Homegrown Heritage Walks: Explore Mumbai On Foot

(L) Hallu Hallu; Marine Life Of Mumbai (R)
(L) Hallu Hallu; Marine Life Of Mumbai (R)(L) @gohalluhallu; @marinelifeofmumbai (R)

Whether you’re a Mumbai local or just a visitor, there is no better way to explore this sprawling city than on foot. From exploring Mumbai’s marine life to the tucked-away communities in the heart of the city, there is something for everyone.

Run by experts and enthusiastic citizen volunteers, walking tours are a great way to do a deep dive into the essence of Mumbai and go beyond the regular tourist attractions. It is also a great way to make new friends with similar interests, especially if you’re new to the city. The monsoon season is a great time to go out into the city and explore the nitty-gritty of it all and even get absolutely drenched while you look at beautiful sights.

These tours tend to be on the inexpensive side, so if you’re on a tight budget or just looking for something to spend time on and not money, explore one or all of these five walking tours in Mumbai.

I. Hallu Hallu
Launched with the idea of slow exploration in mind, Hallu Hallu, which translates to ‘slowly, slowly’ in Marathi, aims to take you on walks to discover lesser-known places and people. Founded by Aslam Saiyad and Gopal MS, Hallu Hallu does not take you to picturesque places in Mumbai, but rather to unexplored places like Dahisar River and Mankhurd’s M Ward. The idea is to take a beat and really imbibe what you see. They also have a ‘Point and No Shoot’ walk, where photography is not allowed. The idea is to immerse yourself in the city and make your own inferences and observations of what you see.

Join them on their next walk to Sion here.

Image Courtesy: @gohalluhallu; @khaki.tours

II. Khaki Tours
Founded in 2015 by Bharat Gothoskar, the word KHAKI is an acronym for Keeping Heritage Alive & Kicking in India. They conduct walks all across the city, from Dharavi to Bandra to Colaba, either for private individuals or group tours. Khaki Tours also offers open-air ‘jeep safaris’ where a Mumbai Ambassador takes you on a 2.5-hour drive across a locality of your choice, exploring the galli-guchis of Mumbai. During the pandemic, they also started organising online talks on the city and the iconic people that have spent their lives here.

Get in touch with them here.

III. No Footprints
No Footprints organises everything from walks to workshops to experiences. This is the place to go to if your friends are the type to say, “But there’s nothing to do yaaa.” While you can expect the regular heritage walk to feature on their list, they also have a queer-themed walk and even a special, adults-only Bombay bar crawl, where they take you to iconic prohibition-era bars, ending with a visit to one of Maharashtra’s iconic dance bars; proceed with caution. If you’re an early riser and don’t fancy much of a dance, give their Mumbai by Dawn walk a try, and don’t forget to bring your coffee because this one forces you out of bed at five in the morning!

Set your alarms here.

P.S. They have a Delhi location too

Image Courtesy: nfpexplore.com

IV. Art Walks Mumbai
If you, like me, would rather stay indoors this monsoon season, indulge your pretentious arty side with Art Walks Mumbai. Founded by art experts Alisha Sadikot and Nishita Zachariah, Art Walks Mumbai was created to take you on walks to explore and demystify modern and contemporary art. From studio visits to art gallery hops, these walks are open to everyone, whether you’re an art cynic or an art lover.

Join them on their next art gallery hop here.

Image Courtesy: @marinelifeofmumbai; @artwalksmumbai

V. Marine Life Of Mumbai
The flagship project of the Coastal Conservation Foundation (CCF), the Marine Life of Mumbai is a citizen-driven project to shine a light on the diversity and conservation of Mumbai’s shores. With almost 150km of shoreline, the foundation aims to help locals of the city re-discover the fascinating array of marine life found right here in the city and educate people on what we stand to lose if these shores are taken away. On their shore walks, you might be lucky enough to spot everything from a hermit crab to even an octopus or two.

Check them out here.

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