Pali Hill lies on the west coast of Mumbai, running closely parallel to Carter Road (recently renamed Naushad Ali Road), a popular sea-front and promenade. Both these roads are situated in the Bandra (West) suburb (H-West Ward) of Mumbai, India.
Situated mainly on a few rolling hills with alternate steep and mellow sides, has it garnered the name Pali Hill (although there is definitely more than one hill). Although the main route of the road has been smoothened and paved, the buildings and bungalows are nestled within both the "valleys" and "crests" of the said hills. Nearby localities include Pali Village and Pali Naka.
Up to the 1950s, the area was mainly forested with dense undergrowth. Over the years, it was cultivated and tamed to grow fruits and crops. At one time the sea was plainly visible from even the foot of the hills.
Soon, a few buildings were constructed by entrepreneurs and builders. However, the multitude of people lived in small cottages or bungalows. Construction of apartment buildings commenced in the mid/late 1960s, with Nibbana Apartments being one of the first.
The cottage dwellers slowly sold their homes to the real estate developers and Pali Hill grew into an affluent neighbourhood. Favoured by filmstars and the rich, Pali Hill soon became a key destination for those that wanted solitude and calm.
Flora and fauna
Pali Hill boasts of an expanse of trees forming arches over the roads. Originally an area of mildly cultivated orchards, fields and untamed forests, over the period of forty years it has been deforested and made suitable for large scale residential habitation. A few of those giant trees remain to this day in building compounds, bungalow gardens and on the roads. The most widely seen tree is the gulmohar tree. Also abundant are large (and rare in Mumbai) banyan trees, peepul trees, mango trees, ashoka trees, wild almond trees, wild neem trees as well as a variety of shrubs, grasses, bamboos and trees like those of the papaya, jackfruit, custard-apple, and guava to name a few.
Pali Hill is frequented by a myriad of birds, most of them migratory and present during different seasons. Although the true inhabitants are sparrows, koyals, cuckoos, wrens, pigeons, crows and ravens; rare birds (from other parts of Mumbai or India) are also seen here. The school Bai Avabai Framji Petit Girls High School, with its sprawling grounds and forestry sees egrets, storks, owls & other rare birds. Besides, ashy dorus, kites, kestrels, hummingbirds, woodpeckers as well as seagulls and kingfishers (both - the small blue kingfisher as well as the more colourful variant) are also seen. One of India's greatest ornithologists, Salim Ali, was known to walk around Pali Hill with his binoculars and a notebook taking notes and listening to or making bird calls.
Mammals such as dogs (from street strays to pedigrees), cats & small bats are present in abundance.
Being a residential neighbourhood, Pali Hill's landmarks are its buildings & bungalows. At the southern end of Pali Hill is the Rajendra Kumar Junction (Chowk) of four roads - leading to Carter Road in the west (via Pali Mala Road), north to Pali Hill, east to Pali Naka and south to the Auxilium Convent High School. At the northern end of Pali Hill is Union Park, another crossing as well as the area around it. The Candies eatery is another well known landmark.
Approximately in the centre of Pali Hill lies the Fabindia store, beside the HDFC Bank. Diagonally opposite to this, a road diverges downhill - the Zig Zag Road (named for its extremely steep incline & acute curves). At this junction was the iconic Anand Bungalow (owned by Dev Anand, now undergoing construction for a large multistorey). Also at this junction is the bungalow of the Narangs, hoteliers & owners of the patisserie Croissants and the Ambassador Flight kitchen. Further on is a former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde's house. And on the other side is the BSES Niwas, a sprawling property now being developed for and by Reliance ADAG.
Other landmarks include - Kangaroo Kids Nursery and Playschool, Juice Salon, Sundaram Stores, and Freeda Beauty Parlour. At the end of Pali Hill, at Union Park lies the Bai Avabai Framji Petit Girls' High School.
Eminent People On Pali Hill
Residents of Pali Hill include a slew of famous personalities & celebrities, & the residences include those of:
- President of The Indian Music Industry & Phonographic Performance Ltd. and Ex-Chairman of Polygram Music Ltd. and Universal Music India, Vijay Lazarus;
- Late politician and actor, Sunil Dutt's bungalow, as well as his daughter and Member of Parliament Priya Dutt's and her brother Sanjay Dutt's building;
- Actor Dilip Kumar's bungalow (currently caught in a heritage structure row and in a semi-ruin state);
- Film personality Nasir's bungalow - Pali Annexe (now being renovated);
- Aamir Khan's flat at Marina Apartments, near the Bai Avabai Framji Petit Girls' High School at Union Park;
- Aamir Khan's ex-wife, Reena Datta
- Film maker and director Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra's bungalow - Mamta;
- Gulzar, poet, lyricist, writer, at his bungalow Boskyana;
- Gulshan Bawra, lyricist
- The residence of Larsen & Toubro's CEO at High Trees;
- Rishi Kapoor, his wife Neetu Kapoor and their son Ranbir Kapoor at the bungalow Krishna Raj;
- Narayan Rane at Gautam Apartments;
- Yesteryear actors Prem Chopra, Moushmi Chatterjee, Anil Dhawan, at Nibbana Apartments;
- Models Pia Trivedi, Tupur and Tapur Chatterjee; Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, Kirat Bhattal
- Anjali Mukerjee, nutritionist and dietician;
- Anna Singh, fashion designer;
- Gaurav Kapur, TV Anchor and V.J
- Haresh Chawla, CEO of CNBC-TV18;
- Malaika Arora Khan & Arbaaz Khan, actors;
- Kunal Kapoor, film director;
- Notandas family, jewellery store owners;
- Prateek Kr. Bhowmick, COO, Padma Infocom;
- Film Director Vishal Mahadkar at Parishram Apts;
- Emraan Hashmi, Bollywood Actor;
- A.M. Naik, CEO, Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Larsen & Toubro Limited.
It is Bollywood's equivalent of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles; and it continues to be one of the top residential enclaves in Mumbai. K. Street Pali Hill (2004–2006), a Thriller TV soap on STAR Plus, produced by Ekta Kapoor (Balaji Telefilms) was set here.
- Bhatkal, Satyajit (editor: Lancy Fernandes). The Spirit of Lagaan: The extraordinary story of the creators of a classic. Popular Prakashan, 1 March 2002. ISBN 8179910032, 9788179910030. In Google Books under the title "Eka svapnācā pravāsa lagāna"
- Indian Music Industry
- Bhatkal, p. 37. "Aamir then and even today lives in a building called Marina Apartments. This building faces the Air India building where Reena lived. So full of pretty girls was the Air India building that Aamir and his younger brother Faisal fondly referred to their balcony as the place to sight 'jannat ki pariyan' (heavenly fairies). Ultimately, Aamir fixed his sight on one pari called Reena Datta[...]"
- "Down the memory lane with Gulshan Bawra". Screen Weekly. July 9, 2007.