The previous weekends and trips were planned, to an extent, and so was this particular trip. Decided to check out some beaches close to Mumbai this time as opposed to going out-of-town for beachasms (a term I coined for ‘pleasures attained whilst visiting beaches’ – to be understood spiritually!). Had heard and read about Uttan and Manori. Hence, decided to out for myself, these beaches that were so close to Mumbai (Infact, they are in Mumbai!)
But, before that, I had to go to Ulhas River and capture the sun rise.
The sight of the sun shining over the waters with the fishing boats seemingly after the sun as a marker for their next destination is a picturesque moment that I had waited to capture all this while! Had planned a trip to the Ghodbunder Fort as well but the Republic Celebrations were in full swing and had to postpone the plan for a later day. From Ghodbunder we then moved to Uttan beach. However, for some inexplicable reason, we ended up at Pali Beach, ahead of Uttan. I guess the mistake we did was to ask people about ‘the beach’ and not ‘Uttan Beach’.
The beach isn’t must to talk about though the jumping fish kept us intrigued for some time.
There is the Pali Beach Resort opposite this place and ahead is a small cliff from where a panoramic view of Pali and Uttan areas is visible.
Pali is great place to go to see locals in action or locals just lazing around watching the sunset. The road along the beach keeps going north. Not sure where it goes to but it didn’t seem to end so we turned back.
This time we decided to go to Manori (with Uttan already forgotten about!). On the way we took to off-roading and landed up at Gorai beach.
Though a little unnerving at times, the route landed us right on the far end of Gorai. But since we had planned a trip to Manori, we rode across the beach onto the road and back on the trail for Manori.
Clear waters, lots of sea shells, wonderful sad and lime juice on the beach was just so heavenly! It is amazing that not far from Manori lies Juhu beach, one of the most polluted beaches in the whole of Maharashtra, and here at Manori, the water is clear!
It is a shame though that the beach is so small, for it gets crowded quickly. But what the heck, everyone’s here to have a good time. Manori too, like Gorai, has many resorts around its periphery and most people on the beach were living at these resorts over a long weekend.
There is a certain section of the beach with many sea shells which look, in the scheme of things, akin to gravel being placed on the road – dangerous often but easy to avoid. No dangers here though, only pretty shells. Though some of them did contain hermit shells as we soon figured it out!
It was a low tide while we were at Manori and the receding waters left behind a rocky terrain, something that I am quickly getting accustomed to! It was revealed to us but the receding waters, a couple of pools were made around Manori for people to enjoy the beach and stay cool in the waters the entire day (how thoughtful!).
A long day at the beach made us hungry and since Rock Chic was paying, we decided to eat at a place of Rock Chic’s choosing! Had lunch at Pixxy Resort (whose directions we had followed earlier in the day for our off-roading experience).
While chilling out and unwinding at the resort, we reflected back at the day well spent! Though it went horrible wrong early in the morning with the Fort visit still pending and the trip to Uttan being an epic fhail, it was still a successful day with both thoroughly enjoying the trip nonetheless. Even with all the travelling in the day, it felt like a lazy day. Coupled with lazy service, it just made us plain lethargic! The day finally ended when we, grudgingly, called for the bill, paid the money, and headed back home!
A visit to a pretty beach was what made our day. Just sitting and idling around was fun and for a change we happened to have the time to do that!
With this I end my three part ‘Beach Hopping Series’. If you guys come across any more beaches worth the visit, please to post in the comments! Trance Dude shall check it out!
Trance dude (TD, Me) thought of dividing part two and one into separate regions than talk about a few beaches here and there. I planned most of the visits in a similar manner as well with this part talking about his visit to Alibaug and its pretty beaches.
Alibaug happened more because of an adrenaline rush to just get up and go somewhere on a lazy Saturday. Though the initial plan was to chill at Kihim beach, the hyperactive puppy that I am, couldn’t resist checking out three more beaches in the same day!
I had my partners in crime, Rock Chic and Lord Chicken (come to think of it, they are my best travel buddies!) to go with me on this planned (or unplanned) journey. We got up pretty early on a Saturday to catch the 6:00 AM ferry from Ferry Warf in Mazgaon Dock. This is the first ferry from Mumbai to Alibaug and we were fortunate to catch the ferry as it was about to undock itself from the dockyard. Phew!
So, in the cold winter morning, we set sail to the distant land of gardens and flowers (or at least that is what I think ‘Alibaug’ stands for). A one and a half our boat journey does cut down on the long road trip and for unfit guys like me, it helps to enjoy the place more than the ride! Anyways, the early morning chill did not dampen our spirits and we began clicking pictures of anything we got hold of – seagulls, mountains, the sea!, anglers and the ferry itself! It is a pretty boat ride and I will recommend it to anyone wanting to go to Alibaug from Mumbai.
By the time we reached the other end, Rewas Jetty, the sun was already out but it was still cold. Since we were at Rewas and Mandwa isn’t far away, we changed our plans and headed out to Mandwa before going to Kihim.
The beach itself is next to the Mandwa Jetty, which divides the beach into two parts. On either side you have adventure sports activities though the side on the left is far better for the usual beach relaxation.
It is a pretty beach with calm waves inviting you to just sit there and watch the birds (and I mean seagulls) go about their daily chores. An hour spent at Mandwa in the cold sea with hot tea was an awesome early morning experience for me personally!
After Mandwa, we headed off to Kihim. Kihim too is two-faced, with a rocky side one on end and a plain old beach at the other. The entire length though is dotted with private bungalows. I envy these folks with such exotic views day in day out!
Kihim is a pretty beach though the rocky end is pretty deserted. This is where we spent most of our time watching the anglers and women go about their daily chores. What surprised us was how close they were to the shore while fishing. It seemed hard work but the rewards made it worth the effort!
We moved to the more crowded part of the beach but there was room for 1000’s of people there and we were just three! It was a low tide and anyone could walk quite a distance into the sea. Got into my shorts so that I could go in a bit deeper (still do not know how to swim, shame shame!) while the rest were busy clicking pictures.
It was only 11:30 AM and we were already tired and hungry. Said good-bye to Kihim beach and made our way to Alibaug. Had lunch at Hotel Fulora and then asked for directions to Alibaug Beach. This is the main beach of the city. A well-developed promenade, seating space, organised boat tours, vehicle parking was all there – reminiscent of Juhu beach (minus the boat tours!). We walked around looking for shade yet found none. The blazing sun beat down on us mercilessly but it was 2:00 PM so quite expected was this treatment of thee mortal souls at the hands of the all-powerful sun god (A bit too much eh? Nah! I am just getting started).
The Alibaug Fort is only a short boat ride away (or a short walk during low tides) and is a must visit if one is in Alibaug. As for us, our purpose was different (and besides the heat didn’t help either). We spent some time at Alibaug and later moved on to our destination.
Asked around, got lost, asked around again, got lost, asked around yet again and finally got the route! It was the last beach for the trip and my oh my, wasn’t it just worth the wait! A magnificent beach, it reminded me of Diveagar. A beach just ahead of Kihim (in fact there is an inner dirt road that goes here from Kihim). Oh yes! Trance Dude speaks about Awas, a place, for which, he has already made some special plans.
Awas is in fact like a copy of Diveagar with a creek on either end where anglers can be seen laboring throughout the day. A deserted beach, we shared this long stretch of sand with another group of around 15 people who were busy playing cricket.
It is hard to describe how pretty I found Awas in its raw state. Yes the beach needs cleaning up, Yes the sand isn’t as fine as in Goa, Yes there are way too many crabs for my liking but nothing was going to stop me from falling in love with Awas. Took a long walk on the beach and was quite surprised to see three different types of sands as well as a clear (clearer in fact) patch of sea in the middle of the otherwise muddy waters. Don’t get me wrong, the water was quite clear, just that the sand seemed loose for most of the stretch resulting in the ‘muddy looking water’.
It is a perfect beach for a long lazy day with your friends. We were here for around 3 hours and didn’t see as many people come even as the sunset neared. Sadly, had to get back to Rewas Jetty for the 6 PM ferry back home and hence caught the sunset whilst on the ferry and not the beach. But there are no regrets, for I found for myself a damn good beach. (Maybe I shouldn’t be posting here in the first place, the lesser people know about it the cleaner it stays!).
Anyhoo, that was the end of the second part. Four beaches visited in one day didn’t tire me out. Maybe, I am made for em’ beaches afterall! I will leave you with some more pictures I clicked from my faithful Panasonic FZ5, the grand daddy of the FZ Series!
A trip to beaches around Alibaug cannot be complete without trying out a restaurant there. We decided to go to Fulora in Alibaug City. Located a few meters away from the St. Bus Stand, Fulora is popular among locals and tourists alike. So Trance Dude, Rock Chic and Lord Chicken found a cosy table to relax and eat.
First up we ordered for Chicken Lollipops along with Prawns Chilly. The lollipops were pretty standard though the Prawns Chilly Dry was a big disappointment. Small in size were the prawns and the dish didn’t taste that good. It was below average for my liking. We though things may get better with the main course but the quality only went down. Ordered for a Chicken Afgani which was green in colour! The meal wasn’t spicy but quite oily. In fact we could only taste the oil and not the masala or the chicken.
Overall the food was a big disappointment as we had expected something better.
Cadbury Bournville is Cadbury’s entry into the dark chocolate segment. A niche segment, Cadbury has advertised this brand extensively. However for a true dark chocolate lover the Bournville falls flat on its face. Dark it is, understandable from its bitter taste, but not as dark as the other dark chocolates I have had so far. The flavours are very much reminiscent of the usual sugary goodness Cadbury unleashes with all its chocolates. This is true even with the UK version I got hold of. Such a shame the bournville is only for cheap thrills when it could have been so much more better with just a bit more cocoa!
Zenzi Mills is an offshoot of Zenzi, Bandra. Similar in ambiance, Zenzi Mills offers a large rectangular bar with a small dance floor and another one on the top floor. The entry at Zenzi Mills is generally free which is such a refresher from the usual rigmarole of other places.
Going in a group or with ur friends/lovers is all good at Zenzi Mills. One can always hop over to Zenzi’s next door neighbour blue Frog if the Mills music isn’t to their taste. But for Trance Dude, it was a great night. Loved the ambiance, the music and the crowd. You’d expect a sophisticated crowd in Lower Parel, which is what Zenzi is all about.
As expected, the price of the booze is much higher here than say in Bandra. So pint of beer would set you back by INR 200 (taxes included). Trance dude being back from Goa recently, was in no mood to pay so much for beer especially after getting high on Kingfisher available for INR 35 in Goa!!
Anyways, Zenzi Mills is the place to go to these days if one wants to have a great time. Don’t forget, place shuts by 1:30 PM.
Trance dude doesn’t quite remember when he went to Gorai beach but it sure was a long time ago! So TD (short for trance dude) and Rock Chic (RC) rode on TD’s pulsar on a hot Saturday afternoon towards the beach. But before that, the plan was to go the Global Pagoda at Esselworld, Gorai. The Pagoda, an immense structure in the suburbs of Mumbai, is one of a kind in South East Asia. Dedicated to Buddhism this imposing building is still under construction but does not fail to charm the onlookers with its golden colours and massive dome.
Even the smaller one is immense and is a replica of the bigger Pagoda. intricate carvings on the Door and sayings of Gautam Buddha are abound in these Pagodas. There is also an exhibition on the life of Gautam Buddha. It is an intriguing one to say the least. A beautiful portrayal of Buddha’s life right from the his childhood to his enlightenment. A word of advice though: Start from the left as we made the mistake of starting from the right side of the room and saw his life backwards. Come to think of it, it was quite cool!!
There is a video session as well which shows why the Pagoda is being constructed, how, donations received and purpose in the grander scheme of things. Lastly one can buy books and small items like fridge magnets (Trance dude loves fridge magnets and he bought one for himself).
The imposing pagoda is in the same complex as Essel World but we decided to hit the beach after a tiring walk around the structure. The nearest beach is Gorai and this is where we went. The beach is one of the prettiest along the Mumbai shoreline. The best part about the beach is that we can drive on in for most parts.
The pretty beach also has a few shacks and many private bungalows and resorts throughout the stretch. The grey colour sand does not please everyone but it wasn’t a problem for us. We actually liked this beach especially Rock Chic, for whom the beach is the best she has ever visited (doesn’t matter if Miramar in Goa is prettier but Gorai is the prettiest she says).
We even ate at the shack, Raju Koliwada, which is the closest one can get to experiencing Goa. Off course, still cannot sit on the beach and drink beer, a real shame though. Anyways lunch was good and we continued checking out the beach. Riding on the beach made us lazy and I cannot remember walking on the Gorai sand! A low tide helped in bringing the bike right up till the waves which was an experience I will never forget. Imagine splashing sea water all over as you ride from one end of the beach to another!
Not to forget the pretty treeline as far as the eyes can see. The beach grew more beautiful for Trance Dude as he spent more time on Gorai. And while there, we decided to stay back for the sunset as well. The evening lights brighten up the skies as if they are on fire. A shade of orange engulfs the sea and the sand and everything around them. It is such a pretty sight that I may never get enough of it, ever!
It was my first time to Gorai but most definitely not the last. A pretty beach like this tends to get crowded on holidays so planning ahead may help one avoid the crowds. It was lovely experience on the beach and for once a beach visit in Mumbai was a pleasant one!
Cannot remember the last time Trance Dude checked out Gorai Beach. It was possibly, when he was a kid. This time on his bike with the Rock Chic, Trance Dude set out on his journey to Gorai. The beach was awesome, even visited the Global Pagoda. Gorai comes close to Goan beaches in terms of eateries on the beach itself. We went to one such shack which had a few pet dogs it seemed.
Hungry after hours of walking, we ordered for Chicken Fried Rice, Prawns Chilly and another Surmai. Unsurprisingly the prawns and fish was good while chicken was nothing great to write about.
The prawns they served us were big but not as big as the King Prawns. It tasted really nice even though we were very aware of the presence of Schzwan Sauce in the Prawns Chilly Dry! The dish wasn’t spicy though and once could taste the prawns through the sauce and masala. The fish was well cooked though small in size but at INR 80, it was the cheapest Surmai I have had in Mumbai.The prawns was priced at INR 100 as well, making it a cheap and good eating option if one is in Gorai.
Shifting my focus from Bandra to Goa and other suburbs of Mumbai is the trend for this month! Keeping up with this trend, decided to check out Image on SV Road. Image came highly recommended by a friend and for my gastronomy trials took her along as well.
Image is a family restaurant and can get packed with families and their kids. There are a couple of swings as well for the children so that the action inside can be followed up with some more on the swings in the small garden outside the restaurant. A brightly lit place is Image, with cushioned seats at the edges of the restaurant.
We arrived early here and easily got a place to sit. The three of us, Trance Dude, Rock Chic and Crazy Mommy were pretty hungry and couldn’t wait for the food to arrive. We ordered for chicken chilly, chicken abhadi for starters along with mocktails to go with it. The starters were good with the Chicken Abhadi being the standout for me. Tasted more like Reshmi Chicken though wasn’t exactly like Reshmi Chicken.
For the main course we had the Dhaba Chicken and a variety of bread including Tawa Paratha , Pudina Paratha and Garlic Naan. The Tawa Paratha was pretty rich with its layer of butter and ghee. Trance Dude liked the Garlic Naan as well and of late, has developed a liking for Garlic Naan. The Roti-Sabzi combination was followed by Chicken Dum Biryani and Boondi ka Raita to go with with it. I liked the Biryani here. Made in the traditional way of cooking biryani in an earthen pot, it was also served from the very same pot. The flavours were amazing and the biryani was just the thing to top off the dinner. Extremely delicious it was right up there with the best biryani’s we have had in a long while! Trance Dude, Rock Chic and Crazy Mommy were pretty happy with it but that wasn’t the end of it. The sizzling brownie was our dessert and we enjoyed it thoroughly!
The food was good though for the most part Trance Dude can confidently say ‘he has had better’. The food was delicious but not affordable for someone for whom eating out is a regular affair. The total bill came to INR 1320 while the Biryani cost INR 185 (a must have at Image).
Good place (though noisy cause of the kids but then again cannot complain for Trance Dude was once like them!) and good food make image a fantastic choice for a family meal, if you can afford it.
Its been sometime now since I got my hands on a pack of dark chocolate. Not even in my wildest dreams I’d ever think I could taste, let alone have the bar to myself, 85% dark chocolate! Yes you read it right, at 85% cocoa and organic vanilla and some organic cane sugar, this is by far the best dark chocolate I have had! It is bitter alright, but it is not as sharp as I thought it be. The taste is very well round which in my opinion is a good thing for not everyone will like a very sharp and bitter dark chocolate.
The ingredients: Organic Cocoa Mass, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Whole Milk Powder, * Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin.
I think Dark 85% is easily my most cherished chocolate especially since it took nearly 10 days to finish a bar, savouring the flavour in small bites!
For more info check here: http://www.greenandblacks.com/uk/what-we-make/bars/dark-85.html#ingredientsInformation
Manik wasn’t anything special the first time we visited this place . Not so cold Tuborg and nothing to write about Veg crispy was a real downer. However, we were here the next day as well as my friend wanted to smoke Hukka and Manik was relatively empty (in fact we were the only ones there!).
There was a marked difference in the attitude of the waiter the second time we came. A big broad smile greeted us and he was friendly with us throughout. We first ordered for a Grapemint Hukka and the waiter agreed to cut the price by INR 100 without we even asking him! This was a great move I though and the hukka he prepared didn’t let us down either. Good flavour and it continued for a few hours albeit with a few coal changes.
The wonderful hukka was accompanied by 2 plates of finger chips which was gobbled down or should I say inhaled by my ever hungry vegetarian friend! For dinner we ordered for Veg Manchurian and Chicken Tikka. Though the Manchurian was pretty bland, the Tikka was cooked in true tandoori style. Was absolutely delicious the chicken tikka – tender and soft and not overcooked even though it took some time to get it ready. The tikka was accompanied by salads and more finger chips.
Good hukka and some great chicken tikka really made my evening that day!. Surely going to Manik again. Though a word of advice – Me thinks, the cook doesn’t prepare veg meals as well as he does the non-veg ones.
Prices: Chicken Tikka – INR 210 (The most I have ever paid for chicken tikka!)
Veg Manchurian – INR 110
Finger Chips – INR 40
Hukka – INR 250 (Down from INR 350 without even requesting!)
I have some fond memories at Bob Marley’s shack at Candolim Beach in Goa. I go here everytime I am in Goa. I have always liked the food and drinks elsewhere but there is something about this shack that keeps inviting me back! This time around, I was there for a short duration. Got a large Kingfisher and to satiate my friend’s vegetarian needs ordered for Veg Pakoras. Took some time to arrive as usually they take a bit more time for the vegetarian dishes it seems. When the dish finally did arrive, it was a plesant surprise. The surprise was the size of em pakoras. Big and soft and extremely tasty! These were the best Pakoras I or my friend have every had! Infact we ended up ordering another couple of plates and were quite full by the time it was dawn!
But the best moment was, a beer in my hand, some awesome pakoras and Armin Van Buuren killing it at Sunburn 2009 in the background!
X Bar was one of those places I had been to before and was on my ‘go and hog again’ list. So took my veggie friend (ironic how I went with my a veggie friend last time too!) to X Bar late in the night. The waiter was very friendly and humoured us with his witty comments. We ordered all our food together. Though we ordered drinks first, then starters and finally main course the food didn’t arrive in that order. Though we didn’t mind it one bit!
The main course came first but the starters followed shortly afterwards! The Chicken Biryani was good just like last time. Though this time, the amount of condiments were far too less than before. I guess someone must have told em ‘your biryani has too many unwanted particles (Remember hearing this from a foreigner at another restaurant!!). The crispy chicken though was nothing special with the chicken being pretty chewy! The veg side included Paneer Tikka Masala and Veg Spring Roll which according to a friend ‘he has had better’!
This wasn’t the first place where I enjoyed but my friend didn’t (not that I care! ).
Overall, the place was a bit expensive for us as we paid around INR 250 between the both of us. The ambiance and service was good though and I think I would come back for some more biryani here on my next trip as well!
My first trip to Palolem couldn’t be complete without trying out a restaurant here and what better than Chascaa, located on the south end of the beach. The view from here is splendid and as the day progressed we found out the food here isn’t bad either!
Hadn’t had fish in Goa yet so couldn’t resist ordering a Fish Tikka and what a good choice it turned out to be! Not sure what fish it was but it was good. Cooked well it did not smell like the way it does in many small eateries. Fish Tikka and beer was enough to make my day! My veggie friend though had a full meal. From Veg Pakodas to Malai Kofta and Rice. Even the veg items were great. Cooked well, the Kofta and Pakodas tasted nice. The combination of Jeera rice and Malai Kofta was good as well. One of the best things at Chascaa was that the flavours came out really nice and none of the dishes had any one single flavour overpowering the others.
Overall the meal was good. In fact I’d say it was excellent as the veg and the non veg items were both very good! An amazing view of the beach and of the ocean coupled with good food makes Chascaa a must visit place on Palolem! Also, the beer here is really cheap, at INR 35, it is the least I have paid for a Kingfisher Pint!
The bonus for me was when the owner played the song ‘bliss – kissing’ twice while we were here. It is one of my favourite songs and its been ages since I heard it last!