Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kashid, Murud, Phansad: Weekend Gateway from Mumbai

The dazzling sea water till huge stretches is what I see when I enter Alibaug beaches, my favourite place to crash when I am on a tight budget and keen to step out! Just 2 and 1/2 hour journey from Mumbai Alibaug has got something for old, young, sporty and the lazy bums like me too. I gatecrash this place when I need to gaze into the endless sea and lose myself into its silence. But this time I am travelling with a few mavericks and it was all action!
We began our journey early morning with the beautiful view of Gateway and the Taj. After a 45 minute ferry ride and another hour's journey from the bus, we reach Alibaug and book a cab for our 2 day trip. My friend Manisha helped a bit in our budget by asking a few people to share our cab. They did! What luck!  
Our first destination was Murud Fort, also know as Janjeera, the short cut for the actual name Jal Jazeera! 
Ruins at Murud Fort
This huge fort is built in the middle of the sea and has withstood the saline waters till date! Its historical value stems from the fact that it has been an undefeated fort. 
I love this huge structure encompassing fresh water lakes (which are now dirty), outlets for cannon bullets, courtyards and ruins gardens which hint on the magnificence which the fort would have had in its heyday. This was the second trip and I am still awed by this place. 
After the bout of history it was time for a dip in the sea! We headed for Kashid, just in time for the beautiful sun set. We took a dip in the late evening and since it was low tide, a swim made the day perfect for us.
The next day we headed for Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary. An unexplored forest area just 3 hours away from Mumbai was a treat to the eyes. The carzy  bullock-cart ride was bumpy but fun! We also discovered that Phansad has basic tent accommodation at a very reasonable price! 

Our ride at Phansad
The icing on the cake for this trip were the water sports at Kashid and my favourite was the para sailing. The view from above is to behold! Other rides like the bumper ride was too bumpy for me to handle and the jet ski was just 'jet ski'. 

After para sailing
I ended my trip very satisfactorily tired and geared for work for the coming Monday.
This might be helpful if you are travelling to Alibaug-
1. A cab to roam in Alibaug  is a good option.
2. Bargain- for everything here.
3. Sea food is the specialty but I loved the veg too.
4.  Water sports are best enjoyed at Nagaon.
5. Murud beach is not as frequented by tourists as Kashid. So head for this beach for the quite.
6. Phansad is a good stay option just 6 km from Kashid. Prior bookings are required though. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mumbai Weekend Gateway: HideOut

"Humans don't need as much water! Have you ever seen animals drinking so much water as us?" Hemant, who runs "Hide Out" has his own way of seeing and understanding life.
I made a trip to "Hide Out" a few days back with my Reiki Group. I was in silence (no mobile/laptop, etc and no talking) for 3 days so I could not gather much "information" about this place. I write this post about the little information I could get.
True to its name, this farm is impossible to figure if you have not asked for directions beforehand.(Check their website for details or call them). It is nestled between Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway. Hemant, the owner, has been living here for the past 25 years and earns his living through farming and payments made by guests for their stay at "Hide Out".

The rooms
The rooms at Hide Out are HUGE and have open windows. And that's the charm of the place! At night, we were visited by cats and crickets in our room. Don't you guys worry now! They have nets around the bed. So we humans are safe in our respective cocoons. The bathroom is frequented by frogs as these guys just love the wet!

The name of my room
By the end of the trip, the cats made themselves cozy next to me on my bed. Crickets, spiders and ants became our friends. I look back and wonder how I did that! Never experienced so much wilderness ever! They also have open air beds. One can gaze at the starts and sleep off!

The Food
One can enjoy the amazing flavours of organic food here. They don't serve non vegetarian. But I am sure after tasting there veg, non veg does not stand a chance anyway! They grow their own organic food. And there are strict instructions to not waste khana!

The way to common area/dinning hall
Our breakfast began with herbal tea and fruits, followed by sumptuous idili or poha with milk tea. The lunch had a variety of vegetables along with rice, dal and chappatis. The chappatis either ragi, or jowar, never wheat!

The People
Hemant runs the farm and is very friendly. He was our host and our guide around the place.

I believe I enjoyed the place because I was in silence. I could hear the swish of the trees, the movement of animals around me. It is all contained in me with my silence.

The places to see
One can never get enough of nature! There is the farm to see here, the people at work, a dam, and a waterfall. You can see nature unfold here.

The Cost
It is expensive. But then, any price is no price to experience nature!

Things to remember
1. Visit the place if you are  a nature lover through and through.
2. Do not expect a 5 star luxurious treatment. We washed our own dishes here.
3. Good shoes and a camera is a must.
4. Good to carry a mosquito repellent.