Raj Bhavan opens doors to public for morning yoga sessions
Listen to the waves kiss the rocks, soak in some Vitamin D and enjoy a morning yoga session with this breathtaking view. The Raj Bhavan will open its doors to public for limited access to the Sunrise Point Yoga Gallery and the Devi temple from September 1
Wide-eyed, we watched our step as we entered the Raj Bhavan Complex, a beautiful but strictly guarded fortress, perched on top of Malabar Hill that serves as the residence of the Governor of Maharashtra, currently C Vidyasagar Rao.
The Sunrise Point Yoga Gallery overlooks the Arabian Sea and presents a stunning view of the Nariman Point skyline. Pics/Sameer Markande
Spread across 47 acres of land and identified as Grade I Heritage Precinct, the complex comprises wide sun-kissed pathways, artfully designed structures (that host visiting dignitaries), green-carpeted lawns and acres of foliage cover home to many flora and fauna including 15 peacocks that strut along the roads of the Bhavan!
Having managed to stay away from the public glare for so many years, a part of the complex will be accessible to visitors from September 1 as the authorities open The Sunrise Point Yoga Gallery and Devi Temple to the public, on behest of the governor.
The lush, scenic route to The Sunrise Point Yoga Gallery
A green route
Accompanied by Umesh Kashikar, the PRO to the Governor, we began our tour to the gallery and the temple. At a distance of 500 metres from the Upper Entrance Gate, the gallery can be accessed via a five-minute walk through the forest area.
As we began the walk, we heard nothing but the sound of the waves and parrot calls as our eyes adjusted to the soothing green cover bordering the stone steps. The narrow walk opened up to the gallery and lo! We felt like we were seeing Mumbai for the very first time.
Constructed over a powerhouse in the complex, this sea-facing deck with a few wooden benches and vintage-looking lampshades offers a panoramic view of the Nariman Point overlooking the powder blue Arabian Sea.
The temple tale
A minute away from the gallery and located behind the heritage buildings is the Devi Temple dedicated to a nameless goddess who is commonly known as Sagar Mata, Sri Gundi and many other names. Not many may know that the Bhavan opens its doors to the devotees once a year for a full-day of prayer offerings to this goddess.
However, with the initiation of this tour, this temple will be accessible through the year, for two hours in the morning. After soaking in the pristine environs, on our way back to the Bhavan, Kashikar pointed out to four marble plaques engraved in rocks towering over our pathway.
“Long ago, this was a pets’ cemetery where the pets of British governors and their subsequent governors were buried,” he informed. This trivia, not to mention the breathtaking views along the way and the fact that there’s also a possibility of spotting a peacock early morning during this walk, made our Raj Bhavan visit an affair to remember.
Starts from: September 1 (Tuesdays to Sundays, excluding public holidays)
Time: 6.15 am (reporting time) to 8 am (visitors won’t be allowed entry after 7 am)
To sign up: log on to www.rajbhavan-maharashtra.gov.in (through online booking only)
The Sunrise Point Yoga Gallery
Inaugurated by the Governor on International Yoga Day (June 21, 2015), the purpose of the gallery is to enable the visitors to soak in the sunrise and practise yoga in serene environs.
Due to the limited space and for security reasons, only 10 patrons will be allowed access to this gallery for two hours every morning. Accompanied by an attendant as well as a manager, the visitors will also be provided with yoga mats.
The Devi Temple is also part of the complex
Checklist to enter
>> Carry valid photo ID cards. Foreign nationals need to make a request for the visit along with photocopies of their passport. On the day of visit, you are required to carry your original passport for identification.
>> The payment of registration charges to be done online; non-refundable and non-transferable.
>> Online booking subject to confirmation via email/SMS.
>> Children below 12 years of age not allowed.
>> You can head individually or in a group of maximum 10 persons.
>> No mobile phones and cameras allowed. Deposit them at security checkpoint inside Raj Bhavan.
>> For security reasons, Governor’s Secretariat reserves the right to approve/regret the request to visit Raj Bhavan.
>> The assembly point is Raj Bhavan Upper Gate (Banganga Side)
>> Walk up to the Devi Mandir Gate in one group
>> Enter the Sunrise Point from the Devi Mandir Gate
>> Sunrise Point to Devi Mandir
>> Return to the Upper Gate through the Devi Mandir Gate