“Hardly 5 minutes walking distance from railway station (West) is ‘Bandra Talao’, A small to medium size beautiful lake with fish and pigeons near to relax for sometime. This Talao is a Grade 2 listed Heritage water body spread over 7.5 acres area now surrounded with beautiful trees on one of the side after Phase 1 of makeover project. A peaceful location since 2 centuries now for residents and visitors in midst of chaotic fashion & shopping locations of Bandra. Know more about the struggling facelift, the past glory and the current need of time of this lake..”
‘Bandra Talao’, Which was also known and called as ‘Motha Sarovar’, ‘Swami Vivekanand Sarovar’, ‘Bandra Lake’ and ‘Lotus Tank’ has a past history relating to these names it is known for. Talao is the Hindi word for any local Lake and now this place commonly called ‘Bandra Talao’ was once a beautiful and clean water lake where residents use to go swimming, fish farming activities were seen, Paddle boat rides were possible till late 90’s and it had lotus flowers floating around giving a soothing experience although was just a simple water body then without any makeover.
This 7.5 acres of lake is 2 centuries old and was constructed by a Muslim local staying in one of the famous locality of Bandra called ‘Navpada’. Fishes are always the charm and attractions of this talao which is right in the middle of 2 famous roads called ‘SV Road’ which has high vehicle movements at one side and ‘Turner road’ which connect Bandra railway station on other side. Both these roads are connected by ‘SG Joshi Marg road’ which is on the 3rd side (See pictures). As of day, Pigeons and few ducks are the main survivors in and under tree shades of this place.
I would sincerely not recommend it as a tourist destination for which one should travel a distance as it is just a simple lake with nothing much around. But yes, if you are already her in the fashion queen suburb of Mumbai called ‘Bandra’ exploring famous street side shopping destinations like Linking road & Hill Road or enjoying at ‘Bandstand‘, which is one of the famous and best rocky promenade of Mumbai knwon for sea and fort, Also famous for residents of leading celebrities of Bollywood (Salman & Shahrukh) Khan, then a visiting this heritage lake for few minutes is worth.
Since 2011-2012, the news about facelift and makeover project (Phase 2) of this place flashing in various newspapers and other media created huge expectations between locals and people like me writing about same. But it has never taken a serious move till date and its 2018 already with the proposed facelift seeing a dead end. Still phase 1, brought in great relief with a walk way, tall trees and plantations around which looks really beautiful on SV Road side of this Talao. It has attracted many local for a casual evening walk, college groups and others to spend some good time along the lake with groups of pigeons flocking together.
The water inside the lake is not clean as it should be. Although Bandra talao never dries totally, The water level goes down in summer and lake is filled again during monsoon. In around 1990’s few paddle boats and fish farming activities were seen inside which gave a required attraction to many. With time that too disappeared. With lots of fish inside and the maintenance is not exactly as it should be, the water looks green and it stinks many a times. Local residents also complains about open defecation, garbage, drunker problems and illegal fishing done openly without any restrictions as their is no proper security system around.Facelift and Makeover of Bandra Talao
Phase 1 of this lake beautification brought some improvements with surrounding tall trees, improved walkways & seating and has also attracted locals back for some peaceful time. Citizens were excited with news and planning proposed for makeover with Phase 2. The face lifting ‘Bandra Talao Project’ had a WOW effect as the plans would have added 2 acres of green land to this place. But the proposals were scrapped and plans got cancelled due to various reasons.
What Were The Facelift Plans For This Lake ?
The makeover proposal was very attractive and costly too. A glass tunnel was planned inside the lake which would have allowed visitors and tourists to enjoy surrounded by water in safe tunnel watching the life inside water body like fishes, tortoises etc. Addition to the 7.5 acres area was another 2 acres green garden like place planned by using the main road (SV Road) and converting it to a beautiful green like area with other facilities like fancy lights, gallery, water fountains etc. Without any pollutions and vehicle interference this garden would have been connected to the talao and 6 lane underpass way to be created below it for vehicle movement. This extra 2 acres of Bandra talao would be 350 metre long of green land above the underpass. The cost estimated went above 100 crores.
But as the revamp never took off, It was recommended to first make basic required changes by keeping the Talao (Lake) water & surroundings clean and let it flourish naturally to attract seasonal birds like before and beautify it with small lotus plants. Most important, it should have round O clock tight security and CCTV cameras to keep away with nuisance like waste, garbage, liquor bottles etc as detailed before. It actually made sense to do this compared to the flashy and costly revamp proposal in Mumbai suburban. Citizens primarily needs a beautiful and secure lake, safe and accessible by family and friends group to spend some quality time below tree shades and along with Pigeons and Other birds.
* Pictures Courtesy : Nayaab Khan, Animekh Misra, Parveen Kazi, Nachiket Nisal.
More places to see in Bandra : Reclamation Promenade, Floating Hotel, Joggers Park, Pali Hill Food Truck, Bandstand Promenade, Railway Station Building and Carter Road. See tourism & location details.