A walk in the sky – 1: Bandra Skywalk

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 :-)

Bandra Skywalk from Hill Road to Bandra Station

Bandra Talao

There is a point on the Bandra skywalk where the different arms converge or diverge depending on your point of view

(L) The skywalk (R) Obstacle course on the skywalk ;-)

View of the BEST Bandra Bus Depot

Bandra Station

Some platforms of Bandra Station are visible as I exit the skywalk

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.

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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:

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35 thoughts on “A walk in the sky – 1: Bandra Skywalk

  1. Way to gal…u get better n better…I sound like a parrot now…but how do i compliment someone so gifted???? Do your walks…save one skywalk to do with me…I better make it to Mumbai fast :-) Love and god bless

  2. Not really safe during the monsoons. Its only the strip of different tile finish on both the sides of the “skywalk” that gets a nice grip on chappals, shoes, etc.

    IMHO, its a major fail. Too many skyovers, overhead bridges and now this. The day is near that any houses away from such construction and a decent enough sunlight will cost a premium. If you see the crossing near Luckys, many do not use the bridge. The stairs opposite the talao is now wielded properly. Not that I am saying its unreliable, but such pillars should be reinforced properly.

    • To be honest, I was quite scared to go up to the skywalk during the monsoons because of the way the stairs were built. I did not notice the crossing near Luckys, as I got in from the Hill Road side. But will definitely look out when I am in Bandra next.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Great photos. Planning to go to Bombay(for me it will remain Bombay forever) in a couple of months for the first time. Would definitely walk on one of these skywalks.
    Thank you Sudha.

    • Thanks, Laxman. These skywalks are quite surreal and interesting and I would definitely recommend a walk on one of them. Did you know that many early morning walkers use these to walk on?

      And welcome to Bombay in advance. :-)

  4. What an unusual theme to post on!! I really enjoyed your write-up and photographs! I’ve been to Bandra station a few times, but the perspective your photos offer is very new! I will look forward to your skywalk series. Is there one in Andheri?

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Anoop. The skywalks are a different way to experience the city, and the next time you visit Mumbai you could probably visit one of them. The ones in Bandra, Kalanagar, Santacruz and Charni Road are quite interetsing.

      I couldn’t figure out what the obstacle course was for—whether repair work or painting or for hanging banners.

  5. Hi, Sudha – I don’t know how many times I’ve driven past the Bandra skywalk, and each time I’ve been in such a hurry to get to my destination, that I’ve been postponing the experience of walking on the skywalk! Well, now you have truly motivated me. I had no idea that the view of such familiar sights, such as the Bandra Talao and station from the skywalk would give them such an expanded perspective. This is one more reminder to us to halt the race of work and ‘stop and stare’ at familiar sights, so as to discover new meaning from what we thought we knew. Thanks, Rajshri Mahtani.

    • Thank you so much, Rajshri. This sky walk has opened my eyes to a very different perspective of Mumbai and motivated me to explore this side of the city I call home.

    • Well, the usage pattern has been fairly mixed. Some skywalks are used more than the others. But the skywalks have a set of unexpected users, something that the planners never planned for—people taking their morning or evening walks.

  6. Nice write up. New in the city btu want to take the skywalk someday. Have been discouraged by some saying it is not safe outside the crowded office hours and also has its flock of resident monkeys. Love to know your views. Thanks.

  7. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    The skywalks are all over the city and its character would vary depending on where they are. I have only used the Bandra skywalk and it is in a very public location. The only precaution I would take is not to venture on it very early in the morning or very late at night. Try the Bandra skywalk, it is amazing. I am going to try out the Chembur skywalk next, so watch out for this space.

    • That’s a good idea. I did the Chenbur skywalk earlier today (post coming up sometime next week) and it was quite a different experience from the Bandra skywalk. Would you like to join me the next time I go for a skywalk?

  8. I wanted to do a post on this ever since I first saw the skywalk… but the only time i actually walked on it, i didnt have a camera, it was night, and as it turned out, rather a scary walk, since me and my son were the ONLY people there! I wish more people would use it! loved this.. and looking forward to reading about the other sky walks too….
    and, about your reply to the last comment, chembur skywalk is nothing compared to that one…. maybe once the monorail is ready and the skywalk is complete,it will be a bit more interesting :) but that will take at least a few more years!!

    • Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Anu. The Chembur skywalk, about which I put up a post earlier today, was a bit of a disappointment. It felt more like a foot over bridge than a skywalk. Maybe the next one that I do, will be more interesting.

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  10. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog, or ambled is perhaps the right word! I liked your description very much, I lived in Bombay (as it was then) till I left to go to the US for college, but Bombay (or Mumbai now) is where my heart is. I visit every year, and feel nostalgic for what might’ve been. We have the capacity to do so many things right, but somehow, they don’t get done. Skywalks like you mention, are a case in point. Great idea, poor execution. Still, Mumbai is always fascinating, and your blog is wonderful to read. Thanks for your unique perspective on my favourite city!

    • Welcome to my blog, Nima, and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

      I love Mumbai very much, though I don’t always like it. And I am amazed at the different perspectives that the city offers as well as the secrets it shares, but only when one is willing and open enough to see and appreciate it. Initially, the skywalks fascinated me as a piece of architecture, but once I went up on the Bandra skywak, my very first one, I was fascinated by an entirely different Mumbai spread out before me and its relationship with the environment around. Thus began my explorations of other skywalks as well. I have done only 3 so far (Bandra, Chembur and Cotton Green) and am waiting for the monsoons to get over before I resume my skywalking.

      I do hope that you will continue to visit this blog to read more about the city you love.

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