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  Life   More Features  14 Apr 2018  The green guide to parks in Chembur

The green guide to parks in Chembur

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAMYA RAMAMURTHY
Published : Apr 14, 2018, 7:18 am IST
Updated : Apr 14, 2018, 7:18 am IST

With lush green spaces around, each of these places in Chembur is a landmark in its own right and a verdant haven for residents.

Chimni Garden (Swatantrya Sainik Udyan) in Chembur East
 Chimni Garden (Swatantrya Sainik Udyan) in Chembur East

For the longest time, Chembur was synonymous with the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizer factory as well as the Bharat Petroleum refinery — industries that made this suburb a veritable asthma trigger. Over the years, the suburb has seen the suspended particulate matter (that creates some spectacular sunsets in this area) get countered by expanding green spaces.

Apart from the tree-lined boulevards that offer a contrast to the concrete, Chembur is also home to over 30 green spaces and parks. Some are public, others are private, and some are unfortunately named Bum Bum, Papu, and Chimni. Each of them is a landmark in its own right and a verdant haven for residents. While there are too many parks to give each its own write-up, here are some of the best places to get your green fix in Chembur.

 

RCF Colony
For 50 years, the Trombay-based Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers township and factory (spread over 765 acres) have been a quintessential part of Chembur. Next to the Shivaji statue, however, is the entrance to the residential area that offers a sight for sore eyes with its tree-lined avenues, parks, and a full-sized sports stadium. While the RCF colony is for residents only, you can venture inside for an evening walk and cover the 2km from the entry to exit gates in under 40 minutes. Once inside, you feel instantly transported to a smaller town, or as if you are walking in Mumbai’s more famous green spaces like IIT Bombay or Aarey Colony.
RCF Colony, Chembur (E),

 

Diamond Garden/NG Acharya Udyan
Drawing in morning walkers, senior citizens, outdoor gym aficionados, and dog walkers, Diamond Garden is Chembur’s most famous garden. It boasts of a GNAT MK1 E325 fighter jet flown by two pilots from Mumbai, which was part of the Winged Arrow squadron in the IAF since 1962 and fought Pakistani F100 Super Sabres in the Indo-Pak 1971 war. The plane was returned to the Mayor of Mumbai in 1989 and is now housed in this garden, marking it out as a real landmark.

chembur

Apart from jogging and walking tracks, the garden also has an open-air gym for people who want to train outdoors and a massive indoor gazebo for those seeking refuge from the heat or concrete outside. With plenty of benches, Diamond Garden often makes an alternative meeting point to coffee shops. Curiously enough, a sign on the gate says that school and college children are not allowed in the garden – presumably during the day or unaccompanied by parents, because during the evenings it transforms into a children’s playground with portable merry-go-rounds adding to the see-saws, swing-sets, and slides inside. Street food carts selling all kinds of chaat congregate outside to cater to evening walkers who may be feeling peckish. The garden is right at the intersection of Sion Trombay Road and Central Avenue, which can make it busy and noisy, especially during peak traffic hours.
Diamond Garden (NG Acharya Udyan), VN Purav Marg, Chembur (E), Open daily from 6 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm

 

DK Sandu Udyan
DK Sandu Udyan is a smaller garden that’s right next to Joy Hospital and flanked by the popular Nandu Wada Pav & Saroj Sweets. Featuring a walking track and a kids’ play area with a massive gazebo offering shade for visitors, this one is primarily for the families or office goers who want a quiet place to grab a quick bite. Most visitors are likely to recognise this park as another landmark roundabout in Chembur en route to the Sion Trombay Road.
DK Sandu Udyan, Next to Joy Hospital, Chembur (E),  Open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Chimni Garden/ Swatantrya Sainik Udyan
Chimni Garden is slightly removed from the bustle and sounds of the Sion Trombay Road. It is noticeably quieter and cooler in this part of the suburb, and you can find couples usually grabbing some quiet downtime here along with students gathered to finish their homework together or groups of old men playing cards. It also has the usual park appendages: from a walking track and outdoor gym to benches (with sunshades) and seating. However, it is usually the start of a longer walking route up-and-down the tree-lined Aloysius Soares Marg, where the garden is located. Walkers tend to circle the garden and walk around the edge of the adjacent Golf Course.
Chimni Garden (Swatantrya Sainik Udyan), Borla, Union Park, Chembur (E),
 Open daily from 6 am to 9 pm

 

Gandhi Maidan
If you’re a serious fitness buff or signed up to one of the city’s running clubs, chances are you’ve woken up at 5 a.m. to get to Gandhi Maidan for a training session. This ground plays host to running groups as well as sports training for kids run by the Chembur chapter of the YMCA. Summer holidays are usually the peak season for these camps (the centre offers sports like basketball, volleyball, football, roller skating and kabaddi), which start in April and continue after-school beyond.  The best time to work out here is early in the morning when the crowd is sparser and the temperature is cooler. While mornings are for joggers, the daytime or evenings usually finds it packed with kids playing various sports. At times, the ground also doubles up as an exhibition venue.
Gandhi Maidan, Plot No.155, D. Saraswati Marg, Mahadeo Wadi, Chembur (E)

 

Bombay Presidency Golf Club
Editor’s note: This is a private space with restricted access, but because of its size and importance in Chembur’s landscape, we couldn’t simply ignore it. For all practical purposes, the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) forms the lungs of Chembur. Started in 1927 as The New Club, it was built on nearly 100 acres of land reclaimed from Sewree and leased from the Port Trust. Over time some of this area was repurposed for Sindhi refugees who arrived post partition. Today with 18 holes spread across 6148 yards, it is a fairly demanding golf course – the catch is it is for members only, reportedly with a 10-year enrolment at Rs. 35 lakhs and a  long waiting list to get in.  If you happen to know a member or are a card-carrying member of the Indian Golf Union, you could play a round on this course.
Bombay Presidency Golf Club, Chembur Govandi Road, Chembur (E),

 

— By arrangement with thecitystory.com

Tags: rcf colony, chimni garden