Characters: I, my wife Mukti & son Aru along with my brother, Vicky, his wife, Namita and two lovely little girls, Kalyani & Devyani.
On my last trip to Mumbai we all had a gala time visiting Chowpati, Juhu beach, Siddhi Vinayak temple, Haji Ali Dargah and Mumba Devi temple. We also had two getaways to Kashid Beach and to the world heritage site of Elephanta caves.
Kashid Beach: We set off for 133 Kms car drive to Kashid Beach in the late afternoon. Snailing through the traffic of Mumbai we travelled through Mankhurd, Panvel, Pen and Alibaug to reach our destination at night. The last few kilo meters where the road snaked through small villages was marvelous.
There may be lot many stay options at Kashid but lately the villagers have opened quite a few motels which are basically four room to eight room accommodation built on their land. The places are maintained by the family and the food is cooked by the family members only. We had made our stay arrangements at a place of a guy named Satya Vijay [#9987545846].
He welcomed us and we all had home cooked delicious late night dinner under the star lit sky. We could also hear the occasional roar of the waves as the shore was just across the road. The atmosphere was such that we ate, drank and chatted till 3 am while the children enjoyed the bonfire and the hammocks.
Next day we woke up late and immediately I was captivated with the beauty of the place. Behind our rooms were green slopes of small hills with thick growth of Casuarina genus trees while in the front was glistening blue Arabian Sea with white milky waves making synchronous visit to the shores.
We rushed to the beach. It was a wonderful site with very few visitors. We could make out a hillock on the distant left of our place. The sunny morning, the sparkling sand on the beach, the waves, everything was complimenting the splendor of the place. The place also had water scooter rides offered by the locals. We were treated to another scrumptious lunch on our return.
While returning we had a brief stop at the main beach of Kashid. This was bit crowded but had lot many options of food and enjoyment like horse rides, cart rides etc. We enjoyed the beautiful sunset here before setting off for Mumbai.
: Travelling all the way from Powai to the Gateway off India means you have to cross through the whole of Mumbai which we did. We visited Jehangir art gallery, strolled in the Colaba Market and had our brunch at Leopold Café [it had come under terror attack in infamous Mumbai terror strike in 2008]. Later we purchased ferry tickets for Rs. 140 each and we were off to Elephanta Caves.
This was my first ferry ride. The plush personal boats anchored on the shore, colorful gigantic ships, tiny islands, returning noisy ferries and the quickly farther moving Mumbai’s coast line, all was adding up to some nostalgic aura. After around 40 minutes ride we reached the jetty of Gharapuri Island, named after the colossal elephant found there.
After taking Rs. 10 tickets and walking through a small congested market on an ascending lane we came across the main cave. Altogether there were seven caves which are famous for their sculpture. They date back to 600 – 700 AD and it is surprising that many dynasties like the Mauryas, Trikutakas, Chalukyas, Silaharas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas of Deogiri and even the Portuguese had their sway over this island. The Marathas also had this island under their control and from them it passed into the control of the British.
One really begins to ponder how these sculptures might have taken such beautiful and impressive physical shape and suddenly you start having a sense of gratitude and respect for those artists and sculpturers who must have toiled for ages in finishing their artifacts.
As the evening approached we had to rush to the jetty to catch the last of the returning ferries. The return journey was even more memorable. The weather had become cold and the beauty of the dark city shore in the backdrop of the setting sun and the flock of noisy sea gulls following the ferry in anticipation of some fide item to be tossed to them, all appeared to me as a beautiful painting that got etched in the canvas of my mind.
On shore we had dinner at the famous non vegetarian joint, Bade Miya and then we all headed home.