Over the last 2 years or so, elevated pedestrian walkways connecting suburban railway stations to nearby commercial areas have been sprouting all over Mumbai. Known as skywalks, the first one was inaugurated at the Kalanagar junction of the Western Express Highway in 2008. Today, many more are functional all over Mumbai. Somehow, I never got a chance to take a walk in one of these till last Saturday. I was on my way from Vashi to Borivali via Bandra.
It was 9.30 in the morning when my bus from Vashi deposited me near the Hill Road exit of the Bandra Skywalk. I had to walk up to Bandra Station to take a train to Borivali. From where I stood on the road, the skywalk was lit up by the mellow January morning sun making it irresistibly welcoming. Not to mention the fact I would encounter no traffic at all on the skywalk!
Walking on a skywalk is actually quite surreal. It is quite unlike travelling on a flyover or an elevated road in a fast-moving vehicle, while the world around you appears to be stationary. The skywalk’s experience is quite the opposite with you being stationary with the world rushing by. I could get a bird’s-eye view of the Bandra Talao as well as a peek into the BEST Bus depot—places that one would not get to see with such a perspective. I felt like I was suspended somewhere up in the sky, not altogether an unpleasant feeling. Thankfully, the skywalk did not pass near residences or I would have felt like a voyeur, the way I do whenever I travel on the JJ flyover or the Sion flyover in Mumbai!
So, what are you waiting for? Come, take a walk with me in the sky at Bandra
Getting off the skywalk at Bandra Station brings home a lot of realities about the way things are constructed in India. Though the skywalk offers a safer mode of travel for people, it cannot be accessed by the people who arguably need it the most—the disabled and the elderly. There are no ramps at all at any of the entry/exit points on the skywalk, and the staircase is relatively steep and uneven at places, making navigation a bit tricky even for a relatively fitter person like me. Why is our urban planning and development so discriminatory, not to mention so poorly planned?
This post is the first of a series of skywalks that I intend to do all over Mumbai. Considering the varied landscape of the city, I am sure that each skywalk will have different perspectives and experiences to offer. I will be sharing each one with you right here on this blog. Do keep visiting and let me know what you think of the skywalks.
About the Skywalk Series
This series attempts to see Mumbai through a skywalk. To keep some sort of uniformity (and convenience), all skywalks are done on a Saturday and at approximately 9.30 am. The skywalks explored so far are:
- A walk in the sky – 2: Chembur Skywalk
- A walk in the sky – 3: Cotton Green Skywalk
- A walk in the sky – 4: Sion Skywalk