Mumbai for kids: Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon
Aarey Milk Colony, Goregaon (E)
It’s been a childhood wanna-go destination, filled with images of milkshake streams, green fields and undulating roads and cotton candy. Perhaps, that is why we were a bit disappointed when we finally got there.
Aarey Milk Colony, situated in Goregaon (E), is actually full of undulating roads, each leading to colony stables for buffaloes. As we drive past we can spot buffaloes, hay stacks, calves and derelict homes. The lake is unmissable, and we see people sedately paddling in paddleboats around the lake.
But we head first for Chota Kashmir (CK). The uphill road is past the Aarey Police Chowk. When you get there you are met with a children’s park and gardens that are at different levels. There is enough of greenery to wander around, and many places where you can spread a mat and roll out a picnic basket. The lanes inside the park are leafy and shady, and I am in love with the giant cactuses that shoot up in the sky-like monuments.
For the kids, once you enter the premise you can choose to take different rides: a giant wheel, an electric engine train, and an electric merry-go-round as well. The giant wheel is inviting; however, each time it stops and the machine groans, it worries me enough to think, “Oh, oh.” Each ride has a charge and is manned by boys who pose as adults with coupons they rip and hand to you.
The lake is wide and is supposed to be four acres in diameter. Once you choose the boats — there are two, four and six-seaters — and decide the duration you want to paddle, you are charged accordingly. There is a motorboat available too.
The Aarey Milk colony is huge spread over 4,000 acres. Apparently, the Colony has 30 stables with a capacity to house 500 to 550 animals in each stable. On the roads, people cycle and exercise.
Young couples walk hand-in-hand and disappear into the sunset. There are egrets, parrots, mynahs and ravens in large numbers. The sun dips down and there isn’t time to explore the nursery, to walk around the lake, to check the observation pavillion, and plants.
The boating facilities and lack of signage at the lake inside Chhota Kashmir leave a lot to be desired
Will we come here again to see more? I seriously doubt it.
How to get there We drove via the Western Express Highway. The fastest way would be to get off at Andheri (E) station and take an auto.
Timings Boating timings at Chhota Kashmir, 11 am to 6 pm
Charges Rs 10 (child), Rs 20 (adult). Extra charges for camera. Every ride inside is charged separately.
Restroom In terrible condition.
What’s good The space and the greenery.
What’s not good Poor maintenance. A beautiful green space could have been made into a real tourist attraction with guided tours to the milking zones and the observatory. Or it could have had recreational zones. Wildlife could have been preserved. The place is full of trees without labels. The poorly-lit restroom is horrifying with leakage.