Mumbai & Mahabaleshwar trip

At Venna Lake

Our last trip to Mumbai a yr back was a whirlwind. Could hardly go anywhere. So, we decided to take a break and set out for a 10 day long trip to the grace western world.

We spent the first few days with family and friends, in-between inaugurating my sister-in-laws swanky new flat, visit to Marine Drive, Gateway of India and Kanheri Caves.

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

Then we headed out to Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani via Alibag, Kashid and Murud Janjira halting for a few hours  in Pune on return. Hell of a trip.

I am all in favor of driving early whenever traveling. Upbeat mood, good weather, beat the traffic. Plus you can catch the sunrise for a change. What else do you want! So, we started at about 6 in morning and headed for Alibag. Well, as cab drivers go, we reached ahead of time!

Riding a tonga on Alibag Beach

The Alibag beach is quite calm and serene. Hardly a few folks present. In the morning, the water recedes leaving behind a not-so-often view of blackish sand. After spending the usual 10 mins negotiating for tongas, we got one for 120 bucks to the Fort (Kolaba Fort as it is called). Been quite a while since we sat on one. Well, the Fort is hardly a fort, more like ruins. After half an hr of clicking pics, we headed back with the water knee deep. It was fun riding a tonga amidst the water.

Janjira Fort in the middle of sea

In between we had lunch on Kashid beach and straightaway headed for Murud-Janjira. The Janjira fort is about half a km inside deep sea. There are a handful of sail boats that take you to the fort. I don’t recall myself being in one before. It’s interesting how they sail through the sea and maneuver the boat using sail. It took us about 45 mins to cross that half a km.

De-boarding the boat was an adventure for us city slickers. There’s really no place built in fort to anchor the boat. The sailors will try to hold the boat steady among the wild 3ft high waves while you try to get out, rather jump out of the boat unhurt. It’s amusing to see people crying and refusing to de-board. So much for the comfort of city life.

Janjira Fort

Well, we managed to get on fort relatively dry. One of the sailors offered to give us a 45 min tour of the fort for 400 bucks. We shared the cost with two other groups. As we moved on, it was quite amazing to see that the fort was quite a small world in itself with couple of small fresh water lakes, multi-storey rooms, cannons and tunnels to flee. One of the better forts I’ve ever seen. The return journey via boat was quicker – 20 mins.

Post Janjira fort, we headed out to Mahabaleshwar, reaching there late evening. Like the majority of the hotels, our hotel Rahi Plaza was right in the middle of the market. We quickly freshened up and roamed around the market a while absorbing some cool air and aroma of fresh strawberries.

View from Aurthur’s Seat

Next day, we visited Venna Lake, Parsi Point, TablelandPratapgarh Fort, Old Mahabaleshwar TempleAurthur’s Seat and nearby points. Venna Lake has boating, which we skipped, and instead opted for a horse ride which was fun. Next, we picked a couple of Mapro crush bottles from the Strawberry farm next to Parsi Point. Picked a small tonga ride at Tableland. Post lunch, we went to Pratapgarh Fort, which was not that impressive. A visit to magnificent Aurthur’s Seat made the day for us. It has quite awesome views of the valley with the freshest breeze you can get anywhere in the world. We spent a couple of hrs admiring the gifts of nature.

The following day we headed back, with a short halt for lunch with a friend in Pune. It turned out to be more than a “short” halt, as our cab developed a snag. We arranged for an alternate cab and reached Mumbai in night.

Easily one of the best trips we had. Lot to cherish about!

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