Bandra has a skywalk, which runs for about 1.8km (1.1miles). It connects Bandra East and West with the station, a series of interconnecting footbridges (or one long one), providing a safe, elevated platform for pedestrians to walk along.
The Bandra skywalk was finished in June 2008 and was the first one in Mumbai. There are now 36 in the city. I decided to take a walk from the station where I know it connects, to the unknown destination in the west and then in the east.
The mosque beside the station and beneath the Bandra West skywalk: Sunni Jama Masjid.
Pathways of the skywalk conjoin, with one route heading off towards the lake, Bandra Talao, and the other towards the Jama Masjid. I took the route towards the mosque, because I have already seen the lake frequently.
The skywalk provides a great opportunity to watch the action on the streets below, without being caught up in it.
Another mosque lies at the end point of the Western skywalk.
There was a group of schoolgirls visiting the Jama Masjid and the whole cohort of them went from the mosque to the station via the skywalk. They appear in several photos, in their pale blue and white uniforms, as there were many of them all around while I was on my way back along the western skywalk.
The skywalk connects into the footbridges at the station. It is a very clever system. From the skywalk you can either go down to any of the platforms, go down into the main station and exit, or walk right through the other side to the eastern skywalk, which is what I did. This area was very crowded, right outside the station on the Bandra East side.
While I was impressed with the skywalk and its providing a different perspective from which to see parts of Bandra, I realised later that I had overlooked something rather incongruous about its construction. The Mumbai-based blogger of My Favourite Things (http://thatandthisinmumbai.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/bandra-skywalk/ ) points out that though the skywalk is intended as a safe route for pedestrians to avoid traffic, it is not actually very accessible to those people who arguably need it most, such as the elderly and disabled. I did see an escalator at the Jama Masjid end, but it did not appear to be working.
Sudha’s blog also mentions that Mumbai’s skywalks are in general very underused, with people preferring to cross the busy roads rather than climb up to the skywalk. The Bandra skywalk is meant to be used by 100,000 pedestrians daily. Some parts were very busy, like the Eastern portion connecting to the station. Other parts were very quiet, with people sleeping on the steps at the Western skywalk near the bus depot.
Back in Bandra West: These cows had been sitting in piles of rubbish beside the lake on my way to the skywalk earlier, and now they had moved down the street to sit in the middle of the road. I walked on and bought a watermelon at a roadside stall.