enjoying their afternoon siesta. A new ‘Vodafone’ showroom and the work happening in the upcoming ‘Reliance Fresh’ outlet were the only signs of life around. ‘Kashhh’ is a Hookka parlour near the Garden where a lot of youngsters go.
Swatantrya Veer Sawarkar Sewa Kendra, Vile Parle is a place from where Dharmesh and other like minded social volunteers & activists run a project called ‘GEM’. This is the soul of the Grain, Education & Medicine project wherein they provide provisions once a month at half the rate & better quality than ration shops, to people under poverty line.
Panshikar’s ‘Corn Pattice’, Sharma Bhelpuriwalas ‘Panipuris’, Shree Vadapaav (near Tilak school) ka vada paav and then some cool cool sprite near the market….we stuffed ourselves with as many items as possible. Not to forget that I had started this trip right after a ‘rice/sambhar/avail/shrikhand’ lunch and a nice ‘Green Apple Soda’.

As Pranay and I went about checking out more snack joints on the famous Hanuman Road (home to Gajali sea food restaurant), Dharmesh went to receive Ulana, an Estonian HC member from the station)
She soon joined us and we saw the Magnificent Jain Remple. Made out of White marble and exquisite woodwork, it exists in three floors. Have a look at pix to see it’s beauty. Statues of 24 Tirthankars & other Goddessess in superb craftsmanship were a treat. Dharmesh happens to be the Secretary of the Temple.

Criss crossing the evening market we spotted so many things that one would miss out when alone. Almost every shop has a ‘Parle’ prefix. We laughed at the thought of ‘Parle’ diversifying into lingerie, leather & hospitality business.

If you get tired walking around in the market and are not finding a place to sit then just look for the police chowki. Once you sight it and can see the strategically placed police van, just walk around the vehicle. Hidden between the chowki & the van is a nice clean bench donated by some kind soul.
I heard the fruits & vegetables are so fresh here that even the ‘paisawala juhu junta’ comes here for bhaji (veggie) shopping.

A lady managing a ‘Chai Tapri’ was a cool sight :)
Dinanath Mangeshkar Hall near the Vile Parle (E) is one of the biggest and most renowned theaters for Marathi & Gujarati plays. We finally took a group photo there and said our bye byes.
Am nibbling on some CCI pastries from yesterday as I write this. Goddd….someone take food away from me!


  1. Hey dear Vandana, welcome to the blogosphere! it's a great idea to be a tourist in your own city, I'll try to make myself a tourist day in Paris one of those days...

  2. And now I feel like a tourist in my own city!..there is so much I didnt know, esp the bit about broken biscuts at cheaper rate, mumbaikars are ingenious :) and all that food sure looks yummy and am going hunting for that vada pav...there is also a wagh bakri tea centre across the road from hanuman temple i think (my geography is kinda warped)...it has some decent chai options with some nice brun maska and eating tidbits, check it out next time you get there...

  3. Will definitely chk out the spots u mentioned :) chai n bun maska is one of my favourites....Kayanis in town is a place I love too :)

  4. you wnet right up to gajalee and missed panshikar next door? tchah. criminal!

  5. I went to Panshikar :) see the pix of corn pattice n all above :)yummmm


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