Winters in Mumbai are all about various festivals and migratory birds – the flamingos. The birds arrived at the mud flats along Thane creek a bit late this year, but the forest department has fulfilled an old promise of starting a boat ride to enable people to watch them from close. The hour-long boat ride, which costs `300 per head on weekdays and `400 on weekends, is limited to the Airoli mangrove near Thane, but the authorities have plans to extend the rides to various centres along the eastern coast of Mumbai. The weather at this time of the year is pleasant, and many birds other than flamingos can be spotted there.
Elephanta cultural extravaganza revived
The famous dance, music and art festival at the Unesco World Heritage Site of Elephanta caves on Gharapuri island near the Mumbai coast was revived this year after a gap of nine years. The festival, started by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in 1989, was one of the victims of the 26/11 attacks. Senior artists such as Odissi-mandala fusion performers Zia Nath and Sanatan Chakravarthy, folk singer Hans Raj Hans, Sufi singers Wadali brothers and Lavani dancers Aishwarya and Smruti Badade performed. The government has promised several measures for the upkeep of the island. But locals complained the caves face a threat due to development work by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
‘Hara Ghoda’ Festival
The famous Kala Ghoda Festival of art illustrations, dance, theatre, music, literature and food, which started this weekend, has sustainability as its theme and hence is being projected as the ‘Hara Ghoda’. The nine-day festival will highlight sustainable living, recycling and environment-friendliness. A musical drama on the journey of the Brahmaputra river shown through larger-than-life puppets, the story of 19th century Bombay and the evolution of cinema and architecture over time, called ‘Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan, One Heart: The AR Rahman Concert Film’ are some of the prime attractions of the festival, apart from the ‘Koli Parade’ featuring artistes from the fishing communities of Mumbai.
Mumbai to be shopping destination
The good response to the recently concluded 20-day-long Mumbai shopping festival has boosted the morale of the organizers. The government wants to develop the city into a global shopping destination, and the next festival will be organized on a larger scale, the tourism minister said during the concluding ceremony at the Gateway of India. The night markets were a big draw. Over three lakh people visited the three night markets, of which two had to be kept open until 4 am. More than a lakh people enjoyed over 650 music and dance performances at 13 venues during the festival, the organizers said, but no estimates of the money spent on shopping have been released.