Mumbai has never been the easiest city to live in for its locals, let alone for people from the rest of the country who come here for work or studies. One of the city’s biggest education hubs is Vile Parle West, with a vast array of Engineering, Business, Law and other colleges. This complete housing-food-activities guide is for anyone planning to study at one of these colleges, or work in the vicinity.
This is a western suburb and you’re not going to find cheap housing anywhere. Don’t expect to pay anything less than 12,000 per month to live in the Vile Parle region. Brokers charge a high commission so first look on Facebook groups like this one or this one. The best cost-effective places to stay are on Gulmohar Road near Juhu Gully, in DN Nagar or Juhu-Versova link Road. If you have a budget above 15,000 per person per month, try out Juhu Tara road (opposite JW Marriott hotel, or near Starbucks). There are also a few apartments in the lane opposite Mithibai college. You’ll almost certainly have to share a room with one or more other people. Typically, a flat will have 1-3 of these rooms.
If you are unable to find space in Vile Parle West, please don’t settle for Vile Parle East. Many people think it is close by and rent flats there. Although it’s a bit cheaper, commuting is a nightmare because rickshaw drivers hate going from East to West. Just crossing Parle bridge (officially called Captain Vinayak Gore flyover) can take twenty minutes if the traffic is bad.
Before you sign a rent agreement or become a paying guest, please do ask about whether the flat owner & neighbours are OK with non-vegetarian food and alcohol. MANY apartment buildings have a problem with non-vegetarian food being brought into their premises. Alcohol may or may not be tolerated. If you’re keen on hosting parties, then look for an apartment in Lokhandwala- either in the market or near Lokhandwala Circle. That area is further away, but you’re less likely to receive objections from the people there.
SVKM’s several canteens do serve great food at fair prices, although they’re only for students. If you feel like you’re eating there too often, try Prithvi Café in Juhu, Khasiyat (near Vile Parle station), Papillon (Irla market) and Facing East (Juhu 13th road). Prithvi Café’s cutting chai is to die for.
In case your budget is really tight, which is common with college students, then check out Fat Kong (near the station – next to Dominos), Asiad (Irla market) and Sagar Chinese (on 10th Road, near Amitabh Bachchan’s old house). You could also use apps like Swiggy/Zomato to order budget food to your place.
If you’re one of those people who’s okay with literally anything that fills you up, go to Gulmohar Cross Road No. 9. This lane has Tewari Sweets, Gangour, and English Vinglish. Although Gangour is a mainly a sweet shop, they have some awesome chaat items too. The whole street is also full of sandwich sellers. Walk a little further from the main road, and you’ll find Jacky’s – this is a street stall that makes the best pani-puri in the area.
Feeling rich? Want food that’s Instagrammable? You have to go to Ruka (at the turn for Novotel Hotel, Juhu), Grandmama’s Cafe (Juhu Tara Road – before Maneckji Cooper School), Little Italy (slightly ahead of Grandmama’s Cafe) and The Lotus Cafe (in JW Marriott Hotel).
Vile Parle isn’t exactly the heart of Mumbai’s nightlife. Apart from Zoobar (near the station – above McDonald’s) and The Bar Stock Exchange (Gulmohar Cross Road No. 9, near Tewari Sweets) there isn’t much. The best thing to do after dark is to head over to Andheri Link Road, mainly the lane which has Fun Cinemas in it (the lane adjoining the Volvo Showroom). This is probably Mumbai’s most happening gully right now. There’s Doolally, Zulu, Irish House, Harry’s, Social’s and Hard Rock Café all in a line. The surrounding lanes are full of pubs and superb restaurants too.
While it is very easy to get a rickshaw pretty much anywhere in Vile Parle West, you’re doomed if you want to go East. For that, an UberPool or Ola Share cab will do the trick. Shared cabs are pretty cheap. Some people who aren’t from Mumbai actually buy cycles thinking they’ll beat the traffic – don’t bother doing this, it’s a bad idea. If heat and pollution don’t deter you, reckless drivers surely will.
The metro is awesome if you’re planning on getting to Andheri East or Ghatkopar. You can reach DN Nagar Metro Station in a rickshaw or a bus pretty easily. Speaking of buses, if you’re not sure which bus to take, download the m-Indicator mobile app. m-Indicator is great for all public transport related information – buses, trains & more.
If you’re planning on travelling more than 8 kilometres in the north-south direction, consider using a train. Vile Parle station is easy to get to. You can get to Churchgate in 40-45 minutes, a journey that would normally take two hours by road.
There’s a lot you can do to relax, other than eating and drinking every night. In Irla’s Prime Mall, in the lower ground level, there’s a Counter-Strike parlour. Irla also has snooker if you’re interested (ask anyone in the market for directions).
The market is also great for shopping – you’ll get clothing and accessories for cheap from any of the street vendors or shops. The awesomest boys’ t-shirts are available at Unique Collection, the biggest variety of electronics can be purchased from Alfa (2 & 3) and the rest of the market is pretty much dedicated to women’s wear.
Catch a play at Prithvi Theatre, or look out for celebrities in the café – you’re definitely going to see some.
Feel like taking a walk in the park? There are three! Juhu Jogger’s Park near Jamnabai School, Pushpa Narsee Park (very close by – at the end of 10th Road, you can take your cycle there) and Kaifi Azmi Park (near Vidyanidhi School). These green patches are beautiful in the monsoon and in January’s cool weather.
On Sundays, inside Juhu Scheme near Ecole Mondiale, people play cricket on open grounds as well as on the road. Why not join them? (Warning: They’re practically professionals! Join only if you’re really good at cricket.)
One problem with Vile Parle West is that it has only two cinema halls, PVR Juhu and Chandan cinemas. They’re next to each other near Juhu Circle. If you’re short on options, head over to Andheri Link road. You’ll find two more PVRs and Cinepolis (formerly called Fun Cinemas).
Last but not the least, there’s the beach – Juhu Beach, mother of all suburban tourism in the city. Avoid that place on weekends, especially after 4pm – it’s way too crowded. In case you find Juhu beach too populated for your liking, go through one of the smaller entrances. You can enter from Juhu Circle (this northern part is called Silver Beach, walk past the military area to get to it) or from opposite Maneckji Cooper School (further south along Juhu Tara Road).
The Ohai app helps you meet people in real time – the app is by invitation only and we’re giving away 50 invitations (limited time) to folks in Vile Parle. Click this Link or find Ohai on Google Play, and enter ER7E when asked for invitation code.
Map of Vile Parle West, with major landmarks