After the river rafting we started our way to Alibaug, having lunch on a highway hotel. We had booked two nights stay in U Tropicana in Alibaug. It was a good resort, was very less crowded at that time of the year and we had a room facing the pool. It was so cool. That day evening we went to see the sunset, but it was rather cloudy and there were rainy clouds hovering around. We drove to Awas Beach that evening almost after 6 pm but the sun had already set and the whole beach was empty save us 3 and 2 dogs who were guarding us. We stayed for some time, watched the lights come up on the distant Mandwa beach which was the closest point to Mumbai (you can come from Mumbai via jetty to Alibaugh and avoid the roads).
The next day morning, B and myself went to Kihim beach which was much closer to the hotel for a walk. Again, the beach was almost empty save a few fishermen and a couple of dogs and one was as usual guarding us the whole time. Walked around for an hour or more and then came back for breakfast. Went to Nagaon beach. It was slightly warmer when compared to the previous cloudy day and after spending some time there (again the beach was quite empty , save for a few folks who were there to drink and have some fun) After that we drove to Alibaugh beach so that we can see the Kulaba Fort which is in the sea. But seems like you can go there only when the tide is low that day. There are no boats out there to take you. When the tide goes down you can walk to the fort, see it and once they ring the sound for you to come back, you walk back. The guys asked us to come in the evening, but when we checked out the lunar calendar, it said that the tides weren’t going to be low until 11 pm. So dropped that plan and went back to have lunch in a very nice place (took some time to finding it actually but the food was worth the effort , at least for the non -veg folks) It was becoming quite very hot and sweaty by that time. We went to the hotel to relax in the a/c and by evening, it started pouring like it isn’t going to stop. So B and C decided to spend time in the pool in the rain, yeah, that is right, they were swimming and having fun in the pool when it was raining and I went to relax with my book.
We started our trip to Matheran (1st Oct) the next day after our breakfast. This was one place I wanted to see because it is a hill station and the cars aren’t allowed inside this hill town. Only horse rides and hand carriages. But I was of the idea that we would be able to walk to the hotel from the car park area. The drive to Matheran car park has one of the very steepest curves I have witnessed so far and it was really very scared, especially for people with fear of heights. I wanted to take the train, but that day it wasn’t working. You cannot rely on the trains especially during rains because even the smallest land slide can cause the train to be cancelled. We parked the car in the car park (there is a cost for each day) and then the coolie got our luggage and the hotel address, The Verandah in the Forest, (no other way to transport your luggage actually) and off he went walking. We took the backpacks with us and hired 3 horses. At this time, I was terrified that I am gonna break the good times and fall off the horse and break a leg or two. Imagine my horror when I was told that it is a 40 min ride on the horse back to our hotel, which is almost the farthest of them all. Urgh! But after some time I got a grip even thought I didn’t lose the fear. Once I got down from the horse, it was such a relief. My backside hurt so much, man! how do they do it every day.
The hotel was so secluded and so nice, I wanted to hide myself there. And as we had our tea (yeah , we arrived by around 4.30 pm or so) and contemplating which view points to visit at that time before the darkness sets in, it started to rain. Or rather should I say pour. It didn’t stop till 8 pm or so. So we decided to turn in have some fun with cards and got our books out to complete the reading in that serene environment with rain giving us the perfect background music. There wasn’t any TV or mobile network available. So it was just us and the nature. Amazing place. This place was like a summer bungalow in the previous century or so. And we had the wonderful wonderful dinner in a dining room and we were treated like royalty. We felt like one too 😉 Totally recommended for anyone visiting Matheran. We went back to our card games and decided the time to start our morning walk.
We got up at around 5 am or so and got ready to go to the Charlotte Lake nearby. As usual a dog started guarding us the whole trip we did beginning with Charlotte Lake. We went to Louisa Point, Echo Point, Honeymoon Point, Malang Point etc. At first, I wasnt sure because my knee was acting up even before the trip and I was scared that I will worsen it what with the rains the previous day and the mud paths being all scary and slippery. But after the insistence of B went ahead to all the places and was so glad to have seen all those beautiful landscapes. Not a single soul was present anywhere. It was just us and the nature. Later that day when we came back for breakfast almost after 2 hours of trek and walk, we found some school kids coming up. Sadly we were there only for that day and we had our horses booked for 12 in the noon to take us back. It would have been awesome if we could have planned for more days in Matheran. There is always a next time.
Came back to the car park after that 40 min horse back ride, with the coolie getting us our luggage back again. After all this eco tourism stuff they still had plastics all strewn around and that was a little jarring for me. If only people were a little considerate. No cars or electrical vehicles of any sort are allowed, at least in the paths we have seen. Train comes till market. We saw it stranded almost near the car park. Even the daily groceries and stuff are pull by hand carts or by horse carriages in those steep climbs.
We started back to Pune from Matheran, stopping for our lunch at a popular restaurant called Sunny da Dhaba. The food was very good and it was filled with families from Pune. That evening we had dinner at a restaurant next to the flat in Pune and crashed for the day.