The hills of Kharghar are no less than Malabar hill, the beautiful, upmarket residential neighbourhood in South Mumbai.
Navi Mumbai offers you two things that Mumbai doesn’t – peace of mind and intimacy with nature. Move there and you won’t ever need a weekend getaway.
Wide, orderly roads devoid of traffic, 20-something storeyed towers, lush green gardens, and all the amenities you could need — we’re not talking about New York, we’re talking about Navi Mumbai. So well-planned is the city, that it’s pushing Mumbaikars in search of a better quality of life to pack up and relocate.
One such couple is professor Vilas and his wife Sneha Ujagare who left the upscale seaside promenade of Worli and moved to Nerul 12 years ago. “We decided to move because we needed some peace. The city was too crowded and it wasn’t giving us any solace. My wife got a transfer and we finally decided to move to Nerul,” Vilas says.
Now the couple is retired and spend their days visiting temples and tending their garden. “Mumbai is flooded with people. The population explosion, ever-increasing traffic and pollution are harmful. Why not shift to a place that is healthier?” asks Vilas.
Sneha, a former employee of the Maharashtra Department of Health and Social Welfare, adds, “There are a lot of temples, and there is no water-logging. We needed some peace and calm; this lifestyle is pleasant. The place is beautiful during the monsoon.”
The comparisons between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai are inevitable. While Mumbai offers the scintillating beauty of the western coast and a stroll down Marine Drive or Carter Road, Navi Mumbai has its own promenades and impeccably-clean waterfronts, including Vashi’s Sagar Vihar. It’s likely that if you make the switch, you won’t miss Mumbai much.
Twenty six-year-old Sonali Shekokar, who moved from Malad to Vashi, says, “I lived in Malad for three years because I was working near there, but I was tired of the crowd. I shifted to Vashi because I wanted a place away from city’s hustle-bustle. People live in Mumbai because of their work. On weekends and holidays, they visit the beachside or food joints. Here, you get all that and more; a place where you can be content.”
The hills of Kharghar are no less than Malabar hill, the beautiful, upmarket residential neighbourhood in South Mumbai. But a home in Navi Mumbai won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Professor Abhishek Choudhary relocated from Sion to Kalamboli 25 years ago for financial reasons, but he believes it’s one of the best decisions he’s made. “Every middle-class family aims to have its own house. And a house in Kalamboli is all I could afford then. Now, when I go to Mumbai, I realise how much more peaceful it is in Navi Mumbai. With an improved transport system, it is better to come back here after a long day of work,” he says, adding, “There’s lots of greenery all around. Mumbai doesn’t give you that opportunity.”
The city is a result of years of meticulous planning. “Ten years ago, it was the outskirts of the city. But it is such a promising location that the infrastructure had to be developed, and there is still scope for more. Because property rates are comparatively low, people from all walks of life are moving here. There has been a lot of foreign investment in the area, which bears testimony to the fact that this is the new place to be,” says Amit Haware, the CEO of Haware Properties.
Addressing areas where the city has scope for improvement, he says, “There are challenges in terms of finding good educational infrastructure, cultural institutions, and shopping malls, which are basic requirements for all families today.”
But the way things are going, it seems these deficiencies will also be made up in no time.