Golden Sunlight dapples through the leaves, an emerald canopy of trees embrace each other and the mellifluous sound of chirping birds punctuates the silence. Does any of this sound like Mumbai to you? Surprisingly yes, this is a place in Mumbai and the lush greenery, quaint bungalows and soothing silence are distinct characteristics of this hidden gem called the Altamount and Carmichael road. Nestled in upscale south Mumbai, this place is home to some of the richest and most influential people in Mumbai like the Ambanis and Birlas but that is not why I call it the emerald road. The reason is the beautiful trees and birds that make this road a paradise and a dream place to walk in Mumbai. The eyes see so much green that it is befitting to call it the emerald road.
The road has many old style bungalows and apartment houses and is a declared heritage precinct which falls within the Coastal Regulation Zone-2. The Carmichael Road Walkers association also called CRW actively works to keep the place clean and preserve its rich foliage. The experience of walking through its meandering lanes for an evening walk feels like walking through the lanes of Lonavala or Mahabaleshwar and is an instant endorphin releaser.
In a city so full of noise, traffic and a bustling population, to find a place of silence and peace is indeed a rarity. The lush green surroundings and the cozy silence of the road have made it an exclusive residential area with property prices as high as Rs. 1, 00,000 per sq. ft. It is also one of the few places in Mumbai where one can find huge sprawling bungalows. The street also houses the bungalow of the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, which was one of the earliest bungalows developed in the 1920s, and by 1930 numerous large homes had come up on the street.
Walking in the evening on Altamount and Carmichael road is one of my favourite ways to pass time. Not only are there fewer cars on the road but there are many walkers and pet dogs that also frequent this road. I get to meet adorable pugs, handsome huskies, energetic labradors and even the long and cute dachshunds. Every bungalow is a specimen of beautiful architecture and the quaint little road that rises gently upwards is a great stretch for jogging. It is also a no honking zone and for once the sound of birds twittering is louder than that of traffic.
Every time I walk on this road, it is a stress reliever, an instant mood lifter and a beautiful experience. It’s like a little slice of heaven where I can be all by myself and for once listen to my inner voice. Whenever I need answers, or I am in turmoil and need to introspect, I go here for a walk. I think there is something magical in the air here that almost instantly puts me at ease. It’s like my little secret and my safe haven. This is also what is called walking therapy and is extremely effective because the natural environment acts as a calming influence. Somehow the simple act of walking in a peaceful and green environment can tremendously help to resolve issues. We all need some time out from the fast and busy pace of our lives and for me it is a walk down this emerald road that allows me to collect my thoughts, gather my breath and simply stand and stare and be one with nature.
Truly, a walk on this road is a walk to remember and in a city that never sleeps, to experience such serenity is indeed a miracle.