Chokhi Dhani Mumbai can be a pleasant escape from the usual city life humdrum. It is a theme park and restaurant with an ethnic set-up, typical to Rajasthani culture. Rajasthan is a state in India which boasts of rich cultural heritage and history full of prized memories. You need to see it to believe it. But for those who just want a slice of this paraphernalia and the taste of village life, Chokhi Dhaani Mumbai can offer a perfect environment. Located at Kalyan Bhiwandi bypass on Nashik highway, a little away from the populated and posh Thane area, this is definitely a rural retreat. Though, it is nowhere close to the original Chokhi Dhani in Jaipur which mesmerized me as a teenager. Back then, there wasn’t much for a little getaway within the city. Yet, Chokhi Dhani was packed with complete entertainment and good food, enough to entice me to visit that place again.
It takes approximately an hour or more to reach Chokhi Dhani in Kalyan from the Mumbai city. It is open from 5-11 pm all through the year. It has ample of parking area in its compound, but is dusty and rustic. Once you are at the gate, an authentic Indian style welcome ritual is performed with Tilak (red vermillion mark on the forehead) and Aarti (a flamed diya). The reception area is beautifully decorated and you pay a cover charge of Rs 500 pp towards your entry fee and food (pure vegetarian) at the reception/ticket counter. You will need to choose your dinner time slots. Your fee includes entry, snacks, dinner, palmist service, head massage service, etc. Once you enter the gates, it’s a different world all together. As if, you have entered a wonderland which promises a gala time.
There is a kid’s play zone with toy trains and other swings. You might shop a bit of beauty accessories like Laak bangles, jewellery and more at their ‘Haat Bazaar’. Heena mehendi, hair braiding, sketch artist, and everything rustic will try and adorn your memories. You will witness puppet shows, fire performances, folk dance performances, and a lot more. You can purchase coupons and play games like balloon shooting, bow and arrow, ring throw, bioscope, etc.
You can enjoy bullock cart rides, horse cart rides, camel rides, rope walking, magic shows and authentic Rajasthani music shows. The evening just goes by in a blink as you are engrossed with so many activities. Over all, the ambience is reverberating with rural culture in its full glory. It is perfect for families as well as couples.
You are treated at the snacks counter with tea, dal kachori and kadhi, bhel puri, etc. And once you visit their restaurant for the authentic Rajasthani dinner, you are treated with 22 different Rajasthani delicacies which include daal bati choorma, gatta ki sabji, bajra bhakri, etc. and loads of ghee shakkar. (It is a spicy affair for sure and you might not want to count the calories lest you start feeling miserable). The food isn’t out of the world but will give you a fair idea of how it is back in Rajasthan.
You can easily spend 3-4 hours at Chokhi Dhani Mumbai.
My verdict: Go for the experience if nothing else. Will I go there again? Yes, for sure.