Forgotten Places of Mumbai: Taraporevala Aquarium - A walk through India’s oldest aquarium

Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first president, inaugurated it in 1951

Vaishnavi SharmaUpdated: Sunday, June 05, 2022, 12:03 PM IST
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Taraporevala Aquarium, located on Marine Drive in Mumbai, is the country’s oldest aquarium. Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first president, inaugurated it in 1951. DB Taraporevala, a Parsi philanthropist, was a key sponsor of the aquarium, after whom the place was named.

Visitors enter the aquarium through a 12-foot, 180-degree view glass tunnel that houses fish and water plants. Walking through the tunnel gives the impression of diving into an ocean, where one is left to marvel at the beauty of marine life.

Around 100 varieties of fish and other aquatic animals such as sharks, seahorses, little starfish, moray eels, stingrays and turtles are on display. Freshwater, marine, and tropical fish from all around the world make up the collection. There are roughly 16 seawater fish tanks and nine freshwater fish tanks.

After surviving for centuries, the aquarium received a much-needed repair in 2015 and is now maintained by the Fisheries Department. Exotic fish from around the world were brought to the freshly remodelled Aquarium. Red devil, jaguar, electric blue, jack dempsey, frontosa, and catfish are among the 40 new freshwater species. For improved visibility, these are housed in larger aquariums than before, with imported flexi glass.

There is a special pool where you may touch and feel harmless starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and numerous turtles. It also has a fish foot spa. You can take a dip in one of the 10 tanks here. The fish in the tank will nibble away at your feet, cleaning them of dead skin. There is a 50-seat Amphi theatre where videos about fish and the marine habitat are screened. A LED lighting show of coral and rocky terrain, as well as a special jellyfish tank, round out the experience.

Taraporevala Aquarium is closed on Monday. The restaurant is open from 10 AM to 8 PM on the remainder of the days. It is open an hour longer on weekends and holidays, from 10 AM to 9 PM. The aquarium is easily accessible by road or rail.

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