“A Green belt in Mumbai suburb, Aarey Milk Colony is a extended forest area of Borivali National Park which has small villages, attraction places and more located in Goregaon (East). It is well known since decades now for it Milk farm by Dairy development department, a state government initiative famously known for ‘Aarey Milk’ under greater Mumbai milk scheme sold inside at Aarey Dairy since 1949. With time couple of places inside colony attracted citizens and tourist for its beauty and serenity among which Chota Kashmir (Also referred as Chhota Kashmir) lake for hangout and boating is a major attraction. More to the attraction list is Aarey picnic pond, Bird watching locations, Casual hangouts, Daily Cycling and Jogging to get fresh forest air, A Star Hotels and recent proposal for Metro 3 which gave birth to powerful ‘Save Aarey‘ Mission. Lets get more details on all this attractions in and around in Goregaon East area connected to National Highway 8.”
Aarey Milk Dairy
Also called ‘Central Dairy’, which was set-up during 1949 and which started its operations of providing packed milk and education via its unique institute in 1951 has till date served Mumbai from 3 of its major location to process, packed and distribute milk to various centre and stalls authorized in Mumbai by Maharashtra state government. The production of about 5000 litres of milk is done at this very location called ‘Gorgaon Aarey Milk Colony’ by about 15000 and more cattle in the huge shed area called ‘Tabela’ in Hindi in 3600 acres of reserved land. Dairy authorities have also set-up an Institute at around 1960 to promote and get best manpower being trained and developed who serves Dairy Industry which is run by Nagpur university of Animal and Fisheries of Maharashtra. The institute gives out about 40 professionals who works at various dairy industries here in India and Internationally. Similarly 2 Other dairies by same Dairy development department are located at Worli and Kurla.
Aarey Milk Colony Green Attraction
Some of the only remained green forest areas in Mumbai, Its an extension of Sanjay Gandhi National Park with dense green forest starts at Borivali all through Goregaon, falling back it has Powai and Vihar lake towards Andheri and Yeoor Hills towards Thane. Talking about Aarey Colony which attracts daily cyclists, Joggers to get that dose of early morning fresh unpolluted air with blissful serenity of mother nature in this forest belt.
Monsoons are awesome inside colony and attracts lots of migratory birds too and so is this place became one of the loved Bird watching locations of Mumbai city. The widely spread Colony is about 3600 to 4000 acres of forest land which also attracts nature enthusiast who loves to visit with lenses to experience and smell the sweetness of dry hay during early days of Monsoon and Green scenic view all towards deep going roads with green trees roof and shades all around.
Many daily footfalls are for small ponds (Specially Aarey Picnic Pond) and to view Cattle grazing, be with self and distance self from the hustle bustle of city. As summer approaches things around goes dry and along with pong area the only major attraction inside Aarey Milk colony sought is the so called Mini Kashmir area Of Mumbai, Yes i am talking about ‘Chota Kashmir’ (More details below).
It will not come to and exception for romantic couples who gets some quality time to spend with each other in this disturbing area with enough green or dry shades with basics like food and water available around. Ideal time for touring and hangouts at Aarey is early morning till evening before dark.
Although there are villages and people stay, there are many man vs wild encounters, of which leopards are the most common site who visits these village and lakes ‘sometimes’ in dark for water and possible food hunt. But that is an extreme case of Summers and not a day to day encounter.
Another reason for family and friends group getting attracted to this place as it is an ideal place for a day picnic as without restrictions you can unpack you baskets and bags to enjoy quality time with your group of family, kids and friends till evening enjoying the fresh air and nature around.
Chota Kashmir, The Main Attraction
As an the nature friendly green belt of Mumbai, I talked about how and why this place attracts Cyclists, Daily Joggers, Bird Watchers, Nature Lovers and Picnic Goers. But the main attraction of Aarey colony is ‘Chota Kashmir’, about 4 acres of lake along road inside known for Boating and fun. This Mini Kashmir of city major attracts family with kids and couples for some leisure time boating and enjoying the evening as the sun sets. Silence sets with chirping sounds of birds around lake which has colourful boats floating for couples (Two seater), and family (4 and 6 seater) between morning 11:00 Am till sunset time 6:00 Pm. Although many might not like the way boats and lakes is maintained, But as basics food and water kind stuff is available (with not so hygienic wash rooms as of day written this) a day off in the jungle with boating options is worth. Boating charges (I try keep updated) are Rs.10 for children and Rs.20 for Adults (Photography charges extra). Bollywood films of 70’s and 80’s with songs like ‘Dil Deke Dekho’ and ‘Jawan Mohabbat’ staring Shammi Kapoor has scenes shot in the Mini Kashmir location as there were many flower gardens around the lake location and was so called ‘Chota Kashmir’, I guess.
Although film shoots inside Chota Kashmir Garden area is history now as there are very less of Flora and Faunas worth the shoot, Few Godly help always keeps the green zone floating. In 2015, Few NGO’s like Greenline and Vanshakti joined hands with Save Aarey, a Conservation Group with many schools kids who planted varieties which will grow up and multiply crediting the Karma’s book of all of them.
Aarey Picnic Pond
Although Chota Kashmir is what attracts people the most inside Aarey colony, There are people who loves to visit a small little pond commonly called ‘Aarey Picnic Pond’ here since 1985 all surrounded by huge thick trees and ideal place for settling down for fun play and picnic. Water of the pond is inaccessible and surfaces green algae as it is not maintained properly. I think, With little care towards this beautiful pond, It can bring up beautiful looking white and pink water flowers called ‘Lotus’ which multiplies and stays for years automatically, But such ideas is far till date. The exact location of this pond is Picnic Point Garden on Dinkarrao Desai Road, little deep inside after Chhota Kashmir location. It is open to public for all 7 days, timings 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. It will be great if BMC take up a small project to beautify this green heaven of Mumbai, takes some entry charges and start some paid guided tours inside colony, making it one of the most loved and frequented places to visit on Mumbai Darshan list. But the focus has been shifted to Coloba in South Mumbai to create a beautiful nature park just like Americas central park.
The Road Map
Frequently Asked Questions
How to reach Aarey by Road ?
On Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway Reach after crossing Malad towards Goregaon, Head ahead and after crossing the famous Oberoi Mall, check for Goregaon Check Naka. Take left and the road to colony green zone starts.
Which is the nearest railway station to reach colony ?
Goreagon on Western Railway Route, Get down and take an Auto / Bus from Station East side.
Are Andheri, Powai and Mulund Reachable From Aarey Road ?
Yes, You can reach Andheri via Goregaon Aarey and to Mulund too.
Are there any tolls or charges to enter ?
No toll charges etc. now.
What about Food and Water Facilities ?
Lots of small restaurants and Dhaba’s available on Aarey road and also at Chota Kashmir for food, water and Mumbai ki Cutting Chai (Tea).
Is Aarey safe at Night?
Avoiding is recommended as Leopard, Snakes encounters possible. Also unsafe to walk solo late evening and at nights, Drives are safe. Please take care of wild animals, snakes etc while driving and make sure their stroll is unhurt.
Is their any STAR hotels inside and What’s the name of the luxurious hotel ?
Palms Hotel, Also called Royal Palms Hotel and Convention Centres.
One thing people don’t like about reaching this green heaven ?
The struggle they need to do to reach Aarey entry gates because of the traffic on roads of Mumbai.
Anything else ?
Do Not Drink and Drive, Police keep close watch at entry point from National Highway. Enjoy safe drive, Keep Aarey Clean and Green.