Located at the south end of Carter Road Drive at BandraJoggers’ Park – a popular jogging track among residents of upscale Bandra – caters to the metropolis’ dedicated community of athletes, runners, walkers and tourists.
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The oval-shaped park, with the sea on both sides, is located right next to the chic Otters Club. The soothing ocean breeze makes it a great place for a refreshing stroll or run. Jogging tracks of various types take up most of the park’s four-acre space. This includes a mud track, a synthetic/rubber track, a cobblestone track and a concrete track. In fact, Joggers’ Park is only the second garden in the city to boast a synthetic track.
Upon entering the park, a children’s play area greets visitors on the left side and is often seen teeming with toddlers, their parents and caregivers. Its many swings, slides, climbing routes and the soft sponge floor make it a quite inviting area for children from 2 to 7 years old. Little used gym equipment adorns a corner on the right side. All tracks and trails in the park are separate from each other and the walking and running routes are clearly marked.
The center of the park has a lawn and a pond with a bridge that attracts tourists and selfie-takers. Lawns often have groups of children playing games, while teenagers wander around looking for the perfect spot to pull a reel. In the mornings and evenings, the park is packed with joggers and runners. A corner of the garden, which opens to a side that faces the five-kilometre-long Worli Sea Link Bridge, hosts a laughter club. The launch of the city’s first laugh club is credited to Joggers’ Park.
For leisurely walkers and those catching their breath after cardio, the outermost ring – lined with coconut trees, benches and simple west-facing chairs – is the most sought-after area in the evening as it allows for watch the majestic sunset.
The garden, which holds a special place among locals, has been at the center of protests to save the park’s original glory. In 2017, when the civic body of Mumbai decided to take over the maintenance of the garden from a private trust and develop it on the model of Japanese Zen gardens, residents started the “Save Joggers Park” movement. More than 20 residents met with the then municipal commissioner and engaged with the garden service to restore the aesthetics of the park instead of turning it into a Zen garden.
For locals, the seaside jogging track is a landmark and a prized possession originally developed from a dump in the 1990s. Credit to the development of the park, which hosts more than one thousands of weekend visitors, goes to former hockey coach Oliver Andrade, affectionately nicknamed “Sir”. A plaque placed at the entrance to the park in memory of Andrade reads: “From Sir, With Love”.