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Beach Hopping: The Mumbai Excursion – Part III

January 31, 2010 8 comments

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 view of Ulhas River from the bridge on NH8 while crossing over the Mumbai mainland.

The view of Ulhas River from Ghodbunder.

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 pretty view from Pali 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.

Another one of those awesome views from Pali Hill.

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.

The view of sea from our off-roading venture.

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.

Since the beach is close by, it did not take us long to reach here.The first sight was a breath-taking view of the beach from the rocky terrain north of Manori.

But we were itching to get into the water and headed straight for the sea. Manori amazed it and captivated me!

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!

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.
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The pretty Gorai Beach and the imposing Pagoda

January 18, 2010 5 comments

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.

The Pagoda has four smaller similar Pagodas at the four ends of the structure. Since construction is under full swing, only one of the smaller Pagodas is accessible to the public.

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!

Had earlier decided to check out other beaches but the calm ocean and the thrilling experience of riding in the sea kept us from leaving Gorai.

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!

Mocha – Lot of Coffee!

December 20, 2009 Leave a comment

A coffee lover who doesn’t frequent most of Mumbai favourite coffee hangouts is a statement that defines me! But today it was different. A beautiful evening and the best drink I could think of was beer errrrr (now where did that come from!)… coffee! Been sometime since I went to Mocha, so decided to try the Brazilian coffee here while my friend went for the Colombian version.  Both coffees were served in a big cup, so big that my friend had to use both hands to lift the damn thing!

The coffee lovers that we are, we spent quite a bit of time taking in the strong aromas emanating from our freshly brewed caffeine concentrates. The Brazilian coffee was strong though the Colombian one was the more bitter of the two. Took us a good hour to finish the coffee as we engrossed ourselves in conversations on just about anything!

The coffee was excellent but a sound parameter to judge its effectiveness is how alert it keeps you in the wee hours of the morning. Its 3 AM and I quite alert even at this hour. Though ironically, my friend who had the ‘stronger’ of the two coffees is fast asleep!!

A photoblog of Aarey Colony, Goregaon

October 26, 2009 4 comments

Aarey Colony is the place where I go for my jogs. Ok Ok. Walks! Anyways, took my camera along on Sunday to click some pictures.

Below is the Oberoi Complex. It would be one awesome view from the top floor of the building. Imagine the green expanse between you and the horizon. Bliss!

OberoiOne of the many tree lined paths out there.

Path

Another one…if you are wondering what the brown spots are, well that is dried cow dung!

PathAnd another one…

Another Path

Well this is one of the smaller ones 😛

P1050149A Tree that makes you go round and round and round

Tree

Money plant covered Streelight

P1050169Damn! public transport reaches here as well!

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The sunset, hidden by the bushes

Sunset

The final moment before the sun disappears to rise again, another day

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Weekend trip to Diveagar and Harihareshwar – 17-18 Oct 09

October 18, 2009 6 comments

It is been a see-all-the-beaches-you-can-while-you-can for the last few weekends and this weekend was no different. A 2-day trip to Diveagar was planned for the Diwali weekend of 17th and 18th October 2009. Planned by a colleague, Daniel, I tagged along with another colleague Neville and Daniel’s cousin Rohit and common friend Nilu. We met at 7 in the morning at Sion Station and headed out towards Vashi. From there we went to Panvel and took the Mumbai-Goa Highway (NH17). For most part of our journey we were on NH17 which is a pleasant ride! Finally after reaching Mangaon we took a right turn to go to Diveagar, the place where a 1000 year old full-gold statue of Lord Ganesha was found!.  Below is the road map of the route (Source: Google Images) we took to reach Diveagar.

Diveagar_Roadmap

We took 5 hours to reach Diveagar which was good time covered considering we took a couple of wrong turns, stopped for breakfast and stopped a few times to ask for directions! We booked a room at a cottage run by a family which, incidentally, is also a Hindustan Petroleum (HP) gas dealer. The name is Vrindavan but asking for ‘HP Gas Dealer’ works better :D.

Interesting here to note is that if a ferry ride can be availed from Murud to Dighi then Diveagar is only a short distance from Mumbai and not the 200 Kms that we covered! A quick search led me to some forums which state that ferries can be transported from Murud to Dighi. So its quite possible to do a one-day trip to this serene beach.

After reaching the cottage, we freshened up and went for lunch at Prathamesh Holiday Resort which only serves fish in Non-Veg Thali and Watana in Veg. The food though, is nothing to complain about. The Surmai Fry and Surmai Masala were really delicious albeit a little too spicy for my liking. Per Thali costs came to INR 140 which is cheap considering the amount and quality of fish served! A point to add here is that, it is better to speak in Marathi or they might not understand the order correctly even though it is a simple menu!

The delicious lunch was followed by a trip to Diveagar beach, which at 3 PM, and rightly so since it was quite hot, was deserted with only the Migratory Seagulls sharing this long beach with us! The beach is clean and one of the most picturesque places I have seen so far! One has to go through a dense cover of coconut and Betal Trees to reach the beach. The feeling you get after passing the forests and finally getting on to the path from where the sea is visible is irreplaceable. You have to be there to believe that such a place exists and is not so far from Mumbai or Pune!

We had earlier decided to only ‘have a look at Diveagar beach’ and head to Harihareshwar but instead we ended up spending close to 2 hours there! At 4:30 PM we finally did move on to the temple town of Harihareshwar which is considered to be one of the holiest towns in Maharashtra. The original plan was to watch the sunset at Harihareshwar and we almost ended up missing the sunset as we had a late start from our cottage. But thankfully, due to some skillful driving by my friend Neville and the fact that the days are longer for it being the summer season, we reached just in time to catch the beautiful sunset.

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The sunset picture clicking session was followed by a light snack at the adjoining MTDC Resort. We had Kanda Bhajiya and Batata Bhajiya both of which were good and filled our tummies! Though it was a fun drive to Harihareshwar for the sunset, we soon realised that the more exciting part of the day, or should I say night, had only just began. It was pitch black and we had to drive all the way back, 35 Kms, to Diveagar! Scary but adventurous came to my mind. It was a slow drive back home and a bit eventful as well with the suicidal toads (the name we gave the toads that only crossed the roads when a vehicle would pass by) crossing the roads every now and then and the beautiful Diwali fireworks in the distance on our left. We did halt for lunch at a roadside Chinese eatery which is nothing to write about. It is unfortunate that we ate there since after arriving at Diveagar we realised that most eateries here remain open until 10 PM.  Sigh! We did have ice cream at an Amul Ice Cream Parlour close to our cottage. That ended our first day on this short trip.

Day 2

Day 2 started early, very early. Went to Diveagar beach before sunrise to catch the beautiful morning sun against the backdrop of the Betal trees. Took a round of the beach as well. Checked out the small creek which is teeming with fishes which in turn feed the migratory Seagulls! Ah! The cycle of life. There was a high tide in the morning which did catch me by surprise cause I had crossed over on this small patch of land divided by the creek and crossing back was a bit scary!! Anyways, after the scary incident, got back to my group, clicked a few pictures, took a bath and went back to the cottage. For breakfast, we were served Poha with grated coconut. It is the best Poha I have ever had and the grated coconut made it all the more better!

Waves

Sadly, it was time to leave as the check out time is 11:00 AM. We said goodbye to the family and headed back home. On the way back, we stopped at Vadkhal Naka for lunch at Upkar Restaurant which serves some good Prawns masala. That was the last stop until Neville’s car stalled as the LPG fuel had gotten over! Not a big issue though as he switched onto petrol (after a good 20 minutes did the car finally start!) and refueled at a nearby petrol pump.  After that we headed back home, nice and safe and very very tired!

A brief Trip Log – Total Distance covered approximately (450 Kms, excluding the distance covered by taking some wrong turns here and there!)

Route taken (as seen from the map) – Mumbai-Panvel-Pen-Mangaon-Mhasala-Diveagar. We took the same route while coming back home.

On a closing note, I feel that a full 2 day/2 night trip would be suitable to visit all the places in and around Diveagar/Harihareshwar and Shrivardhan. They not only offer beautiful beaches and scenary but also quite a few temples.

Here is the contact detail of the cottage where we stayed:

Name of the place: Vrindavan

Contact Person – Sameer or Vasant B. Gandre

Ph: Diveagar – 952147-224270/71 | 9594142591

Mumbai – 9702037865/9960627965

Pune – 9890927965

Related posts: Photoblog | Food Jaunt

Kashid-Murud Trip

September 27, 2009 8 comments

Kashid has been a long awaiting trip for me. Ever seen I saw pictures of the long winding roads leading to the beach and the palm trees lined up alongside the white sands, I have been itching to see this heavenly place with own eyes! The moment arrived on a Saturday when we set our course for Kashid in a friend’s car. It didn’t take us long to navigate the early morning Mumbai traffic and soon enough we were cruising on beautiful roads including the Mumbai-Goa highway. For most part the road was good, except for when we had to traverse Alibaug to reach Kashid. But that was only a small let down which did not deter us from pursing our goal.

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In approximately three and a half hours we reached Kashid Beach. Taking into account the few stops we made for photo shoots, I think we made it to Kashid in good time. Once there, the four of us quickly ordered for some snacks – namely Omelette and Bread – that is the only thing, besides some chips, biscuits and tea that you get at the many shacks situated on the beach. But the best thing besides the beach, were the hammocks! Lazing around in the hammock, we took in the beautiful sights on offer.

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The beach, the white sands and the muddy waters are surrounded by two cliffs on either end. The beach itself is a 3KM stretch and there are carts available for those would like to check out the beach in its entirety.

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We weren’t interested in that and were more than happy to click some amazing pictures while lazing around the shacks. Some of us also caught a short and much needed nap. After Kashid, we headed out to Murud beach.

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We also went to Rajpuri from where the ferries are available to go to Janjira Fort. The area is very pretty with palm trees overlooking the calm sea. Spent some time clicking pictures of the fort and the beach.

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Though we didn’t get time to actually visit the fort – a trip we have scheduled for another time. Since it was in the middle of the day, we decided against going on the Murud beach and instead chill out by some restaurants overlooking the beach.

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We had lunch at the Anand Vatika, Murud, which specialised on sea food. So since we were at the heart of a fishing community, we were all for a sumptuous sea food lunch. We ordered for Prawns fry, Pomfret fry, and Prawns Biryani along with a lone chicken dish – Chicken 65. The meal was good albeit a bit oily but good nonetheless. We paid INR 150 each, thought was a bit expensive but then sea food anywhere is more expensive than other meat products!

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Once over with lunch, we decided to head back home. Reached home in around 4 hours. Overall, it was a wonderful trip. Was a disappointed that I did not get to see the sunset but besides that there are no complaints whatsoever!

Kashid is approximately 160kms from Mumbai. We took the Mumbai-Goa highway (NH17) and took a right turn from the highway to go to Alibaug. Once at Alibaug, we were directed to a bypass road that took us straight to Kashid through a small concretised stretch of road which is surrounded by trees and lovely houses. Murud is approximately 30kms ahead of Kashid and the road which goes to Kashid from Alibaug also goes straight to Murud as well. I am assuming if one keeps following the same road, they will reach Harihareshwar as well.

Here are the albums with pics:

Picasa: http://picasaweb.google.com/godzi.85/Kashid_Trip_26Sept09

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=324338&id=764395346