Nestled on the shores of Powai Lake in Mumbai’s north-east, Powai is an upmarket commercial and residential hub in this sprawling metropolis. It is home to large apartment complexes, luxury hotels, mega stores and the offices of numerous commercial companies, together with being Mumbai’s start-up hub for young entrepreneurs.
Powai sprawls around the 120-year old Powai Lake which was constructed as a water supply for Mumbai, with the prestigious International Institute of Technology Bombay on its eastern edge. Founded in 1958, it is often ranked as India’s top university and known for its picturesque campus. To the north of the lake is the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, one of India’s top management institutes, as well as the Chand Shahwli Baba Dargah temple which lies part way between Powai Lake and Vihar Lake to the north. The Renaissance Hotel and Convention Centre boasts a magnificent lakefront location here, not far from the Chinmaya Pradeep outdoor multi-media park, dedicated to Swami Chinmayananda. Powai is considered one of Mumbai’s most cosmopolitan suburbs, with a vibrant dining scene and nightlife amidst its modern skyscrapers, as well as private condominium townships like the neoclassical-styled Hiranandani Gardens.
Powai is easily accessed from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, located around eight kilometres to the south-west, as well as the Vikhroli and Kanjur Marg railway stations along the city’s Central line. Numerous public buses also service the area, particularly along the Jogeshwari–Vikhroli Link Road which follows the southern lakefront and links Mumbai’s western and eastern suburbs.
The land on which Powai Lake now lies originated as a valley with a small village, but in 1890 the British decided to construct a lake here to augment the city’s water supply. By 1943 when the surrounding land was bought by freedom fighter Chandrabhan Sharma, Powai comprised five small villages, with rapid construction over the next few decades transforming it into the modern suburb seen today.