The Secret Beaches of Mumbai!!!
From Marve my next plan was to go to Aksa beach, another beach as beautiful as Manori. But then, with less time and more places to cover, I decided to give it a miss.
Next point was Erangal, Erangal Gaon to be specific, with a printout of Merwyn's blogpost. Erangal has 4 imp. things. One is the Our Lady of the Sea Church, second is the St. Bonaventure Church, third is the peaceful village itself, fourth is the very peaceful beach.
A walk through the village of Erangal leads to the St.Bonaventure Church, further on to the beach. The village is not a typical fertile land village which we usually associate with. Obviously here the primary work is on the sea - fishing. So no green lands and paddy kinda village. It was filled with concrete buildings and had primarily Christian population, with several Crosses everywhere. Reminded me of the Goan villages I've seen on tv & movies. It was so very typical like that with Koli fisherfolk everywhere!
The St. Bonaventure Catholic Church was originally built in 1575 by the Portuguese. See some similarity between this structure and of Vasai Fort? I do! Till the Marathas invaded this place in 1739, this church was in daily worship. However after that, the church was not in daily use , and was only used for the annual festival of Baravi. Later on in 1976, the Parish Priest of Madh Church got this church renovated which was by the time in ruins. Soon after that the church was once again in everyday worship.
I reached the church at about 3 and it was closed, so couldn’t check out how was it inside. The church was sea-facing and just outside the church, were few stone slabs and park benches beneath a tree. Near the church was this wall which really intrigued me. How would someone get so creative and paint each granite of the well in a different color?!!!
Till the church, the village was active with its own village activities. But beyond the church, it was empty. It was beautiful solitary beach! Apart from us, there were a bunch of guys trying to drive a car along the sea shore near the waves, who by the time we came, were wrapping up. Then, it was just us and the beautiful beach.
Unlike the many other beaches that I had seen, the sand of this beach was pretty less. The ground beneath was pretty hard and it was almost like walking in a normal dirt track and not a seashore!
Some black rock formations similar to Manori are seen here too! A stroll on this beach, is nothing but a soul stirring, relaxing experience - No humans, just the sand, shells, some little crabs that dig a hole onto the ground and throw out sand balls, a majestic church, coconut trees, wavy patterns on sand - An evening spent here would be equal to a spa massage!
Very happily we left from here to our next destination – Madh. Madh has a majestic fort and a fabulous beach. First we were off to the Fort and I got freaked out. Half the way, the scenario changed on either sides and a board welcomed us into the restricted area controlled by Indian Airforce. Another board barred me from taking pics anywhere in this locality. So, no I have no pics of this locality. I reached Madh Fort and the grill gate leading to it was closed. Just adjacent to it was gated & guarded Airforce area. I enquired the guard about who has the key to this Fort. He informed me that a film shooting was happening there and the crew has the key, so I cannot enter!!! The ‘No Photography’ board made me ask him for permission before I thought of taking a long shot of the Fort from wherever I was and he instantly refused saying that photography was barred in the whole locality. But cinematography allowed???!!!!! With a sad smiley on me, I went over to Madh Beach.
A tiny lane between 2 buildings was the route to Madh Beach. Madh Beach also was a relatively secluded beach, but not as peaceful as Erangal or Manori. Fishermen folk were drying up their catch.
If you’re a veggie like me, you’ll have trouble breathing in the stench. But then, as I moved over towards the beach, the sea breeze took over the stench and was as peaceful.
There were quite few fishermen here on the beach and quite a few ladies taking the meat out of shells, just like I saw in Manori. But then, not very crowded. Hardly 50 people when we were there. Here again, like Manori, it was teeny weenie micro broken shells that formed the sand. The actual sand was beneath a layer of shells!
|Have you seen such a colorful rock?!!!|
From Madh Beach my next destination was to get back to main Mumbai. For that we reached the Madh Ferry Point which takes to the Versova Ferry Point / Beach. It was hardly a 3 min ride, that short. If you're not allergic to Mumbai's waterbody and know to swim, the distance was hardly anything to just swim across!
Versova beach has nothing so scenic or great to see, but one thing that interested me here was boat building!
TO REACH THERE:
Erangal: Autos from Marve can be taken to Erangal (Aksa in enroute). Autos may not leave you till the beach, but only till the village’s border. 2 mins stroll through the village roads leads to the beach. You can enquire anyone for St. Bonaventure Church and you’ll be guided.
Timings of St. Bonaventure Church: 8:00AM to 1:00PM & 4:00PM to 8:00PM
Madh: Autos from Erangal can be taken to Madh Fort or Beach. Fort is after the beach.
Versova: 10-15 mins walk from Madh Beach/Fort or a short Auto Ride takes you to Madh Ferry Point. The ferry distance is very short and a ferry ride similar to Manori is available here for Rs.3.
Nearest Station to Versova: Andheri West of Western Railway Line
TO STAY: Guest Houses and Resorts are available at Manori Beach. Prior booking is a must for these resorts esp. for weekends. Small hotels , Dhabas, Street Food are available in Marve, Manori, Erangal & Versova, but not in Madh.
Dedicated to Mom & Pop