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Monday, May 29, 2017

Personal trip around Mumbai, Matheran, Alibaug and Murud!

I have never had a personal trip to Mumbai. All my previous visits were on work and had managed to explore a bit during the spare time. Recently I had some Jet Airways JP Miles to redeem, hence planned a quick weekend trip to Mumbai. Why Mumbai? Because the points were adequate only for s short haul flight from Chennai for 2 people. Also it was convenient for another family member to arrive by train. With 1 day leave, planned an action packed 3 day trip,from Friday early morning to Sunday night. Objective was to spend a few days with family and explore few places around Mumbai that I haven’t been to so far. Chennai-Mumbai return ticket for two cost me 30000 JP Miles and an additional 3036 in cash.
I have managed to visit a fair bit of Mumbai during my earlier visits, but 3 things- Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Elephanta caves and Band Stand were pending. I made a very hectic plan for Day 01, to visit SGNP first, reach Gateway of India by afternoon in time for Elephanta caves (last boat leaves at 2 PM). But it turned out to be a too ambitious plan. Arrived on time at 4.30 AM, went to Andheri station, took train to CST (lost 30 minutes here as I read platform number wrongly on the display), met a family member who'd arrived by train, together we went to Borivali. Luckily we got fast locals most of the time and space inside was manageable. Visited a friend in Borivali and then entered Sanjay Gandhi National Park, We were delayed by an hour when we entered SGNP and without a vehicle at our disposal, we had to wait for some time for the shuttle bus to Kanheri caves to fill up. I have planned a separate post on Kanheri caves...

It was around 1.30 PM by the time we came out of SGNP. Gateway of India being at the other end of town, there was no way to reach it in time for last boat to Elephanta. So in the afternoon we spent some time roaming around Gateway of India, Church Gate area and went to Bandra Bandstand just in time before it closed at 7.30 PM.

I read that a ropeway is being planned to connect Elephanta caves with mainland-may be I should plan another trip to Mumbai once the ropeway becomes a reality.

After spending a day using Mumbai’s local trains to shuttle around, finally it was time for my ride-picked up VolkswagenJetta from Mylescars at Trident Hotel, BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex) and headed to my homestay in Chembur (hosted by Sachin Bandary of Eccentrips) whom I had met during "How to Travel the world on budget" workshop in Chennai
On Day 02 we left early for Matheran, after a quick stop to meet a friend enroute. Matheran was already crowded by the time we reached (9 AM). It was not our primary destination, so didn't want to spend whole day here.

We spent about half a day there, before proceeding to Alibaug. Spent some time at Alibaug beach and visited Kolaba fort. Separate post on Matheran is available here
Stay was at RK Farm Resort- a budget hotel with cheap rooms- not really worth the title 'Resort'. The beach near Kihim was worth visiting as we got nice toddy palm and tender coconut there, even at 9 PM in the night. If I had some more time, I could have spent another night in Alibag

Day 03, left early for Murud, stopping enroute for Revdanda and Korlai fort. This fort was indeed a hidden gem. 

Murud was the last stop of our trip.
large fresh water pond on top of Murud Janjira. Water level higher than sea level.
After visiting Murud Janjira headed back to Mumbai. NH66 was full of traffic, so took state highways to reach near Lonavla and connect to Mumbai-Pune Expressway.  Reached Mumbai by 4 PM, met another friend, returned car by evening and headed to airport back home to Chennai. 

Thoroughly enjoyed driving the VW Jetta with paddle shift and DSG- it was sheer fun and lot convenient. I have planned detailed posts about some of the destinations covered during my Mumbai visit.

Below is a map of my 3 Days, 500 kms Mumbai visit... Feel free to customize and use for your trips

May be on next opportunity I will try explore some holiday destinations near Delhi as my exploration of North India has been very minimal so far. My last visit to Delhi was for Tata Tigor event and was a tight schedule centred around the launch event. If you can book a month or two in advance, flights to Delhi look very affordable. For example, Mumbai to Delhi flights in June end/July cost about INR 5000 for return ticket. I heard Delhi weather is perfect at this time of the year- not too hot, not too cold, unlike most of India which is unbearably hot and desperately needs the monsoon rains.

So where are you heading next? I have a short visit to Coimbatore coming up.

7 comments :

Aravind GJ said...

Interesting!! Have not travelled a lot around Mumbai.

Vipul Vaibhav said...

Being from Delhi and travelled North India extensively, I'd love to plan your itinerary :)

Mridula said...

Wow that is a lot of sightseeing in two days!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Mridula- 3 days!

@Vipul; Sure. will try to check with you

@Arvind; Do try.

Sandy N Vyjay said...

Looks like you covered so much in a short period and saved too!

Atulmaharaj said...

Interesting ! You managed to cover a lot of places.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sandy and Atul