Mumbai is known to be many things. Chaotic, hectic, maddening and others are all adjectives that have been thrown its way. Depending on where you live in this grand old city though, you will find little pockets of bliss. Nestled in midtown Mumbai, is one such blissful abode of city living called Matunga.
Set smack dab in the the thronging metropolis’ heart, you wouldn’t expect Matunga to be any better than its central counterpart of Dadar, but as chalk is distinct from cheese, so are the two suburbs. While Dadar conforms to the typical Mumbai, busy bee vibe, Matunga is that much more residential, ergo, accommodating, kid-friendly and abounds in every thing a person needs to set up a home.
In this feature we shall explore Matunga, giving you, the reader a fresh, unbiased perspective on one of Mumbai’s best kept secrets. From where to shop, to where to eat, and where to send your little ones to school, we have the lowdown on everything. So read on, and discover, why Matunga is indeed midtown bliss…
Locationally speaking Matunga sits on the midpoint of Mumbai. Accessible by both the Central and Western lines, Matunga is excellently connected by rail. From the standpoint of office goers, the Eastern Express highway, connects Matunga to Mumbai City proper (also called town), and easy access to Mumbai’s suburbs thanks to the Bandra-Dahisar Link Road and the arterial SV Road, means that you’re never too far away from anywhere.
An excellent cosmopolitan ethos:
Matunga is a testament to Mumbai’s cosmopolitan spirit, with people of all faiths, creeds and communities living here in harmony. From temples to agiaries and even churches, this suburb has places of worship that cater to every faith. An interesting mix of Tamilian Brahmin, Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Irani and Catholic cultures means that the food scene in this suburb is matched by few others.
Matunga boasts of some of Mumbai’s most iconic educational institutions, at the school, college and master’s levels. The much vaunted Don Bosco school has produced some of the city’s most influential lawyers, doctors and academics. Khalsa College, one of Mumbai’s most noteworthy colleges, for all known streams and a powerhouse on the Mumbai athletics scene also calls Matunga home. The Virmata Jijabai Technical Institute and the University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT) are all both much sought after institutions that produce excellent engineers, who are in demand, the world over. So whatever the vocation, Matunga has an institution to cater to it.
If there’s one thing that Mumbai lacks as a city, it is serenity and tranquility. Thanks, however to suburbs like Matunga, a tiny slice of peace can still be found in the city. One of Mumbai’s best kept secrets in the form of Parsi Colony, calls Matunga home. A stronghold of the city’s Irani community, this little enclave of peace is what makes moving to Matunga almost a no-brainer. In close proximity to this charming old time community, is the Don Bosco campus that is another well maintained and idyllic bastion of some quiet time with yourself in the maddening chaos of the city.
Matunga is an interesting mix of old world charm and modern infrastructure. A beautiful testament to the contradiction that makes the city what it is.
Matunga has long been the bastion of Mumbai’s middle class. With the proliferation of infrastructure and development projects like the Mumbai Regional Transport Scheme, that has facilitated the connectivity of the area, a large number of South Mumbai residents have moved here. The charming environs and unbeatable class of shopping, dining, educational and lifestyle options of the town have made it a magnet for nouveau riche and the upper middle class.
Things To Do
There’s never a paucity of things to do when you’re in Matunga. Here’s a list of things to experience and try in Matunga.
The bustling King’s Circle area is a veritable bargain hunters paradise. With shops and hawkers galore, this place is buzzing from morning to night. And if you’re in the mood for the uber chic, hop into a taxi, or drive down to Palladium, for a taste of the high life, with some of the world’s best high street and bespoke brands crammed into thousands of square feet of retail Nirvana, you will not be sorry you came.
Matunga’s famous Shanmukhananda hall is iconic for hosting some of the most epic dance, drama and musical concerts. With theatres and multiplexes like Inox, Adlabs and PVR, you will never miss out on another blockbuster ever again.
One of the city’s green lungs, is 5 gardens in the heart of Parsi Colony. A long leisurely stroll in the heart of this colony comes highly recommended. Lose yourself to the tranquility that is so hard to come by, or engage with the locals to find new things to do in this dynamic and eccentric community.
From South Indian to Gujarati, from Chinese to Continental, and even authentic Konkani seafood, Matunga has something for every palate. The iconic Cafe Madras, serves filter coffee that will make an Italian barista, question his cafe lattes, wafer thin dosas and wadas that are golden brown are a treat for all and sundry. Koolars Cafe, run by an eccentric Paris gentleman, serves up Irani fare that is best enjoyed, well throughout the year. Gujarati thalis and snacks, and Maharashtrian delicacies can be found at the numerous eateries and stores the abound.
Transportation, Hospitals, Temples, Landmarks
Matunga is well connected by both rail and road to all parts of the city. Trains to town and the suburbs can be accessed from Matunga Road station on the Western line and Matunga station on the Central line. BEST and NMMT run suburban bus services and AC buses to and from Matunga to all parts of the city and taxis ply at all times of the day.
Matunga is extremely close to both Hinduja and Fortis hospitals, that are about 10 minutes by road, in Mahim. Private nursing homes, paediatric facilities and polyclinics make up the rest of this suburb’s health infrastructure.
Temples/Churches and other religious places:
Originally known as Mahikavati, Matunga is home to numerous temples, chief among which is the Guruvayoor shrine, which is visited by devotees all year round. Jain temples, sacred to the Gujarati community are also numerous. Among one of Mumbai’s most beautiful churches, Don Bosco Church is an outstanding example of 20th century art deco architecture and is a must visit for any devotee, or seeker of peace.
Parsi Colittle vacation from Mumbai’s madness is highly recommended. A little trip to 5 gardens especially on hot, humid evenings is a definite relaxer. Don’t forget a walk down King Circle, for retail therapy.
Matunga is bordered by Mahim and Dadar. Both excellent areas in their own right for shopping and entertainment.
One of Mumbai’s most throbbing and bustling communities. Think shopping, for garments, accessories, grocery and all things in between, Dadar is the place to be. Relax in one of the many cafes that dot this town, or gorge on Maharashtrian snacks and seafood at Damodar and Sindhudurg respectively. For a taste of old time Bollywood catch a show at either Hindmata or Plaza.
An eclectic and often times interesting mix of flavours, dining, especially of the street variety is highly recommended at Mahim. Kebabs on your mind? Try the haleem and other delicacies near the Mahim mosque. For a little soul searching St. Michael’s Church, famous for the weekly novenas is highly recommended.
Whether you’re looking at moving into an apartment or duplex flat, or for the purpose of investment, look no further than Matunga, simply because this is where it is at. With infrastructure projects set to further enhance the already impressive connectivity of this suburb, now’s the right time to look at this place. Tranquility and kids’ education on your mind Matunga caters to each of these most aptly. With rates per square foot in the mid to high 20,000s, this area is ripe for the plucking. And with the property rates set to further appreciate there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be looking to capitalise on this prime piece of real estate in the heart of the city.