Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Golden Temple in Amritsar

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Few years ago, I wrote about my wish list about the States and Union Territories in India that I wanted to visit. You can read about it here . There I mentioned that the day I land in Amritsar and go see the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple as it is more popularly known, I would say that I had been to Punjab. I have to thank the almighty for sure as since last 2 years, I somehow got the opportunity to go to Amritsar thrice and all these three times I went to Harmandir Sahib and could offer my prayers.

The first time I went there in 2017, I was stunned by the calmness the Golden temple offered in the midst of all the chaos. I did manage to offer 10 mins of "seva" in the kitchen though I didn't get the chance to have the Holy langar. The langar or the community kitchen serves more than a lakh pilgrims daily irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. That is the main motive of having four entrance gates to this holiest of the shrines of Sikhism. People of any faith can come and visit Harmandir Sahib from all four gates. However the main road/bridge in the lake to reach the holy seat is only one, emphasizing that the end goal is only one.

The second time I was there, I had the time to sit and have the langar of Roti, Kadhi, Daal and Kheer. What still amazed me was the number of people offering Seva or service to run the kitchen. This time I didn't have any time for seva.

The stretch from the Town Hall which now houses the Partition museum till Harmandir Sahib has undergone a serious make over only few years back. I have only heard about the old hustle bustle of "Ambarsar" from our guide. What I have seen is completely different and honestly little difficult to imagine. Partition Museum is where I am yet to be. This is definitely on my mind.

The majestic statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Makki Roti and Sarson ka Saag at Brothers
One only has to walk few meters and you will get the old city which very much exists behind these newly renovated walls. There are a number of eateries serving famous Punjabi stuff. There are few famous ones like Brothers Dhaba or Kesar da Dhaba. I had been to Brothers but Kesar not yet. 

I stayed in Fairfield by Marriott in my second visit and I have to admit, their Kava grill and lounge serves excellent local staff. I had amazing pindi chole and kulche there. 

Pindi Chole & Kulche at Fairfield 
Besides the mandatory Wagah border retreat ceremony, I would recommend you spend one evening at the newly renovated Gobindgarh Fort watching the Sound and Light show called The Whispering Walls. It is truly world class.
Whispering Walls at Gobindgarh Fort

Even though Harmandir Sahib is full of pilgrims all the time, discipline is maintained by everyone. Among those hundreds of people, still the very sight of the shrine makes my heart run through a thousand emotions every time I am there.

I am just back from Amritsar on 31st Oct and this time I went to the Golden Temple in the night. Everyone told me it looks amazing in the night. Finally I was there. Even though I wasn't there for the closing ceremony called "Sukhasan" or the opening ceremony called "Prakash", I now have in mind to be there for at least one in my next visit. This time with my travel buddy my other half for sure.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Jamva Chalo Ji - At Udvada

Last monsoon when we drove till Bordi beach, many of friends had asked if we had our lunch at Parsi da Dhaba. Honestly I had absolutely no clue that there's dhaba by a Parsi! This year when P and I planned on the Monsoon day trip, we decided to go to Bordi again and then have Parsi Bhonu for lunch at Parsi da Dhaba. What we did not plan that the whole day would turn out to be a pilgrimage  and quite literally! We skipped Bordi and reached Udvada, a sacred place for the Parsi and Zorostrian communities. Udvada has the Iranshah Atash Behram, which is the holiest of the Agiaries and it is said that the fire inside it is burning since thousands of years.

Since non Parsis are not permitted inside a Fire temple, P said " Let's check out the other sacred fire; the one that burns inside Parsi kitchens and dishes out those delicacies!"  That's it. We decided to take inspiration from - "Jamva Chalo Ji" (Come let's eat), we landed in Udvada and we ate for sure.

Jamva Chalo Ji! 

Udvada is just about 230 km from Mumbai, in Valsad district and a straight drive through NH8. We started at around 9 am. We had all the plans of stopping at Ahura, another Parsi food heaven just after Charoti. But since our driver was hungry, he stopped at a food junction and we too ended up having missal pav and kothimvir vadis owing to a "miscommunication" with the waiter! And we crossed Ahura just after about 30 mins of that. No Salli per Eedu at Ahura this time. I sighed.

Fried Boi
We reached Udvada through a back road that google map showed us! By the time we were there, it was already almost the famous afternoon siesta time. But to our luck Globe Hotel still had lunch and we were greeted by very welcoming Percy, the owner himself. Since it was officially not the " tourist season" their restaurant was closed. But they opened one of the rooms and laid the table there. And what a spread it was. We had the fried fish Mullet locally called "Boi", Chicken Vindaloo , Mutton Dhanshak. To accompany all these we had rotis and of course the caramelised rice.
The Parsi hotels there serve really good food. They take pride in their food and they can no way get this wrong. That's one thing you can be totally sure of. Another very popular place to feast is Hotel Ashishvangh.

Caramel Rice with Mutton Dhanshak
We did not have any oh so typically Parsi Raspberry just to feel less guilty. Even before our lunch was over an auto came over shouting " Ice Cream Ice Cream". That's the famous hand churned mango ice cream. We asked Sunil, the autowallah cum Ice cream seller to come later. He did come and this time with his assistant to help him. By that time there was another couple at Globe Hotel too.

Mango ice cream

While everything that we ate was delectable, I loved the Chicken Vindaloo most. I can almost taste it as I look at the photograph now. It was really too good.

Chicken Vindaloo

After that heavy Parsi Bhonu for lunch, we had to go for a walk. Peak of afternoon; the town was so quiet that at times it felt as if I and P were the only people awake. We walked till the beach and walked through the road by the beach. There were huge houses that adorned that road. Most of the houses were locked, either abandoned or in the care of some "caretaker". There was a huge mansion that belonged to some Rai Bahadur ( the name plate said so). But now almost in ruins. The whole street wore a veil of melancholy; actually the whole town did. May be it was the time of the day we were there.

We left by 4pm. But not without some Mawa cake from the famous Irani Bakery. We have Mawa cakes here in Mumbai, the best one being from the Merwan at Grant Road. But these slightly caramelised Mawa cakes from Irani Cafe in Udvada top the list now.

Mawa Cakes
While returning we took some turn and were on the NH8 in 15 minutes only to realise that earlier we took a long detour to reach Udvada; thanks to Google maps.

On the way from Udvada to Mumbai, Ahura is on the right side of the highway. But P insisted we stop for a cup of Irani chai there. So we took an U turn and stopped at Ahura. We just asked casually if they still had Salli Per Eedu at that time. Actually Salli per Eedu is considered a classic Parsi breakfast dish. As the old waiter said "yes", we were hungry again. Come on; Ahura is at a good 2 hours distance from Udvada and it's justified. P and I relished that and a plate of bun maska with 4 cups of Irani chai.

Salli per Eedu at Ahura

This was not planned. We just happen to reach Udvada by chance and we skipped Parsi da Dhaba this time too. Though this time it was intentional. May be next time.

Atash Behram

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Verandah in the Forest

Verandah in the Forest always occupied a very prominent place in my wishlist. Even though Matheran lies a mere 90 km away from Mumbai, it is only last year on my birthday that P and I finally reached there. A 19th Century Raj era bungalow, this mysteriously majestic house is now converted to a "nonhotel" hotel. Officially known as the Barr House, this was the second house to be built in Matheran and was built by Captain Barr.

We travelled till Neral by local train and from there took a shared taxi till the drop off point. From there one has the option of riding a horse or hiring a hand pulled rickshaw or the most exciting option of getting into the toy train. The year we went, toy train was not running. Otherwise we would have loved to take that option. We opted to walk. It was just after the monsoons, rains were scarce but the tracks still bore the reminiscent of the monsoon just gone by. We enjoyed the walk along the railway track. There were many like us. Matheran is India's only hill station which is completely pedestrianized. Even though we would have preferred a quieter walk just enjoying the beauty around, since it was a weekend that was not possible!

We were looking forward to Verandah In the Forest even more. Because of the silence and some quiet "we" time.

We reached the "mall area" after about 30 mins of walking. By that time we were hungry. Verandah in the forest lies beyond 2 km from the main town. The main road is lined by hotels, shops, "resorts", restaurants. There are many " view points" around this road. We stopped at one of the points and totally loved the view of open sky and the mountains that it offered. We had lunch before continuing our walk further to our final destination. As we crossed the town and started our walk through the greenery, we realised what Matheran could have been in the bygone days. Occasionally crossing tourists on horse backs, we enjoyed the much quieter walk.
The gate to The Barr House
Finally we were there. At The Barr House / Verandah in the Forest  The huge colonial bungalow standing tall amidst the trees reminded me of my childhood summer holidays at my aunt's tea garden bungalows. Huge rooms, huge bathrooms and a long verandah to run around! All the rooms in the Barr house are named after famous persons, we had booked Sassoon named after Albert Sassoon.
I and P only wanted to be there doing nothing. So we were not planning for these many points or that many points sight seeings at all. That way we had all the time with us, just to be!

Our room

Evening tea was served in the Verandah with cookies and pakodas. The watchful staff kept a keen eye out  as monkeys also turn up looking for some tea-time goodies. Nothing of that happened even though there was a monkey around in one of trees. After chai pakoda, P and I walked till the Charlotte lake and sat there for sometime. There is an ancient Shiva temple called Pisarnath temple at one end of the lake. There were not too many people around as it was getting dark and most people staying near the main area were leaving already. Once darkness falls, crossing the jungle to reach the main area can be quite intimidating.

As we slowly walked back to the Barr House, suddenly the whole area was engulfed in mist creating an eerie kind of atmosphere. But that lasted only for few minutes. It was dark already and the Barr house was looking like a mysterious bungalow amidst the dark forest. Our friends had jokingly told us to be aware of ghosts around. We did not see any though!

The evening dinner was at the main dining area called Malet hall. It was a candle light sit down buffet. Just before the dinner, P brought out a cake he had kept hidden and arranged it right on the Verandah for to me to cut. We found out that another lady staying there, was celebrating her birthday too. We asked her also to join in the cake cutting. As both of us cut the cake, our husbands clapped and other guests merrily sang "Happy Birthday". It was a happy birthday indeed.

The dinner was a continental affair. We had opted for non vegetarian and we loved the food. There was a family sitting across the table. We could make out from their expressions that they were not very happy with the vegetarian options!

After dinner we browsed though the many books in the sitting hall. There was no TV, no network on our phones. We just sat, read and talked. By 10.30pm the lights were off. The guests had retired to their rooms. We sat on the armchairs outside our room enjoying the silence. As the night watchman walked over switching off the last of the lamps, we went inside our room.

The Verandah

It was a wonderful feeling getting up the next morning to  sounds of chirping birds. It had rained at night. the whole area wore a fresh look in the bright morning lights. P and I went out for a walk around the woods.

The breakfast was spread in the Verandah . Again the staff were ready with their slingshots for monkeys. But to our luck, I would say, none came!

Barr House at night

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Magic of Million Fireflies

The memories of my Enai's ( that's my maternal grand mother) home in Meleng, Jorhat are many and one very vivid memory that I still have in my mind is that of hundreds of twinkling fireflies. Enai's home has quite a big ground in front and there were paddy fields around. I am talking about 1985 here. In our summer vacations all our cousins would gather at her place and spend some time there. Electricity was erratic and it still is. Evenings when there was no electricity, we would sit in the long verandah and listen to Puthau's ( grand father) stories. And then fireflies will come twinkling. Some of us would run after them to catch them in our hands. Enai would shout " Don't touch them. Otherwise in the night you will have to go to the toilet!" Now that's something all of us wanted to avoid. The bathroom was outside of the main house. Just outside in the backyard. But if you had to go to the toilet at night, you had no option but to wake up an elder. If there was no electricity then, imagine the shadows on the wall from the flickering light of the hand lamp! No way.

Last week i.e. the first weekend of June , I and P had been to Purushwadi. We heard about the place from a friend. She said " You have to see it to believe what I am telling you." We were intrigued. Every year just before the monsoons, millions of fireflies come to this tiny village and put up a spectacular light show, which now I also say " You have to see it to believe it." 

The Valley

We went to Purushwadi through Grassroutes They aim at , in their own words, " to create 1 million livelihood opportunities in Rural India." They have various stay options available. We opted for the canvas tents. There are shared western toilets with running water too. But please donot expect all the luxuries of the city life that we are used to there. That is NOT the idea and we must respect that. 

Valley facing Tents

We went by local train to Kasara from Dadar. In Kasara there are shared jeeps available which will drop you till Rajur, the nearest "town" to Purushwadi. From Rajur another jeep to Purushwadi. You can take your own vehicle too. Purushwadi is about 220 km from Mumbai in Ahmed Nagar district. The jeep travel part can be a bit harrowing. They stuff people into one vehicle way more than it's capacity. 

We reached the camp site by afternoon. All your meals will be at the village at a villager's home. Our hosts were ready with lunch. It's a simple vegetarian meal of what they also eat. We loved every bit. We thought of lying down for about an hour as were up since 4am. But it was too hot. But to our surprise, by 4pm we could clearly see the clouds coming in. The breeze got cooler and suddenly the sky opened up. It started pouring heavily. We enjoyed the weather with local mangoes. Since it rained we were in two minds about the sunset trek. But thanks to another couple that we met there, we just went out for a hike. Grassroutes assign one household in the village for each of the guests and that keep rotating thus making sure that everyone gets equal opportunity. All four of us were hosted by the same family. We went up to the Sun set point even though there was no " sun set view". But all of us enjoyed the small hike, rains and the weather. 

Our gracious hostess

There was no electricity in the village. The camp site was lit by solar lamps. As we walked to our host's home for dinner, already the tiny twinkling lamps were everywhere. Our guide told us that it was just a trailer and the full show was still to come. How true was that. After dinner we started our walk to witness the magic of million fireflies. All along the way there were thousands of them as if leading our way. Then we were there. Standing across a bridge, we saw a light show put by amazing nature. The tree looked like glittering with thousands of tiny Christmas lights. The fireflies were illuminating all over.  But it was so synchronized that we were awestruck. We just stood there silently witnessing this phenomenon. We returned to our tents happy.

Magical Fireflies

Next morning after a delicious Poha breakfast, our guides took around the village giving us a glimpse into their daily lives. Even though it had stopped raining, the weather was little humid but thankfully not scorching hot. We walked till the river, but we did not take a bath. Just sat there remembering Enai - Puthau and the fireflies.

Friends met there and our guides Sandip & Avdesh

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Our Harud in Kashmir

We, i.e. P and I, love Kashmir. It's the place, the food, the people and the stories which have struck a chord with us. 

The last time we were in Srinagar, Kashmir; for me it was for a really short time. Only 2 days. It so happened that P was working there. When his work got over, it was a Thursday. So we decided that he would stay back and I would join him over the weekend. Those were the last few days of Autumn, sometimes in  early Novermber. It was about to rain and then the red leaves of the chinar trees would start  to fall, heralding the onset of a bitter winter.  Since last 3 years I was planning to be in Kashmir during Autumn, when the Chinars turn red!Every year something would come up and I would miss it. 

Chinar Bagh

Kashmir has it's own charm during all the seasons. And we fell in love with the beautiful Harud (autumn) there. The slight chill in the air, the dry leaves in the trees, those big chinars with their red/brown leaves - everything added to the beauty of this heaven on earth. For those 2 days, we  roamed around the city at our own pace. Walked around the Nishad Garden and Chinar bagh. Sipped Kahwa from roadside small eateries,visited the famed sufi shrine of Khanqah-e-Moula .Looked for Rainbow bakery and had their amazing walnut brownie.We even  made plans with our friendly and trusted Auto driver Manzoor bhai to go to Downtown Srinagar at 5 am to have Harissa,a winter specialty served by just a handful of restaurants in the morning. But alas the last thing we couldn't do because on that day, our last day in Srinagar, there was a bandh called for and Manzoor bhai refused to take any risk by taking us there.

Slightly disheartened we came to Daal lake for a stroll before we left the city. We sat by the lake, doing nothing, just looking into this beautiful lake that defines the city. There were very few "tourists" that early in the morning. The sky was still gloomy after the previous night's shower. As we sat there, the sky slowly started to open up. There was still a light mist in the distance.For Kashmir the last 2 years had been really dismal in terms of tourism. Hotels and Houseboats were empty, shikaras were running into losses. The Shikara owners we got talking to told us how  bad the previous "seasons" were.

But still there was some hope; that the coming year would bring in peace and people will be back to enjoy a Shikara ride on Daal lake. We looked towards the lake and as we were about to leave, P said " Let's take one selfie with the daal lake". We looked out and P hit the click button on his phone, just in time to capture the Shikara in the frame too.

It was a beautiful moment captured in our minds and in our phone forever. We wish peace will return to this beautiful place and soon ! And for us, we will be back anyway :) 

Selfie with the Shikara

Sunday, September 17, 2017

K for....Khajuraho!

The train U P Sampark Kranti from Delhi pulled into the Khajuraho railway station by 7.30am, about  an hour late from it's  scheduled time. P and I got down and as expected someone already asked " Auto Chahiye? 100 Rs. lagenge dropping ki liye" ( do you need an auto? Rs. 100 to drop at the market." We stepped out of the station only to be hounded by more men asking the same thing. We chose a random auto and sat.
Once out of the small station, it is a long straight road till the main area where the Western Group of temples are located. About 7 kms.  We crossed the Airport and our hotel Ramada on the way. P and I had already decided that we would do a recce sort of a walk around these temples on the day we arrive. Then we would decide what to do and how.

August is still " not the season". There were sporadic rains too. But that had made the whole temple premise lush green. As we crossed the security gates and entered the garden area, it was love at first sight for us. We were impressed with the way the whole premise was maintained; even during this " off period".

We started with the Chitragupta temple and then walked around the Kandariya Mahadev and Devi Jagdamba Temples. There were very hardly about  5 - 6 tourists inside and we were the only Indians. P and I already knew that we would need a guided tour for sure to learn more about these exquisite structures. Sometimes rather than reading or googling, the magic that a local guide can weave with his words makes the place more fascinating. We spent about an hour and came out to have breakfast right in front of these monuments; at Raja Cafe. This one features in almost all the travel guides and you cannot miss this. Sitting in their rooftop area under a huge neem tree overlooking the temples, we enjoyed a sumptuous English breakfast.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple
As we came out to get an auto to our hotel finally by 11.00am ; we found the same Auto driver, Dipak, who took us from station. This time we asked him about his charges to show us around. Dipak brought out a whole rate chart. Whenever I and P travel somewhere like this on weekend breaks, we completely take things slow. We do everything in our own pace the way we like and that not necessarily mean going everywhere "recommended". Both P and I could not sleep well in the train. So we  planned to take some rest before heading out. We asked him to come pick us from the hotel by 4 pm and show us the Eastern group and Southern group of temples.

Dipak came exactly at 4pm. The weather was gloomy with an  overcast sky. He took us to Chaturbhuj Temple first.There were the guard, 2 women cutting the grass around the temple and 2 tourists besides us. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and this is the only temple, among all Khajuraho group of temples, that do not have a single erotic sculpture. From there we went to the Duladeo temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Again here except for the security guard, we were the only visitors. This temple is located just next to Khodar river. But we were told that this year it still had not rained properly. Hence there was less water in the river. The overcast was growing stronger by then and we knew it would rain any moment. P and I were really keen on the Sound and Light show at the Western group. But weather was sure to play a spoilsport.

Jain Temples

The Jain temples are in the Eastern part of Khajuraho. By the time we reached the Jain temples, the sky opened up. It was pouring heavily. We sat inside the temple premises till the time the rain stopped. After about 20 minutes the rain got lighter and we continued our "sight seeing"to the Vamana temple. This temple dedicated to the Vaman incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Again we were the only ones along with the security guard. Seeing our interest, he started describing the sculptures on the walls. There is a sculpture of Varaha another of Lord Vishnu's incarnation. It was already getting dark and was the time to officially close the gates. So we left hoping against hope the Sound and Light show will be on for the evening. But alas! It was just not our evening. We sat at Raja Cafe and munched something before heading back to our hotel.

Varaha Statue
Next day our train was only at 6.20pm and we were hoping for a late check out. But the hotel was completely full on Saturday because of some conference and we had to change our plan a bit. We had a leisurely breakfast and packed all our stuff and left for the Western group of temples by 11am. This time we wanted a detailed tour with a guide. We met Mr. Narendra Jain near the gates and fixed on a charge of Rs. 800 for a detailed tour of the Western group of temples. Mr. Jain kept his word and showed us around thoroughly. He said that the erotic sculptures make for only 3% in the whole lot of sculptures. That's strange considering how Khajuraho is known for the erotica mainly. The walls of the main temples Kandariya Mahadev, Lakshmana temple , Devi Jagadamba temple etc are adorned with exquisite sculptures depicting regular life during those days and of course the very famous erotic sculptures. There is a huge Varaha statue in a small temple in front of the main and most intricate temple of them all - Lakshmana temple. The statue is made of stone and there are some intricate sculptures cut in the whole body. That was surely one impressive sculpture.

The Temple Garden
The walls of the temples and with the description by Mr. Jain, it dawned upon us that those days women had such a strong role in the society. They were educated, strong,into sports, not afraid of their carnal desires. There were many sculptures of women with a scorpion over their thighs and in Mr. Jain's words " Scorpion or bichchu is the symbol of sexual desire. Remember the song "Daiya re Daiya re Chadh gaya paapi bichchua"." Suddenly the song from "Madhumati" had a whole new meaning for us. P and I were most amused. After a complete tour, we came out thoroughly content.

The Bichchu / Scorpion

Apart from the temples, one can go to nearby water falls too like Raneh and Pandav. We thought of going to Raneh; but then we were so overwhelmed by what we just learnt that we wanted to sit and enjoy lunch rather than again going somewhere. This time we went to Indiana for lunch. Since Khajuraho is frequented by foreigners, most of the cafes offer international cuisine and really good dishes. We had pasta for lunch. Even after lunch we still had time; we had to decide between 2 museums ; Archaeological museum or the Tribal art museum. We zeroed upon the Tribal art museum. There was no one in the Tribal Art Museum. The lone person / security guard / care taker opened the doors and switched on the lights and fans when he saw us coming. It was free entry and we wanted to click some photos. But the care taker said there was a fine since the entry fee was removed. There were some interesting tribal arts were on display. we covered the exhibits in about half an hour. I strongly recommend one should visit this small museum to get a glimpse of the different tribes of Madhya Pradesh.

As the train pulled out of the Khajuraho station exactly at 6.20pm that evening; it carried in it 2 very impressed travelers. We enjoyed this short trip to Khajuraho, a UNESCO World heritage site. Both of us would love to be back for the famous Khajuraho Dance Festival.

The Royal Emblem of the Chandelas

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ride to Chickoo Coast

Monsoon is Mumbai's favorite season. Even though it brings with it lots of problems, Mumbaikers really look forward these three months - June July August. Coming from a place where rains are an inseparable part of life, I found this amusing in the beginning. But slowly I also found myself waiting for rains after the scorching summer. As the whole city wears a different look during these monsoon months, people also plan lot of "activities". These "activities", I am talking about, are trekking, rappelling on waterfalls, day outing to water parks! One very important "activity" is weekend outing to nearby places like Lonavala, Khandala and many more.

Taking a cue from all these, last year I and P went for a day drive to Igatpuri and boy!..we had fun! We loved the drive, the greenery, stopping in the middle of nowhere to enjoy the scene, the moment. This year too we went out. But this year we took a slight off the beaten track and went to Bordi. It may be the same old Bordi for some; but for us it was a route completely new.

So we started on a Saturday around 9am. From our place in Borivali which is the Northernmost part of Mumbai, the distance was about 130 kilometer. It was only raining on and off; but there was overcast. Once we were on the NH48 towards Dahanu and were off the city limits the weather changed. The rains became more frequent. There were some bad patches with potholes. After an hour or so we made a pit stop at the Kamat restaurant though there were quite a few restaurants in and around Kamat. We already had breakfast at home. But somethings are done "just like that". So we ate again. Even though the restaurant is known for their Missal Pav; we decided to have Kanda Poha and Sabudana Khichdi. While the Sabudana Khichdi was very nice, the Poha was not "upto the mark".
Sabudana Khichdi

Kanda Poha with Coffee

We continued our journey and took the turn towards Dahanu from Manor. From Manor Bordi is approx 65 kilometer. Dahanu is famous for hundreds of Chickoo farms. These are mostly owned by Zorostrians / Parsis. Udwada a significant place for Indian Parsis is very near to Dahanu. The trees were full of Chickoos.

Dahanu to Bordi

One side of the road has Chickoo farms, private houses, numerous resorts, schools, colleges and hostels.

From Dahanu when the you take the turn towards Bordi finally, the view completely changes. It was a coastal road as you drive by the sea. The road is not smooth but the sea on the other side more than make it up for that. 

Finally we reached Bordi. As soon as we got out our car, it started pouring. There were not too many people around except for few local boys and girls. The beach was hardly visible as the monsoon sea was full and rough also it was high tide. We thoroughly enjoyed the solitude it offered. 

Three school girls came to enjoy a walk by the sea on their way home from school. They walked pass us giggling and talking.

We sat by the beach for sometime. There were no shops or shacks. I am not sure if that is the scene during summer. There are 2 places just on the road when you go to the beach. One restaurant and one place called Chickoo Parlour. They have ice creams, halwa, kulfi, milk shake, all made with Chickoo. 
As we drove back towards Dahanu, we stopped by this school. The old building reminded us of our childhood. It was recess; all the students were out. We went inside, just looked around and came back. 

There were many restaurants and resorts. Many restaurants were closed as it was off season. Finally decided to come till Dahanu beach where we had seen some hotels on our way to Bordi. We had lunch at Crazy Crab. It is the restaurant of the resort called Sea Crest. It seemed many weekend travellers were staying there. If anyone wants to go for a quiet beach gateway not too far from Mumbai, this certainly can be an option. The food was tasty but generic. May be if we go someday to stay there can explore more of the place.

As we still had time in hand, we decided to take a detour and go find the village of Warli artists. However we again took a slightly off the regular track turn and headed towards some other place. That was complete unseen part of Maharashtra. On both sides of the road were paddy fields where the local villagers were still working. It was drizzling continuously. 

We asked people about Warli artists and were guided to a village called Bapugaon. We reached Bapu gaon and the home of Mr. Ramesh Hengadi the artist. He was out of station. We were greeted by this massive tree at the gate of his house. The tree was decorated during last diwali we were told by his nephew.

Warli paintings on tree

As we drove back home it started pouring heavily. The farmers were going to their homes after a tiring day at the fields.
Happily we also returned hoping to go back someday to meet Mr. Hengadi soon. 

Bapu Gaon