Long before there was a white revolution in India, Mumbai got its dairy fix from the pasteurized pastures inside Aarey Colony. Nearly 70 years after it was established, Aarey, as it is fondly called, continues to be a green belt near the heart of the city which satiates the dairy cravings of Mumbaikars. But if you thought it was all about cream and butter in Aarey Milk Colony, then you might want to keep reading because we are about to tell you about the other side of Aarey Colony.
Image by KartikMistry/CC BY-SA 4.0
How to reach
Aarey Colony is located just off the Western Express Highway in Goregaon and is 5 kilometres from the eastern end of the railway station. One can take bus number 341 from Goregaon east to reach Aarey Colony with the round trip fare costing you around Rs 40. Conversely, one can take an auto from Goregaon to reach the spot and this will cost you around Rs 80 one way.
Image by Pixabay
Aarey Colony was established in the year 1949 and is spread over 1300 hectares of land. The area houses nearly 35 cattle farms that form nearly 15% of the total dairy output in Mumbai. Filled with lush green vistas that stand out from the distant skyscrapers, Aarey Colony is a green carpet in Mumbai that doesnt seem like a part of the steaming metropolis.
Things to do
While taking a walk and photowalking seem to be the obvious answers, the standout element of the area will be the various cycling trails that it provides. Cycling as an activity has gained prominence in the recent years and cyclothons are organized here on a weekly basis. The New Zealand trail inside the colony is the most popular with the cyclists. The trail goes from the main entrance of the Colony till the New Zealand Hostel and then turns back to the Goregaon Toll Naka. The trail also can be used to take a detour to the Chotta Kashmir Lake. Other cycling trails extend from Sanjay Gandhi National Park to Powai Lake with stretches of 10-15 km inside Aarey.
Image by Pradeep717/CC BY-SA 3.0
No article on Aarey Colony can be complete without the mention of legendary Chotta Kashmir Lake. The lake, which is four acres in diameter, is a popular picnic spot for families residing in and around Aarey and makes for an ideal spot for a Sunday family outing. Known for its boating options, Chotta Kashmir also hosts a number of mini rides (carousels, mini Ferris wheel) around the lake which attracts kids, while adults can indulge in bird watching.
Timing: 1 am to 6 pm
Boating charges: Rs 20
Note: In order to carry a camera, one has to pay an additional 20 bucks at the ticket counter.
Aarey may be filled with all things green but when it comes to getting some grub, the area has limited options with roadside vendors selling snacks and Indian street food. The only decent restaurant in the colony is the Aarey Garden restaurant which offers Chinese and North Indian cuisine. The approximate cost of having a meal here would be Rs 1100 (for two people).
So if being close to nature makes up your ideal weekend, then Aarey Colony in Goregaon is the spot for you.
The main image for this article was sourced from Wikimedia. Image by KartikMistry/CC BY-SA 4.0