Location of Versova Beach
Versova Beach is situated in Greater Mumbai in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The beach is located in the north western region of Mumbai.
History of Versova Beach
The area near the Versova Beach is an upmarket neighbourhood in the Andheri area of northern Mumbai. It was part of the Portuguese empire up to 1739, until the Portuguese lost this part of their empire to the Marathas. During the ancient ages, Versova was amongst the most significant ports which were utilized for port-side transactions.
Attractions of Versova Beach
One of the major attractions of this beach is the swimming activity that takes place. Travellers can indulge in some leisure activities at the Versova Beach like playing water sports. Snorkelling is an interesting option as much as purchasing some fresh fishes from this beach, or spending time in some horse or donkey rides along the shores and watching the local fishermen catch fishes from the sea. The beach can be safely termed as a photographer's paradise, including the famous festivals which are observed here like the 'Coconut Day'. One can practise swimming, cycling, jogging and all kinds of physical exercise in this beautiful Indian beach. It is a typical fun destination, and the residents of this place are the oldest inhabitants of the place and they are the 'Kolis' - a fishing community. This place welcomes tourists round the year, but September and January offers the best time for the tourists. Unlike the Marine Drive, which is guarded by tetra pods, Versova beach uses massive rocks to buffer the buildings from the waves.
Visitors would relish the event of the famous fish auctions which are conducted at Versova Beach on a regular basis. As the beach overlooks the Arabian Sea, one would be dumbfounded at the pristine charm exuded by the calm sea against the golden sunset during twilight. One of the breathtaking scenes happens to be the sight of fishermen bracing themselves to barge into the sea and get their first catch.
Inhabitants of Versova
The vitality of Versova emanates from its indigenous population known as the Kolis, who represent the original inhabitants of Mumbai. The expanse surrounding the Versova creek is enveloped by thriving mangroves, forming a habitat that nurtures a diverse array of marine life, most notably molluscs, crabs, and various species of fish. The Kolis, the regional fisherfolk, play a pivotal role in this ecosystem. They offer their catches at the Versova jetty, operating within a wholesale framework. Their cohesive efforts are guided by the Versova Fishermen's Cooperative Society, an institution through which they administer and coordinate their fishing endeavors
Tracing their roots to the very inception of Mumbai's existence, the Kolis stand as its oldest and original settlers. They share an unbroken connection with the land that has evolved into the metropolis it is today.
In the year 2006, the inception of the Versova Koli Seafood Festival marked a significant event. This endeavor was established with the objective of supplementing the Koli fishing community's income. The festival serves as a platform to showcase their maritime heritage, while also fostering economic opportunities for the Kolis.
Environmental Clean-up Efforts of Versova Beach
By 2015, the Versova beach had become choked with up to 5.5 ft of rotting refuse and trash - most of it was plastic. Under the leadership of a young lawyer and environmentalist, Afroz Shah, a volunteer organization was started. Each Sunday the volunteers would gather to remove as much trash as possible. Over the course of 21 months, volunteers removed close to 11,684,500 pounds of trash, most of it plastic. The volunteers also cleaned up 52 public toilets and planted over 50 coconut trees. In 2016, Shah was honoured with the ‘Champion of the Earth’ award by the United Nations Environment Programme in recognition of his vision and hard work. In early 2018, Olive Ridley sea turtles returned to the beach for the first time in 20 years to nest and hatchlings were observed heading toward the sea on March, 2018.
Visiting Information on Versova Beach
The Andheri railway station is the closest to the Versova Beach at a distance of about 3.7 km and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the nearest at an approximate distance of 7 km.